Sunday, November 20, 2011

Insert Spiffy Title Here

I was able to pull the whole assembly table with the fuselage on top of it into an area where the roof doesn't cover the patio and so I was able to open the canopy frame far enough to attach the gas struts. That revealed immediately that the frame needed quite some adjustment to fit the fuselage.

The front bow had the common problem of on uneven clearance towards the instrument panel.

And the sides didn't really align flush with the canopy deck parts.

It required quite some wiggling and pushing to adjust the lateral misalignment - but that was nothing to the heart-wrenching pounding with a heavy rubber mallet (the same that shaped the longerons) to get the front bow in uniform distance to the instrument panel. I did not quite achieve the 7/16" and stopped at what looks more like 8/16" or maybe 9/16" but it is the same distance along the whole length of the piece and I didn't want to break it. We'll see how that plays out with the canopy ...
Bit once more I was very impressed with the Stewart paint. All that pounding didn't do anything to the paint. Not a scratch, nothing came off or got dented. Great stuff!

Then it was to adjust the aft part of the frame and this was when I realized that I skipped an important step in the process. In order to align the canopy to the aft window edge, there first has to be an aft window, so it could present an edge to work with!
So I had to interrupt the build here and jump back to section 25 and see how to put that window in. Even more complicated as I chose to use a fuel resistant, tinted window instead of the Makrolon window provided by Van's and this needs a bit more attention.
I got as far as to put the side skirts clecoed back in and noticing that the window needs very careful adjustment before drilling the first hole. Then I ran out of time and had to just let it sit there. Tomorrow I am heading for a short trip to L.A., so I won't be able to finish this step any time soon.

A hand drill is on order from as I feel that I don't want to widen those pre-drilled holes in the plexiglass with electric or even pneumatic force.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Canopy Work Started

Finally back at building and it's fun! After cleaning up the work shop a bit more and making room for the large canopy frame I could more this piece inside the shop and start section 34. A bad time of year to do this as it won't be warm enough to do the fiberglass layup by the time the frame would be ready for it, but I will just have to deal with it, I guess.

First I found out that I had to damage my beautiful paint job that I've done on the frame. The front part of the arched tube had to get filed down where the weld would otherwise have contact with the canopy glass later in the game. Fortunately this won't be a prominent point, so the touch up I will have to do there will likely not show.

Then some countersinking in an unusual size for a #10 screw had to be done on the inside of the frame.

And then some match-drilling, deburring and riveting on both sides of the canopy frame. Sorry for the reflection.

And then the latch handle stop had to get positioned on the frame, then match-drilled, deburred and also riveted. This required a little bit more attention as the part needed some reference lines drawn onto the frame to get correctly positioned. I also installed the handle before match-drilling to make sure there was enough contact surface for the stop to work.

The riveting part was simple as usual.

This was the end of the preparation of the frame. Before installing it on the fuselage I had to find the top cover for the instrument panel area and re-install this cover. Therefore I also clecoed the center piece of the instrument panel in place so the cover would have the correct shape.
The final result looked like this.

Unfortunately, I couldn't install the gas struts yet as I cannot open the frame all the way to get the holes aligned to install the final bolts on each side. The plane will have to get moved from under the patio cover to get that done.

BTW: The Mexican hat in the previous picture is NOT the one that Dave has shown in his blog with the cat dancing on it. The hat certifiably is hanging on this wall for longer than we own the house and never came off. Who knows what we would find on the inside? I rather not find out!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Paint Booth Removed

It took me two half days to get the paint booth removed from the car port. Building it was actually faster :-)

Now on to building some more....