4TH QTR 2005           •   •   • 
10/19/05 1.5 812.4 Well I guess I missed a whole quarter of work on the plane, how lame! I did however finish some home improvement projects and had a good summer doing stuff with the kids. Anyway, the last panel I made out of 6061 had a flaw, I forgot to put the two vertical creases in it before doing the forming. So unless I can find some dies that fit inside it perfectly, it may stay a flat panel and unused. I went over to Kens and cut some more 6061-T6 to make both a new rear panel and a new front panel to replace the 5052 one I made on 5/18/05. Panel templates
10/21/05 1.0 813.4 I'm thinking about doing some of the instrument cutouts in the rear panel before forming it, so in the meantime I made a new front side panel out of 6061-T6. The other one made out of 5052 would probably be ok, but since people will pull and put weight on the panel getting in/out of the airplane I decided to use the stiffer material. I also didn't drill holes in the panel for bolt to go through the forming boards, I just lined up the panel and forms carefully and used a lot of clamps. The panel came out well with no holes and didn't shift during forming. Anneal the edge Forming the edge Finished panel
10/27/05 1.4 814.8 I took the rear panel blank I got from Kevin and took it over to Ken's to punch out my instrument holes. I'm using it as a test panel to see how everything fits etc. I should be able to make a finish panel without the 3 bolt holes for squeezing the panel between the form blocks. Ken has a big ol' 15 ton Whitney punch press that can punch a 4" diameter hole in 1/4" steel. I did some adjustment to the basic panel layout I had come up with earlier and then drilled small centering holes through the panel to line up the dies on. It took more time to change the dies than it did to punch the holes. The Whitney pops the holes like a giant paper punch, very clean. Ken had a 2.25" die and but not a 3.125" so we punched the holes for the big airspeed and altimeter at 2.875". I was going to cut the two holes out manually but instead decided to order a 3.125" punch and die for the Whitney.  When I got home I drilled and fitted the Microair comm & transponder to fit for testing so I can weld in the forward panel mounts on the longeron behind the passenger. Whitney Punch Press
Panel with holes, still needs work Template used for drilling mounting holes
11/02/05 1.4 816.2 Test mounted the Microairs in the panel and discovered I have enough room behind them that I can probably put them both on the left side of the panel. Spent a bunch of time on my layovers trying different layouts in the computer, see RearInstPanel051102.pdf. I also discovered that the PS-1200 intercom I have would fit better up close to the edge of the panel if it didn't have a rectangle cross section. Upon disassembly I found that I could make a new cover for it in a trapezoidal shape and put it above the microairs. So I drew up and made a new cover for it, see PS1200Lid_051102.pdf. I used a heat gun to carefully remove the sticker from the old case for the new one. Intercom with new lid
Intercom in new enclosure
11/07/05 4.3 820.5 I realized that I had better figure out a way to mount the Garmin 296 before I go further with panel layout. I want to make it easily removable for other use, and also mount it tilted up towards the pilot for best viewing quality in bright sunlight. I can use part of the included Garmin yoke mount that holds the GPS unit along with a sheet metal bracket mounted to the back of the panel. I found it very difficult to model the GPS, panel and bracket in the computer, and it took a couple hours to come up with a drawing. I will make a prototype to see how it fits, hoping not too much trial and error will be required to get it right. I also spent some time making the hole for the GPS in the panel. Garmin 296 in rough position
Isometric view of GPS bracket
11/11/05 4.0 824.5 The prototype was pretty close, but it had the GPS sticking out a bit too much. After sitting in the cockpit playing with it in position using shims I came figured out how to modify it. I also decided to make the left "leg" of the bracket about .1" longer so the GPS screen tilts slightly right, aiming perfectly at the pilot. This is because the screen is on the left side of the GPS case and the button pad on the right is raised slightly. Another change was to shorten the overall height of the bracket. After making the changes to the drawings, I went over to Kens and cut/bent up another one.  Prototype bracket with GPS mount Adjusting fit with shims
