Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Panel project

  1. #1
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like

    Panel project

    Some one made the comment recently that there were very few projects pictured/described, lately, so I thought I would contribute an instrument panel that I recently worked on, to show the planning and installations that go into it. I deliberately waited until I was finished before trying to post it here so that it could be posted as one installment instead of over a period of weeks.

    Poorly framed and lighted photos are solely the responsibility of the photographer. But remember that he's a wire guy and never claimed to be anything other than a rank amateur picture taker.

    The panel is for a four place PA-18. I received the panel with mounting holes drilled and mixture and throttle cable holes drilled. Otherwise it was blank.

    I questioned the owner as to what, exactly he wanted in his panel and how he would like it laid out. Luckily he is a VERY high time pilot, knows how he likes a panel equipped, and I've worked with him in the past. In other words we can communicate, lol. It shouldn't have to be said but that fact is so important!

    These first pics show how the position of each item was marked with a fine point Sharpie. The general shape of the item is important here as the face of instruments, etc. are almost always smaller than the rest of it, behind the panel. Just look at a key switch. The body is much larger than the bezel that we look at when turning the key.

    Web
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Likes mike mcs repair, flylowslow liked this post

  2. #2
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    chugiak AK
    Posts
    8,966
    Post Thanks / Like
    and then you still run into the tubes no matter how hard you thought you avoided them.

    somewhere on here I uploaded some files you can print and cutout that i drew up for panel stuff.... move around then tape down

  3. #3
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    Aint that the truth! The four place is actually easier to avoid the tubes than a regular SuperCub. Probably just more room to move stuff around.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Likes mike mcs repair liked this post

  4. #4
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    These pics show he cutting and drilling for the instruments, avionics, switches, and breakers. In the second and third pic, notice the series of closely spaced holes with a Sharpie circle around them. Originally, the intercom (PS Engineering, PM 1000II) was to be installed here and a Becker, AR4201 com radio was to go into the instrument hole directly above that. And THEN the customer stopped in and realized that he wanted a VSI. So the VSI was installed in place of the com and the com & intercom were moved to the right of the '796. I was trying to figure out how to plug or cover up the intercom holes and finally covered them with a 'No Smoking' placard. Hey, it's required anyways.

    The third and fourth pics show the mounting rails I used to install an AirGizmo braket for a Garmin '796, GPS. As the rails seemed to flimsy standing alone, I extended the lower tabs to use the circuit breakers to stabilize them. The third pic also shows how I did the same thing with the VSI location.

    The fifth pic is a panel stiffener that I installed under an Electronics International voltmeter, oil pressure/temperature gauge, and tachometer. The turned edges stiffened up the center of that panel quit nicely.

    Web


    IMG_0078.jpgIMG_0079.jpgIMG_0080.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  5. #5
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    Here are some pics showing most of the individual items installed but prior to wiring and plumbing.

    You can laugh at the Rubbermaid garbage can but results work! Throw some cardboard over the top (if needed) and it forms an almost perfect assembly platform for the panel. Face up or face down, you can always find a spot to lay the panel flat while working. Instruments and other items just hang down into the garbage can without interference. And if you drop anything, you know exactly where it will be.

    Web
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Thanks buckeye thanked for this post

  6. #6
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    Now for the wiring pics. If you're squeamish, never watch your airplane being rebuilt. You won't like it.

    A very important tip at this stage is to make sure to do all of your airframe wiring FIRST. You may change out a radio/GPS/intercom at some point but the wires to the lights, instruments, etc, will remain until the aircraft is rebuilt again. And those fancy instruments are NOT avionics. Your instruments are airframe items and belong on the main bus, not the avionics bus. Besides, on startup you are going to want your instruments on line not booting up.

    I should have taken more detailed pics at this stage but I was getting all wrapped up in stringing wires. The first pic is a general view of the back of the panel. The new location for the com and intercom is just to the left of the vertical row of E.I. gauges.

    The second pic is for all of you who've heard me try to explain how I wire P-leads. The P-leads are the large coil of wire in the upper right corner of the pic. Each center conductor of the P-lead is to the correct tab on the switch (left or right mag). The two blue items right above the switch are solder sleeves that attach a black jumper wire to the shield around the P-lead. Both of these are connected to the ground tab on the switch. On the other end of the P-leads, the center conductor will attach to the P-lead connector and the shield will attach to the mag body. The yellow sleeves are the tach leads for the E.I. tachometer and the other two wires with the black string tie around them (yes I still use the string) are the power and solenoid wires for the starter solenoid.

