Finishing Kit

August 15, 2011

More Canopy Trimming - 4.0 hrs.

At this point I think I'm ready to attempt to fit the canopy behind the "ears" on the canopy skin. Most builders that I've looked at enlarge this slot, or cut the ears off altogether. I don't feel like doing that, at least not yet. So I slipped a scrap piece of plexi into the slot to see how it fits, and then marked the canopy skin for a small cut to enlarge the slot and allow for a better fit. I'm going to play this conservatively and trim as little as possible. It's easy enough to trim more off later if necessary. The ear will need to be trimmed down a bit eventually, too, to match the canopy frame behind it, so at the very least it will be shorter. But for now, I'll test this and see how it fits.

Then I went ahead and made the cuts that I marked last time on the rear window. The big cut around the back of the rear window is the longest cut in the whole canopy project. I took my time and carefully cut it. My poor compressor... he was sure hot after all this work. It runs continuously when you're using the die grinder tool. Anyway, here's it is, after I cleaned it up.

As soon as I had it smoothed and deburred, I wanted to slip it under the skin to see how it fits and how it looks. But as soon as the camera comes out to snap a few pictures, guess who shows up? My little shop helper! She's such a ham.

It is going to need more trimming, since I left plenty of excess flange, but still, I'm very pleased with how this is turning out. I really like the way it looks!

UPDATE: September 10, 2013 - Well, here it is a couple years later. 25 months, to be exact, and I'm finally getting closer to installing the rear window. It took so long because there were a lot of things in the rear fuselage that I wanted to get finished before riveting on that top skin and installing the window. It's much easier to reach over the side to do things like wiring and installing the pitch servo for the autopilot, the ELT transmitter, and so on, before doing this. Otherwise, you're crawling inside there. Hence, the long delay. I was right when I posted above, that the rear window needed a bit more trimming before installing. It looks good in the above picture, but it needed to go back a pinch further and it was hitting the bulkhead flange underneath this skin. So it needed some final trimming before installation. So this seems like the natural place to post this update. Here are a couple of pictures of the trimming job. I took off nearly another 1/2" of plexi.

After carefully deburring the cut, rounding the edge of the plexi, sanding it and polishing it, it's now finally ready to install. Here's another trial fitting afterwards:

Lookin' pretty good! It now fits like a glove.

Here's how it looks on the inside. I'll be masking off and scuffing up the skin that's underneath (actually, above) the plexi, before applying the SikaFlex and installing it for good. The plexi will also be scuffed up and cleaned along the seam.

Then, of course, I just had to put the canopy back on and lower it in place, to check for fit, smoothness all across the top, and of course, to see how it looks. I'll tell you, after you put in all the months of work building a canopy and finishing up things in the fuselage, it's very exciting to see how this will look when it's finally finished! I just love the beautiful, smooth curves of an RV. Like a beautiful curvy woman, I'll never get tired of looking at this.

Our lovely Japanese student who lives with us, Haruna, came out and volunteered to take a portrait, so here I am!

She obviously approves, too!

If you'd care to skip over all the things that went on between this point and the actual installation of the window, more than a year after this point, you can go straight to that page by clicking here, January 4, 2014. Otherwise, clicking on the "Next" link below will take you to the next page chronologically, as usual.

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