The Instrument panel that is supplied in the kit is a very professional looking affair with all the holes pre-cut in order for the end result to be a full IFR panel with special 'Falco' engine instruments and all predrilled holes for switches, lights and breakers in the Sequoia proprietary electrical system.
The next problem was to be how I would go about designing the panel and the cutouts. Being one for technology I really wanted to try CAD software and so after I found an add for Panel Planner software I decided to try it out on my panel. The software was limited at first but more and more features are being added. The latest version I got was version 2 pro and supported NC cutting machines.
As winter approached (no gluing in winter so I did this stuff) and I got the aircraft to the stage when I required the panel. I downloaded the .DXF file into AutoCad to see what output the program gave me. I wasn't too happy with the result. It gave all the instrument cut-outs ok but the panel outside edge was omitted. Also, no holes for anything on the folded edges were possible so I decided to use the basic locations I had got from Panel Planner and re-do the whole thing in AutoCad. This way I know I've got it were I want it and can add the extra bits I want with no real problem.
Here is a very crude screen shot of the AutoCad cutting layout. I had to figure out all the bend allowances for the folds which took a while but I think the end result below looks good...
A few minor stuff-ups.. mainly due to believing Panel Planner's dimensions but basically quite nice I think, just needs to be bent now.
Dimmers on the left, quick disconnect plugs to facilitate easy panel removal (Lower centre) etc.
As you can see... I'm keeping it simple for now. IFR it aint !! Just how I like it. (I will add a horizon though)
2 Jul 2003
After the first flight I started adding extra bits and pieces. The GPS ended up being absolutely not what I was planning on originally and the horizon I chose also didn't fit so I decided to go back to the beginning and re-cut the panel.
Second crack at it..
look how big the GPS cut out is !! 28th-July-2004
I learnt a lot from the previous panels so I felt the urge to improve it again.
This time I thought I'd also try making it from carbon.
Here it is half done.
Times change I guess.
With the experience of the previous 2 panels and various upcoming requirements I decided to start again on panel #3.
This time it has the Garmin G3X suite in it and so far I'm delighted with it.
2nd July 2011