Instructables

Dash mount for GPS

I recently bought my wife a Garmin Nuvi 360 GPS for her Honda van. It came with this snazzy suction cup mount. However, the van has a curved dash board with a faux leather texture. This made it next to impossible to securely mount it in a convenient location. Here's how I solved the problem...
 
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Step 1: Here's the mount

Here's the snazzy bracket, but as you can clearly see it needed to be mounted on a flat surface. Some people mount this to their windshield. However, I'd heard that this is illegal in CA. We wouldn't want to break the law.

Step 2: Figure out where we want to mount it...

I picked the spot on the dash where I wanted to mount the GPS and covered the area in packing tape. This was to protect the dashboard.

Step 3: Building the mold...

Next, I built up a mold to the rough shape of the mount. I just used cardboard and lots of packing tape. Tape is cheap and I needed to make it water tight (otherwise it would have been a mess when I filled the mold with resin).

Step 4: Mixing up the resin...

Now I busted out my supply of Polyurethane Resin. I really like Smoothcast 325. You can buy it here. I mixed a little black pigment in there for good measure. Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions.

Step 5: Pour the resin...

I covered the surrounding area with towels and newspaper. It would be a major problem if I spilled resin on my wife's van. I kept a roll of paper towels around just in case. Next, I poured the resin into the mold.

Step 6: Remove the new mount...

I waited until the resin cured and yanked it off the dash. It didn't take too much force as the resin doesn't stick to the packing tape too well. At this point, I had an ugly blob of plastic.
judgeyoung4 years ago
Get a short glass tumbler with a smooth bottom at your local Goodwill Thrift store. Suck the base to it and place it in the middle cup holder. Works great, easily removeable, not permanent... and you can use it to haul water if we get to TEOTWAWKI!
doo da do6 years ago
Go to Cracker Barrel or other store and get one of those sticky pads. I wedge my gps between the wind shield and the sticky pads works very well. From doo da do
sticking anything to your dash will cause it to crack in time. the uneven temps created by the shadow (covered area) vs the exposed part of the dash will cause excessive stress on the dash's skin. in time cracks will appear. you know how hot a dash gets under the sun. otherwise, this instructable is a good idea.
gormly T2Pogi5 years ago
thers always one guy who comes in and spoils the party. :>
T2Pogi gormly4 years ago
Take it as an advice. there is really a good chance it'll cause a crack on the dash over time. not to spoil the party. like what i said, it is a good idea, but...
mwarren_us5 years ago
That's a great mount idea and I like how well it matches the van's contours.

For what it's worth, the mounting position shown in the pictures probably still doesn't meet California law (at least section 26708 of CA's Vehicle Code) because it's above the dash but not in one of the "safe zones".

SB 1567 updated that section to add: "A portable Global Positioning System (GPS), which may be mounted in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver, if the system is used only for door-to-door navigation while the motor vehicle is being operated and outside of an airbag deployment zone."

dns1065 years ago
what kinds of sanding paper did you use? (type of grit) I plan to do this with a hand block sander, you think it'll work just as well? or should I get something electronic for the sanding?
tjerome5 years ago
I was unable to find the Smoothcast 325 at the link you provided, but you can get it here: http://www.dickblick.com/zz335/24a/
Thanks for sharing the process, materials, and method. This is very applicable to many similar project and give me ideas aplenty.
bob.smitty5 years ago
i bought the identical thing for my wife... if you turn the suction cup arm 180 degrees, you can stick it in the window, which is what we do. our nuvi came with a round piece of plastic with self adhesive tape that claimed to be a "dashboard mount system"... i imagine it can be stuck on the dash and then the suction cup attached to the disc. given the ball mount on the unit, it doesn't really matter if you have it perfectly (or even aproximately, remotley) horizontal. still, i wish i had taken advantage of the opportunity to play with resin plastics and cast stuff!
Shawk6 years ago
I didn't want to have anything indicating that I have a GPS as they get stolen around here, so I made a mount by buying a coffee cup holder at Target for $7 that clips to your dash vent. I pried the mounting bracket off and screwed it to the swivel arm of the GPS. Now I can easily clip the GPS to the dash vent or hide it when not in use. Cheap fix.
hashim6 years ago
Very clever idea! I really have problem mounting on the windscreen. It blocks my vision and sometimes it falls off. This is going to solve my problem. Thanks a lot!
nice! but they make gps mounts for any smooth surface in a car.
picbuck6 years ago
WOW! Do it once, do it right, and be done. Very cool!
spicyballz7 years ago
Wouldn't it be easier just buying wond of those clip on vent mount for cellphone or gps on ebay. $ 5 t
I found a way easier way... inspired by the infamous Mohammed Atta. I take a handheld GPS gizmo and shove it between the dash and the windscreen after it's programmed to show the arrow and the compass wheel. When programmed, I set it to show the arrow and compass and drive to a major road out in the suburbs and turn as the arrow is at a 90 degree angle. While not perfect, I do find my destination by this crude method. While I find this method of using GPS useful, most people will prefer the map display devices. :)
Shad3d7 years ago
excellent solution and love the pics. but did you try mounting the suction cup thingy to the glass in a corner some where like it was supposed to be? just a thought. :)
briank7 years ago
Great idea. I have a NUVI too and hate the windshield mount. Job well done..
Ibanezfoo7 years ago
This is a cool idea! I was going to do something like this but then figured forget it... everyone around here has GPS and satellite radio things stuck to their windshields. The irony of the stupid CA law is that doing something like this forces you to look down and away from the road, instead of keeping your eyes on the road and only glancing a tad to the side.... good ol' CA lawmakers, always looking out for us....LOL But, good solution nonetheless
HamO7 years ago
Very well done! Great idea and execution. Love to mold making technique.
JakeTobak7 years ago
Awesome, I may do this some day with mine.
klinstifen7 years ago
That's done pretty well. If it was just a bit less shiny then it would look like it was from the manufacturer. In the last step it looks like the tape left a residue on your dash. Were you able to clean it off? Or is it a reflextion form the camera's flash on some dust?
Zach (author)  klinstifen7 years ago
Thanks for the reply. Yes, it was just dust.
Beautifully done and well executed!