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V2.0 Panel Progress by Project45

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Another quick update.  The past week I have been busy painting panels front and back.  I am about 80% complete with this part of the process and will have all the panels painted in the next few days.

The reason it takes so long to paint "a couple panels" is due to the masking of all the light bars that run across the top of the square switch holes.  These light bars are designed to glow and shed a small amount of light on the switch body to make them easier to locate if they are not illuminated.

(In normal flight conditions, all the switches in the flight deck are not illuminated)

I am using Rust-Oleum Flat Gray Primer as a base and a finish coat on all front and backer panels.

After the front panels dry, I checked them all to insure there is zero light bleed through the paint.  In all cases so far, I have not had to add any paint.  It is a fine balancing act.....too thin and light bleeds through.  Too thick and the laser will not burn through all the paint!

Here are a couple photos of several panels in various stages of the painting process.

I am getting so close to finishing this panels that I can taste it.....probably just the paint in the air!

Quick update!

All the panels are painted and are in the process of curing.  For some reason, the last can of paint I used has left about six panels a little tacky even after several days.  I can handle them but want to wait until they are completely dry before turning them over to the laser shop.

The other issue I am working on is refining my artwork drawings.  I am finding a few little things here and there but nothing terrible.  However, the big thing that I am dealing with is when I import a dxf drawing into Coral Draw, the text shifts slightly and is a little larger than what I started with in the dxf drawing.  To combat this, I am drawing "guide frames" around all the text artwork in the dxf drawing so that I know exactly where the text belongs in the cdr drawing.  If it was just one or two panels this would not be a big deal but because I am going back and updating ALL my drawings, it is taking a little time.  Probably the same amount of time as it takes to watch paint dry!

If you are not into reading about watching paint dry, this might wake you up.  Jason and I have been working hard at finalizing the Jet45 modules, particularly those that deal with the Advanced Avionics Suite.  Just recently I have started converting the modules into pcb form and placed a couple test orders.

A couple to a PCB manufacture is quantities around 25 by the way which is enough to get all of us started and then some!  (Once we insure all is good with them)

In the photo below, I have the DU2/REV1 Module, RMU2 Module and the APU Module with AMP display which is actually going to be part of the Jet45 Systems Software.

Just to give you a sneak peak at what the final modules will look like, here they are with the Arduinos, plugs and stuff soldered in place!

Not bad if you ask me!  We are right on the front door steps of a truly plug and play solution for our Lear45!  Again, a big thanks to Jason for envisioning this concept with such a complex project!

Next step is to get these in Jason's hands early next week to do some further testing.  There should be no difference between these and the previous clad versions with the exception that these PCBs look cool and take up less space.  If all passes we will move forward with the rest of the Jet45 AAS modules and work to get a set in the hands of Mark S. to run them through the mill.

Beats watching paint dry right?


Finally, all the backlit panels are complete and most have been sent on their way to their new owners!  However, I learned a couple lessons during the laser engraving process that I will share with everyone.

First, we were forced to switch to a new paint, Rust-Oleum Flat Gray Primer which works and looks great.  But it does require to be clear coated which I was not initially aware of.  The clear flat takes any sheen out of the flat gray and strengthens the finish.  It also helps hide any imperfections.  It only takes a quick hit of clear to do the job.  Don't saturate the panels with the clear flat or it could cause the paint under to bubble up.  If applied properly, you are left with a perfect finish.

Second,  some of the larger front panels after they are milled out want to bow up.  I had to make a clear blank panel to temporarily install in the front panels to pull them back to flat.  This is important because the focus of the laser is critical.  The blanks helped pull all the panels back to flat so that the lasers could engrave as close to it's focal point as possible.  Once the panels are assembled for good and mounted properly, they are strong and flat.

The last thing I learned is that I did not apply enough paint to the edges and had back lighting leaks.  I was able to fix this by masking, taping, painting and clearing those edges.  About 33% of my edges needed a little more paint.  However, this might be the proper way to go about dealing with this issue.  If you apply too much paint to the face of the panels, the lasers will not engrave through the paint.  In other words, I was very careful to make sure I applied the exact thickness of paint to all the panels.  And that amount is just enough to block the brightest light from a flash light.  Our panels will never burn that bright so that was a great way to test.

As it turned out, all the panels survived the laser engraving process and none in my opinion get a grade less than an A-, usually if you are working with 50 plus panels you end up with a couple that are B grade or C grade.

Here are a couple photos of the panels:

Pressurization Panel lit up!

Left Crew, Environmental and System Test Panels....

The back side of those panels.......

Here is a list of all the most recent panels and their pricing:

Left Crew Panel               $185

Electrical Panel                $225

Gear / Hyd Panel             $225

Pressurization Panel       $245

Environmental Panel       $245

Engine Panel                   $245

APU Panel                        $165


These panels have been added to the HANGAR PRODUCTS page!

