Dash Stitching

Time: 2.5 hrs

Did some work on dash. I saw that other builders have stitched around the edge of the dash to keep the leather from creeping up after its installed. I figured it would be good to do even though I haven’t seen this happen on any of the Slings at Torrance TAF. The issue as I understand it its that the leather is just glued down to the fiberglass dash and after some time the leather will shrink and the fiberglass will show. By running a band of stitching around the edge of the top of the dash will prevent this from happening. The process was fairly simple. I drilled a whole lot of 5/64″ holes 15mm apparent along the top of the dash and then ran some stitching through the holes. I purchased a leather stitching kit from Amazon which came with a supply of black waxed stitching, some needles and the stitcher.

The stitching process is basically that you push the thread through the hole with the needle and then pull the needle partially back which form a loop on the under side. You then pass some thread (that you had previous pulled through) through the loop that is formed.When the needle is fully pulled back the loop ties down on the thread you pass through and holds. You do this for each hole. After a few times you get the hang of it and the process moves along pretty quickly. I think it only took about an hour to do the whole dash. One thing that I underestimated was the length of the under thread that you pull through. I pulled through enough to reach from the start to the end of the holes and maybe 5 inches more so that it could be tied off at the very end, however almost half way through I noticed I wasn’t going to have enough to reach the end. What I ended up doing was to stop and tie off at the half way point and then I started again at the other end and worked to the middle (half way) point again.

Another change I made from the other builders is that I didn’t run the holes all the way up to the front of the dash. I stopped the holes about 4″ from reaching the front. I did this because I didn’t want to see the holes/stitching and I figured that part of the dash wasn’t going to creep back.

I also made the aluminum blanks for the vents. I order some fiberglass sheet that I’ll use on the inside. When I finally figure out what vents I’ll us then I can drill the correct size hole in these fillers and they will act as a sandwich to hold the smaller vent in the hole of the dash for the vents.

I made up a quick jig to drill the holes. This went very quick since all I had to do was use the middle hole to line up with the previously drill hole and then use the last hole to run the drill through. I just used the drill to line things up. there’s a lot of holes to drill.

I originally just measured out the under thread long enough to run from the start to the end of the holes to be stitched plus about 5″, but it wasn’t long enough so I ended up stopping in the middle and then started again from the other side.

From this photo you can see that I didn’t run the stitching all the way to the very front of the dash. I stopped about 4″ away. I didn’t want to see the stitching so I figured it was safe to stop here and when the wind screen is installed you really won’t see the stitching in this area.

I kept the stitching close to the seam so you can barely see it.

Made a circular blank from some anodized aluminum I have. These will be drilled out larger to accommodate an aluminum vent. I will use some fiberglass behind this to create a sandwich to hold the vent in place.

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Top Front Skin and Dash

Time: 3.5 hrs

Today I finally got the top front fuselage skin installed. I think I’ve taken care of most of the items that need to do with the firewall and wiring so I think it’s safe to put on the skin. I’m sure something will come up that would be easier to do with the skin removed, but hopefully that will be at a minimum. I used some sika on the top join to seal it and also ran a bead down each side along the cowling join area. I had a few holes that were a bit tough to get lined up, having the wet sika there made it especially fun.

I also started to line up and drill the mounting holes for the dash. I think I have the dash in the correct spot. I know Craig M had some details on mounting the dash, unfortunately my dash has some funkiness on the tabs that makes measuring a bit difficult. I set the right side to to 20mm that was stated in Craig’s blog and that seemed pretty good, I then used a level to set the left side (the side with the weird cut) and drilled out a few holes for the 4mm rivets,. I’m going to wait on the rest until I make a faux panel out of some 1/8″ plywood. I want to be sure that when a panel is mounted that the center section is in the correct spot and the panel sits flat. The dash is pretty floppy in that area and it could easily be bend back and out of shape and then when I mount the panel it won’t sit correctly.

One finish up task before installing the top skin was to run this safety cable on the turbo server. It is just there to make sure the cable can’t pull all the way out of the server. The Rotax manual doesn’t show how to do this so I improvised something.

All looks pretty good so I should be OK to close it up.

All done. There’s a thin bead of sika along the front and I put some sika in the front join between the top skin and firewall.

Dash is lined up and started to drill a few of the mounting holes. I’ve got a bit of work to do on the dash itself and there’s quite a few things that need to be done with the avionics before the dash can get mounted. NOTE: I noticed that the flange on the dash on the right side is a bit large then the flange on the left so you can’t use that to judge if the dash is on straight.

Fits OK on the center console as well, but I’ll make a faux panel out of some thin plywood just to make sure it will all work OK. Next project is to fit the cowling.