Priming the Turtle deck (2nd coat) and fuel tank straps and continued work on the exhaust channel

July 3, 2012

Today re-shot primer on the turtle deck and also shot primer on the fuel tank straps. While that was drying worked on the exhaust channel. I fabricated some angles and drilled the rivet holes and clecoed them in place. I also drilled the cleco holes to hold the the three pieces together. I think I will shoot 1/8 button head rivets into those rather than screws. I got some marks on the firewall sheet that I will drill through and attache the front side of the exhaust channel to tie everything together that I need to fold using the brake at the airport.

After that I worked on the rear baffles on the engine. I bought the three pieces of the rear baffle from Vans since they take too much brain power and way to much work to make and for $61 I think it was worth my time and money. As it turns out they fit great and all I need to do in fabricate the #3 and #4 cylinder baffles. I quickly traced out the cylindar shape and then cut that out of 0.032 sheet I had left over. I then needed to do some folding in the brake so I took the firewall and the cylinder baffles to the airport to put a couple of bends in them.

After all that I sanded the turtle deck fuel tank straps smooth and then shot the blue on the turtle deck and straps.

Time spent today 8 hours
Total time spent 1440 hours


New exhaust channel, filling sanding and priming the turtle deck

July 2, 2012

Today we after boating I folded the new exhaust channel and brought it hope to find that it fits really well. After that I started working on lower firewall angles so that belly pan and exhaust channel after something to attach to I still need to cut up some angles to attach to the fire wall but it is trimmed to fit correctly now. After that I worked on the turtle deck by filling and sanding the rivets that I installed to help mechanically back up the 2216 adhesive that I glued the turtle deck floor to the side of the turtle deck. After I was satisfied I masked up the area that I didn’t want primer on and then shot the white primer on to the surface and let that dry. I will get some photos of the belly pan and firewall interface tomorrow, sorry for the wait.

Time spent today 3 hours
Total time spent 1432 hours

Fit checking the left stab and elevator, fitting and installing the turtle deck floor and removable bulkhead

June 26, 2012

Tonight I started off by fit checking the left stab and elevator. After I got them into to position I hooked up the elevator push/pull tubes to see how everything felt, which was very smooth. After that I got the bug to finally finish off the turtle deck. I started by masking off the carbon I was going to keep “raw” (I have plans to clear coat that area which is in the cockpit only door and cockpit bulk head) and I was going to prime it to see where I was with my pin hole filling, but I stopped and decided that the floor and removable Lexan Bulk head had to be installed first. I had already drilled an fit the Lexan bulk head so all I had to do was installed the 1/4 turn camlocs. I drilled the lexan and bulk head out to 1/4″ for the camlocs and installed the camloc backing into the bulk head and back drilled the holes (makes for a quick drilling guide. I then counter sunk the rivet holes in the carbon and drilled out the carbon camloc main hole out to 3/8″. I installed the camloc backs and viola everying fits right and easy. After that I moved on to turtle deck and floor. I measured for the rivets to attach the floor the turtle deck and I drilled out the 3/32″ holes. I initially wasn’t going to install rivets as I was going to glue the turtle deck to the floor but I decided I needed some kind of mechanical back up. So anyway I scuffed the floor intersection with 100 grit sand paper to give it some “grit”. I then mixed up the left over 2216 B/A Scotch-weld glue I had left over from the ailerons applied it the the floor turtle deck/floor intersection then installed all the rivets to keep everything inplace. Turned out pretty good. Now that that is complete I can fill the rivet holes with filler and sand them flush prime and paint this sucker. Will be nice to have it painted.

Time spent tonight 6 hours
Total time spent 1423 hours

Top Coat on the engine cowling

April 27, 2012

Today I decided it was time for the engine cowling to go blue.  I finished up the final sanding on the cowling to 320 grit.  The cowling didn’t need primer any where except for where I expanded the left cowling out to fit the engine.  I have been filling and sand for several weeks now on and off.   So I shot a final primer coat on to those parts and then let them dry.  While those parts were drying I shot a first coat of eko-fill on the gear leg fairings.  This really highlighted the pin holes in the leg.  I nearly had to sand most of it off and I will need to re-shoot them.  On Thursday I worked on the turtle deck by sanding the latest batch of clear coat in hopes of filling in some of pin holes.  It sort of works but its a real PITA.  I think I got it good enough and will use primer from here on out.    Anyway back to the cowling.  Once the primer was dry I sanded it down with 320 and then wiped everything real good with 91% alcohol loaded them in to the booth mixed paint and started shooting.  41 min later they looked like this:

The next day I took them out for a photo shoot:

And for all you video folks:

Time spent today 8 hours

Total Time spent 1268 hours

Canopy panel, cockpit inst panel, turtle deck, and painting the rudder

April 8, 2012

Today was a busy day I got all sorts of work done on the canopy panel. First thing first. I measured marked and trimmed the canopy panels ends to meet up with the turtle deck. I then marked and cut the inside coping tube (4130) then I welded an extension tube on to it to lengthen to the end of the new canopy panel. After that I marked and drilled new holes for the rivets on the extension. I sanded the tubing down in prep for priming. I figured the tubing would start to corrode if it was primed after being attached to the panel so decided to prime it, then attach it. So after I was happy with everything I made sure the turtle deck was in place and and I drilled the holes and installed the nut plates that hold the top of the panel to the turtle deck. After all that was done I removed both panels and the windscreen skirt and etched and rinsed them allowing them to dry for several hours. I cleaned them all off with alcohol and primed them. While they dried I pulled the instruments out of the instrument panel and started to sand it down in prep for some primer. I didn’t strip this one as I though I could salvage the primer that I used a few years ago. In hindsight I will likely strip it and re-etch and prime. A hour or so after I primed canopy panels, coping and windscreen skirt I pulled them out of the booth so that I could top coat the rudder.

Now with the top coat on the rudder I decided since I was having some orange peel issues that I would thin the mix a little more using 2.85 instead of the 3.0 on the can. It worked a little better but I still think it needs more so next time I will use 2.75 and see how that does.

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1254 hours

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

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