2 Hours 02 August, 2002
I trimmed the Jig that holds the front of the fuselage to better align the belly pan edges. I used pieces of tongue depressors to hold the leading edge of the joint in place.
I'm going to have to do a bit of fill work on a couple of the corners. There were some very large mold lips that had to be sanded down and some depressions behind them that will have to be filled.
4 hours 04 August, 2002
I glassed in the first layers in the seam for the front belly pan and did some trimming later. I also block sanded the edge of the center seam at the cowl flange..
9 Hours 05 August, 2002
Jim Powell came over and lent me a hand with the rear belly pan. We removed it from the temporary fitting, removed all the tongue depressors and cleaned off the hot glue. We used a very sharp wood chisel to cut the chunks of glue off and then cleaned the remnants off using Acetone. Jim removed the cross pieces that held the vertical stabilizer leading edge in place. The tail is still within a couple of thousandths of an inch of being true. According to the plumb bob it is true...as near as I can see. We then block sanded the edges of the belly pan and the fuselage sides to fit with no ridges or depressions. Between us we put in 9 hours.
4 Hours 06 August, 2002
I removed the rear belly pan (again) and trimmed the hot glue from the edges around the wood sticks. I then put it back in place and carefully aligned it. That plane has darn near enough 100 MPH tape on it to fly.
That glue you can see on the wood at the edge of the fiberglass had to be trimmed off. There were about 5 places that had to be done. This glue sticking out like that kept the panel from aligning properly. The picture shows the back end of the rear belly pan, just shy of where it comes to a sharp point.
6 Hours 07 August, 2002
I cut two 70 inch long, 3 1/2 inch wide strips of glass cloth on the 45 bias. I then covered the seam area on the copilots side with resin for a distance a bit longer than 70 inches. Holding the cloth in my left hand, I slowly pressed it in place along the seam with my right. If the tape started to stretch, all I had to do was push the roll toward the spot where I was pressing and it'd widen right back out. It went in relatively easy. I then mixed up a 75 gram batch of resin and stippled the cloth into place. I had enough resin to coast the seam area on the other side. I applied the other side in the same manner, except the cloth roll was held in my right hand while I used the left to press it into place. Again the cloth was stippled into place.
5 hours 08 August, 2002
Well...Joyce helped me finish up one of the rear belly pan laminates. (The two 70 inch lay-ups seem to be well cured) We cut the Cloth on the 45 bias, 3 1/2 inches wide and 43 inches long. I laid it on a strip of waxed paper and held the cloth in place using spring loaded clothespins from the bottom. Joyce fed it in through the tail and held onto the one end. I took the clothespin off my end, opened up the paper and cloth, carefully aligned the center with the seam and pressed it in place on the sticky surface. (I had put on a layer of plain resin before we started). I kept peeling the waxed paper away and pressing the glass cloth into place. There was very little shifting, or distorting of the cloth. I mixed up a 50 gram batch of resin with minimal catalyst and stippled the cloth in place...Boy, but reaching the end of the tail cone was a bear. I had to do the last 4 to 6 inches from outside. I'm in the process of wetting the surface of the seam area with resin to make it sticky. I had to basically roll over and reach as far into the tail cone as I could while laying on my back, but with my shoulders twisted. This is where you really appreciate that window fan blowing fresh air down through the fuselage.
Working on the belly pan seams back in the tail cone.
We took a break and I went back out and put the second lay-up in place using the waxed paper method. I used a couple of clothespins to hold the end of the cloth to the tail cone, instead of having Joyce hold it, but otherwise it was the same procedure.
Soooo.... IF the resin set properly and the cloth doesn't shift the fuselage *should* be ready to set upright late tomorrow evening (Thursday) and I can start the next five layers for the belly pan seams.
I brought out the first batch of resin which was promoted with accelerator (way back on March 26th) when I started this part, but was setting up too fast when the weather got hot. I tested it with some older catalyst and came up with a gel time of 25 minutes for the cool resin in a cup, right out of the basement. The resin and catalyst are good, so I think I will use it for the lay-ups in the belly pan seams I want to use it before it Gels on its own.
I put a long sheet of waxed paper in the bottom (top) so I could work without sticking to the shell and to keep the drippings off the shell. One wrong turn and I was on my way to out the door...or windshield... It made me recall using waxed paper on a slide when I was a kid.
Looks like I'm going to have to create a third page pretty soon, as this one is getting pretty long.
