Thursday, December 10, 2015

Instrument Panel Modifications Continue

Yesterday, my center and right instrument panel sections were successfully punched with four 2 1/4" holes for mounting the backup instruments. A special thanks to Dean and Paul at Castle Aviation for taking the time to help me out and offering me a freebie. Couldn’t settle for that, so made a donation to the pizza fund. The holes look great and appear to be where I wanted them.

The original plan was to work on other things … but the panels kept calling me, so decided to work on the cuts in the center instrument panel section for the AP & Knobs panels. Work began by removing the bottom of the center instrument panel where the mounting holes for the throttle and choke cables are ... they are no longer needed because of the new separate throttle & choke cable mounting panel made a few of days ago. The lower portion of the center panel was cutoff on the band saw and filed to a straight line … (that can be seen in the first photo below). Frequent readers of the DOG Aviation Blog may remember there was a template supplied by Van's with the AP& Knobs panel kit that had holes and slots in it ... the template was used to match drill the center instrument panel to create corner holes and lines for the cutouts needed to install the Dynon AP & Knobs panels. These holes become the corner radiuses for the cutouts. I pondered how best to make the cuts and decided upon using a Dremel outfitted with a cutting wheel to make the rough cuts, then hand file to complete the cutouts.
Using the Dremel outfitted with a cutting wheel to make the cutouts for the AP & Knobs panels. One rough cutout is completed and working on the second. Hindsight being 20/20, probably should have worn a mask because aluminum dust was everywhere.

Using the Dremel actually worked out quite well ... although a bit scary, I took it slow made a few light passes getting progressively deeper until I had a slot that paralleled the lines and went from corner hole to corner hole … fortunately with no snags. Because of staying behind the cut lines, by the time the basic cutout was to shape, there was still plenty of hand filing required.
Finish filing the cutouts - using one of the various hand files to extend the rough cut opening to the lines.

Notes about the template: They are about the exact size of the Dynon panels … there is no slop. I spent a lot of time trying to “creep up” on the fit … only to find out that the radiuses of the corner holes are “the line” and even then the fit is very tight. Fellow builders installing these panels will want to open the cutout to the “line” between the corner holes from the get go. It will still require a little more hand filing so the AP & Knobs panels don’t have to be forced into the cutout. Basically, what I’m having a hard time trying to say is there is no sneaking up on the lines … one needs to make the opening to the line and start tweaking from there.
Photo op: The AP panel in its cutout and the backup airspeed indicator is in place. Also the three holes punched in the right instrument panel can also be seen.

Only had time to finish file the cutout for the AP panel (and it should receive a little more filing to improve the fit) … so will need to complete finish filing the Knobs panel slot next. But as can be seen in the photo above, I couldn’t wait to place the AP panel in its cutout and along with the backup airspeed indicator. Also, the three holes punched in the right instrument panel section for the remaining backup instruments can be seen as well.

Of course, there are still 16 mounting holes that need to be precision drilled for mounting the backup instruments. Still pondering how best to accomplish that task … a problem for another day.