Sunday, April 27, 2014

Windscreen Fairing

Earlier this week I came down with something that could only be described as...the plague....I felt awful, worse than I have felt in a long, long time. I'll save you the gruesome details, but rest easy because I have made a full recovery and am back to building the plane. 

This weekend I made the windscreen fairing. A tedious but easy job. It took an entire day to prep the windscreen and an entire day to lay the fiberglass and smooth everything out. 

Date and Time
Sat-Sun 26-27th -9.0hrs- All was fairing work except a little less than an hour trying to get some string to go through the conduit. I tried blowing it through with a bit of wadded tissue....didn't work...tried again...didn't work....tried again....huh, didn't work.....what if I just blow the string through without the tissue....that did I make that more difficult than it needed to be. I now have string through the conduit to pull the wires from the tailcone!

First I marked 1in from the bottom of the windscreen. I made a little jig to help make a perfect measured line. 

Then I taped off the windscreen and scuffed the exposed edges with 80 grit. The tape I used is a 20mil PVC tape.....awesome stuff. It'll curve to the window and is very adhesive and durable. 

Here is a close up of the radius I will be making at the corners. 

I cut all the strips out using one of those "pizza cutter" style fiber glass cutters, they are well worth having. 

All the layers went down really easy. I did one constant strip across the entire width. That seemed easier to me to do it this way instead of splitting them as the instructions show. The epoxy is black from the dye. You only need a very small amount of that stuff in each mixture. 

The shape turned out really nice. I first layed down a bead of flox resin with a syringe at the edge of the windscreen. I then started applying the strips as a wet layup. The resin was thickened to a syrup consistancy with flox. As I started getting closer to the last of the ten layers I would try and smooth things out and fill areas with flox that weren't shaping the way I wanted them to. On the last layers I started using regular cab-o-sil as the thickener since it's a bit easier to sand. For a final shaping I made a big batch of epoxy mixed with the lightweight faring thickener and smoothed that on as evenly as I could using a flexible plastic scrapper. I'm pretty happy with the results but the true test is when I start sanding. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Door Lights

I wanted to have some lights that shined on the wings when the doors opened. The gull wing doors provide a perfect spot to install some small LED lights that turn on when the doors open and thus shine down illuminating the wing walk and step. It's been a chore finding all the parts to install these and coming up with how to install them. I think I've got a good plan now, but it's going to be completed over several sporadic steps along this build. Sorry I can't sum the install up into a single post, if I remember when these are finally installed I'll link back to this post.

Date and Time
Mon 21st -1.5hrs- Installed LED light on door

I had planned on doing these since I started building the plane, but I was so excited to glue the two door halves together that I forgot to run the wire. This would have been much easier to do before gluing the door halves together. So I had to improvise; I drilled my wire exit hole near the hinge and the wire entrance hole near the bottom where I wanted to install the light. I used a straightened hanger to push through the door starting at the top hole near the hinge and another small piece to hook the end of the hanger and line it up with the lower hole. Before pushing the hanger through I smoothed out and rounded the end to minimize it tearing through the internal sound proofing. 

I then taped the wire to the end of the hanger and pulled the wire through the door. The wire will later get a connector, shrink tubing, and sealed. 

I then used the light as a drill guide. Making sure the light covered the wire entrance hole I drilled two #30 holes and used two blind rivets to install it. The rivets shown below worked really well. The head slid down into the recessed hole of the light and were the correct length to secure the light. I really lucked out because it just so happened I had four of these laying around. 
I set the door in place to see what it will look like. I like it. Eventually I'll scuff and paint the light the same color as the door. That should give it a real finished look. 

More Window Work and a Doubler

It's Easter weekend and Jess's parents came down to visit their grandchild, oh and us too, I guess. It was a beautiful weekend with relaxing in the sun, ham dinner, home brewed beer, and of course Easter egg hunting. With all the sitting around staring at each other my father in-law and I got a little bored, so why not work on the plane a little bit. I needed the help to install a doubler so it worked out really well that they were here.