3 Hours 08 August, 2002
So far today, I removed all the tongue depressors from the rear belly pan, cleaned off the hot glue, and removed the duct tape back to within about 5 feet of the tail. As I didn't finish the second lay-up till after 2:00 AM and it's supposed to be "undisturbed" for at least 24 hours, I don't think I'm going to do any more back there until tomorrow. Using a small wood wedge and a 12 ounce Ball peen hammer, I knocked the heavy wood alignment blocks off the vertical stabilizer.
8 Hours 09 August. 2002
Jim Powell came over and we set the fuselage right side up. We set the front down on the edge of the Jig and the rear on a container about 16 inches high with a one inch thick piece of Styrofoam (TM) on top. I took two 6 inch concrete blocks and one 10 inch for supports.
I put one 6 inch block with a 1 inch thick foam pad under the front belly pan to take most of the weight off the Jig and the second just behind the forward edge of the rear belly pan. The 10 inch block with two 1 inch Styrofoam boards was placed about half way between the front of the rear
The next step was to remove the alignment blocks that had been hot glued across the fuselage seam. These popped off relatively easy using a wood wedge and ball peen hammer. Using a sharp wood chisel and care I removed a good portion of the hot glue that had been left. Then I used a cloth soaked in Acetone to remove the smaller bits. There is still quite a bit of this left to finish up.
I then cut 12 3 1/2 inch wide by 70 inch long fiberglass strips (cut on the 45 degree bias) for the rear belly pan seam lay-ups which take five more lay-ups for a total of 6.
5 Hours 10 August, 2002
I cut 4 more 70 inch strips to give me a total of 20 including the ones already installed.
Next step was to do the 70 inch lay-up on the pilots side. The masking tape is more as an alignment guide and also catches some of the "drippings" from the brush. It was quite warm in the shop and the resin was starting to get thick in about 15 minutes although I didn't have any start to Gel. I was mixing up 50 gram batches. I switched to the older batch of resin that had been promoted in March and it is working just fine with about the same gel times as the newer. There is not a lot left, but I hope to be able to finish up the rear belly pan using the older batch. As soon as it's finished and I'm back to using the newer batch it'll be time to order two more gallons.
The biggest problem is that it is slow work stippling in the long strips and particularly time consuming where they come through the bottom of the tail. It takes about 15 minutes just to get the two feet coming through the bottom of the tail in place and the air bubbles removed from the lay-up. It's very difficult to see what you are doing when you are doing it. So, for the last 40 inches, or so it takes two batches of resin. even if they are small. The resin is setting hard enough that I can start work on the next layer in about 2 to 3 hours.
I removed the temporary fire wall and set a window fan on the front belly pan. Running the fan on high makes working back in the tail relatively comfortable, except for the black and blue knees. The fan couldn't bring in enough air through the windshield and door openings. With that temporary fire wall in place the odor gets pretty strong.
So, I now have the second lay-up full length on the pilot's side and the second 70 inch lay-up on the copilots side. With 2 pieces per side for each lay up I only have 17 strips to go.
6 Hours August 11, 2002
Laid up both front sections and the rear section on the right (copilot's) side.
8 hours August 12, 2002
I put in the front sections and the left rear section. After they had set I finished up the rear piece piece on the left. That makes 4 layers on each side.
9 Hours August 13, 2002
I put in two sections starting at the front of the rear belly pan. 36 inch long sections at the front followed by 70 inch laid out together. I glassed in both sides . I waited for them to cure enough to work on and then I finished up the 5th layers in the rear belly pan seam. I think it was about 3:45-3:50 AM when I went in for the night.
5 Hours August 14, 2002
I just finished cutting some pieces for the front belly pan seam and spend some time bringing this page up-to-date. As I had missed a couple of days I had to start with my current situation and work back, but it was only today, plus two days.
Time I finish up tonight...er...tomorrow morning, I hope to have at least both front strips in for the final rear belly pan in and maybe even one, if not both rear strips. I've also cut some pieces for the front belly pan seams and I'm going to experiment with some multi-layer lay-ups.
Wellll... I ended up getting the front two pieces in for the 6th and final layer on the seams for the rear belly pan, but neither rear strip. The experiment (three layers) worked fairly well, but I think I'll stick to one at a time. I put a three layer lay-up together on waxed paper, then flipped it over and transferred the three layers to the front belly pan seam on the pilots side. It went fairly well, but the bottom layer (naturally it had to be the bottom layer) slid back about an eighth inch out of place. Later I added one more layer so there are a total of five on the pilot's side and 4 on the copilot's side. The rear belly pan only needs the two rear strips.
I also finished cleaning the remnants of hot glue off the fuselage outer surface. There is going to be a little sanding and filling, but it looks pretty good. My work looks much better than what came out of the box.
