10/26/98; 1.75; made first trim of canopy (gulp).
Trim lines are covered with masking tape and support boards have been
added to sides of workbench. Not visible is builder standing around trying to come up with
more excuses for putting this off one more day ("I really don't wanna do
this!"). Also waiting for temperature to warm well past 70 degrees.
Cutting the plexi is nasty! The chips sting any exposed skin and make a
mess in general.
After a couple of initial trims, it appears we are on our way to getting a
canopy that will fit....
10/27/98; 5.5 hrs; trimmed rear top fuse skin; more trimming of canopy;
cut canopy in two; dressed edges of canopy and window.
The canopy skin was joggled with the hand seamers to accept the canopy
without having to slot the skin.
I extended the lower aft corner of the baggage window as shown. I think it
improves on the lines of the fuse over the original curved window.
10/28/98; 2.75 hrs; more fussing with the canopy.
10/29/98; 5.25 hrs; more trimming on the canopy; drilled canopy to frame;
countersunk and deburred all holes.
Little clips were attached to the canopy skin to hold the front edge of
the canopy in place.
All drilling complete except for perimetry of window. I had intended to
add a "targa strip" to cover the joint between the canopy and window; However,
the joint looks pretty good so I may omit the strip.
Canopy has a slight gray tint.
10/31/98; 5.0 hrs; painted interior of plane. I used Sherwin Williams
self-etching primer, and followed it with Rustoleum "Smoke Gray". The Rustoleum
was thinned 30% with mineral spirits and shot with a touch-up gun. The control sticks,
flap handle, rudder/brake pedals, and canopy latch was painted with Rustoleum
"Charcoal Gray" aerosol after being primed with Rustoleum gray auto primer. The
two-toned gray finish really looks sharp! Some folks have the opinion that the Rustoleum
is not as scratch-resistant as epoxy, but I like being able to get touch-up paint at any
11/2/98; 4.75 hrs; installed pedals, flap handle, canopy latch; attached
canopy to frame.
11/3/98; 2.5 hrs; riveted side skins to canopy; fabricated handhold for
canopy; installed static air system; installed flap handle stop.
Detail showing plumbing for static air ports (Van's kit). The ports are
simply pop rivets with the mandrel removed. Save one of the broken-off mandrels to use as
a punch to remove the imbedded portion of the mandrel. A few passes of the ScotchBrite
wheel on the interior end of the popped rivet will make it easier to remove the mandrel.
I added a stop to the end of the flap rachet to prevent the possibility of
pulling the handle off the rachet.
11/4/98; 2.0 hrs; fabricated rivet strips for window; painted inside of
aft fuse skin; painted rivet strips.
11/6/98; 2.75 hrs; completed riveting aft fuse skin; installed window.
11/8/98; 1.75 hrs; messing around with canopy, trying to get it to fit
better; fabricated guide for canopy (this is to prevent it from striking the seatback when
Update (3/12/99): After working with the guides for awhile, I decided that
their design lended too much possiblility to cracking the canopy if it ever slammed shut
at the wrong angle. This is because the guides bear against the side skirts as the canopy
closes. A really hard slam might force the skirts against the plexi so hard that it would
Here is the second version of the guides. These guides hit the latch
brackets as the canopy decends instead of the skirts. I don't know how well the aluminum
angle will wear, but time will tell.
Since the nut holding the upper bolt is very hard to reach, I
fastened a platenut to a strip of 0.062" scrap that could be inserted into the hole
on the back of the canopy bow. There is no way to get a wrench into the access hole for
the upper bolt. The nut strip is allowed to rotate and lock into position so the bolt can
11/16/98; 2.0 hrs; more messing around with the canopy....sigh.......;
fabricated guide for left side, completed riveting window to frame and skin.
11/21/98; 2.0 hrs; installed canopy latch lugs. Canopy now pretty much
done except for fiberglassing leading edge of bubble.
11/24/98; 2.0 hrs; installed rudder cables and tailwheel springs.
11/25/98; 1.5 hrs; installed brake lines and reservoir.
I didn't want to have the tailwheel chain clip directly in the rudder
horn. If the hole elongated, the horn would be very difficult to replace. I make fittings
from 4130 scrap to carry the chain clip. These fittings will be easy and inexpensive to
Update: I removed the 4130 straps and replaced them with eyebolts. Either
method should be sufficient to reduce wear on the rudder horn.
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