Dates and Times
Fri 18th -2.5hrs- Installed doubler
Sat 19th -2.5hrs- Glued windscreen, fillet around window

Here is the view from the bottom of the plane. This will be my transponder antenna doubler. If you remember this is the spot where I dropped that bucking bar and made a huge dent in the bottom skin. Well, two dents actually. A large dent that was drilled out to create the aft most screw hole and a smaller dent forward of that, that became a rivet hole. All in all it's a happy ending to a disastrous event. You'd never know it happened now. 

View from the inside looking down. The location is just aft of the baggage bulkhead and just to the right of the battery mount. You can see the rivet that is out of pattern with the rest that is the location of the second dent. 

We also glued the windscreen in place. I installed it with the same method as the rest of the windows. One thing we did on this window, that I did on the others as well, was sand the edges smooth with 220 grit sandpaper before installing.  

After a disastrous attempt at creating a fillet with just my was bad and every time I tried making it better it just got worse. I had to clean up everything I did with paint thinner and a plastic scrapper. It was a horrible nerve racking event. I thought for a second I ruined the window. This time I decided to tape off where I wanted the fillet to end and then apply the adhesive, wait a bit, and then remove the tape for a nice straight edge. There is some detailing left to do but it gave me a good starting point. 

Of course there was some Easter egg hunting fun!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Installing the Windows

Continuing to catch up on my posts. 

I installed all of my windows. I got some Lord Adhesive from Geoff at Aerosport. The adhesive and it's gun are really easy to use; no mixing, measurements, or messes. 

Time and Date
Sunday 13th -5.25hrs- Glued door and back windows in place. 

First thing I did was position the window in the recess and place tape following the edge of the frame. Then remove the window and sand the perimeter. The tape helps protect the area you shouldn't be sanding. Note the inner plastic has been removed.  

I made little tabs and drilled holes all the way around the perimeter of the window. These allow an even pressure around the entire window.

At this point I haven't glued in the windscreen yet but I thought I'd take a picture of it cut to shape. Note the black paint on the the glareshield as well.

 Here is a close up of one of the tabs. These worked really well. Very easy to do.

All in all gluing in the windows was no big deal. Any cleanup I just used the thinner from the interior paint I purchased a while back. It didn't hurt the plexiglass and cleaned up the adhesive really well. 

Windows, Back Seats, Fans

Oy.... I'm a bit behind on posting my progress and I seemed to have accidentally deleted some of my time log, so some of the hours will be estimated. This will be a short post with very little info, sorry. 

29th -30th Approx. 6.0hrs 
5th -6th Approx. 8.0hrs
8th -1.25hrs- Finished building seats
9th -1.25hrs- Installed brake resevoir and brake lines down gear leg, cut window clamps
12th -4.25hrs- Cut holes for avionics fans. Glued one window 

I cut all of the windows out. Nothing special, I just followed the plans. I am using the regular Vans windows. I made the initial cut with a cut off wheel and then went back and shaped with a sander. The windows are marked for where you need to cut them and for me the marks were very close. 

I built the back seats. Followed the plans. Very easy. 

Once I had the front window cut out I was able to mark where it layed on the upper fuselage. I then located where I wanted to place my fans keeping in mind the clearance I would need to get an allen wrench under the windscreen to install the fan's screws. I am using some high performance 80mm computer fans. They run on 12vdc and are compact enough to fit under the glareshield and not interfere with the other avionics that will be installed there. These fans serve two purposes 1) cooling the avionics behind the the instrument panel and 2) act as defrosters and removing moisture on the windscreen. The area is masked off because I painted the area black. Eventually I will have a glareshield cover but the paint will help hide any of the small areas the cover....well....doesn't cover. 

I Have a Propellor!

I ordered the prop and engine during Sun-n-Fun, April 1, (no I didn't attend, I just waited to see if there would be any kind of discount and there was....a whopping $400 and free shipping!). 

I ordered the Hartzell Constant Speed Aluminum Blended Airfoil Propellor. 

Here is how the part is listed on Van's website:
Compact hub Constant-speed prop for (I)O-540 (260hp) 80"
Part Number = PROP C2YR-1BFP/F8068D

The box showed up on my doorstep one day, unfortunately I don't have anything to mount it on....that's still on its way. The box weighed 84lbs and was a bit awkward to carry to the shop, but not bad. Hartzell sends a really nice owners manual with the prop showing install instructions, maintenance, etc. 

After we got it in the shop my quality control inspector approved the delivery.