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Author Topic:   Console cutting method
MantyMonty posted 10-16-2003 07:43 AM ET (US)   Profile for MantyMonty   Send Email to MantyMonty  
I am continuing on mounting accessories in and on my 04' 170 console, and the time has come to order a VHF and possibly a FM/CD radio and speakers. Can you folks tell me what is a good way of cutting through the console material to provide for the opening for this equipment. I had thought about a Roto Zip type of tool. Please help out with guidance for me, this is a big step as far as hole drilling and hole cutting.
tabasco posted 10-16-2003 08:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for tabasco  Send Email to tabasco     
Get a Dremel.......practice before using on the boat
tully_mars posted 10-16-2003 09:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for tully_mars  Send Email to tully_mars     
I used a Rotozip on the console for my Montauk restoration, it does very well. You have to be patient though because the glass/wood combination is very tough and the rotozip may take some time. It also dulls the cutters pretty rapidly, but they are not very expensive if you get them in 4 packs.

The end result is a nice slow controlled cut without a lot of "splintering glass".


MantyMonty posted 10-16-2003 09:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for MantyMonty  Send Email to MantyMonty     
I do have a Dremel, if I go that route, what type of bit is the best? Or do you use a wheel type like a grinding wheel? After the opening is cut, is it recommended to bevel the edges of the opening, or does that just apply to screw hole usage?
kingfish posted 10-16-2003 09:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
A dremel will take you *forever* cutting an opening in that type of material, of that size, no matter which bit you use. If you do go that route, use a wood/plastic cutting bit. I second tully_mars with the roto-zip. It would be worth the price of purchasing one; they turn out to be useful for all sorts of modifications and fabrications around boats.


jstachowiak posted 10-16-2003 09:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for jstachowiak  Send Email to jstachowiak     
Use a template of the cutout and use the Dremel tool to score the gel coat for the hole using the template. This will reduce the splitting and chipping that will happen when sawing thru the material.

I do not know what kind of VHF you are installing, my Standard Horizon came with the standard top/under mounting bracket and the flush mount was $29. So I cut the mounting bracket in half and drilled new holes in each piece and used the thumb screws to attached the halves to the side of the radio with the top part of the bracket pushing against the back of the console, squeezing it against the console.

That should be as clear as mud. I could take some pics for you if your interested.

kingfish posted 10-16-2003 09:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Oops - senior moment - (seems like the space between them is getting smaller...).

When I responded about the size of the opening, I was thinking of the fire extinguisher opening in a Montauk console from another thread. I'd still use a rotozip though if it were up to me, but you probably could do it with a dremel for those types of openings, and finish at least a little bit before h#ll freezes over...


Swellmonster posted 10-16-2003 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
Yepper! I used the rotozip when cutting holes in the console to mount courtesy lights and guages in the plexiglass. I use the gaskets for tracing, then drill a few holes on variuos corners.
Works like a champ!

Next Article!

Rotozip on Pumpkins for Halloween! ;)

MantyMonty posted 10-16-2003 10:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for MantyMonty  Send Email to MantyMonty     
I do have a Makita roto tool with a vacuum pickup on it. That sounds like it is the ticket. I would think a carbide bit is the way to go. Thanks for the input.
ghefty posted 10-16-2003 12:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for ghefty  Send Email to ghefty     
I tried using my dremmel with the rotozip-type base and blade, but opted for using my sabre saw (jig-saw) instead. The dremmel was going too slow, maybe the genuine rotozip would have been faster. But the sabre saw worked perfectly. If you go that route, make sure that your sabre saw is variable speed (go slow) and cover the area with masking tape as the base of the saw will scratch up the gelcoat.
Jim D posted 10-16-2003 01:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jim D  Send Email to Jim D     
I agree with ghefty. Use a sabre saw. I tried the rotozip but the fiberglass/wood combination is tough. My wood bits broke and my fiberglass bit tore into the wood part like a runaway buzz saw. Also both types were hard to control to get a nice straight cut. The sabre saw gave the best results. Just be careful of the wires behind.
triblet posted 10-16-2003 02:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Rather than taping the console, It may be easier to tape
the bottom of the sabre saw. If you are parnoid, do both.


ghefty posted 10-16-2003 03:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for ghefty  Send Email to ghefty     
Triblet, I actually did tape both the saw and the console. But hesitated to reveal just how obsessive I am. :)
ghefty posted 10-16-2003 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for ghefty  Send Email to ghefty     
I also added a 3-switch panel so I can control the power to the VHF, livewell and cockpit lights. I'm still looking for suitable LED cockpit lights for night fishing.
Jerry Townsend posted 10-16-2003 03:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
MantyMonty - I just use a sabre saw from a pilot hole (bit diameter just a bit larger than the width of the saw blade) and it works great. Generously tape the gelcoat - lets you easily draw the cutout pattern on it from the template and also prevents the gelcoat surface from chipping. Be aware that the thickness of the console changes and may be just be just fiberglas or may have whalerboard or plywood encapsulated in fiberglas. ---- Jerry/Idaho
MantyMonty posted 10-16-2003 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for MantyMonty  Send Email to MantyMonty     
Does that create a problem mounting if the backside of the mounting surface is irregular?
Jerry Townsend posted 10-16-2003 08:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
The irregular back-side surface does not normally cause a problem because the retaining screws are normally inserted from the front. In the event that the retaining screws are inserted from the back-side, then you might have to make a modification. ------ Jerry/Idaho
MantyMonty posted 10-16-2003 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for MantyMonty  Send Email to MantyMonty     
That sounds good. I went out to the garage and looked at the inside of the console, and it doesn't look to uneven under the throttle/gearshift mechanism housing. It's time to order up and get out the masking tape and sabre saw. Thanks for the input and info once again.
Swellmonster posted 10-17-2003 08:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
LED Lighting!
tully_mars posted 10-17-2003 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for tully_mars  Send Email to tully_mars     
LED lighting is cool. I also installed LED courtesy lights on the lower sides of my Montauk console for night time boarding and dis-embarking. I thought it was a nice touch for a 17 footer.


ghefty posted 10-20-2003 10:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for ghefty  Send Email to ghefty     
Tully, which LED's did you use? I'm looking for bright LED's in a white base. The bright LED's I've found are made by Sea Sense but they have a black base. West Marine has some flush mounted LED's with a white base, but they don't look bright enough.

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