    The third pic needs some explanation, so bear with me. The item label 'Alt Relay' is the control relay for a B&C, SD-8 charging system. I never use the provided relay as I've had issues with them in the past. There is a spike diode crimped into the control wires and the over voltage module (the black item with the black and orange wires coming out of it) is crimped to the same wires. Makes a very compact install. There is an LED, with a black and red wire, installed as an 'alternator inop' warning lamp. On the left side of the pic, partially cut of is another relay marked 'Avionics Relay'. Power from the main bus goes through the normally closed contacts of this relay to the avionics bus. The control coil is wired to the key switch so that when the starter solenoid is powered up, this relay opens up and cuts off power to the avionics bus. Keeps the spikes out of your radios. And finally, I hate using one breaker for more than one task, for a host of reasons. So, I use an inline, 5 amp fuse to power the starter solenoid circuit. See the lower, center of this pic.

    The fourth and fifth pics show the avionics wiring nearly complete. That white, angled plate with the jacks installed on it, is the emergency jacks. This gets attached up under the panel on final installation. These jacks allow you to use the radio while bypassing the intercom. Also extremely useful for troubleshooting your audio system.

    Web
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  7. #7
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    Final assembly pics. The panel was powder coated black and the labeling was laser etched. Really recommend the laser etch!

    The third pic was added to show another 'oops' on my part. I completely forgot to plan for an ELT switch. Lucky for me, there was room there between the E.I. gauges and the intercom box. That was cut/fit at the very last minute.

    PAI recommends their compasses be shock mounted. None of their mounting kits seemed right for this installation, so I mounted it with four screws pushed through rubber grommets. Holds it firmly, with just a bit of wiggle.

    Web
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Likes DJ, Chicken Hawk liked this post

  8. #8
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    Testing phase. Proof that God exists is when everything works when I power it up.

    That aluminum box in the bottom of the first pic is just a test box I use. It allows me to hook up all the audio, mic, and push to talk lines and work them just as they would be in the aircraft. Also, you can see the Ipod plugged into the music jack at the lower center of the panel.

    The tape next to the E.I. gauges is from me cutting out the hole for the ELT switch.

    Web
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Likes DJ, cubpilot2 liked this post

  9. #9
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    And finally . . . .

    It was fairly bright so these pics are kind of washed out (I did warn you about my photography skills). This is the final layout. At this point the aircraft had been flight tested and everything seemed to check out good, all around.

    The sharp eyed ones here will notice that the manual primer is gone. That was last minute and at the customer's request. Also note the push-to-talk button on the stick ball. I fabricated a mandrel and turned the ball on a lathe to fit the switch. Now in just a few minutes I can mount this switch where it takes me a couple of hours to free hand it.

    Web
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Likes DJ liked this post

  10. #10
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    I'll entertain questions and comments about this subject.

    Just understand that I'm posting this for info. Maybe you can learn something from my project, maybe I'll learn something from your input. But I'm not fishing for compliments or atta' boys.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Thanks cubpilot2, Steve Pierce thanked for this post

  11. #11
    Speedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    AK
    Posts
    1,666
    Post Thanks / Like
    Until you posted this I didn’t appreciate the complexity of designing, fabricating, testing, and installing a panel. Thousands of decisions to make and details to work out. When you tackle a project like this do you make a written project plan to keep track of all the tasks and their sequence?
    Speedo

  12. #12
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Arlington, WA
    Posts
    428
    Post Thanks / Like
    Looks good and yeah it’s a lot of work. The question I have is how do you do the square cutouts for the ELT switch in thick aluminum? I did one last year in a Baron subpanel. It was too thick for my nibbler and I butchered it a little bit.

  13. #13
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    chugiak AK
    Posts
    8,966
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Longley View Post
    Looks good and yeah it’s a lot of work. The question I have is how do you do the square cutouts for the ELT switch in thick aluminum? I did one last year in a Baron subpanel. It was too thick for my nibbler and I butchered it a little bit.

    drill corners and Dremel cut off wheel.... or i do them on my mill

  14. #14
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Arlington, WA
    Posts
    428
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    drill corners and Dremel cut off wheel.... or i do them on my mill
    I’ll try the drill and Dremel idea next time. I couldn’t get the sub panel out easily. It was part of that angled radio rack Beechcraft has.

  15. #15
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Graham, TX
    Posts
    17,227
    Post Thanks / Like
    Nice work Web, thanks for the detailed post. Is that a formed angle around and 90 degrees to the panel and riveted to it?
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  16. #16
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    Until you posted this I didn’t appreciate the complexity of designing, fabricating, testing, and installing a panel. Thousands of decisions to make and details to work out. When you tackle a project like this do you make a written project plan to keep track of all the tasks and their sequence?
    It sounds kinda sketchy, but after talking to the customer for his ideas about the completed panel, I just use a rough drawing (either the Sharpie on the real panel or a paper drawing) and then make up a parts list. There just is so little variation in the individual circuits that I can keep track of systems with notes and quick drawings. Occasionally something gets by, like that ELT switch or there is a last minute change, so the 'planning stage' doesn't really end. It just diminishes as the project moves along.

