HERE IS A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME, MY BACKGROUND AND INTERESTS

MY HISTORY

I HAVE HAD AN INTEREST IN HEAVY BOMBERS ALL MY LIFE AND A WHILE BACK, I HAD THE CHANCE TO PURCHASE A LOT OF ORIGINAL BOEING DRAWINGS OF THE B-17 INSTRUMENT PANEL. I STARTED BY BUILDING A PROTOTYPE PANEL IN LUAN MAHOGANY PLYWOOD. IN A FEW MONTHS I HAD FOUND MOST OF THE INSTRUMENTS I WOULD NEED ON eBAY. ORIGINALITY WAS WHAT I REALLY WANTED AND THE ORIGINAL B-17'S HAD A 3 PIECE PHENOLIC PANEL SCREWED ONTO A PLYWOOD FRAME. TO MY KNOWLEDGE, NO ONE HAS SUCCESSFULLY BEEN ABLE TO BUILD THESE FRAMES, DUE TO A LACK OF FULLY DIMENSIONED DRAWINGS. I HAD HALF SIZE DRAWINGS OF ALL THE WOODEN PARTS OF THIS FRAME AND SOME FINISHED DIMENSIONS ON OTHER DRAWINGS. I PUT THE TWO TOGETHER AND HAD THE CRITICAL LENGTH DIMENSION OF THE FINISHED PANEL. USING A VERY HIGH END LARGE SCANNER AND E SIZED PRINTER I WAS ABLE TO INCREASE THE SIZE WITH THE SCANNER UNTIL I HAD THE LENGTH CORRECT. I THEN CREATED FULL SIZED PAPER TEMPLATES FROM THE SCANS. FROM THESE PAPER TEMPLATES I CREATED A SET OF FULL SIZED MASONITE TEMPLATES. I WILL USE THESE TO CUT AND FORM UP ALL THE PLYWOOD SECTIONS OF THE MAIN WOOD PANEL FRAME

MY BACKGROUND

I AM AN R&D MACHINERY DESIGN ENGINEER AND IN MY DAILY JOB I USE SOME PRETTY SOPHISTICATED 3D CAD AND SCANNING/PRINTING EQUIPMENT. THE ABILITY TO REDRAW THE ORIGINAL BOEING PANEL PLANS INTO 3D, GAVE ME A WAY OF BUILDING 3D MODELS OF ALL THE PARTS, INCLUDING THE GAUGES AND PUTTING THEM ALL TOGETHER IN A "VIRTUAL PANEL"

THIS IS THE PLYWOOD FRONT PANEL TEMPLATE DRAWING

MADE FROM 1/4 PLYWOOD THE SAME AS BOEING DID

THIS IS THE PLYWOOD REAR PANEL TEMPLATE DRAWING

THIS IS THE PLYWOOD BOTTOM PANEL TEMPLATE DRAWING

THIS IS ONE OF THE FOUR VERTICAL RIBS

 

THE CONSTRUCTION OF THIS PLYWOOD FRAME IS MUCH LIKE AN AIRCRAFT WING, MADE WITH PANELS AND GUSSETS. ALL THE PANELS ARE ROUTED (GROOVED) INTO EACH OTHER AND GLUED TOGETHER. THE FINAL ASSEMBLY IS EXTREEMLY STRONG AND RIDGID. BOEING DID THIS TO CUT DOWN ON WEIGHT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. SOME PANELS THEY MADE HAD RIVITED METAL FRAMES. HERE ARE A COUPLE OF PHOTOS OF THE BACK SIDE OF A B-17 PILOT'S PANEL. THIS IS WHAT THE NAVIGATOR WOULD SEE, LOOKING AT THE REAR SIDE OF THE PILOT'S PANEL. 

IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY YOU CAN EASILY SEE THE GRAIN OF THE WOOD UNDER THE BLACK PAINT, ON THE CENTER BACK RIB.

HERE IS A CUT AWAY SECTIONAL VIEW THROUGH THE PANEL OF AN ORIGINAL B-17 (DRAWING). THIS RIB PANEL FALLS RIGHT BETWEEN THE MANIFOLD PRESSURE AND THE TACHOMETERS AND SEPARATES THE RIGHT AND CENTER PANELS. YOU CAN SEE EASILY HOW THE EDGES ARE ROUTED INTO EACH OTHER, WHICH, WHEN AFTER GLUING GIVES IT THE STRENGTH.

FIRST, HERE IS THE LEFT SIDE OR PILOT'S SIDE PANEL, CONTAINING THE RADIO COMPASS, PDI, DIRECTIONAL INDICATOR AND OXYGEN GAUGES AND OTHERS.

NEXT IS THE CENTER PANEL, CONTAINING THE ALTIMETER, AIRSPEED, CLIMB AND OTHER ATTITUDE GAUGES, THE PROP FEATHERING SWITCHES AND VARIOUS SIGNAL LAMPS.

LASTLY, THE COPILOTS SIDE, RIGHT HAND PANEL WHICH CONTAINS ALL THE ENGINE GAUGES. RPM, MANIFOLD PRESSURE, FUEL PRESSURE, OIL AND TEMPERATURE GAUGES AND THE FUEL GAUGE.

THE ACTUAL PANELS ARE MADE OF THE SAME .125" BLACK PHENOLIC MATERIAL THAT WAS USED BY BOEING TO MANUFACTURE THE ORIGINAL PANELS. USING METAL TEMPLATES THAT WERE LASER CUT FROM MY REDONE 3D DRAWINGS THE PANELS ARE MACHINED SO THAT ALL MEASUREMENTS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ORIGINALS.

FINALLY PUTTING THEM ALL TOGETHER AND ADDING THE GAUGES IN 3D. ALMOST AS MUCH FUN AS BUILDING THE REAL PANEL. THIS IS A JPG CREATED BY "SOLID WORKS" MY 3D CAD PROGRAM. IT ENABLED ME TO CREATE FULL SIZED 3D MODELS OF THE 3 FRONT PANELS, THEN PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER IN A 3D ASSEMBLY. I THEN CREATED MODELS OF ALL THE GAUGES, LAMPS AND SWITCHES AND ASSEMBLED THEM ALL TOGETHER IN THE MODEL. FROM THE MODELS OF THE 3 PANELS, I THEM MADE UP DXF DRAWINGS WHICH WERE USED TO LASER CUT FULL SIZED ALUMINUM TEMPLATES. THESE ARE USED TO MAKE THE ACTUAL PHENOLIC PANELS. DETAIL IS EXACTLY THE SAME IN ALL SETS AND EVERYTHING TO ORIGINAL BOEING SPECS AND MATERIALS

 

THESE ARE SOLID MODELS, MADE IN MY CAD PROGRAM, SOLID WORKS