Panel Overlay Upgrade
I’m looking for a moderately priced way to replace the old plastic panel overlay in my 1976 Cessna182P.  Not interested in another plastic overlay.   It is the standard 6 pack holes, etc., not modified.  It’s split left and right from the avionics stack.
I know there are companies that provide CAD services for metal overlays at a cost north of $2500.
Has anyone gone through this process and can share their process?
Thanks for any information.
George Stobaugh 
6 Replies
5 Posts
It was a lot of work, but I made my own overlay out of .032 aluminum, with the help of my local machine shop. I'm very proud of the results, including the fake screw heads and rubber gaskets around the instruments. It still uses the same pins that the the plastic overlay used, so it's easy to pull off to do instrument work. 

Yes, there are lots of avionics shops that will cut panels for less - and if you're gonna do all the work of designing and cutting, why not just cut the whole panel itself? Aerotronics in billings cut, screened and painted my panel (in 3 parts) - I think it cost around $1000-1500. And the CAD process is really great - I got drawings turned around - sometimes in 30-45 mins - and they had templates for all the major avionics. The process is key to getting the right final product.
You might try Vista Print.  They do all kinds of panels.
I would start with an I A or your mechanic. You could have a nice aluminum panel made by a finish carpenter and have it approved by the IA doing the work. The tools to cut those holes are readily available from spruce, you don’t need fancy computers. Especially if you’re not relocating anything. Your local EAA chapter could also show you how they make theirs. 
Thanks Keith, I’ll contact him.
Reach out to Jessie Saint at Saint Aviation in Ocala Florida.   He can cut a panel for less than that.  I started talking to him about a metal overlay, but ended up giving him my whole panel remodel.

Good Luck