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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Continued Plexi Work - Rear Window

Now that I have drilled the main canopy, I am continuing to fit the rear window and finish all edges.  Basically I cut it down enough to fit into place, then I traced the outline of the window on the plexi. From there I used tape to mark off about ¾ inch from the line and went back to the cutting wheel and sliced up the rear window.  Fits fairly well now, but not drilled yet.  That is for tonight.

Also, I was worried about scratching the plexi so I uncovered it temporarily to make sure it was still clean.  Yup, no scratches yet so that is good.  Will cover it back up tonight after drilling and put it away in a nice safe spot for the next couple years..   ;-)

Also, I am starting to work on the exterior canopy side sheets.  Hopefully progress there tonight as well.

Monday, August 29, 2011

She's a Tipper !

Big weekend as I finished all the misc parts of drilling the canopy and was able to tip it for the first time.  The only problem here is that I had to pull it out of the garage to do it.  I am able to tip it in the garage, but then can't open the garage, so will need to figure that one out as time goes by..

I also fit the rear safety latch and was able to see it function correctly.   I was worried with my mod to keep it from spinning freely if it would function as desired.  Now the only issue is I will need to use two hands to move the canopy from Taxi position shown below to the closed position.   Because the pressure of the spring I will need to push  up on the bow with one hand while I twist the latch with the other..  No problems, and its better than risking having the canopy slam shut, the latch turn and locking me out..  Which has happened to others..

I also was able to start cutting the rear window.  got it to a point where the preliminary fit is pretty good. Will still need to trim it up quite a bit and as well completely trim and finish the edges on both the rear window and canopy.

In case you wanted to see the messy details, below are all the slices of Plexi that I have made so far building this canopy.   I still have more timing to do on the rear window but this shows you the amount of effort involved in this project...  Ugh..

Friday, August 26, 2011

Drilled the Canopy !

OK, I didn’t get pictures during the process, but will explain what I did and post as many pics as I can come up with.  Basically I continued to cut and fit the canopy one more time after completing the riveting of the glare shield.   (I fit and drilled the frame stiffeners, but did not rivet them yet)    Also, I did mark and drill all holes to #40 in the frame side rails and canopy bow.  The plan is to drill through the plexi and hit each hole.

After placing the canopy on and fitting it one last time with tons of duct tape and Bekah’s help to hold it down tight.  I went ahead and using PLEXI BITS drilled the plexi holes to full size (5/32nds) the first time.  (i.e. no pilot hole..)   I did this because I found that drilling a fresh hole never cracked or splintered the exit of the plexi, only when I first drilled a smaller hole, then followed with a bigger bit did it pull and tug and provide small fractures on the exit.   Drilling this way I was able to hit dead center on each #40 hole in the frame and come away with perfect holes in the canopy.   I started at the top back putting in clecos as I went, and skipped a couple holes the first pass as I moved down and to the front.   I came back and drilled out all other holes after the canopy was pretty much locked in position.  It all worked great!   I removed the canopy and ran the debur tool slightly over each hole to get a smooth edge..   Next step is to countersink the holes in the canopy for the #6 screws and open up the holes in the frame to #27.

After drilling the canopy, I then finished drilling the center section of the canopy bow.  Making sure that it was snug up against the canopy and clamped before drilling, then removing the canopy.  I also was able to drill on the canopy center locking assembly that I had fabricated about a month ago to the center of the bow..   So far everything has turned out well..  Next steps here is to back rivet the center “bow” section so I can move on..  Before unclamping the bow, I closely measured the width at the base so I can make sure to get it exactly the same when I back rivet it.  I want to make sure to get as smooth a canopy fit as possible.  J    That’s all there is to it !

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Glare Shield Riveting

I was able to get through about ½ of the riveting on the front deck/canopy frame.  It went smoother than I thought and ended up turning out pretty nice..  My fit between the canopy frame and the front top skin remains very consistent.  (but I have yet to mount the struts which might impact this fit.)  It was amazing how strong this became…   Its always funny how a few rivets makes the assembly bullet proof.  I haven’t even started riveting the canopy frame stiffener assembly yet and it is super tight.  I did put a few shims in  the outside edge of the canopy frame, and will end up putting some #6 Stainless Washers in where the gaps are on the outside edge of the glare shield.  All builders have to deal with this problem, and I think the washers are the simplest and elegant solution.  I will show pics of this in later posts. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Prepping Canopy Frame for Rivet