4 hours August 15, 2002
I finished the front belly pan seams with two lay-ups on the copilot's side and one on the pilots side. I then added the rear strip on the pilot's side.
2 Hours August 16, 2002
Finished the right rear strip and filled two voids (air bubbles) in previous lay-ups. One was near the right side of the rear belly pan just behind the front edge. The other was about in the middle of the left seam on the front belly pan seam. I drilled about a # 30 hole on each side of the voids and the using a syringe I injected resin into the voids. I also trimmed the edges of the lay-ups using a utility knife.
Air bubble in front belly pan seam
Filled air bubble
The fuselage will be ready to invert after 24 hours. If I have help I may give it a try Saturday evening. BTW, I still think my lay-ups look better than the ones from the factory. That's not saying mine are great, just better that the factory ones.
Having reached a break point, I may let things set and take the Debonair out for some play. Maybe even find my safety pilot and do some hood work, shooting a few approaches..
2 Hours August 20, 2002
The fuselage is inverted and I'm ready to start with the ceiling. I tried various methods of supporting the ceiling as it needs good support when the weights are put on the foam during the cure. I had settled on using concrete blocks to support Styrofoam supports and they did seem to work well, but I could only get 4 supports under the area. I had several large blocks of bead-board. They are roughly 3 X 4 feet and 4 inches thick.
I measured off the distance between the floor and the top of the fuselage every 4 inches from the top of the windshield on back. Then I transferred the measurements to one of the blocks of bead-board. It worked fairly well, but still didn't give the continuous support I wanted. The manual had suggested making a form fit and this had been my best guess. As I looked at the "mostly fitting" chunk of foam, I started thinking about foam. I had a can of the liquid foam insulation. It comes out of the can as a yellow liquid, foams up, expands, and hardens. So... I cut another block of foam but set the dimensions to give about a one inch gap between the foam and the foam block. I also trimmed the first foam block to also have a one inch clearance. Then I took a sheet of Saran Wrap and stuck it to the top of the fuselage between the top of the windshield and a bit farther back than the ceiling work will take me.
Measure floor to top & add 3 1/2 inches
Saran Wrap on top of fuselage
Filling Gap with expandable foam insulation
The next step was to set the foam blocks in place and then using an extension tube affixed to the tube on the can, filled the area between the fuselage top and the foam blocks. It appears as if the foam has expanded and hardened to give me a form fitting support for the top of the fuselage.
Filling the Gap with foam insulation
The cured result
5 Hours, Friday August 24, 2002
I picked up new filters for my face mask, including a set of Organic Vapor filters. With those in place I can work with the resin, and even Acetone while breathing what amounts to fresh air. You don't realize how well those things work until you reposition the mask and get a whiff of what's in the room.
I also put the two cans of promoted resin in the refrigerator. Taking them down to 40 degrees does raise the viscosity a bit, but the temperature brings the pot life up to a half hour, or more. After working with large q-cell mixtures, I think I need to let the resin come up to room temperature so it will set up faster and not flow. The one can has about a pint left and the other may have a couple hundred grams. I just received two gallons that were poured two days before I received them and there is a quart of the high temperature resin on the way. If conditions continue I will be able to use up the two gallons of promoted resin even though the one was promoted way back in March.
Starting out I cut a 3" wide strip of 1" thick 5# foam. Then sanded it to fit the fuselage center seam. The laminations in the seam were sanded flush along the edges. The bottom of the seam was sanded and then the whole thing was washed with Acetone which left a tacky surface. The plans call for a medium Q-cell mixture, but even for the slight slope it tended to "slowly" run down hill. I used 4 of the landscape "edgers" for weight to hold the foam in place. That squeezed out a bit more filler than I expected.
6 Hours, Sunday August 25, 2002
I spent quite a bit of time sanding off the excess q-cell mixture and still have to remove quite a bit that filled in the underside of where the door hinges will be located. Of course, I figure that I'd rather spend extra time sanding off a bit of excess, instead of redoing a part because I didn't use enough.
8 Hours Monday August 26, 2002
After sanding on the first piece I added another 3 inch wide, 1 inch thick piece to take to foam to the back of the thicker cabin section. I mixed up about a 60 gram mixture of Resin and took it a bit beyond a "medium q-cell" mix. Once that was in place I cut a 3 inch wide piece of 1/4 inch foam about three feet long (to extend well beyond the back of the rear windows), coated it with the Q-cell mix and fitted it in place. I found a couple more "edgers" and put them on top of the 1/4 inch foam.
