Monday, December 15, 2014

Ok, it will not be this month

Sigh*  I've been telling everybody that I wanted to move to the airport this month.  Well it isn't looking like that will happen.  I have been using a composite primer called UV Smooth Prime that requires three weeks of curing time before I put the final coat of epoxy primer on.  That three week window alone puts me in early January before I can move to the airport.  I don't think the electrical system in the hangar will support an air compressor large enough to run an HVLP spray gun.  I am getting so excited about flying this airplane but there are a number of tasks that are still on the agenda that are really out of my control...the airworthiness inspection comes to mind as a big one.  :-)

So back to the weekly progress report.  I am still working on the cowling this week.  Another coat or two of epoxy to seal up the pin holes and then another coat of bilge-coat and I think I am going to call it ready for the next steps.  I finished up a few details on the engine...installing plug wires, tightening oil cooler hoses, etc.

Also got some work done on the empennage fairing this week.  I had to trim the fairing in a few places and do some glass work but its starting to come together nicely.  I also had to install the lower empennage fairing which is actually a small aluminum strip that gets screwed to the longerons after drilling and tapping out some nice #6 screw holes.

I had to trim the area outlined in black on both sides.

The other side.

Here the fairing is back on the airplane and I have laid some fiberglass up to form a new forward hook around the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer.
The short aluminum strips outlined by the yellow is the lower empennage fairing.  These get trimmed down a little and then a rubber seal is put between the strip and the bottom of the horizontal stabilizer.

This is the vacuum bagging process that I used to form the center console cap out of carbon fiber.  In this picture I have laid two layers of 9 oz carbon fiber cloth and then one layer of 9 oz fiberglass into the mold.  Then I put some peel ply down followed by some absorbent cloth and then finally I wrapped it all in plastic and sealed the edges.  Just before I seal things up for good I install the vacuum flange so that I could use the pump sitting on the edge of the table behind the yellow coil of hose to draw a nice 28" vacuum on the bag.  This forces the cloth into the mold and holds it there while the epoxy dries which is about 24 hours.
And this is what the final product looks like sitting on the center console.  It took lots of trimming, cutting and sanding to get it this far and there is more to come.  So far I like the way it looks.

I finally got around to priming the slider skirt.  It took several coats of UV Smooth Prime and lots of sanding but I am ready for the epoxy now.