Working on Chapter 16

updated: 22/05/2017


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Step 10 Closing the Top, Carving & Glassing the Outside

Whilst the fuselage was upside down I decided to complete the shaping of the sides and bottom.

The plans state that you need to make a template from the top view provided in the M17 drawing to assist with shaping the sides.  I couldn't find a top view of the nose in any of the M-drawings, so I proceeded with making my own by dropping a Plumb line from F-0, F-22 and 3rd point slightly aft of F-22 onto the floor and plotting a curve onto a piece of paper.  

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This curve was transferred onto 2 pieces of 1/4" thick masonite board and cut out to make the sanding templates.  The fuselage was then checked for level and the two top & bottom templates clamped into position, using a couple off-cut planks.  The set-up was completed by ensuring both templates were level and that the F-0 and F-22 marks on the top and bottom templates lined up nicely.  The sides were then easily sanded vertically with a sanding board.  The set-up was repeated on the other side.

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Before sanding the top level I cut and glued a strip of foam on top of the nose strut to make up for the nose wheel sitting an extra 1/4" into the fuselage.  I now sanded the top level, using the strut cover as a guide to get the correct slope from F-22 down to F-0 was achieved.  I then knocked off the corners using a loose hacksaw blade, finishing off free hand with a sanding block.  I was very happy with the final result.  At this point I had to stop and think about how I was going to install my nose bumper rubber and went with the following design change.  As I had created 2 x NG-32 bulkheads either side of the centre line, I decided to make a bridging piece out of 1/4" birch ply (3" x 5.5"), which would tie into the F-0 and NG-32 bulkheads.  I cut a 1/4" step into both the F-0 and the 2 NG-32 bulkheads to accommodate the bridging piece, so that it would be level with the bottom when installed with flox and 2 plies of BID inside and out.

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I used a standard Ice Hockey puck, but decided to shape the puck oval to make it more stream line and pleasing to look at.  Using MS Word I draw an oval shape to suit the size of the puck, printed, cut out the shape and glued it onto the puck to assist with the sanding process.  The puck was shaped using the disk / belt sander and created a cloud of black rubber dust everywhere.  When I was finished I looked like one of the Black and white Minstrels?  I drilled a 1/4" hole through the centre of the puck to suit an AN4 bolt and using a 7/8" spade bit drilled a 1/2" deep recess for a washer.  A corresponding hole was drilled through the 1/4" birch bridging piece to allow the puck to be bolted into place.  I did not cut the puck in half and left it 1" thick.  The more rubber the better as far as I'm concerned.

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Before glassing and floxing the 1/4" birch bridging piece into place, I extended the nose gear to make sure that the NG-5 1/4" plate had enough clearance to extend fully without catching.  The next problem was getting the Featherlite supplied nose cone permanently mounted with micro before attempting to glass the bottom of the nose.  This proved quite difficult as I kept getting a bulge in the one side.  I think I might have messed up the size of F-0 and the fit was not good.  I eventually resorted to using numerous flat head screws to get the nose cone outside edge to lay down flat on F-0.  Once I was happy with the fit, I removed everything and did a final install, this time using micro along the edge of F-0, NG-31 & 32 and left it to cure over night.

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The next day I removed the screws, sanded the edge flat and proceeded to glass the bottom as per plans.  After cure using the Fein I cut the Gear leg free and completely removed the nose gear strut, so that I could easily glass the inside of the cover onto the gear strut with a single BID tape.  I used flox in the corners to provide a little extra strength for the cover.  The Nose gear was then re-assembled and bolted back into the fuselage.

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Before turning the fuselage over I decided to fill and sand the bottom with Micro, especially along the F-0 and F-22 joints and gear strut cover.  I got help from the family to turn the fuselage back onto its wheels and moved onto cutting and contouring the 2" thick Urethane foam used to finish off the top of the nose.  Before temporarily gluing the 2" foam section into place using 5-minute epoxy, I checked the tops of the left and right hand side panels to ensure that they were square and level.  To make the Jig shown on Chpt13, page 14, Fig 61, I place the large M-drawing on top of a piece of 1/4" masonite board and using a dress making pattern wheel, marked the outline required directly onto the board.


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I started by first knocking the corners off and then slowly sanded the top foam section until I had a pleasing shape, rounded in both directions.  I found that the Jig was not very helpful and proceeded to sand free hand and by eye alone.