One of the nice fripperies my Fly Baby used to
have is a "Fun Meter"... great when showing off the airplane.
Unfortunately, I had to pull it out when I rebuilt my electrical
system, because that was the only place the transponder could
go. Unfortunately, the Fun Meter was made from a 2" gauge, and
there wasn't a clear piece of real estate on the panel big
enough to reinstall it.
I considered modifying the gauge to have it
surface mount, instead of needing a hole in the panel, but there
still weren't any good spots on the panel that would fit it
without looking crowded.
Also...well, I didn't want to hack up my old Fun Meter. If it
broke up, I'd have nothing.
So I re-started from scratch. I found some 1.5"
meters on Amazon,
for the princely sum of $3.22 each.
Bought two, just in case. We're Amazon Prime, so got free
The meters were actually shipped from China, so it took almost
two months to get here, but they finally arrived last
week. The case is plastic with an aviation-style mounting
flange. Yes, they're cheap meters...but they're held together
with small Phillips screws, and disassemble pretty far.
Took just a couple of seconds to pull the innards
out. The plastic is pretty soft, and it took just a minute
to cut off everything behind the flange.
One great discovery was a gray flanged ring on the inside; it
fit entirely within the newly cut-off section, but the flange
would hold the new instrument face a fixed distance from the
I used the old, metal face as a pattern, cut a
circle out of 1/16" plywood with a pair of scissors, and trimmed
it to fit inside.
The new needle is a bit of 22 gauge electrical wire with white
insulation. The lower front of the face has a bit screw
head for adjusting the zero of the meter; the wire wrapped
nicely around the inside stud connected and tacked on with a bit
of super glue. This lets me actually adjust the reading.
I duplicated my old "Fun Gauge" face, printed it
on photo-quality paper, cut it out and glued it to the plywood
The whole thing snaps together...didn't even have to glue it.
Got done this evening, turned out pretty good.
Total out-of-pocket expense was about $4 for the original
gauge. Had the plywood and wire sitting around.
Here it is, installed in my Fly Baby's cockpit
on the lower left side, under the digital tachometer.
Bought some black #6 wood screws for installation.