TJ Overhead Console Build....Lots of Pics!


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Due to my lack of funds and Tuffy's overhead console being $400+, i decided to build my own console to house my stereo, cb, maxitrip auto comp., and a switch panel. Now i realize there will be some dispute about using plywood for the main body of the console, but i am a very adequate woodworker, so i decided to stick with what i know ( I didn't win the Construction student of the year award for doing nuthin' ! ). So the main issues i have heard with using wood for something like this are moisture and vibration. I used rocker guard over the whole thing, so moisture is not really an issue. Plus i gusseted (lol is that even a word??) quite will, so i dont think vibes will be a problem.

The design:
Due to my inability to plan stuff in advance, i came up with the overall design and layout of the console during a random stroll through home depot with one of my buddies. the idea seemed fairly solid, so i picked up most of the needed materials at that point.

The Materials:
One sheet of plywood ( got it from the scrap section for 51 cents )
one 1"x1/8"x48" steel bar. ( had to get another one later, so two were needed )
one 8' piece of 1/8" c-channel aluminum....lots will be left over. just need 44.5" for the front crossmember that goes between the cage bars.
a plethora of 1/4"x3/4"and1/2" bolts, with corresponding nuts and rubber washers for each
about 6-8 larger bolts (cant recall the size at the moment)
one 3'x2' sheet of galvanized steel (doesnt have to galvanized, but it was shiney.. )
some small screws, 1/2" i believe
lots of primer and paint
few cans of rocker guard
waterproof/outdoor glue
and a few other things i've probably forgotten but will add later.

In total this cost me just less than $150 ( the paint accounts for a fair bit of it ) not including the switches, stereo, wiring, etc.

Assortment of saws: band saw, scroll saw, jig saw, hack saw are all good to have
Drill bit set....everything from 3/16s to 1/2" (for both metal and wood)......drill press would've been nice
a few files
marking awl
center punch
anvil was nice to smooth the edge of the freshly cut sheet metal
tin snips

and again, i've probably forgotten something that i can add later

now, time for pictures

getting started

planning stuff out

cutting one of the sides

the two identical sides next to each other

The maxitrip

a quick mock up of the stereo and computer

Glueing.....the more clamps the better

Deciding what to do for the switch panel

I drilled 4 holes, one at each corner of where the switch panel housing had to be cut out.

Mock up of the switch panel (though there will be 8 switches when it is for the coffee maker, passenger ejection, oil slick....etc )



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holes drilled and hardware added to the switch panel housing

CB pics

here is a better mock up

hooray for sheet metal

using a 2x4 cut to the same diameter as the roll cage, i bent the mounting brackets for the front crossmember



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brackets bolted to the crossmember ( c channel aluminum )

now due to clearance for the bolts on the crossmember, i had to drill out the inner bracket and weld the nut right into the bracket and grind it down

ribbed supports

my cat helping me out making sure that the wires for my radio don't get tangled

wiring mess....i fired the cat...

clean stereo harness

some of the metal stuff primed...the large sheet at the bottom is for the top of the console

the console rocker guarded, more pics to follow soon!!!


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Pretty cool to see that all come together. And I liked your method of bending the steel bar stock. My own improvised attempts have been rather more haphazard! Thanks for taking the time to take all the pics & post them.


shouldve used mdf. cleaner looking and easy to work with. its what i used for my console and worked great. im not done yet though haha and i did the same thing as u exept for steel i used brushed alluminum


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Thanks for the replies guys.

Lol using the block of 2x4 was the only way i could think of to bend the metal somewhat smoothly.

As for the MDF, it is definitely easier to work with and ends up smoother, but it is also a fair bit heavier. not to say it couldnt be done, but i was considering weight a fair bit due to the thing hanging from my roll cage. (plus my the plywood only cost me 51 cents :victory: ). If i end up doing a center console, it will most likely be MDF


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Thanks again guys.

I just realized that i didnt really explain how the thing mounts to roll cage. It's clear to me since i'm the one building it, but the picures dont really explain it very well.

Ther Front:

The part i have been referring to as the front crossmember will be mounted to the roll cage as close to the windshield frame as possible, one end on the passenger side, and one end on the driver side. Then there is a bracket on the console itself that will bolt to the crossmember.

The back:

The back will be mounted to the overhead bar between the b-pillars. i havent made the mounting grackets for it yet, but they will be similar to the brackets used for the front crossmember. Although, for ease of install and removal, these ones will most likely be 3 pieces, not two.

Cheers! :friday:


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Well guys, it's finally finished! Here are the remaining pics of the build and the installed pics!

So the first part of this stage was to finish the brackets that mount the console to the roll cage. What started out as a simple piece that would bolt to the cage slowly got fancier haha. In the end i used a steel round clamp on each bracket. I did this by cutting off the long thin piece of the clamp right by the screw part that holds the other part. ( yes i know, that makes very little sense. the pics show it better). i then welded the screw part of the clamp to the bottom of the bracket, and the long thin part to the top of the bracket. this then wraps around the roll cage and tightens everything down.

bare brackets:

one of the welds on the brackets

This is the "screw part" of the clamp welded to the bracket. if you follow my design at this point, be very careful to not burn it too deeply, or else you can damage the threads of the "screw part"

here is the "long thin"/ band part of the clamp welded to the top of the bracket. i drilled three small holes in it before tacking it on to ensure better contact. the pic shown looks like a bit of a mess, but i ended up grinding it down and redoing it to give it a cleaner look. all this "weld" has to withstand is a few pounds of shear force, so it doesnt have to be extremely strong.

Now i'm sorry, i didnt get ( or managed to lose ) the pics of the full brackets, so you will have to go by the installed pics where you can see them.

Up next here is the wiring panel. To make the holes in the panel for the switches, i used a dremel with a cutting wheel and a small file. it took a long time, but turned out looking pretty good. i decided to utilize a design that uses bullet connectors so that i can quickly disconnect the wires from the switches/ change the function of each switch without taking the console down or apart.
here is the result

The switches:

Holes drilled in the side of the console for the wires to feed through:

Some progress:

The finished wiring....kinda looks like something out of star wars haha.

And finally, the console ready to be wired and installed:

The following post will have pics of the finished product installed.

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Director of Adventure Management Operations
Looks good man, the only think I would done different is covering it in fiberglass so its 100% smooth and waterproof. But.. hey... it looks killer.. and is a great DIY!!!


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Looks good man, the only think I would done different is covering it in fiberglass so its 100% smooth and waterproof. But.. hey... it looks killer.. and is a great DIY!!!

i had actually thought of doing it out of fiberglass (or just coating the current model with it ) , but due to my lack of experience with it, i decided to stick with my basic plan.