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Project Update

Lots has been going on with this RV14 project, but not so much written on this blog for the last month!

That’s because it’s involved continued planning, both for the wiring and panel design. So there haven’t been many pictures taken. But there are a few things to report …

VPX Wiring


I have now completed the VPX wiring (power wires), and as it progressed I was able to make a plan of how to secure and route the wiring.


I’ve routed the harness through P-Clips, attached via nutplates, making it easier to remove them in the future if access to the wiring is needed.

Removing them will also make a “service loop” to the connectors on the unit.


My additional Bus C is also installed and the wiring attached.

I’ve positioned other P-Clips to anchor the GEA24 wiring, and also all the earth return wires from the various devices.

Instrument Panel


I routed all the power wires to the general vicinity where the respective devices will be situated on the panel.

But of course, eventually you need a concrete plan … hence lots of design work has been required.

I tried many different layouts of the proposed equipment and switches, and have eventually decided on this configuration.

Those of you following this project will remember I have used a free CAD program called “Freecad” to help with positioning all the different components behind the panel. I had hoped to use this for the panel design, but found it hard to easily produce DXF files which I needed to get the panel lasercut.

Someone recommended Fusion 360, which is available on a trial basis and also for a reasonable monthly subscription, allowing a cost effective way to use the software. Of course, it needed a weekend set aside to learn enough about the software to produce the panel drawings. Thank goodness for Youtube!

The software enables precise positioning of elements, and once a component is complete it’s a quick job to produce a drawing and DXF file.

I decided to keep the panel in three separate parts, rather than one complete unit. This was mainly to allow for a more cost effective remedy if part of the panel needs a rehash.

I found a little company to lasercut test pieces out of cheap aluminium sheet, and I’ve been really impressed by the accuracy. It even cut the tiny switch keyway tabs : ) Even more impressive was how it all fitted like a glove in the aeroplane as planned!

So after a few minor tweaks I am now waiting for the real panel pieces to be cut this week, using the more expensive AL 2024-T3 0.063″.


3 comments on Project Update
  1. Jonathan Smith

    Amazing as always. I think I am going to cry when I see it. Hopefully soon.

  2. Matthew S Whiting

    Did you consider the free SolidWorks product available to EAA members? Maybe that is a US only option, but I’m not sure on that. I’m debating which way to go as well. I tried the panel designer at eHangar.org, but it is a web-based app and it was painfully slow. I live in a rural area and have only satellite based internet (geo so far, still waiting on Starlink) and it was just mind numbingly slow.

  3. Steve

    Yes I did take take a peek at Solidworks. I’m sure it would be very suitable (Vans produce their CAD using it I believe?). It seemed to be available here in the UK if you are an EAA member. I found lots of help on YouTube etc for Fusion 360, so ended up with that … either way, there is a learning curve unless you are already proficient with CAD! But for the purpose of checking positions and making a 2D drawing for laser cutting, it’s a small subset you have to get your head around.

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