Finishing Kit

July 1, 2011

Canopy Frame Fitting - continued - 4.0 hrs.

It's good to get back in the shop after being gone for another weekend. Two whole weekends in June were devoted to out-of-town travel, and a third one to Fathers Day and our NW RV Fly-in. The month just flew by and I didn't get much done here. I can't believe it's July already. The way it looks so far this year, we may not get any summer. All the warmth seems to be down in Texas, while it keeps raining here and staying cold and miserable. I'm so sick of it. I need an airplane to be able to get out of here. Our great Northwest RV Fly-in on June 18th was totally rained out. That was another great waste of time last month, but I had volunteered to help and felt obligated to show up. We stood in the hanger in the rain, while I was supposed to be parking airplanes. One local guy flew in, and he had to fly IFR. That was it for attendance, other than all of us who drove through the rain to get there. In the past when we've had good weather, we've had as many as 100+ RV's show up for this fly-in. Okay... enough whining... I guess I should stop complaining. At least we don't have tornadoes here. Or hurricanes or floods. Or fires. Anyway, I gotta get this project shifted into a higher gear now. So today I worked on filing away a tiny bit on the skin of the canopy frame, to allow a small gap for clearance so it can open and close without interference.

I didn't take a lot of pictures. It was on and off several times as I filed a bit away at a time to give a small gap. It barely clears when I lift it to open it now. You have to pull the clecos to be able to lift it up, and then the skin pops up a tiny bit and won't allow it to work, but I can push it down with my fingers while lifting and bring the canopy frame open. I believe that when the top skin is riveted in place, this will work out. If not, I can deal with it more at that time. For now, I'll leave this as it is and move on. I want to get this frame finished before warm weather arrives, if I can, so I'm prepared to cut the canopy. It looks like we're in for a short summer, if we get one at all. That's about it for today for pictures. I also spent time cutting the shims out of a wood block for the next step, and getting some 1/8" aluminum shims lined up and deburred. I also deburred the WD-725 canopy frame sides, and also pulled out and deburred the C-613's and the C-704 splice plates so they're ready to go.

July 3-4, 2011 Canopy Frame Prep Work - 7.0 hrs.

No pictures for all the work I did these last couple of days, but I can fill in the log for the record. The next step in the plans is to adjust the flanges on the F-631A's. These are the curved ribs that are on the aft end of the tip-up frame. They come from Vans pre-made with about an 88° bend on the flanges, and they have to be bent to about 92.5° to match up with the aft canopy frame's angle. This means they get all distorted and twisted, and have to be fluted to straighten them out. I had a very frustrating time with the first one. I spent hours working on it. I plan on using Sika-flex on my canopy instead of all those nuts & bolts, but nevertheless, I reserve the right to change my mind, so I wanted to be careful where I put the flutes in these parts. I did a lot of research online to see how other builders did it, then studied the plans, and finally laid out a plan for where the nuts & bolts will go, should I go that way in the end. Then I fluted the flange and tried to get the part to straighten out and lie flat. This was very frustrating and time consuming, and I almost threw in the towel and resigned myself to buying a new one and starting over. But I persisted, reducing the flutes to very small ones, and basically manhandling the thing over the edge of the workbench to bend it the way I wanted it to go. I finally got it to lie flat with the proper angle on the flange. What a hassle. I'm not looking forward to repeating this again for the other one.

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