Thursday, August 27, 2015

Preparations For Making The Fiberglass Canopy Fairing Begin

It is time to begin working on the fiberglass lay-up for the canopy fairing. Decided it would be prudent to temporarily screw the left and right instrument panel pieces in place to hold the shape of the F-1240 upper forward fuselage skin for the fiberglass lay-up. Prior to installing the panel pieces, both connectors were moved to the center of the instrument panel tray and all the wiring was covered with a large piece of paper from one of the kit shipments. (Us builders of Van’s kits know, there is no shortage of paper when building a Van’s kit).
Left and right instrument panel pieces temporarily screwed in place to hold the shape of the F-1240 upper forward fuselage skin for the fiberglass lay-up. Paper was placed over the wiring to prevent unwanted resin from reaching it.

One oversight that caused lots of extra work was removing the paint and primer from the forward arms of the canopy frame.  Last fall, in my exuberance to finish paint all the interior components, I did not read ahead far enough to realize the forward arms of the canopy frame should not have been painted because of the bonding that takes place there. Easy to fix with an angle grinder outfitted with a 3M Scotch-Brite pad. As tough as it was to get the paint and primer off, doubt it all had to come off to get a good bond but it was, for the most part, all removed down to metal.  Once the paint was removed the metal was scuffed up with 80 grit sand paper.
Using the angle grinder outfitted with a 3M Scotch-Brite pad - the unwanted paint and primer mistakenly placed on the canopy frame’s arms was removed. This took up quite a bit of time ... fellow builders may want to mask this area when painting the canopy frame.
Canopy frame arm after removing paint and primer then scuffed with #80 grit sandpaper.

Begin the great duct tape dilemma. The plans instruct the builder to place one layer of duct tape on the F-1240 upper fuselage skin and three layers of duct tape on the F-1270 side skins. In preparation for this step, the DOG Aviation procurement department purchased a roll of duct tape to have on hand. As the tape was pealed away from the roll it seemed paper thin … not nearly as thick as what I am used to seeing. A little research revealed duct tape comes in various mill thicknesses at my big box store ranging from 9 to 15 mills.  When placing three layers on the side skins the difference in thickness is huge. Sure wish Van’s would have said use 9, 11 or 15 mill tape … or whatever. Admittedly, at times, I tend to over analyze … this is one of those times.
Van’s wants three layers of duct tape on the side skins. That is rather vague … considering the difference in thickness becomes significant between 9, 11, or 15 mill duct tape when stacking three layers.

After pondering the situation for quite a while the thicker 15 mill tape was selected for the mission. This decision was based on nothing but a WAG (wild  ass guess) and assumption. The duct tape Van’s uses when packing the kits is NOT the thin stuff … it is thicker and has a tenacious glue.  They must go through many rolls of it. Hence the assumption, since it is in such abundance at Van’s, it is likely the tape they used for doing the canopy lay-ups.

The plans instruct the builder to cover the outside edges with of the F-1240 upper forward fuselage skin with one layer of duct tape and the F-1270 side skins with three layers. The instrument panel is to be masked off with paper and tape along with the coves where the canopy arms rest when the canopy is closed. In addition to the masking, the forward three screws need to be removed from both sides of the canopy ... then the canopy is lowered.
All the taping and masking is now complete and the canopy is ready to be lowered.
Canopy lowered and remaining portions of the upper forward fuselage skin are masked off with tape and paper.

Also rolled up some tape and placed it loosely over the washers behind the arms so if any resin drips down there hopefully they will be protected as well. The next step involves trimming the foam blocks and bonding them onto the forward arms of the canopy frame ... a job for the next work session.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

C-1212 Guide Blocks Installed

Been a while since anything meaningful has been done to the RV-12 but a handful of small tasks were accomplished in the last few days along with resolving a computer problem and rounding up a router and rounding bit … more on that later.

One of the last tasks to perform on the RV-12 prior to preparations for creating the fiberglass lay-up for the canopy fairing is to install the C-1212 guide blocks. The C-1212 guide blocks will assist the canopy to center itself when lowered so the tab on the guide plate is in alignment with the slot in the F-1254 support frame. The supplied guide blocks were measured and deemed close enough in size to not need additional cutting.

