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cutting holes in an aluminium instrument panel

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Your'e building your own aircraft and you want things done well but you don't want to pay everyone else to do things or you may as well buy a factory built one. A basic hole saw, half round file, wine bottle/tapered drink glass and some emery paper is all you need for perfect results plus you have the pride in having done it all yourself.

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If you have a variety of shapes and holes to cut out of a panel, I would suggest you plan it all out carefully with a sheet of cardboard and then take it to someone that does laser cutting.


As mentioned I am building up everything on a MDF mockup. When I'm happy with that I'll cut out the he's in my Ali panel. I'm more aligned with kgwilson on this. Hell, if I wasn't prone to losing inertia of rather have built from plans but the it would take 20 years ?

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I had all my aluminium wing profiles cut by laser and elevator/hs cost $400 not cheap but perfect

Hi Gareth,


If I was building any aerofoil, from scratch, I would, like you, go the extra $$$ to get the most consistent shapes that I could BUT an instrument panel is not an aerofoil and any little anomalies in its cut out will not effect handling/performance of the aircraft.

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Hi Skip, yes your right ,I did cut all my holes in panel by hand just to hard to put it on pdf to give to laser cutter and I have changed the panel 3 times before cutting, and all my sheets are cut with and Olfa knife

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I've made several prototype panels using a simple jigsaw for the holes. File and sand for good fit.

When entirely happy, I then drew them in a simple CAD program and sent the resulting AutoCAD file to a local waterjet shop. €100 for three panels. Then had them stove painted for another €25.



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