Wednesday, April 21, 2010

From sim parts to real ones!

Carrying on from (and tying in with) my last post regarding the trip to Wanaka, lately we've had the priviledge of designing and manufacturing some panels that will eventually be fitted to the latest LN27 Furio RG, a gorgeous Italian-designed kitset plane that's supplied by Falcomposite.

Here's a clip of the (prototype) Furio in action:
she's a racy little beauty!

We hadn't really been expecting to manufacture products that would be used in real aircraft, but the panels and annunciator boards that were required posed no particular issues for us.

Once all of the calculations had been made and the drawings finished to scale, my son (who has a lot of experience in graphic design) was given the task of making the associated engraving attractive and befitting of the aircraft's sleek look.

The following photographs detail the process:

It was a luxury to actually be sent a full prototype faceplate of the main instrument panel, as this allowed us to test the placement and proper fitting of the panels that we'd initially constructed from the original CAD drawings we were supplied with.

These circuit breakers that I'm testing in this photograph were also supplied and were the exact same model as those destined to be fitted upon completion of the circuit breaker panel.

This is the initial bare example of the circuit breaker panel fitted over the faceplate to ensure that all of the holes were correctly lined up.

This is a shot of the almost completed circuit breaker panel - all that remained to do from here was to colour some of the more-important text bright red.

The next component to be manufactured was the annunciator panel. Above is a photo of its initial layout with spaces for the Lamp Test pushbutton and all necessary annunciators.

I designed a circuit board especially for this panel as there was limited space to work with and not much room depth-wise behind the main instrument panel either.

Here's the completed design of the panel from the front ...

And from the rear, a nice compact PCB with all of the LEDs sitting in place.

Initial tests regarding the brightness of the lit annunciators and the effectiveness of various different intensity LEDs were done, as they needed to be easily viewable under bright daylight conditions, which is a little different than the normal dark rooms where most sim pits are built of course! So that explains the relative 'bleed' we've allowed on the normally dark black annunciators.

More testing of the LEDs, this time with all of them lit.

And here is the final panel we designed, which holds the flaps, speed brake, and landing gear.

Hopefully we can get some pictures of our panels sitting in the Furio's cockpit once its construction has been completed. Exciting times!

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