Saturday, February 23, 2013

Work Continues on the Panel

My panel is starting to take shape. I began by cutting the instrument holes in the removable face panel. I borrowed a high quality 2.25" hole saw and a hole cutter for the 3.125" hole. I then installed the removable face panel to mark their locations on bulkhead F4. I then cut holes in F4 oversized to allow the instrument to be removed with the face panel. I can always cut more of the F4 bulkhead away, but I didn't deem it necessary at this time.  I'm using .032" aluminum for the removable face panel, and it will work fine, but I think if I have to make a new one, I would use at least .040" next time. It just feels sturdier.
Click on image to enlarge

Another handy little tool I borrowed was a steel jig to drill the holes for the instrument mounting screws. One side fits into a 2.25" hole and the other side fits into a 3.125" hole.  Pretty sweet little tool.  I'm sure Spruce sells them and I doubt they are very expensive, but well worth the money.  I'm glad my buddy asked me if I wanted to borrow it. I think my answer was "Hell yes!" I should have taken a photo of it to post it here, but I have given it back to him already. Sorry.

I bought an inexpensive fuel pressure gauge from an auto parts store and to my dismay, it didn't come with any way to mount it.  It was really intended to be installed in the fuel line with a "T" fitting.  So, as I often do, I went to Ace Hardware to see what I come come up with.  As luck would have it, even though this is a 1" diameter instrument, it's actual size is slightly larger than 1".  At the hardware store I found a 3" rubber washer with a 1" hole in it.  I had taken my gauge with me and found that you could push it into the washer hole and it would stay snugly in the washer!  I had found my mounting solution. In the photos below you will see that I used rivets to hold it in place on F4 and the removable face panel hides the flush rivet heads. Don't you just love experimental aircraft building? I bet you won't find this on a certified aircraft!  And yes,  I have had a couple of experienced builders look at my solution and they give it a thumbs up.

The only hole I didn't cut was for a transponder.  As slow as I'm building, they may be a thing of the past with ADS-B coming into the picture.

Next, it was time to wire up my headset jacks. I actually had to make a new panel as my first attempt at placing the recessed fixture where I wanted it interfered with my rudder cables. It was actually a blessing in disguise, as my original panel was incorrectly cut so that the factory aluminum type ink markings were facing in towards the cockpit and I thought I would have to paint them because I was having no luck removing the ink.

I the photo above, you can see I cut the new panel so that the ink markings faced away from the cockpit and that the recessed jack fixture does not interfere with the rudder cable.

In the picture below, you can see the battery and switch board I rigged up, complete with in line breaker, to test my wiring.
I found that my fuel pumps work.  You can also see below, that my LED lighted switches work as well. Four are in the "on" position and one is in the "off" position. Fun stuff.

I need to find an antenna before I test my radio. I'll paint the removable face panel before I install the rest of my instruments. Then I will test them. I won't be able to test everything or every functionality, but it's a start.

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