Finishing Kit

July 13, 2011

Canopy Frame Fitting - continued - 4.5 hrs.

I've been working on a few details over the last few days. The first thing I did today was to drill the holes in the canopy frame skin in the angled row shown below. The plans don't really tell you when to do this, but it seems like now is a good time.

Next, the fitting of the WD-725 side rails needs some tweaking. The plans tell you that the bottom may fit well as they come from the factory, but the top may need more curve. So how do you check this? Tempting as it was to just blow this off and move on, I came up with a very good method. Turn the WD-725 upside down and lay it against the curvature of the longeron and see how it looks. This works best if you swap sides... that is, put the right side rail upside down on the left side canopy deck rail, and vice-versa. As you can see below, mine indeed needs more curvature even though the bottom surface looks real good. My canopy deck side rails are red, so it shows up real well.

Here's a closeup, showing more curvature is definitely needed:

After some careful bending over a hard surface, I got it to fit pretty well. Then, repeat for the other side.

Next, the aft flange of the WD-725, where it mates to the F-631A channel, has this raised edge sticking up, preventing this part from mating flush with the surface of the F-631A channel. It's obvious that this comes from the bending of this flange to the correct angle at the factory.

So I spent some time with both of them, filing this away and smoothing this surface. Here's the result. You can also see my pilot holes, drilled to #40 for now. These parts are now ready to go.

With everything clamped in place and fitting as well as I think I'll ever get it, I went ahead and finished drilling the other half of my temporary splice plate to the joint of the F-631A's. You'll notice the two undrilled holes. These are dangerously close to the underlying tooling holes in the channels. I'm probably going to have to replace the F-704 with a new one and plan these holes for better locations.

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