Fiberglass Door Panels

Part 2 of our custom door panel articles

"Door panel prep"

If you are following our procedure for making fiberglass door panels for your interior, you have purchased your supplies, found a workspace, removed and disassembled your door panels, and thoroughly cleaned them.

The next steps are a little more hands on and involve some serious sanding, so please be sure to wear your dust mask, eye protection and gloves.

You now need to create any wooden supports or frames to hold the addition components, if any, that you are adding.
  • On my panels, I decided to delete the "door pull pocket," and did so by constructing a flat section where the door pull pocket was with 1/2" MDF board and screwed it into the door panel plastic. (see pics below)
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    After cutting the basic shape in wood, I sanded the MDF to the shape/contour that I wanted for my fiberglass door panels.
    custom door panels arm rest sand the door panel with 60 grit sand paper
  • Building mounts for speakers that you want to install in your door is very easy and thats what I did, so, below are pictures on how to make "pods for your door speakers in your fiberglass door panels.
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    Use the mounting template to mark your cut line on the MDF board. Mark the inside and outside of the circle.  Drill a pilot hole in the center circle and cut the inner circle out with a jig saw or router first.  Cut the center circle first because if you cut the outside circle first it will be much harder to hold on to when cutting the inner circle.  
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    Determine where you want the speakers to be located on the door, making sure that the door will still close if you put them in a weird location, or have them extending from the panel real far.  If you want to angle the speakers towards you for better acoustics, use wooden dowel rods cut at different lengths to properly angle the pods.  After you have the dowel rod cut to the correct length, glue them to the speaker ring and then glue the assembly to the door panel in the appropriate location.  
  • I ended  up not using dowel rods and mounted the speaker ring directly to the door panel with wood glue, or epoxy,  after I cut away the door panel pocket with a Dremel tool and cut-off wheel.  I then made a template with poster board and replaced the cut out section with with a flat sheet of MDF board.  I glued the board in place with epoxy (see below)
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    build custom door panels impala ss capriceAfter the glue dried, I mounted the speaker rings and rounded the edges of all of the door panel wood for a better contour before continuing to the next step.  I also removed the upper plastic section of the panel since this does not need any resin on it.  After removing the upper section I sat it aside for later modifying.

Either by hand or with your electric/pneumatic sander, sand the entire surface of the door panel with 60 grit sand paper.  Since you are just trying to roughen up the surface I would suggest doing this by hand and more-or-less scuff the entire area.
  • The purpose of this step is to create a "tooth" for any glue and resin that is being applied to the surface to have something to hold on to. Neither resin or glue will stick very well to a slick plastic surface, so roughen it up a good bit!
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