I took exception with the plans when it comes to drilling the two holes in each block. The C-1212 guide blocks are only 1/2" wide and the plans call for drilling the #19 holes 3/8" in from the edge of the block then machine countersinking the holes. If that were done, I believe the machine countersinking would bust out the edge of the block. Looking at ALL the drawings for the C-1212 blocks, it appears the two holes are dead center on the blocks. Van’s drawings have been good in the past showing exact hole placements, so I deviated from dimension in the plans and used the drawings as my guide …  the drawings show centered holes and this is where I ultimately drilled them after stewing about it for a day.
Using the drill press to drill the #18 holes in the C-1212 guide block.
Machine countersinking the C-1212 guide blocks for a #8 screw.
Completed C-1212 guide blocks … holes are drilled to #18 and machine countersink for #8 screws. There are four drawings of the C-1212 blocks on this page (three of which can be seen) and they all show the two holes in the blocks centered.

The plans instruct the builder to radius the edges of the blocks. This would involve quite a bit of sanding or filing and getting it to look remotely even would be a time consuming task. I decided to make the scary decision to use a router outfitted with a 1/4" rounding bit. I have a router at the southern outpost but didn’t want to take the time to drive all the way there and back, so asked around and Mike T. had one I could borrow. A trip to the local big box store was made to pick up a 1/4" rounding router bit.

On to the scary part … UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would I recommend doing the following … but it was done as carefully as possible and yielded good results. Because the C-1212 guide blocks are so tiny I mounted them onto a scrap piece of plywood. One was a little shorter than the other so a little paper was placed under the short one so there would be no edge to catch on the deck of the router.
Both C-1212 blocks were temporarily mounted onto a piece of scrap wood end to end like this first one.
Both C-1212 blocks attached end to end onto the scrap of wood along with the paper spacer to make the height of both blocks the same. A pad was placed under the router to help keep it in place and it was clamped onto the workbench upside down using Stanley clamps. The depth of the cut was adjusted so the C-1212 blocks would only be cut by the curved portion of the router bit.

The long edges of the C-1212 blocks were run through the router bit on both sides along with the ends. The router did a great job of quickly creating tiny plastic flakes EVERYWHERE … along with nicely rounding off the edges of the blocks. The plans show the sides at the ends of the blocks also get rounded …. Unfortunately this needed to be done carefully by hand … so the blocks were removed from the piece of scrap wood and carefully run past the router bit. I was very pleased with the outcome … each block is nicely rounded.
Carefully making the rounding cuts on the ends of the C-1212 blocks. Make a pass and flip the block and make another pass. Of course, the same thing needs to be done at the opposite end of the block.
Rounding of both C-1212 guide blocks completed.

Measurements are given for the upper mounting screw holes on the roll bar so a cardboard template was marked for the hole placement at 3 3/4" up from the F-1254 support frame and 11/16" in from the outside edge of the roll bar. A block of wood was clamped onto the roll bar to make the outer edge measurement since the roll bar is rounded. Once the measurements are made for the left and right side, the upper holes are to be drilled to #30 and tapped for 8-32 threads.
Marking the positioning of the upper hole that needs to be drilled for the C-1212 guide block. Notice the wooden block established the outer edge measurement.

After center punching the hole locations, a tiny lead hole was drilled and then stepped up to #40 then to #30. A little care needs to be taken drilling the holes for the guide block. These holes need to be drilled perpendicular to the roll bar and the roll bar is at a slight angle … so a little care needs to be taken to drill into the roll bar as square as possible because these holes are going to be tapped.
Drilling the mounting hole to #40 … then onto #30.

After both upper holes for the C-1212 guide blocks are drilled to a final size of #30, the holes are to be tapped. The tap is screwed into the C-1212 guide block so the block can be used as an aid to make sure the hole is tapped squarely.
Tapping the upper mounting hole in the roll bar using the C-1212 block as a guide to keep the tap square to the hole.

After the upper mounting holes for the C-1212 guide blocks are tapped, the guide block is screwed onto the roll bar and a block of wood was again clamped onto the outside edge of the roll bar so the bottom of the guide block could be aligned with the outside edge of the roll bar. At this point, I clamped the guide block in position and ran a #19 drill bit through the bottom hole in the guide block and gave it a couple of spins to mark the center of the hole onto the roll bar.  Once the marks were made for the bottom hole placement, they were center punched and drilled to a final size of #30. Here again the tap was inserted into the guide block to help keep the tap square as the bottom hole is tapped.
Tapping the bottom mounting hole for the right C-1212 guide block for 8-32 threads.
Both C-1212 guide blocks installed.

