Friday, October 10, 2014

Time to take a break

I am so frustrated with this plenum that I have decided to move on.  I'm going to break something or say something I shouldn't so its best to just start working on something enjoyable while I ponder my next steps on the plenum.  As it stands right now my options are to jury-rig it to make it work until I get some time to make a new one (that fits) or just bite the bullet and design my own now.  Its sad that I paid $460 for piece of fiberglass that I can't use.  I guess the bright side of the whole issue is I learned a lot about plenums in the past week!

So moving on I decided it was time to work on the oil cooler ducting....

First step was to pull the oil cooler off the firewall so I could do the fiberglass layup directly on the cooler.  Here you see the cooler with a Styrofoam mold that I formed using sheets of Styrofoam board hot glued together and then molded with a saw and sandpaper into the shape I wanted.

Another picture of the mold from the other side.

Next I laid up a couple of layers of fiberglass tape followed by a layer of carbon fiber for stiffness.  The carbon fiber cloth was a very heavy weave so it frayed all over the place.  for the piece that goes on the back of the baffles I will attempt to use my vacuum bagging process.

Here it is after I chipped the foam out of it, smoothed the outside with micro/epoxy and then sprayed a coat of high build primer on it.  I still have some build-up around the flange where it got a bit thin but its looking pretty good so far.
While I wait for the first part to dry I started working on the baffle part.  I forgot to take a picture of it after I had formed the mold but its similar to the first piece except this one has a flat flange that will bolt to the aft baffles.  You will see it once I get it trimmed.  My vacuum pump was putting out a lot of oil vapor or smoke so I only let it run for a couple of hours.  I hope that was enough to let the epoxy set up hard enough to hold shape.  We will see in 12 hours what it looks like....

Oh, I also started fitting the induction system to the lower cowl.  Well as is par for the course the past week or so, it didn't fit.  I few iterations of trimming and I got it to fit length wise.  However, Will sells two version of the backing plate, one that is normal and one with an angle in it that is suppose to work well for cold air induction systems like mine.  Well, turns out my air inlet is almost perfectly aligned with the fuel servo inlet so I need a different backing plate.  See the picture below.

See that beveled shadow?  It shouldn't be there.

Even after trimming about an inch off the end I am just barely fitting.  I still need to trim at least another quarter inch off the end unless the new backing plate gives me the room I need, which it might.

Here is the view from the outside looking down the air inlet.  You can see the fuel servo back there (blue tape covering the air inlet) and its pretty close to perfectly aligned.
I finished sanding the windshield fairing and shot a coat of primer to check the actual condition.  Turns out it was pretty good and only a little more sanding was required to smooth it up a bit more.

And after the last coat of primer I removed the masking and plastic and here it is!  Its not perfect but I am very happy with how it has turned out.  Now I need to finish up the canopy skirt and I will have met my goal for the summer of finishing the plexi work.