Finally. FINALLY!!!! I’m done with this tiny part!!!
14 test versions. That’s what it took. The one on Sharka is version 15. It was not an easy process. I have something like 100 hours into it. A whole black ink cartridge just for HVAC panels. My die cutter has been screaming for mercy.
The one in the preview post used a matte finish top coat. That looked… okay. Not great. Not bad, but not perfect. The matte finish dulled down the red and turned the black into a dark grey. It wasn’t quite something I’d pay for. Not something I’d be proud to sell either. And certainly not something I’d put in Sharka.
I scrutinized the stock panel and realized what I was missing. A semi-gloss finish. The stock HVAC face has it. It’s ever so slightly shiny at certain angles and it matches the surrounding plastic. So I ordered more cold laminate and waited.
And the semi-gloss finish was perfect.
I love how this looks. The all-black panel looks incredible in my not-so-humble opinion. Very vintage Japanese. Just like I wanted it to look.
However, Sharka has the AWD metal overlay, which I had to reinstall. And the little chrome slider blobs couldn’t just sit in a box. They allow me to see where the sliders are pointing at night. Sooo…
To me, this is a huge change. Dumping the little pictograms on the AWD part in favor of something a little more retro looking has been on my to-do list for a while. Seriously. I care about tiny details like that.
And to be completely honest, I can imagine removing the metal overlay after a while. That all-black panel just looks so right. I think if I had a chrome fan knob to balance out the sliders, it would be perfect.
Oh yeah. What’s it look like at night?
3 of those 14 prototype versions went into getting the lighting the right shade and as even as possible. Lighting with my AWD panel has always been quite spotty. The left side was super-bright. The right side was pretty bright. The center was dim. And now, that’s all a thing of the past.
Oh yeah. Almost forgot. They’re for sale too!
They’re actually a huge pain to make. The difficulty in producing them is why I don’t really offer custom HVAC panels like I do gauges. I can do a set of 5 gauges in less time than it takes me to make the 2 small HVAC pieces. But it doesn’t feel right to charge MORE than a gauge set for this small part, so… I’m keeping the price of the HVAC just under my gauge price.
But really, I don’t care if I sell zero of these. I just wanted one for me. For Sharka. And it was worth all the work.