The plans say there can be a little interference between the canopy and the bottom edge of the C-1212 guide blocks and if there is any to chamfer to bottom outside edge of the guide blocks. I have a slight amount on the left side and a little more on the right so will need to do a little chamfering of both the guide blocks during the next work session. Once the chamfering is completed it will be onto the canopy fiberglass lay-up.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

RV-12 Canopy Latch Instillation Completed

The section of the plans that covers the instillation of the canopy has by far the most pages devoted to it … 23 actually. Last year there was the introduction of the canopy latch micro switch and at that time a few of the canopy latch parts were slightly modified by Van’s to create more of a positive latch and a -1 was added to the part number.  In addition to the instructions for adding a micro switch, section 34 received an additional seven pages which mostly covers various methods of sealing the canopy at numerous locations. A trip was made to the printer so the changes to the plans and the new additional pages could be printed out and inserted into the instruction book.

One of the modified parts is the C-1205 latch block which is now the C-1205-1 latch block. The latch block will be installed under the roll bar and has a trough which captures the canopy latch. Prior to instillation it requires a little finessing by way of countersinking, taping and drilling. The latch block comes with two holes drilled into it and the builder is to countersink the holes for the head of a #8 screw. Easier said than done because there is a trough cut into the latch block and it interferes with the countersinking bit. I ended up taking apart the countersink cage and placing the center portion into the drill press then SLOWLY countersunk down through the wall of the trough and finally into the hole.
Using the drill press to SLOWLY chew away at the wall of the trough on the C-1205-1 latch block and finally on to countersink the hole for a #8 screw. The countersink cage was disassembled and the center portion was placed into the drill press.
Finished machine countersinking of the C-1205-1 latch block. Because of the white on white it is hard to see but zooming in on the photo one can see the wall adjacent to the rear countersink was carved into a little by the countersink bit.

The second hole in the latch plate is a piece of cake to countersink compared to the first hole adjacent to the wall. After both holes are countersunk, the plans instruct the builder to tap one of the holes in the latch block to 8-32 then use it as an aid for tapping the hole in the roll bar squarely. The instructions say to Cleco the tapped latch block onto the roll bar and screw the tap into the latch block and then tap the hole in the roll bar. The idea here is to make a straight square taping of the roll bar. The second roll bar hole is to be tapped after the holes in the latch block are drilled out to #19. Because the holes in the latch block aligned perfectly with the holes in the roll bar, I deviated from the plans and just tapped both holes in the latch block and clecoed it in position to use as a guide for tapping both holes in the roll bar. After the first hole was tapped to 8-32, a screw was placed in the threaded hole to secure the latch block onto the roll bar so the second hole could be tapped … after both holes were tapped, took it all apart, got rid of the metal burrs, final drilled the latch block to #19 per the plans and screwed the completed C-1205-1 latch block onto the roll bar.
Using the threaded hole in the C-1205-1 latch block as a guide to tap the hole in the roll bar squarely using an 8-32 tap.

(Have to mention here that leaving the rear window out has proven to be a golden decision. Working on the latch assembly and adjusting the micro switch would have been much harder if the window were in place). The final piece necessary to complete the canopy latch assembly is to fabricate the C-1214 latch block. The C-1214 latch block is attached onto the aft face of the F-1231F-1 latch plate and level with the latch plate. I made mine just slightly proud about 1/32" … seemed to be a better fit that way. After positioning the C-1214 latch block is to be match drilled to the F-1231F-1 latch plate.

C-1214 latch block clamped onto the F-1231F-1 latch plate for match drilling.
Match drilling the C-1214 latch block using the holes in the F-1231F-1 latch plate as a drill guide.

After drilling, the left most hole in the C-1214 latch block is countersunk for a flush rivet this countersink is to be made deeper than flush. The C-1214 latch block is to be shaped to conform to the shape of the F-1231F-1 latch plate … the Scotch-Brite wheel was used to adjust the shape as necessary. The C-1214 latch plate was then installed using a CS4-4 rivet and two LP4-4 rivets. Because the micro switch and associated wiring has already been installed, all that was necessary to complete the canopy latch instillation was adjusting the positioning of the micro switch. The switch was adjusted so it just barely activates as the latch handle drops into the trough in the C-1205 latch block.
Completed canopy latch and micro switch instillation.