If you want to use aluminum rather than ply or plexi then commercial grade aluminum is quite cheap. I got a sheet of 5005 alloy 4' x 8' .040 for about $30. It is also available thicker .063 same as the factory panels. This alloy is a bit softer than 2024 but for a trial run it is fine and an advantage is you work it with the same tools as the real panel.
A panel blank from Vans is only $35 (plus shipping) so another thought is to use one of those for the "test" panel and then you may well get it right on the first go, so it becomes the "real" panel!
I have been using a cardboard overlay with taped on full size prints of screen, instruments and radio etc.during initial mockup. It's obviously easy to move things around, before going to the effort of actually cutting a test panel.
Paul vS (yes I'm also a Van)
Building RV-6A #22320 O-320 FP. Wings and tail complete, fuselage almost done, working on canopy.
Flying my Aeroprakt A-22 STOL and the aero club's RV-9A while I build
Last edited by PaulvS : 11-29-2022 at 06:22 PM.
Reason: Vans panel blank option