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Beejs Blog - Instrument Panels

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Creator of this place
Staff member
Jan 1, 2006
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Austin, TX

<TD vAlign=top>Getting closer...

The curvature across the top of therear instrument panel was done with an MDF template and a router. I also added another 2 1/4" hole at the far right.

For the passenger cockpit, I decided to add an ASI and an Alti in the center. The original panel wasblank, with the two instruments over to the left at an angle in order to clear the gas tank behind it seems...now I have the task of finding a narrow Alti becauseI have already cut the hole for it :-(

There is a 3" space behind the panel. Apparantly the Piper cub alti would fit...if anyone knows of a used one, or similar... let me know!

I decided to try my first hand at fabricating alumimium, so I built a glove box for the left side of the panel. The base of the box was bent over an MDF former, I had bevelled the sides of the former to allow for spring back, but realized I needed to bevel itthree times as much. It finallyturned out pretty good for a first attempt. The 'sides' of the boxmade was made from aone piece sheet, and bent over at four stages. This too worked on the first attempt. Amazing. the base was riveted on with dome rivets (mentored by local RV guys), and angle aluminium was then riveted to the panel and the box attached. I now need to set the piano hinge and make the door.

When measuring up for the glove box, I needed the exact clearance behind the gas tank...so..I fitted the gas tank! This was a TIGHT fit,and took me (and two other guys) an hour of head scratching to get it in,but once in place, it sits great. This isa 30 gallon tank, not the usual 29. So, as one project tends to blend into another...I am nowcurrently stripping the retaining straps and repainting, and will also replace the anti chafing material.Then fit some sort of fuel sender, thenleak-test the tank before painting.

Returningto the rear panel, I need to drill several holes for switches/warning lights etc,while I can procure thehole sizes to drill, I prefer to wait until I have the hardware in hand...

Some may think I am a bit loopy for doing this,but I am reversing the face color on the gauges...white face, black lettering, red pointers. The faces have been removed by an instrument shop, and I havestripped, etch primed and sprayedthe first one whiteas a taster to see how I get on.I created the new layouts in Photoshop, by scanning the old faces and adding a new layer on top, so the new faces will be accuratedown to a pixel.The method of printing will be with a Decal Pro kit. After some research, I found some RV guys have had great results with this kit.

Decal Pro

Glove box base...

Not much room behind the passenger panel...

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