20th February 2011

Make from

Hours: 7.3 | Posted in Cabin & Interior

With the CNC cut panel in hand, I set to work getting it ready for installation.  This meant that all the switches and stuff I put in for fun had to come out, but I knew that was coming.  First, I drilled the holes for the RH panel rib using the stock panel as a template.  I discovered that the panel was rubbing the canopy deck on the right side (I’m guessing that the canopy decks and/or longeron heights are not 100% symmetrical), so I trimmed a bit of material off the edge to make both sides match and fit nicely.

The big piece to fabricate (it’s been awhile since I had a “make from” instruction) is the reinforcing angle which runs along the top of the panel and stiffens it.  This is just a piece of 3/4″ leg angle, but it it tedious to make because it needs a bunch of slots made in it to allow it to bend around the curve of the panel top.  While I was on that sort of a track, I also finished up the canopy seal holders which needed the same treatment.  I ended up drilling the radius holes with a #30 bit (R-1/16) on the drill press, then marking lines for the 15* slots and cutting with a hacksaw, as the angle is too long for the bandsaw.  Clamping to the bench and filing both sides, then the radius, finished it off; after that it was a relatively easy task to drill to the panel.  That particular job ended there, as I can’t seem to locate my #40 countersink cutter.  There’s also two small angles that run vertically at the outboard edges of the panel, so those were made and drilled too.

With the panel clecoed in place, I set to work on the vent brackets.  I’m going off-plans here, since I am installing the SteinAir vents, which don’t mount with screws like Van’s vents do.  I decided to cut a couple pieces from the stock panel blank, keeping the bottom flange, and nest the radii together with the vent bracket behind the panel.  A piece of angle attaches the bracket to the side skin at the four pre-drilled holes.  Easy enough in concept, but fitting it all up and drilling everything took some time.  I also added an additional screw hole to the lower part of the panel that will affix it to the vent bracket; this should provide some extra solidity to the switch row.

Pulled the panel out and deburred the work that was done, then drilled the canopy seal holder angle to the subpanel.  I’ll need to do a priming/painting job sometime soon here so things can be assembled.

One more project…installation of the throttle quadrant.  I’ve mapped this out in my head, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, and it was fun to see it in the plane.  I cut a couple pieces of angle to run from the panel to the subpanel, providing a place to attach the TQ–here I’m using hardware store angle as was suggested by someone on the forums, since it doesn’t have a radius on the inside of the vertex, which allows the TQ to seat firmly inside.  Another piece cut from the stock panel blank provides extra length at the subpanel to compensate for the added length of the panel.  Securing the angle pieces to that bracket with bolts will give a handy place to use adel clamps for the purge & cabin heat cables that will go to the outsides of the quadrant.  The front of the angles are secured directly to the bottom flange of the panel.  I was going to mount the quadrant on center, but sitting in the plane fooling with various positions, I ended up cheating it just a bit to the right, so the flap switch would be easy/comfortable to reach with my hand on the throttle lever.  It’s only 1/2″ or so off center, so not very noticeable and not encroaching too much on passenger leg room.

Looks like I might be forced to clean the shop tomorrow so I can find that countersink bit…

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