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      08-05-2010, 10:48 AM   #1
larryzhou
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dashboard compartment fitting req

Hi, I want to fit the dashboard compartment myself.

The BMW instructions said I need a vibratory saw to do the cutting. However, I have no idea what a vibratory saw is.

My question is can I use a electrical grinder instead of ?

honestly, bit scared cutting a hole on my new 1er....

thanks,,
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      08-05-2010, 08:21 PM   #2
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Im about to do something very similar. Im not sure if you can get these shipped to you but this is what you need: http://www.harborfreight.com/multifu...ool-67256.html
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      08-06-2010, 07:30 AM   #3
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I have this exact model. If you search some, you can find it for $35. I have never had much luck mail ordering (or internet ordering) from Harbor Freight. The way they ship it can take a couple months to get stuff to you and I am not that patient. Fortunately there is a HF store about 10 miles from my house. If I can get it at the store, and they definitely have these, I buy it. If I have to order it, I find another way.

I've used this tool to cut some wood and sand wood but nothing on the car yet. It went through some base and crown moulding very nicely. Based upon that experience, I think it would work well for cutting through some thin plastic. It is easy to control and pretty quiet. It is almost surprising how well it cuts. If you use the round shaped cutter, you would need to be careful at the ends of the cut not to go too far. Otherwise this should be easy (and if you went only slightly too far it looks like the lip would cover it).

You could use other tools to make the opening but you risk damaging wiring. I think the main advantage of this is much less risk of cutting through wires.

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      08-06-2010, 09:49 AM   #4
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You guys have balls of brass!

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      08-06-2010, 10:05 AM   #5
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You guys have balls of brass!

ianc
+1!!! I don't think I will ever have a courage to cut a dashboard.
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      08-06-2010, 10:24 AM   #6
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I would find the center compt. very handy also, but my idea was to buy the kit, then take it to the dealer and let them cut it for me, then I install it after. If they screw it up, then new dashboard!

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      08-06-2010, 11:18 AM   #7
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Could always go the expensive route and pay 400.00 for the dash precut for this :-/

BMW part: 51 45 9 158 350

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      08-06-2010, 11:49 AM   #8
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thanks for the info, guys,,

I find an electric grinder seems to be handy, what do you think?
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      08-06-2010, 12:58 PM   #9
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I worry an electric grinder might melt the plastic as it cuts. You probably better off with a dremel or a oscillating cutter.
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      08-06-2010, 01:24 PM   #10
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An electric grinder looks similar to the vibratory cutter but they work very differently. The grinder just spins a disk of either abrassive material or steel which has abrassive embedded in it. The disks I can find for a grinder are meant to cut metal or masonary. No disks meant to cut plastic. I'm sure they would cut it but they would make a relatively wide slot and would cut by a combination of rubbing the plastic away and melting it. You might distort the dash because of the heat and if there is a wire close behind the plastic you will go right through that too.

The vibratory cutter moves back and forth and has a cutter with little teeth in it like a saw. So it saws through material. If the material you are trying to cut moves with the blade, it does not get cut. If it is rigid it does. Wires should move and not get cut. Dash will stay put and get cut.

If you control your depth of cut with a grinder or something else you could avoid damaging wires or other structure under the opening. If you aren't careful you could make a big mess.

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      08-06-2010, 02:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimD View Post
Wires should move and not get cut.
Not arguing FOR using a grinder, but this isn't sound logic.

Most wires in modern (20-30 years at least) cars are run in thick bundles and have very little excess. As such they don't move much at all, so thinking they aren't going to get cut because "they will move" is just not going to end well.

In reality what you need to do is know what is behind the area you are cutting and adjust your plan accordingly. This will probably mean at least pulling the AC & radio units out so you can see in, but also might mean you need to pull the dash out.

As far as cutting device suggestions, at least the outer layer should be able to be cut with an exacto/box-cutter. I don't know if something stronger is under there though. Even still, unless it's metal a box-cutter will still go through. You'll have to put some muscle and time into it though. A hand tool will also throw far less crap around your car too.

