Cessna 02 Cockpit — Getting The Eye In & The Hand Practised

A sheet of black hardboard found in a local skip was retrieved and put to use. I like hardboard but it is quite flimsy stuff, nevertheless I'd rather experiment with such a cheap and readily available material than go straight to sheet aluminium and screw that up. In the end I will use aluminium throughout this build but that time is a long way off..

3 inch squares of hardboard offered up to the newly painted shock panel. Right now I don't know if this colour will be used or whether a black panel would be more appropriate (it probably would) but this grey will be easier to draw on and the black instruments will stand out against it which is helpful for clarity. 

The orange 'bezels' are coffee can lids and the dummy instruments are circular black plastic items that I find on the warehouse floor at work. 

I don't quite know what they are! 

Once I'd established a reasonably accurate grid the circular cut outs were drawn with a sharpie set in a compass. Black drywall screws mark the positions of the bolt holes. It's quite difficult to lay out so many holes accurately with a compass. The smallest of errors tend to accumulate...

The shock panel holes (68mm) cut manually with an Olfa CMP -1 Compass Cutter. This is quite laborious and tricky work with hardboard but it can be done with good technique. Start carefully with light pressure and only apply medium pressure once the circular cut is very well established. Heavy pressure is not good! 

The right hand panel also cut and sprayed. This will not be a shock panel.  

Making a few dummy bezels from hardboard. These were hard to create because of the thinness of the bezel once the hole was cut. A few were snapped in the process!

Looking promising at this stage but still I'm not quite happy with its proportions. This will have to be remade once I figure out the exact problem with it — which at this time eludes me. None of the problems encountered early in a build will matter very much in the end, though. It's all about getting your eye in and your hand practised. 

What I do know is that I will soon have to purchase something that I have had my eye on for over a year now but have not had the pressing need for in the meanwhile. A good bench pillar drill will certainly do the drilling and cutting of sheet aluminium far more accurately than the eye and hand can achieve alone.



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