I decided that an instrument panel would enhance the appearance of the ‘Steering Wheel’ power switch so I made up a panel to go around the switch onto which I could put some dials and a throttle control.
In my previous blog update I discounted using the very nice but pricey BECC transfers and looked for an alternative, Doug (RNinMunich) kindly sent me a .pdf of some instruments but the resolution was very poor when printed out. So after a bit of Googling I found a picture of some real commercially made instruments that was quite high resolution, and importantly, printed very nicely even when scaled down to the sizes I needed. I used a premium glossy photo paper in my Canon Pixma printer
The panel was made from some 2.0mm ply from the scrap box with the edges bevelled for neatness and after two coats of Teak stain they were ready to have the dials applied.
The dials were cut out from the printed sheet as best as possible with a new scalpel blade
, not easy I might add, as they are so small that you can’t really make a continuous circular cut so it was a case of nibbling round the edges until it was an acceptable shape. That was a test for my old eyes 🤓 I can tell you.
The edges of the dials were blackened with a black ‘Sharpie’ pen before sticking down onto the panel with a light smear of canopy glue.
The throttle control is just an offcut of Obeche carved and shaped and with a short piece of styrene tube and a pin head for the lever, painted in gunmetal grey it doesn’t look too bad. I used a small white ball headed pin in the final assembly.
The instrument panel was given two coats of satin lacquer to protect the dials before the throttle control was stuck down and then the whole piece glued down onto the battery cover, and I also painted the aluminium switch panel black so it was less conspicuous through the slot.
I had arranged the height of the wheel so that the battery cover can only be removed with the switch on the off position as a safety consideration. Also there’s room inside the battery box for a low voltage alarm attached to the battery balance connector too.
Viewed through the cabin window the instrument panel looks quite acceptable and it all helps to disguise the purpose of the steering wheel and the switch can be accessed easily through the sliding cabin window without removing the cabin.
Quite pleased with that 😁