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Old Instruments wanted

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

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Johnny luvs Biplanes

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2003
Epsom Downs, Surrey, England
Hi all,
I'm looking for some vintage style insruments for my future Flitzer biplane project.
Looking for ASI, Altimeter, Oil Pressure, CHT and Possibly EGT or a combined CHT/EGT, lastly a Tachometer that will read 3300 roughly.
I do have a Tiger Moth style compass but am looking for an old in fascia style one.
This aeroplane is a 1926 style so they do need to be old and servicable.
Or does anyone know of a company that makes custom instrument face plates?
John :)


Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2006
Seattle, WA (5 nm N KBFI)
You might be able to make some yourself. Design 'em on a computer that can make PDFs. Find a company which will print onto something relatively durable, like laminated cardstock or thin, light plastic (many print shops will do this, particularly laminated cardstock). Send 'em the PDF with clear instructions on what kind of paper you want. Voila! Instant custom faceplate. Not entirely simple, but definitely in the spirit of homebuilding.

Any reasonable instrument should be rebuildable, which means it can be taken apart, and a new faceplate glued in place. If you're talking about artificial horizons or multi-needle altimeters, you've got a greater challenge on your hands, but it should still be feasible.

Note that I've never done this with aircraft instruments. I have done it with electrical panel meters, and have strongly considered it (held back only by time) on motorcycle gauges.

I've considered doing this for any potential project I build, so that I can use any old instrument and not worry so much about the face style. It'd certainly add hours to the project, but it would be as near to free as you can get in airplanes.

Another, more costly (but potentially more permanent) option is to create your own silkscreens, which isn't that hard to do with photoreactive silkscreen kits. Just print a transparency of your faceplate PDF, bung it under a light for however long with the silkscreen material, and there's a silkscreen for laying down your custom ink.