Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Canopy Fairing Receives More Attention

Yesterday, in addition to painting a few firewall forward parts, decided to take advantage of the current 70 degree days and slather more microsphere filler on the fairing after smoothing out the last application.

To help with the sanding the DOG Aviation procurement department picked up a sanding block and sand paper that has an adhesive back so it sticks onto the block. The block has flat sides and a rounded end so it really does a fairly good job on the canopy fairing’s compound curves.
Sanding the fairing using the DuraBlock with self sticking sandpaper ... procured at a local automotive paint store.

Decided to trim the fairing’s bottom edge per the plans by extending the line of the canopy skirt using a long ruler. This was tough for one person to do so I used the assistance of a clamp to help hold the heavy metal in place while marking with a Sharpie. After marking, the Dremel outfitted with a cutting wheel was used to trim off the excess fiberglass. The cut was made purposely below the line about a 1/16" or so then the fiberglass was easily sanded to the line using 80 grit sandpaper.
Using a long ruler to extend the line of the canopy skirt. After marking with a Sharpie this will be the cut line.
Using the Dremel outfitted with a cutting wheel to trim off the excess material. Looking closely one can see the cut was made a little below the line.
Putting the finishing touches on the bottom edge of the fairing with 80 grit sandpaper. It is looking good.

I was going to continue trimming the fairing to the pattern supplied by Van’s but decided it would be in my best interest to take advantage of the warm afternoon and slather another small batch of microsphere filler onto the fairing to smooth out a couple of small valleys that existed. It is looking like this last application will be the end of the filling but there will likely be tiny spots here and there but all and all the fairing is truly looking good.

Today, the microsphere filler that was applied yesterday was sanded smooth and the laborious task of sanding down to the first layer of electrical tape began. I was using 180 grit sandpaper because I did not want to burn through the electrical tape and took my time carefully revealing the edge of the tape to the tune of four hours of sanding.  Because Van’s plans call for overlapping the electrical tape with resin, it takes quite a bit of careful sanding to reestablish the edge without burning through the tape or creating a grove in the lay-up below the electrical tape. Doing it again I would make sure that the edge of the tape is just barely overlapped with resin ... it would have made sanding much easier.
Results of four hours of sanding to slowly expose the edge of the red electrical tape and smooth the microsphere filler.
View from above after sanding to reveal the edge of the red electrical tape.
Good view of the final radius of the canopy fairing lay-up.

By in large most of the fairing is where it needs to be. May need to touch up a few small spots here and there, but the basic finished shape is there and ready for a professional paint shop to bring it all home.

The fairing still needed to be trimmed using the trimming template. Many weeks ago tracing paper was used to trace the trimming template so it would not be necessary to cut up the template drawing. The tracing paper was taped onto the fairing and the cut lines were marked with a green Sharpie pen.
Using the tracing paper template to mark the cut line with a green Sharpie pen.

Prior to cutting the fairing, I verified the tracing paper template matched the drawing … it was discovered it was off a little … many weeks ago it was perfect … humidity affecting the paper? Anyway, made a new template and remarked the cut line in red ink.
Remarked cut line is in red ink.

It was getting late so will cut the fairing first thing tomorrow and hopefully get back to sealing the carburetor drip trays with tank sealant.