11/12/05 2.3 826.8 This bracket is just about perfect. I spent some time locating and drilling the holes to install the Garmin mount to the bracket. Then I did some minor panel trimming for better fit of the GPS. I also had to enlarge the panel opening slightly in a few areas to allow the GPS to be inserted and removed from the front of the panel. I then cut some relief areas to allow my fingers to push the GPS out of the panel from behind when the catch is released. I also cut relief for the antenna and power cables. Right now I just hold the braket on the panel with C-clamps, I need to order some 6-3 compact nutplates to put on the bracket so I can screw in onto the instrument panel. New bracket with mount installed Garmin 296 fit into panel
Rear view showing cable routing Panel with GPS removed
11/13/05 2.4 829.2 I traced my hole pattern and relief cutouts back onto my paper pattern. Using my dial calipers I then measured them out and added them to my computer model of the bracket. Here is the final drawing of the bracket G296TiltBracket.pdf.  Next I will make a drawing of the panel cutout needed.  Isometric view of bracket
11/28/05 2.0 831.2 I printed a mirror image of my panel design and cut it out to fit inside the back of the panel. Armed with that, another blank panel, and my new 3.125 punch and die, I went over to Ken's. We put the two vertical bends in the panel and then punched the holes for the instruments. We were also able to get the holes pretty close for the EIS by using successive smaller rectangular punched holes. Putting the vertical bends in the panel Instruments taped to backside of panel for cutouts
Punching holes for Engine Information System display Holes punched for instruments
11/29/05 1.5 832.7 The instrument panel is pretty flimsy right now with all the holes and cuts in the flanges, so I decided to weld up the cut flanges of the instrument panel to stiffen it up. I did some practicing on the scrap panel cut outs, cutting them in half and then welding them back together. Using a .040 pure tungsten, AC and a 55 amp max setting, I was able to do a decent job with my Lincoln Precision TIG 275 welder. I clamped a steel block in place below the gap to hold a small pie shaped sliver of aluminum and also keep the weld bead from sagging while welding. After welding both sides of each cut flange, I'll only have to do a little cleanup with the die grinder and file. The panel is really strong now. I may even weld up the corners of it two once I get them adjusted. Gap in flange to be welded A sliver of aluminum added to gap for welding
Both sides were welded Bolt hole to be filled too
12/02/05 0.7 833.4 Used a die grinder, files and sandpaper to clean up the welded areas on the rear instrument panel. Bolt hole now filled and cleaned up Top flange cleaned up
12/08/05 1.8 835.2 I drilled the necessary holes to mount the microair transponder and promptly discovered that I had moved the radios too close to the end of the panel. The forward upper corner of the transponder will interfere with the sheetmetal that goes over the top of the panels. Oops! I fired up the computer and moved the two microairs inboard about 3/8" which made RearInstPanel051208.pdf. I then made a another panel blank with another flat piece .050 6061-T6 in my wood forms. Hopefully the 3rd one will be a keeper! I am getting better at making them though. Transponder will hit top cover sheetmetal
12/09/05 2.0 837.2 I printed out a mirror image of my newest panel layout and went over to Ken's for essentially a repeat of 11/28/05. We did a nicer job cutting the holes for the EIS by setting the backstop on the punch, that way all multiple punch operations stayed in a nice straight line. On the 28th we freehanded them.
12/15/05 3.0 840.2 Test mounted the transponder to make sure it will clear the top sheetmetal, which it will. I then welded up the cuts in the flange at the bends. Then I adjusted the end flanges to allow a good fit of the top, then welded up the corners of the flanges, running beads on both sides of the joints. After that a little file work was needed to make nice looking corners. The panel is really strong now. Inside corner welded Outside of corner shaped after welding
12/15/05 1.5 841.7 Spent some time drilling holes and filing holes as needed to mount the flight instruments and radios for a test fit. Instrument panel so far View of clearance for Microair radios
12/30/05 2.0 843.7 Printed out another drawing of the Garmin 296 and taped it onto the panel so I could figure out where to remove aluminum. I took my time and got the GPS fitting well, and able to be removed/installed through the front of the panel. There is a little gap between the GPS and the panel, which allows it to tilt as it comes out, but the gap isn't too noticeable. Paper template used to trim panel for GPS fit Garmin 296 in panel
QTR TOTAL 34.2  
 4TH QTR 2005           •   •   •