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