This weekend was a big weekend for working on the plane.   I got tons done, but not a lot to show for it.  Basically I am going to rivet the canopy frame before final fitting and drilling of the canopy.  The steps here are kind of vague in the plans, so builders build this inconsistently.  For me I think the key to a good canopy fit is to ensure the canopy frame is as final as possible.   So before riveting I had to build and fit the canopy reinforcement.   Basically I used the cheapo edge bender from Avery and riveted it into an angle so that I could get a good squeeze on the lightening holes to strengthen the reinforcement.  Very similar to this builders example. "here"  After these holes were bent I went ahead and shaped the reinforcement to fit under the canopy frame and drilled it away.  The prepped everything and have decided to put some bright yellow flash underneath the canopy frame..  This will never be seen except for when the canopy is open which I am hoping will add a bit to the coolness factor of the airplane..  We’ll see..  Anyway, I also “pre-painted” the frame so that the parts that will be hard to get to when the skin is on are already black.  This way once I final paint this I am hoping it will be flawless..  Here is hopin..  ;-)   Also, I added the UMHV tape at the leading edge over the paint.  This will protect the exposed skin that rides ontop of the forward deck..   Thus far things are turning out pretty good..

Friday, August 19, 2011

Canopy Cutting day 6/7 and other canopy frame work

I haven’t posted for a while mainly due to the whole two steps forward one step backward routine that seems to go on with building an RV.   I was able to continue cutting the canopy until it is about 99% fitting to the canopy frame.  Before the final fit and drilling I decided it was time to work on the canopy frame..  Deburring, dimpling/countersinking and prepping for riveting.   There is a ton of work to do on this piece and I am starting to not like this chunk of metal.  The glare shield does not fit well to the frame and work needs to be done to improve the fit, but nothing discussed in the plans.   I am trying alternatives with marginal success.   I think I am going to just go with some standard aluminum shims in the end.   I tried working with metal epoxy, but the stuff just isn’t strong enough for my comfort.  So it is back to the grinder for me to form some shims.  I was able to debur dimple the entire frame and skin including the holes to mount the strut support.   I also started working with the canopy frame reinforcement which I hope to be able to talk more about in a future entry…   Making progress, just slow.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Canopy Cutting Day 5

Today I didn't have much time to work on the project so I just trimmed off the edges so that they would fit in the groove of the canopy frame side rails.  I wanted to leave a bit extra so I could trim in the future but ended up cutting them just about right.   Toward the aft they fit perfectly and are a little longer near the front.  I will need to trim them down a bit as I focus on the corner getting it to fit behind the tab..  That is next on my list..

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 4 - The Big Cut !

After marking my line and checking it twice, I decided it was time for the big cut.   You are supposed to use a table or saw horses, mount blocks to hold the canopy from flexing and splitting while making the big cut..  I tried a non-conventional approach.   I had it in the grass a few days ago and realized that the grass grabs the edges really well.  Adding some scuba weights on each side sealed the deal, and it was so much easier than per plans.  The riskiest part was cutting up each side about 3 inches while propping it up so that I didn’t have to go all the way to the dirt with my cutoff wheel.   I also barely had 70 degrees here yesterday, but was determined to make it work.  I used duck tape to help hold things together as I went along.

Happy to say that it turned out Great !   I now have two halves of canopy and it is easier to move around than ever.  Time for some final alignment and cuts before drilling..

Monday, August 8, 2011

Canopy Cutting Day 3

Today I took slice after slice off the leading edge of the canopy.  4 in total, equaling to about a total of 1.3 inches..  This lowered the canopy well but not all the way to the roll bar.   I am nervous to go any further until after the big cut.  Its currently about 2/8 inch from the roll bar, and fits like a glove over the glare shield.  I think we are good enough for now.

I also started to line up the canopy and tape up a line for the big cut.  This is where the canopy is  cut in two pieces one for the rear window and one for the tipping part above me and the passenger.  You can see here that after I made sure the canopy edges were duck taped to the canopy frame tight that I used several layers of masking tape the make the clean line for the cut.  It looks good and is ready to cut. I hope to make the big cut soon…

Friday, August 5, 2011

Canopy Cutting Day 2

After a trip to Oshkosh (AirVenture 2011) and NY for a family wedding, I am back to work on the project. The weather is good here these days, so it’s the perfect time to continue cutting on the canopy. My plan is to take it slow and cut small strips off to creep up on the final fit. Today I cut the tooling marks off the sides and also cut an additional strip off the front trying to match the contour that will be needed to fit the glare shield.

I almost nailed the contour and hope to keep it this accurate as I continue cutting on it. Basically, the front needs to be cut off until it lowers the height of the canopy to the point where it is straight across and as close to the roll bar as possible. From the pic below (the blurry not so good one) you can see I have about an entire inch above the roll bar.. This definitely needs to be lower. My plan is to cut ½ inch off the front again and see where it gets me. Then I will work on the front corners and sides a bit before the big cut.. Still lots to do on this but I am excited for the day where the cutting is over. It’s hot with all the protective gear on and no way that you can’t do this without being messy…

Places we have been in our RV-7 ! (Blue 2013, Yellow 2014, Green 2015, Purple 2016, Red 2017)