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Rudder Pedal Cover Tutorial by Project45

(Original thread started on 08-26-10 by Ron Rollo)

It's my first week back in full swing of sim building now that the kids are back in school. I decided to start with the rudder pedal covers and take a bunch of pictures to show you guys how I am doing it. My goal is to make them look like plastic one piece molds.


First off, Scott W. says, based on the information he obtained from his field trip into the real L45, that the rudder boxes are 4.75" wide. Even after shaving .25" off of Tom's rudder pedal set, I am going to have to make my boxes 5 inches wide which is no big deal. (I know of a way to take another .25" out of the pedal design but it would be a big pain with little gain if you know what I mean.)


The other slight difference in my design and the real deal is that the open slot is about two inches shorter. I found no need to make them longer and at the same time, my design adds strength to the box. If in the future we come up with a pedal design that is adjustable, I can always go back and cut them longer.


After I drew the side profile in CAD, I created a JIG minus the width of the wood that faces the edges that will be rounded later.  You can find a .pdf and a .dxf file of the rudder pedal cover box side profile at the bottom of this post:

Ron 358


Then it is just a matter of cutting a lot of wood and making it all fit perfectly. The tighter the tolerance, the less filling in you will have to do later on. It helps if the surface you are working on is perfectly flat. I did not have to use any nails or screws, just wood glue! Also, take not that the inside wood parts are cut shorter so that the 1/8th inch Masonite board will sit flush with the top wood pieces:

Ron 359


Here, the glue is just about set up and I am getting ready to round off the edges. I started with the three horizontal edges first with a orbital sander. This way, the router bit glides on the long edges easier:

Ron 360


All the edges have been knocked down and I am ready to do a little Bondo and gap filling:

Ron 361


95% of all the gaps are filled at this point. It is a lot of going back and forth and from one set to the other while they take turns drying:

Ron 362


This is the first coat of flat black primer. It does not look bad at all but I still need to do a little more spotting and painting. I plan on putting dust strips and brackets on the covers to make them look as real as possible:

Ron 363


Here is a quick and dirty way to make all eight of your dust brushes for your rudder pedal boxes for under $5.00, however, a bit heavy on the time!  First, find some cheap Wal Mart brand brushes and dismantle them:

Ron 364


Cut a piece of two inch duct tape down the middle and lay it on a cutting board. Then carefully lay the bristles down on top trying to keep them all lined up perfectly:

Ron 365


Then take the other half of the tape and lay it on top of the bristles and the first half. There will be many extra bristles that will fall out and that's okay.  We only want the ones that will stick to the two pieces of tape:

Ron 366


Then take another piece of two inch tape and cover one side and then fold it under and around to cover the other side. This secures the bristles at the bottom:

Ron 367


The next step is to press them together nice and tight and to gently shake out the slackers!  Then trim it down to the size that you need. In my case, the tape is cut down to one inch wide by twelve inches long:

Ron 368


Now it's time to secure the bristles in place with an all purpose stapler. I drew a line down one side to insure a nice straight line of staples.


I found the best way to trim the bristle down to size was with a heavy duty paper cutter, and even then it was a trick. (By the way, I made a small six inch long test piece to test different ideas out to see what would work and what would not. As an example, I was going to sew the two sides closed but the glue from the duct tape caused the needle in the sewing machine to stick and fail after about two stitches.) I cut my bristles down to 1 3/4" long from the edge of the tape.


Here are my eight dust brushes finished and ready to be installed into my rudder pedal covers. And all for $5, and approximately ten hours:

Ron 369


(This information was found and posted by Alan Norris)

I found some brushes and brush holders on the Internet that are perfect for covering the slots in the pedal assembly cover.


Here is the brush -- it's 72" long and I got the 4" long bristles but as it turned out I only need 3":

Alan 17


This is the link to select the correct brush.

You need to select these options.

Backing -- galvanized steel:

Fill Type -- 0.014 crimped nylon:

Overall Trim (that's the length of the bristles) -- 3":

Backing Type -- #4:Color -- black:


Here is the backer the brush slides into:

Alan 18


This is the link to select the correct backer.

You need to select these options.

Type -- aluminum:

Profile -- H shaped:

Backing -- clear finish anodized:

Overall Length -- 72"

Mounting Flange -- 1.235"

Backing Type -- #4


Cut the aluminum to length and also cut the brush to match (make sure you use side cutters to cut the brush and not a hacksaw -- the side cutter crimps the ends as it cuts stopping the bristles from coming out). After you've slid the brush into the holder lightly tap the ends to stop the brush from coming back out. Drill holes in the backer and pop rivet to the cover.


I found that 72" was more than enough as I needed four 12" long brushes. The other option is 36" long pieces but that may not be enough as it only yields 9" pieces -- your mileage may vary. Total cost was $28.47 including $5 shipping. I know that Ron made his for much less but I think this is worth not having the hassle of making them.


NOTE:  You can find a .pdf and a .dxf file of the rudder pedal cover box side profile at the bottom of this post.


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(Posted by Ron Rollo on 09-26-10)

UPDATE: This is the last addition to this build thread. Today I finished up my rudder pedal covers!


First, I made twelve little brackets out of "L" angle aluminum to hold down the covers to the raised floor sections:

Ron 370


If you look closely at pictures of the real L45, you will see that these are there!

Ron 371


I carefully cut holes in the carpet for the small brackets. This in necessary otherwise I would have to notch out the bottom side of the covers so that they fit flush:

Ron 372


Here the brackets are screwed into place and ready for the covers:

Ron 373


Meanwhile, I pasted the brushes on the inside of the covers. I used a black silicone. Once it dried, it is not going any where. I set them so that they had about a 1/16th of an inch of clearance between each of the two sets:

Ron 374


Here are the covers with a fresh coat of satin black paint with the brushes installed:

Ron 375


Check out how the pedal arms stick through the brushes. They work perfectly! Also note that the small brackets are in place and doing their job. The covers are surprisingly strong and do not budge. By the way, the clearance and tolerances are very tight within they covers. Originally, I was going to used aluminum brackets and rivets to help hold the brushes in place but there is simply no room:

Ron 376


The money shot! The covers are screwed into place and hopefully I will not need to get under them for some time to come. 


Additionally, I have included the .dxf CAD files for the raised floor system here at the bottom of this post.  This will help insure you are completely on the right page with the the build especially if you are looking to fit everything into a shell.  If you have any question, please post here!

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