« Archives in May, 2010

Plexi on frame.

3 hours.
I got the canopy bubble on the tipup frame, riveted/screwed the side skirts on. Also painted the latch hardware and the tank supports. Why do they not powder coat the tank supports? Blargh. I also redid the masking tape around the edge of the canopy’s protective plastic. One thing that messes with me a bit: I have no idea how this is all going to work when the forward skin goes on. I guess I’ll find that out soon enough.
Next is glassing the canopy. Common sense would dictate that I start with a part not so critical, so maybe I’ll do the glass for the V-stab and rudder. I’m not too worried about glassing/filling/shaping the canopy’s interface to the deck skin; it’s essentially fiberglass and bondo. Hell, I’m from Michigan. Fiberglass and bondo is a way of life.

Strip Tease

1 hours.
Yes, i know it’s only 1 hour, but “1 hours” will be easier to search later when I need to total up the time I’ve spent on this adventure.
I made the backing strips for the aft canopy section. To complete the aft canopy, I have to rivet the top skin on, which means I should probably install the static ports and tubing first, and maybe the conduit that goes from the tail all the way up to the cabin. I need to revisit my wiring run scheme at some point.

Canopy frame done. I think.

6 hours.
Yesterday revealed to me exactly why I’ve been able to get absolutely FA done lately. My shop is an ergonomically retarded, awkward hodgepodge of spaces where various things that have zero relevance to aircraft construction are leaned, stacked, and wedged. At first I thought just a cleaning was in order, but it went beyond that. When getting from once side of the shop to the other starts feeling like crossing a crowded bar with a drink in your hand, it’s time to take steps. To start with, I’m at an architectural disadvantage. The space itself isn’t conducive to maneuvering around a large central object while storing other large to medium size objects (tool chest, engine, compressor). Something is always in the way. So start from the top down: maximize the amount of continuous square footage, and minimize the travel distance for general operations. But something had to go. The kitchen range was removed and put in the little garage, next to the washer and dryer, leaving a hole perfectly sized for a Lycoming O-360 on an automotive stand. The bandsaw/grinder/vise bench went back to its location in the back where the sink used to be, and the rolling tool chest was put along the wall adjacent to the workbench. The giant stereo speakers (early 90’s vintage) went up in the overhead area where I used to store hinge stock and other long, thin parts, which moved to a longer, thinner part of the overhead area. The compressor went against the east wall, tucked in under the hardware drawer cases mounted on the wall. Everything was vacuumed and dusted, things were organized and put away. Just moving the tool chest near the workbench reduced the clutter, because things like changing drill bits meant that I could put things away as I was finished using them without walking around the airplane to the opposite side of the room. This process started yesterday and finished up this morning, which gave me enough time to finish the canopy frame. I painted the glare shield flat black (RustOleum barbecue paint) and the inner frame smoke gray. Not the same shade as the Stewart Battleship Gray on the interior, but the upholstery will cover most of that anyway. And to make matters more interesting, the Stewart paint on the longerons came off in vast swaths when I pulled the tape off today. Grr. So I’ll be repainting that. Fun. After painting the frame, I riveted on the stiffeners. Now I have to install the plexi to the frame and prep for fiberglass work. The end is in sight on the canopy. If I can keep from cracking the bastard, I’ll be a happy guy.