Step 3: Center Console
(Modified from the plans version)
I built my center console differently than the one shown in the plans. There are four reasons:
(1) I'm using a more traditional throttle quadrant. I never liked the quadrant being buried so low between two sweaty thighs. So I mounted it in a forward, raised area that positions the levers at nearly the same location as the control sticks.
(2) I placed the fuel valve up front. My theory is that if I can see it, I'll probably remember to USE IT! In my opinion, it is easier to operate the valve with it up front than with it on the seatback.
(3) Since I'm using the electric brake actuator, I won't need the manual brake lever. So I made the console more narrow than plans, thus gaining valuable room at the hips.
(4) I added a storage compartment for pencils, clips, small flash light, and get-out-of-jail-free cards. You know, the usual stuff.
I used the M-drawings to sketch out the shape I wanted for the console. I made sure I allowed enough space for the fuel lines and the cables for the throttle quadrant. I transferred the measurements onto the foam and cut out the sides and the top. I glassed all surfaces first with 1-BID, attached everything together with 5-minute glue, then glassed the outsides together with 2-BID. The plans call for the center console to be permanently glassed on top of the heat duct. I need my console to be removable to service the throttle quadrant and the fuel valve. So I extended the sides down and around the heat duct. The console is screwed into brackets riveted to the instrument panel center post and seatback. I felt like an RV builder doing this, but it was far easier and quicker making the brackets from thin aluminum angle than laying up fiberglass and waiting for the cure. The console is also secured by the seat belt anchor bolt. That's what the blue circle is for. I recessed that area to get glass to glass surfaces for when the bolt is tightened.
The compartment tray was added on a whim! As it turned out, the console cured a little crooked. So I cut it apart again to reglass it, which made for a very convenient time to add the compartment. The compartment is 8 inches long, 2.25 inches wide, 1.5 inches deep. Excuse the duct tape on the hinged top. I won't attach the hinge until after the console and hinge top are upholstered.
I did run into a problem with stuffing the Andair valve into the console. First, I have to admit that the Andair purchase was purely a lustful one! It is so cool-looking and it is surely masterfully manufactured. It is one of those "just-gotta-have-it" items, even if it was 5 times more expensive than the plans valve. As it turns out, the intake plumbing for the port fuel line sticks out a bit wider than the console. So I added a small conical blister. To be symmetrical, I added the same-sized blister onto the starboard side even though the blister was not needed. The blisters are rather small and are up high on the console. They don't interfere with your legs. Since that time, Andair came out with a 90-degree, male fitting (EF-20) that doesn't stick out as far as their other fittings. I still need the blisters, but now I can comfortably plumb the valve with some room to spare.
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