Total: 2227.1 hours
Total Panel and wiring: 144.0 hours
Total Misc: 5.7 hours
Panel since last time: 30.0 hours
Misc: 4.5 hours
Painted and put labels on the instrument panel. This process was more involved than anticipated. But in the end, it looks really good. I used a system called DecalProFx to turn the labels, once designed, into decals. Then when I was happy I clearcoated the whole panel. To design the labels, believe it or not, I used PowerPoint. The decalPro process is a little involved and took a few hours to get “good” at it. The hardest part turned out being positioning the decals on the panel but I found a process that worked fairly well.
- Design the decal with a nice thick boarder (the boarder is required when making the decal anyway)
- Print it on regular paper and cut it out
- position it on the panel and hold it in place on one side with scotch tape.
- carefully cut out the interior with a small pair of scissors and tape down the rest of the boarder.
- Make the decal and use the boarders as a guide for positioning. Also on the decal put in a circle for holes in the panel where applicable. Mask the holes when applying the glue to keep them from sticking. The holes make a great guide.
Note that I also learned to mask off everything on the “mylar carrier” but the graphic itself from the glue application. This makes positioning a lot easier since nothing will stick except the graphic itself.
Because I wanted to put a graphic on the pilot side air vent indicating the location of the parking brake, I also created the bracket necessary to hold the brake pull-cable and I went ahead and installed the whole thing. And I also put a graphic on the head of the pull-cable.
Lot’s of time but worth it, I think. The panel labels look very good in my opinion. The labels themselves look professional. The positioning of the labels could be more precise in a few places but I don’t think the positional flaws will be noticeable once the panel is all populated with switches and screens and all. I would recommend the decalPro kit to anyone doing the same thing. Just note that you’ll need a laser printer and a laminator. And if someone could invent some way to hold the decal for positioning that would make placement much easier.
One special thing we decided to do because we had a lot of space on the right side of the panel was to put on a Bible verse. Actually after a family discussion where we all discussed what verse to use, we decided on two. Given the perspective of the creation from an airplane we decided to use Romans 1:20 which says, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Under it we have 1 John 5:20 which says: “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
I also spent a little of this time installing a doubler for a GPS antenna in the back between the comm 1 antenna and the ELT antenna. This marks a change to the original plan which has this antenna on the cabin top. After realizing the amount of work for this antenna which requires a ground-plane and if installed on a non-metallic surface, a grounded braid around the RG400 cable, I decided to relocate to a metallic airframe location. This solves both the ground-plane problem and eliminates the need for the special braid. And it meets the spec of more than 2′ away from any other antenna. I don;t anticipate a problem. There was already a spare coax going front to back and in case it doesn’t work out because of proximity to the other antennae, I’m leaving the cable which runs to the cabin top in place.