4 Hours Tuesday August 27, 2002 (300 Hours to date)
Today it's sand, sand, sand, and more sanding and I can't hardly move after all the sanding yesterday. I think I'm going to add an extra 1/4 inch thick piece where the fuselage thickness tapers down and use a thick q-cell mixture to fill out to the side, making a much larger radius which should look better when the two laminations are put in to cover all this work and give the inside of the cabin a more finished appearance. Who'd have thought it would take so much work for something that will be covered up?
I added another piece of foam and used a thick (lightweight) q-cell mixture to fill in around it plus the heat lamps speeded the cure and I didn't have near the run problem as before. There is still going to be a lot of sanding required to get the foam flush, or tapered into the contours. Several have mentioned I should have run a piece of conduit through to the back for overhead lighting. It's a bit late for that now. Overhead lighting would have certainly been nice.
I've been using excess q-cell mixture to fill seams and irregularities.
Sanding edges to fit the channel
|And more sanding||Sanding the edges of the laminations smooth|
|100# holding the foam in place||Weight off with waxed paper in place||A lot of sanding and a lot more to do.|
|The filler is thinning out||Down to where you can see through the filler||A long way to go and a lot more sanding|
|Some of the Q-cell mixture slid down hill||Flaw in edge of door opening||Covered up as it came from the factory|
I ran into a problem with the edges of the pilots side door opening. It had a couple of flaws where the glass and resin did not reach and it had quite a bit of white powder. Apparently they had a problem with the mold. The flaws are about 1 inch long and a quarter to three eights inch deep. The problem is they just filled the missing areas with body putty which is very fragile. I'm not sure yet, how I'm going to repair those areas as those flanges are supposed to stay the same thickness for the door seal.
I'm told these won't really be a problem as they will be cut away when I actually install the doors.
3 Hours Friday August 30, 2002
Welllll...Today was sand and fill, sand and fill. I was having a problem with the q-cell mix. I thought it might be due to me keeping the resin in the refrigerator. However Bruce mentioned bringing the catalyst up to either 2 or 3%. I had been using minimal catalyst (bout 0.8%) due to the fast cure (short working life and early Gel times). I mixed one batch according to directions and it just plain didn't stick, or have any strength. Then I mixed one slightly on the resin rich side. It looked good, but was working its way down hill. It appeared that the resin dropped out and the whole top *mess* slid down hill about 6 inches. Then Bruce mentioned the mixing consistency, which I had been doing and the added catalyst, which I hadn't been doing. So I mixed up a fresh batch to the proper consistency using 2% catalyst. The surface was already quite warm from the heat lamps and previous batch. I spread out the new mix, put the heat lamps back in and the stuff was smooth and hard within an hour. I gave it another hour and then put the sander to it. The power sander was doing a great job, but that fuselage was like a sounding board. At 2:00 AM I thought I'd quite and keep harmony in the neighborhood instead of finishing the sanding..
I have a bit more fill and I have to seal the back half of the foam so *maybe* I can sand early tomorrow afternoon, fill and seal and then finish sand early tomorrow evening.
**** Couple days to fill in here ****
4 Hours Thursday September 05, 2002
I took a break, did some flying. Flew safety pilot with a friend (which is what I need to do too -- Get some hood time) I purchased some polyester to use as peel ply.
At any rate, the sanding and filling is about finished. I cut a piece of Bi Directional cloth on the 45 and it appears I'll have to splice on about a foot at the back. After laying the cloth in place I found two small spots (irregularities) that need a bit more sanding. I may need to do a little more along the edges of the part near the back. However, barring surprises I should be able to install at least one layer of cloth tonight. I wanted to get the irregularities out which meant putting in 70 grams of fill and sanding out 65 grams about three times. It was work that wasn't really necessary, but I wanted it done. For areas like this which are large and curved I can use my power sander. Unfortunately it stirs up a *lot* of dust. I'm going to have to wait for a real windy day, open the big garage doors on the south and the east, and then go over the whole place with the air hose. I should be able to blow the dust off stuff and the wind will blow it out the door.
|Area filled, sanded, and ready for glass||Sheet of fiberglass cloth laid in place.||Overall view of cloth in place|
For those who think of block sanding in the vein of prep sanding for painting, this is nothing like that. This is using either 60 or 80 grit and removing a lot of material whether with the power sander, or pushing a block back and fourth. As it was late last night I was running the "hand powered" block, out of respect for the neighbors. My shoulders and arms feel like they used to after the first day of sports.
By the way. The strip on the right is not really curved. That is field curvature induced by using a very wide angle lens on the camera.
|Ceiling with 2 bi-directional layers||Some of those magic air bubbles||Bubbles filled with uncured resin|
307 Hours to date
The says you are caller
If you have comments, suggestions, or corrections email me at EAA Chapter 1093