Jun 30 2020

Applying the vinyl Lettering to the panel

Here is a little trick when applying the lettering.

The decals are printing on a matt white base vinyl with black (or any color printing). Most print shops will accept a .pdf file of your lettering that you designed.


After cutting out your graphic, be sure to use a black magic marker to color the edges of the white vinyl base layer. This will prevent you from seeing the white edge of the base layer..


This is a close up of the lettering on the panel. An easy way to place the decals is to position them in the right location. Use some masking tape on one side to make a flexible hinge. Fold the decal back to remove the backing and carefully fold the decal back over to apply. The hinge will keep the decal aligned for an exact placement.



This is how the panel will look after the lettering is installed. After the decals are applied, the next step is clear coating the panel to seal everything permanently in place.

For clear coating, you want to use any automotive clear coat, but I like a matt finish. You can use a glossy clear coat and add a flattener (from your paint supplier) to give you the matt finish. In my case I used a clear coat with the flattener already added to it.


Jun 29 2020

Painting the instrument panel

This is BIG day for me!! The painting of the instiurment panel.

First it was sanded with 220 grit paper to roughen the surface.


Next is a good cleaning with Bonderite to prepare it for the epoxy base coat



The Bonderite cleaner is essential to etch and clean the Aluminum prior to painting.

The flat black panel is done…

Jun 26 2020

Installing the radio cans

Installing the radio cans is simple and straight forward, but it does require a little thought into what kind of presentation you would like to display.

Typically, radios are installed with the fascia of the radio on the surface of the panel. Trying to just drill holes in a side plate is harder than one might think because of alignment of each side, trying to be perpendicular to the face of the panel, and where the mounting holes are in the cans (the are all different).. I find this method unacceptable because additionally, each radio or piece of equipment has a different depth of its face which (to me) unintentionally makes the panel look a bit disorganized with each piece of equipment just sticking out into the cabin a different amount.

I prefer to recess the cans into the panel to provide the exact amount of exposure necessary so all radios and equipment have the same exposure height for a nice organized look.

Actually, I found a very easy and fast technique for installing the cans which also ensures all the cans are perfectly perpendicular to the face of the panel. Once you decide on the amount of radio exposure desired, use this method to mount the radio cans. This is post from April 2016 when I used the same method for mounting the cans in my LongEZ. http://nickugolini.com/blog/?s=panel+mounting

Personally, I prefer using rivets instead of screws to attaching the cans to the side brackets which prevents any movement of the cans

Radios in place to check for the look I want.


Normally the Garmin has a .850” exposure. The Audio panel had a .780” exposure which would be a .070” mismatch. The Dynon sub panels have a .150” exposure. Here you can see how far I have recessed the radios into the dash everything lines up perfectly. After installation, all the exposures were within .020” of each other.