Sunday, January 5, 2014

Instrument Panel Radio Cover (Left) P/N 0412492

The cover on the lower left corner of the instrument panel is for the radio. This one has been cut up twice for different size radios than the original factory opening. To fix it I've cut out an "L" shaped filler piece.  To hold it in place I've cut out a backing piece at the top and a piece of 1/2 inch angle to use on the left side. There is already an angle stiffening the left side.  This piece of angle will be riveted to it as kind of a doubler providing a place to attach the filler.

I have dimpled all the holes and riveted with flush rivets.

On this part I tried using epoxy to fill the gap. This seemed to work okay but was messy as expected. After the epoxy cured I started sanding it down to smooth it up and found there is a problem with using the epoxy. It works fine as a gap filler but it can't be as a thin layer on the surface of the aluminum.  It just peels off.  It doesn't bond well enough in a thin layer to stay there.

If I were going to do this again, I would bake the part at 225° after the epoxy has set to allow it to shrink. After the paint had air dried I put it in the oven at 225°, with the oven turned off, and allowed the oven to cool. It gives the paint a nice finish and dries it. Once this was done instead of a fine crack like you could see in the instrument panel cover there was a very slight depression where the epoxy had shrunk.

If I were trying to make the part look factory new this would be a problem. I'm trying to turn junk parts into good serviceable parts, so they are fine for what I'm doing.  You have to look to see either.

We're getting closer to being able to put all of this back into the airplane. Originally I was just can leave these parts out until I could make new ones, but I like these.