    But, in my opinion, the most important part of the 'plan' is that drawing. It helps you keep in mind what the final layout will be and how you need to rout your wiring and plumbing.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  17. #17
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Longley View Post
    Looks good and yeah it’s a lot of work. The question I have is how do you do the square cutouts for the ELT switch in thick aluminum? I did one last year in a Baron subpanel. It was too thick for my nibbler and I butchered it a little bit.
    Like Mike says, the mill is the ultimate for most any panel cutout. But I don't have one. Yet...

    I just drill and nibble for most but if you have a panel that's just to thick, drill at least two corners, diagonal from each other. Then saw along the sides of the 'box' with a hacksaw blade to the other hole. I use a holder that has no backbone and allows the blade to stick out of the handle with no support. I break a lot of blades but they're cheap and it gets the job done. Protect your carpet and use the vacuum to get out the shavings afterwards. Finish the dimensions with files.

    I think a body saw would work great here but I'm not sure if instruments would like the high frequency vibrations it produces. I'd hate to find out the hard way.

    Web
    Last edited by wireweinie; 06-11-2018 at 10:58 AM.
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Thanks Charlie Longley thanked for this post
    Likes mike mcs repair liked this post

  18. #18
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Nice work Web, thanks for the detailed post. Is that a formed angle around and 90 degrees to the panel and riveted to it?
    Thank you.

    And yes the angle is formed and riveted. It also has a rolled lower edge instead of the usual 90* angle, as the four place fuselage used a cross tube at the bottom of the panel. The mechanic that ran this project provided it to me blank, except for a couple of mounting holes.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    STL
    Posts
    218
    Post Thanks / Like
    Web, Atta-boy or not, your a credit to your profession. In regards to cutting out for a air-gizmo panel dock (I'm doing a 696), any tips? Your corners sure looked nice. was this water-jet cut?
    Denny
    If you get lost while flying, don't try hail a cop. Pick up the first railroad you find and hug it until you get somewhere.

  20. #20
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    No waterjet on this panel. I love it because it's accurate and saves a ton of time. But the panel already had the angle riveted on and the lower rolled edge formed, so I just cut it by hand. This one was thin enough that I was able to use a circular punch & die for the round holes and drills, nibbler, and hand shears for the square ones. Biggest tip for a large cut out as for the AirGizmo bracket is to measure and draw it out carefully. I seem to get everything slightly under size at first, but a little file work and the bracket will JUST slide in place. Triple check everything before you start cutting. As for the corners, try not to make them to square. A very small radius will hold up against vibration way better than a sharp, square corner. No amazing rocket science at all, just be careful.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Likes mike mcs repair, Steve Pierce liked this post

  21. #21
    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    In the woods
    Posts
    504
    Post Thanks / Like
    As for the laser etch, do you powder coat white first then black and laser through the black only? Or another way?

  22. #22
    wireweinie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    1,687
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Bearhawk Builder View Post
    As for the laser etch, do you powder coat white first then black and laser through the black only? Or another way?
    I have in the past. But the laser lady said it's hard to get the machine to work right with that process. It seems like the top paint or powder coat layer is never even enough for setting the laser power. Slight variations in the layer thickness will leave the topcoat in some places and burn through to metal on others. What she did on the last couple of jobs was to cover the topcoat (with no white coat applied underneath) with some kind of thin, adhesive masking materiel. She set the laser to etch through to metal and sent it back to me with the masking materiel still in place. I applied some gloss white, Testor's Enamel, (been using that since I was about 10 yrs) let is set for about two minutes and pulled the mask. Works slick for me, anyways.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
    Thanks Bearhawk Builder thanked for this post
    Likes mike mcs repair liked this post

  23. #23
    gdafoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Castle Well Airpark SE of Wickenburg AZ
    Posts
    818
    Post Thanks / Like
    I have done a number of panels for aircraft ground support equipment that I build using the laser etch process. I get beautiful results on aluminum by bead blasting the panel. Then alodine the panel to a golden tan then powder coating. Then laser etching the lettering. The lettering comes out a bit golden and always looks very nice. I have mostly done red powder coat but it is really nice with black as well. Many other colors would look really good too. When doing the alodine it does not always come out a real even shade but I can never see that uneven shading in the lettering. People very often comment on how nice they look. I’ve wanted to do this process on an aircraft panel but have not yet done it.


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org
    Gerald

Similar Threads

  1. Panel
    By Mdeweese in forum Member to Member
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 02-03-2015, 01:19 PM
  2. New Panel
    By Loogief16 in forum Cafe Supercub
    Replies: 85
    Last Post: 02-04-2014, 11:02 AM
  3. New Panel Toy?
    By dalec in forum Modifications
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-07-2012, 02:44 PM
  4. Original Panel Vs. CC style panel
    By Fortysix12 in forum Everything Else (formerly:My Other Plane Is A....)
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 09-04-2006, 10:02 PM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •