Cockpit interior Print E-mail
Written by Vidar Fagerjord   
Saturday, 05 May 2012 20:16
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This article will show how I made the different cockpit interior details, starting with the cockpit sidewalls.


I have created a PDF document with all the drawings for the sidewall panels. It can be downloaded here.

You will need two standard sheets of plywood or MDF, 10mm thick. I have tried to minimize waste when stacking the parts. The drawings includes two of every part; one for each side.

The following image shows the first sheet. Most parts are found here:

On the second sheet, some parts are blue - those are not needed for the side walls; they are the MIP support and the FMC bay for my FDS MIP.

This is a detail image of the sidewall, showing measurements and angles on the "tables" where the map lights, oxygen mask, chart pocket and cup holder goes:

The Google Sketchup model is available upon request, but you should not need it - everything is included in the PDF.

This shows the sidewall with measurements. This drawing can be used as a reference when assembling the parts.

NOTAM: I planned the assembly based on a concept found in boat building, called stitch and glue. Basically, you cut the different parts roughly to size, then use epoxy resin and fiberglass to create a very strong, self supporting structure. This method does not require great accuracy, nor a complex support structure behind the parts. There will be some support needed to stabilize the sidewall, but not much. And since everything is covered by fiberglass and epoxy, the end finish should be superb!

All the joints between the different parts will be filled with epoxy putty, then blended to the neighboring parts by sanding.

I started by drawing all the parts on the plywood sheet, then used a track saw and a multi saw to cut out the parts:

The track saw is an extremely nice tool to have! You line the track up with the markings, then plunge the saw through the material, then push the saw as far as needed.

The above image shows the different cuts I made with the track saw. Dead straight and done in 5 minutes!

The multi saw is perfect for the smaller cuts and to finish the cuts the track saw couldn't. Several parts are stacked against each other, so you need to stop before you cross into the next part. The multi saw finishes the job.

And this is how everything comes together:

Looks like a simulator part to me!

I plan to use a router with a round over bit to create even edges. This is actually mandatory for glass fiber use! The glass fibers do not like sharp edges and corners - and on the real birds, there are no sharp edges where the pilots could cut themselves.

Some adjustment will be needed on the parts in order to make them fit properly. But you do not need to be that accurate! Gaps up to 3-4 millimeters are accepted, and some gap is actually preferred for the epoxy to bond properly.

I plan to build my own boat in the future (I already have the plans for it! 21' pilot house style!), and this building method is used on that boat. And I figured - why not the cockpit as well?

I will update this article when progress is made. If you do not own the fancy tools I have, do not let that stop you! Go get yourself a Japanese pull saw, and you can cut the parts within a few hours! A jigsaw could also be used, but use a fine-toothed blade or you will experience some nasty tear-out and splintering on the plywood!

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 May 2012 16:07
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