Turtle Deck Hartwell Latch, Rudder Covering, lower right wing inspection rings

January 31, 2012

This week I received the hartwell latch from Wicks aircraft since the latch from Aircraft spruce was $148 and the latch from wicks was $13.20! I got right to work measuring and when i got it right where I wanted it I started removing some of the balsa wood so it would fit properly. I then used my dremel tool to cut out the shape of the latch.

After that I decided to start covering the rudder with left over fabric from the lower right wing. Kinda a rinse and repeat of the elevators and stabs so I won’t go into detail. The only challenge was cleanly getting around the rudder control horn and hinge combo. But other than that mostly routine.

After that I decided to glue on the lower right wing inspection rings. Once they were glued down I added a wet layer of glue over the top to dry for the doilies. After the glue dried I ironed on the doilies. (no pictures sorry)

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1078 hours

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Aft turtle deck bulk head, and turtle deck door.

January 22, 2012

This past weekend I worked on the aft turtle deck bulk head so I had a chance to pull it out of the mold and trial fit it. It turns out it sits a smidge high so i cut out the bottom flange around the horizontal cross tubes and the longerons to allow it to sit lower. I then noticed that it was wider than I wanted by about a 1/4″. The only solution I had besides making a new one, which I wasn’t going to do I cut a slit up the middle of the bulk head almost to the top so that I cut pull the two halves together. This worked and I added some carbon strips back into the bulk head to re-strengthen the area. After that cured I I trial fit it again with the turtle deck on and checked the fit. I did some adjustments to the interface a bit between the skin and the edge of the bulk head with my file. I will need to adjust it some more with some fiberfill and epoxy but that is for later.

After that I worked on a door for the turtle deck. to start I got a spare piece of 2024 T3 that was nice and smooth I laid it on a flat surface and then poor some epoxy on to the area roughly the size of the finish door. I then laid 3 layers of carbon into the area and let sit overnight. The next day I went out to go pick up some balsa wood for the core to stiffen the door up. Now I could just layer in more and more carbon but that is expensive and not very light. So I glued three 1/4″ balsa sheets end to end and cut out the shape of the core. I then epoxied the balsa in and laid 2 more layers of carbon on top. To get the nice vacuum bagged shape I really just used some 1/4″ wood around the balsa and pressed it with my tool box as weight. I used some left over ceconite as peel ply (simple polyester cloth works well too)

After the door was cured I notched the bottom for the piano hinge and I also notched the turtle deck front bulk head and I cleco’d the piano hinge in place. After I as satisfied I ran to the airport to rivet the door to the piano hinge. When I got back I installed the door with #6 SS screws and 100 deg washers. I ordered a Hartwell latch from Wicks aircraft who’s supply is apparently old because they sell them for $13.20 versus Aircraft Spruce’s $148 version. And yes they are the same latch by part number and brand name.

I then used some body filler to fill some spots on the aft bulk head so that the fabric won’t be chaffed there. I will spray some ekofill on it before I cover the fuselage. I then started to cut my old 2024 T3 mold up (dual purpose) to use as the floor of the turtle deck. I figured I had enough of carbon fiber work. and I wasn’t about ready to order more carbon fiber which is $35 a YD. So I just used the material I had. I took it to the airport to use the brake to fold up the side for bonding to the turtle deck sides. I had to do a bit of fitting but I got it to lay into the fuse and the turtle deck nicely.

Time spent 25 hours
Total time spent 1069 hours


Turtle deck forward and aft bulk head fabrication

January 15, 2012

Sorry for no post lately I went on a great vacation with my family for 8 days. Anyway this post is a three day roll up of yet more turtledeck fabrication. I started off wednesday night (11jan12) by laying in some tape at the aft bulk head to mask the line so I could lay up a couple of tapes for the turtle deck flange. I also cut the straight line on the turtle deck tails so that they could be re-glued straight as to not chaffe the fabric so the plans say. After I masked the turtle deck side I laid up 3 layers of 5.8 oz 282 carbon fiber. I also clamped and taped the cut lines back together with 2 layers of 282.

The next day (thursday 12Jan12) I marked the cut line on the out side of the turtle deck and cut the mask line using my dremel tool being careful not to cut into the new flange. This worked ok, not quite as smooth of a line as I wanted but it worked good enough. I also worked on ideas for the forward mold.

Saturday (14jan12) I decided to work on the mold for the forward bulkhead. I used my mold cut out blank and taped up the edges then I cut the same shape out of 0.016 2024-T3 I had laying around. I used the sheet metal because it gives a nice and perfect glossy finish. I then used my mid bulk head blank and trimmed it also radius the corners for to complete the “hole” space. and finally I used a block of wood that I taped with packing tape so that it wouldn’t stick. This one was a bit trickier since it had to be set at an angle and then screwed down into the wood of the cut out. I sandwiched everything together with dry wall screws and ratchet strapped in place which can be a big pain in the ass because of the angles/tapers of everything. I finally got it sitting in there nice and neat and laid up 3 layers of 5.8 oz 282 carbon graphite bi-weave into the mold.

Sunday (15Jan12) I removed the mold and I was pleasantly surprised to find a perfectly molded beautiful forward bulk head. I trimmed it up and sanded the corners to a nice smooth radius. It fit well. I threw my canopy up on the fuselage to see how it fit and it fit well but then I noticed that I will be making a new canopy sheet metal since I tilt the turtle deck aft the metal no longer is long enough (see below picture) oh well, I’m replacing everything else might as well replace that too. I then spent most of the day building the mold for the aft bulkhead. This was done similarly to the forward bulkhead but instead of wood for the center piece I used a old plastic tub that just happened to be the right diameter. I again used sheet metal and tape for mold release. This time I laid up 4 layers since this one would be supporting fabric tension. The flange will be now 7 layers thick so nice and stiff hopefully. I spent the rest of my time cleaning up and playing around with the elevator trim cable since it came in the other day.

Time spent over 3 days: 20 hours
Total time spent: 1044 hours