One of the biggest parts of the v2.0 update is moving from 12 volt to 5 volt backlighting.  In order to make this happen, we have to update the 12 volt PWM dimmer potentiometers with new 5-35 volt PWM dimmer pots.

(The PWM on the left is the old 12V and the PWM on the right is the new 5V)

The new 5-35 volt PWMs work perfectly and are even equipped with a capacitor to help reduce noise!  The only issue is that the new PWMs have a very short potentiometer shaft and are slightly under sized.  The solution to this problem is simple but at the same time took a little time to find and fabricate the parts needed to address the issue.

The photo below is a great illustration of what we get when we buy the 5 volt PWMs (left) , the solution to the short shaft issue (middle) and the final resolution to the problem (right).

This photo shows the difference between the new and improved PWM shaft (left) and the old PWM shaft (right)

Once the modification is complete, the final steps are slipping on the knobs and tightening them down with the set screws.

There are two ways to go about getting a set of these Potentiometer Extension pieces.  You can obtain them from the HANGAR45 PRODUCTS page or you can make them yourself if you have access to a CNC machine.  The cost for a kit which is a set of eight is $45.

If you are up to making the kit yourself, the first thing you will need to do is find some stainless steel tubing, .25" O.D. and .24" I.D with the side walls only being .005" thick.  If you are thinking that this is super thin you would be thinking correctly!  But surprisingly, it is strong and if made properly, the last thing that is going to fail is going to be the modified pot shafts.

I tried a couple typical ways to cut the metal tubing but eventually settled into using a small cutting disk with my Drimel tool and a steady hand.

The final length of these pieces needed to be exactly .625" long.  My rough cuts with the disk were about .65" to .66" long.  I then used a bench disk sander and a couple makeshift 90 degree braces to fine tune the pieces down to .625".  The trick was to use tape on my finger to hold the pieces, keep them from spinning and to also insulate my finger from the friction heat.

The final result is that all the stainless steel tubes are .625" long +/- .001"

The small black "T" plugs are made with the CNC and those files are available upon request.  They will be uploaded to the BUILDER RESOURCES page ASAP.  These pieces are made of a hard but pliable Polly plastic.  The photo below is a set of eight to make up a complete kit.

These pieces are designed to be very tight and the tolerances are super close, so close that if cut with a worn bit, this will make a difference in the fit!  Even if the fit is super tight, I recommend using a little gel to "seal the deal", bonding these pieces to the PWM shaft for good.  On the subject of glue, be sure to use a glue gel that allows at least 30 seconds of set time.  Either of these in the photo below work well.

After pressing the "T" plug onto the PWM shaft, add a little gel at the joints.  Wipe any extra away with a paper towel and then push the metal tube onto the shaft.  Make sure to be careful to not push the tube too far down.  You do not want the tube to contact the threads at the base of the encoder.

The end result is that you will have a complete set of modified 5 volt PWM dimmer potentiometers ready to be installed onto your Left Crew and Environmental Panels!

More panel related updates as they materialize!



Now that the mother load of panels have been completed and behind me, I have a little time to take on a couple of the smaller and less important panels.  Two of those new v2.0 panels would be the ELT and the SELCAL panels.  Here is a snap shot of a couple pieces.

If you already have earlier versions of the SELCAL and ELT panels, no need to order.  However, the ELT panel requires a minor rework to become v2.0 compliant.  The move is from a hardware logic solution to a software logic solution which requires replacement of the 12v red LED with a 3.2v red LED.  You will find the full update on the ELT panel HERE

Currently the front panels are at the laser shop and they should be back in a week or so.  This is a small but necessary piece of the big puzzle just about complete!

Additionally, I have just broke ground on the new v2.0 CWP (Crew Warning Panel).  I am actually excited to be working on these because this is my first go around with the CWPs.  Eric Tomlin created the earlier version for us all.  Getting a chance to build a panel a little differently than all the others is my idea of fun and a challenge!

The new v2.0 CWP will only have minor changes compared to the earlier version.  First, it will now include the SPARE annunciation.  The SPARE's only function is that it will illuminate during a light test.  The second change will be improved light spread and the reduction of hot spots.  One of the ways this will be achieved is that the light chambers behind the lens will be much deeper and protrude back into the MIP.

This is only possible because of the new center monitor solution we are moving to consist of two 9" LCD screens, one for the standby gauges and one for the RMUs.  This solution will leave a horizontal pocket in the space where the CWP will be, making it possible to have a deeper light chamber!

Not much to see so far but several CWP lenses.  They are cut, painted and laser engraved!  This is the easy part of the CWP.

What does this mean for you guys who already have a CWP?  Well if you are happy with your early version CWP, there are no modifications needed to make it v2.0 compliant.  Just follow the Jet45 AAS / Systems Module pinout document.

More updates soon!

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