-dave
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      08-06-2010, 06:51 PM   #12
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Dave,

You might want to try one of the vibratory cutters sometime. If you put the blade on your hand, it does not cut. For them, you don't need the piece to move perceptively, any tiny movement will stop the cutting. I agree you should not deliberately cut into wires with any of these devices but I am pretty sure you gain some margin with the vibratory cutter. That is probably why BMW recommends it.

You have a point about debris with cutting by knife but it is going to be pretty difficult. Might be worth a try. I have had more stiches using knives with a bunch of force behind it than with power tools, however. You would want to be careful.

Jim
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      08-06-2010, 07:24 PM   #13
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http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showt...highlight=dash
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      08-07-2010, 11:39 AM   #14
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I just bought a grinder today with a saw disk. I did a test cut on an unused harddisk enclosure....I found the cutting very smooth,
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      08-07-2010, 09:17 PM   #15
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The post referenced above has some fairly decent shots of the hole in the dash after cutting, and it doesn't really seem that there is much in there except empty space, as I guess would make sense if you putting the dash cubby in there. They are $77 at unitedbmwonline.com. Hmmm... Still scared about cutting though, but I think I'm about to pull the trigger...

If someone does this, could you document the cutting process that you use really well with lots of good photos so we can see exactly what you're doing? I suppose I could do as I suggested and take it to the dealer, but I'd feel a bit silly (and wimpy) asking them "Can you cut a big hole in my dash because I'm afraid to"?

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      08-16-2010, 09:35 AM   #16
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the Vibratory Saw just arrived. The one I got has a speed dial to set speed. 2large cutting saw, and 1 small cutting saw.

I did a test run cutting my old HD enclosure. It cuts through the plastic super fast. However, the smell of the plastic is everywhere, and cutting edge is not smooth.
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      08-16-2010, 09:36 AM   #17
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the saw and the enclosure
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      08-16-2010, 09:37 AM   #18
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the blade and the cutting line...

the cutting line is fairly straight, but bit wide. not as thin as the grinder did.

will it be ok to use the saw do the dashboard cutting?

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      08-16-2010, 09:58 AM   #19
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Thanks for posting the pics! You definitely have brass ones...

If I had the bag to do this, I would start a little conservative by trying to cut inside the line you make from the template. You can always remove extra material if it's a tight fit, but if you cut too large the first time...

I'm just worried about what's under there when you cut. Could I repeat my request that when you do the cutting, you take some good hi res pics of the hole right after you finish cutting so we can see exactly what it's like in there, and if there's anything in particular to worry about hitting?

You also might try PM'ing the fellow who posted the original thread referenced above to see if he has any extra advice for you.

Mine should be here in a couple days...

ianc
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      08-16-2010, 10:06 AM   #20
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Hi, I 've read the original post several times. From what I have learned, there is no wire under the cutting area..

I will cutting inside the line tomorrow.......no margin for error when cutting the dashboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianc View Post
Thanks for posting the pics! You definitely have brass ones...

If I had the bag to do this, I would start a little conservative by trying to cut inside the line you make from the template. You can always remove extra material if it's a tight fit, but if you cut too large the first time...

I'm just worried about what's under there when you cut. Could I repeat my request that when you do the cutting, you take some good hi res pics of the hole right after you finish cutting so we can see exactly what it's like in there, and if there's anything in particular to worry about hitting?

You also might try PM'ing the fellow who posted the original thread referenced above to see if he has any extra advice for you.

Mine should be here in a couple days...

ianc
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      08-25-2010, 02:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryzhou View Post
Hi, I 've read the original post several times. From what I have learned, there is no wire under the cutting area..

I will cutting inside the line tomorrow.......no margin for error when cutting the dashboard.
So, what happened. I hope you didn't accidently cut your fingers off and now you can't use the keyboard to update us all....
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      08-25-2010, 02:38 PM   #22
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http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showt...16#post7876116

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