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Making a Custom Aluminum Dashboard

By Ma. Carla Ballatan

Are you a proud owner of a Moto Guzzi ‘Jackal’? Well, then you are likely to be an envy of many. But if you missed out on the benefits of a tachometer, you might just go by the sound and feel of the engine whether or not it was happy with the revs you are using during changing up or down the box. We can forgive you if you are clueless as to what those revs actually were.

Used motorcycle parts like a tachometer could really be a beneficial thing to improve the general condition of your Moto Guzzi motorcycle. However, new or second-hand Cali EV dash is not that easy to get hold of. Given this difficulty, you could produce a new dashboard for yourself. You could even produce a better dashboard than the original Jackal item.

Itching to start already? First, you must get a bit of 4mm thick 1050-H14 aluminium (BS 1470), (99.5% pure aluminum, a bit of wet & dry sandpaper, a couple of drills and a counter sinker for the warning light cluster / mounting screw holes. If you decide to do the cutting yourself, you need basic hand tools, drill, hole cutter for 85mm diameter holes, a small band saw few files and a couple of medium / fine flap wheels for finishing off the edges and for doing the brushed satin finish. Water Jet Cutting, Plasma Cutting, Laser Cutting, CNC Milling are several ways of manufacturing the aluminum. You can choose any method feasible for you and that which will create smooth results for your dash..

Here are the steps in cutting out your dash from http://www.webbikeworld.com/Moto-Guzzi- motorcycles/dashboard-tachometer/:

1. Mark out the plate, including profile and hole centres

2. Centre-pop all of the hole centres

3. Centre-pop the holes using sharp centre-pop. A light tap should do it.

4. Pilot drill each hole centre using something like a 1/16th drill

5. Cut the 85mm holes

6. Use the trepanner / tank cutter or an 85mm hole saw.

7. Drill the warning light and mounting holes. De-burr.

8. Finish off the warning light holes using a bit of wet & dry for a clean edge to the holes.

For the underside of the dash:

1. Cut out the profile using a hacksaw / bandsaw / plasma cutter

2. Smooth off and finish off the edges

3. Use file, wet & dry, wire wool, flap wheel to remove cutting marks

4. Bend the ‘mounting lugs’ to the correct angle using the original dash as a pattern

5. To surface finish, hold the drill with both hands and ran the flap wheel down the dash in one smooth, even stroke, starting at one side.

Finish-off by getting some Methylated spirit and de-grease the dash, taking care not to leave any finger marks. Then, spray with a few coats of acrylic lacquer. For fitting and connections, the speedo cable fits fine. The article “Install a rev counter on your motorcycle” at http://www.articlecity.com/articles/ auto_and_trucks/article_195.shtml may help you with the wiring and the fitting of the dash. You’ll find it complicating but once you’ve finished, you’ll be even prouder of having your Moto Guzzi motorcycle with its new dashboard!

Lala C. Ballatan is a 26 year-old Communication Arts graduate, with a major in Journalism. Right after graduating last 1999, she worked for one year as a clerk then became a Research, Publication and Documentation Program Director at a non-government organization, which focuses on the rights, interests and welfare of workers for about four years.

Book reading has always been her greatest passion -- mysteries, horrors, psycho-thrillers, historical documentaries and classics. She got hooked into it way back when she was but a shy kid.

Her writing prowess began as early as she was 10 years old in girlish diaries. With writing, she felt freedom – to express her viewpoints and assert it, to bring out all concerns -- imagined and observed, to bear witness.

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