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Blue or green film for backlighting gauges... what’s it called?

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Hello everyone,


I’m still working on the gauges for my old bus, and I’m wondering about the plastic-like colored film that lets light in from the sides of some Stewart-Warner gauges.  Does anyone know a name for this material, or where to get it?  Or any suggestions for replacing it?




My bus came with a mix of non-original gauges, probably from an Army rebuild.  I bought more accurate 1950s gauges off eBay, but they all had different colors of this plastic film, and different overall condition.  So I’ve removed all the colored film, and want to start from scratch with something that matches on all the gauges.  I do want to drive this bus at night, so good backlight for the gauges is a must.




If possible, I’d prefer to imitate the function of this material, but avoid opening up the gauges to replace it directly.  I considered sandwiching blue seran wrap behind an acetate-like plastic sheet, but I’m wondering if that might melt from the nearby 12V light bulbs.  I’d welcome any suggestions!

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When I had to make red plastic inserts for repro tail light lenses, I found the correct ruby red colored thin plastic sheets at a Plexiglas supply house near Albany NY. They carried plastic sheets in many colors and thicknesses. I don't remember the company name.   I didn't need a lot so they sold me some cut-off pieces they had laying around.


You can try a web search for a commercial sheet plastic suppliers.



Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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50 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Matt, you can use bulb covers for an even more intense color (aka I have done several times with the exact approach you presented), but the plastic covers on the gauges also serve to cut down dust/dirt/bugs in the gauges 

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You can probably get LEDs that emit the color light that you want so you don't need to find colored lenses. Maybe something like this:




They have MANY different sizes and shapes. I'm a big fan of LEDs and this might solve the problem altogether. Then you can just use something clear to seal the gauges so they don't fill with dust and bugs, as John points out.


If your bus is 12V, it gets even easier as the selection for 12V is MASSIVE.




Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Thanks everyone, those are a lot of good suggestions.  I think I’ll try the theater lighting “gel” idea (it’s actually a thin sheet of colored film, not sure why it’s called gel).  I remember working with that stuff in high school.


Thanks again for the ideas, and have a great day!

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