I'd like to give a very positive PIREP for VAF advertiser Up North Aviation and their CNC panel cutting service.
After carefully laying out my panel using Van's .dxf drawing, I found that 0.82 inches went missing off the bottom of the "real" panel (http://www.vansairforce.com/communit...d.php?t=151101
). The brain trust informed me that Van's drawing is unbent; the L bend in the bottom is not indicated in the drawing.
Poop. Gotta cut an extended panel to get the space back.
Rather than trying to do it all myself, I contacted Bill M. at Up North Aviation to see if he could cut both the panel profile as well as the instrument holes on a piece of aluminum from ACS; I'd somehow add an L-angle to the bottom myself.
Bill sez, "it's a lot easier than that. Just have Vans ship me an 'oversized blank' (oversized rectangle with just the bend) and I can cut the rest - all the OEM holes and edges, plus your layout." He even provides .dxf's of "extended panels" for your layout convenience.
I ordered, and Van's sent the panel; I sent Bill a .dxf of my desired layout. After a quick iteration or two, he had the panel cut and back in my hands in just a few days; quite a bit faster than I would have expected. It came out perfectly; worth every penny.
Bill was a joy to work with. If you're looking for a pro to cut the panel just right, check out Up North Aviation, www.upnorthaviation.com
(my panel photos coming to DR's gallery soon!)