Instrument panel do-over: layout

New panel blank came in today, so I decided to get right to work on it this evening. First step, like before, was to do the layout of the actual devices and the required cut lines. Adding a slight twist was the need to modify the layout a bit; as mentioned before, I need to provide some empty space to the sides of the GPS-175, instead of putting the two Dynon units right up beside it. I decided to complement that bit of empty space by also separating those two units from the screens below; this will probably be more clear as we get to the work here.

First step is to mark the no-go areas of the blank. The removable panel attaches to two side “wings” with screws; those wings are in turn secured to the fuselage. The wings sort of arch together in the top center area, and the end result is an overlap where I can’t really safely cut any holes. So I just checked the wings into place and traced the edge with a sharpie:


Next up is working out the locations of the top three units; I want them as high as they can go without interfering with the wings, and their position essentially drives everything below. So I start out by marking the lateral extent of these. First up is a centerline, then I line out the outside edges of the GPS-175, followed by the empty space required for the rack mount, and finally the knob panel and intercom units. Before going any further, I laid the actual units in place to sanity-check my marks:

And then the intersection of the outermost marks and the “no-go” zone becomes the upper alignment line for these three things. With that as a baseline, I can then draw in the lower edges of the GPS and Dynon units. Additionally, the bottom edge of the GPS becomes the reference line for the top of the displays and other stuff below.

Here the spacing under the two Dynon units becomes more obvious; they’e spaced out about 1/2” from the edges of the GPS, and then by aligning them with the top of the GPS, I get about 1/4” margin between them and the screens below:

Next up is marking the edges of the two screens, plus the radio and AP panel alongside. I also paused to clean up some of the superfluous Sharpie marks to remove any confusions. This is required a folded paper towel soaked in acetone and a very steady hand:

This finishes up outlining the actual bezels of the units; that i the physical space they’ll take up on the front of the panel. Next up is the real fun, drawing the actual cutouts, using the outlines as a reference. It’s just more of the same as before, lots of careful marking and measuring with a ruler and Sharpie. Once that was all done, I did another cleanup session of superfluous marks. And now it’s all ready to go (side note: it sure is fun trying to take decent photos of a reflective surface):

Next up, I get to repeat the fun exercise of doing rough cutouts, followed by lots and lots of filing and such.

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