October 17, 2010

Air Vent Scoops - 2.0 Hrs.

Vans RV's have a pair of air inlet scoops that bring fresh air into the cabin for ventilation and cooling. The forward fuselage skins come with the opening already cut out and a molded plastic vent piece that fastens to the inside of the skin. Now that the brakes and rudder pedals are in place, it's a good time to install these parts. I did some initial preparation for this a couple months ago on August 13th. Now's a good time to finish it up.

Some builders drill and rivet them in place, but you can use proseal and avoid rivets if you can devise a way to apply some pressure and hold the parts in place while the proseal cures. Earlier, I devised a simple set of clamps to hold these air vents in place while the proseal cures. It's very simple. I taped some 6" long 1 x 1 blocks of wood to a pair of squeeze clamps with some strapping tape to give them an extended reach. The pressure is light so they don't need to be real beefy. So the tape will hold just fine. It's just enough to hold the parts in place and apply gentle pressure.

Here are some repeat shots of the prep work I did back in August, showing how this clamp works:

The prep work involved locating the piece as precisely as I could, and marking it's position using small squares of masking tape or a line drawn with a sharpie. The sharp edges of the cutout in the skin were deburred and smoothed a long time ago. Also, looking forward to the day the plane gets painted, I wondered about prepping the inside surface of the plastic pieces now while they're on the bench, rather than trying to reach into them when they're on the plane. So I took a small piece of well-worn scotchbrite and lightly scuffed the inside surface of each one, just enough to remove the shine. I'm confident it will have more "tooth" to hold paint now. I also scuffed up the inside of the skin to rough up the interior coat of paint, too, to give the proseal a good rough surface to stick to. Then I mixed up a small batch of proseal, buttered up the flange of each vent, carefully positioned it, and clamped it in place.

Notice that light shines through well enough that you can see from inside that the flange is centered on the opening. I also applied some strips of tape over the whole thing, just to make sure it didn't move or slide down during the curing.

Here's the right side vent the next day, with the tape and clamp removed. There's a nice bead of proseal all around the edge, so I'm confident I have a good seal and a firm attachment. A SCAT tube will attach here and bring fresh air to the eyeball-style ducts that I plan on installing on each side of the panel. Below is how it looks on the outside.

"Look Ma, no rivets!" I'm happy this turned out well, and to have this done. That's two less parts sitting on my inventory shelf staring at me. Now there's hardly anything left, as my fuselage kit winds down to the finish line.

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