Drilled the canopy

The plans have you tape the template pictured below on to the canopy skin in order to locate the canopy. Rather than ruin the one in the plans I took the time to have a couple copies made when i went out to pick up Sophie from work this morning. When I went to tape it on, I realized that the scale was off. I assumed that it was the copy until I measured the original and found that the scale was not 1:1. Thanks Van’s! Not only is it not 1:1 none of the lines on the drawing that actually matter are dimensioned. I could have gone back and had it printed at 103% but decided the whole thing was a waste of time in the first place. I used the rivet locations on the drawing to draw intersecting lines at the centerline that corresponded to the canopy line on the drawing. Then used that spot to locate the forward edge of the canopy. It worked just fine.

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Put the canopy on the frame and fiddled with it to get everything lined up evenly on both sides and aligned with the mark on the skin. Sanded down the edge where it tucks under the skin to help it lay flat. Removed and reinstalled to do the sanding. Took a couple of attempts. Inserted the shims and clecoed on  the side skins.

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Realized I didn’t have anything to weight down the front of the canopy with. Tried using a ratchet strap but didn’t like the way it looked. I couldn’t get the forward edge to lay flat. So took a ride to Cabela’s and picked up a 25lb bag of lead shot. Made up two ten-pounders and one five and taped them to the canopy. Worked like a charm.

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Triple checked that everything was properly situated and drilled all the #40 holes. I used a plexi bit on the aft section. On the sides I used a plexi bit to get through the plexi and then switched to a regular #40 bit in a second drill motor to go through the shim and side frame.

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Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Finish Kit (hours): 44.0
Total Time (hours): 774.0

 

 

Riveted the canopy frame

Riveted the skin to the canopy frame assemblies. Riveted in the splice plates. Clecoed the closeout in place. Riveted the skin to the support flanges and riveted the support flange splice plate. Final drilled and then riveted riveted the closeout in place.  Riveted the forward rails in place. The plans call for a rivet in every hole and frequently checking to ensure that there is no twist in the structure. So the final drilling and riveting was pretty tedious. But the frame came out laser straight. So I can’t complain too much. The process worked.

 

Clecoed then riveted the side rails in place.

 

Riveted the aft canopy frame to the side rails. Riveted the switch mount to the frame. Machine countersunk and screwed the pin blocks to the aft side of the aft frame.

 

Installed the canopy jettison handle. Placed the assembled frame on the fuselage. In the full open position, it hit the ceiling.  I had to lower the tail so that I could lift the canopy enough to engage the hinge pins. But finally managed to get it in place. I carefully closed the canopy while watching to ensure that it didn’t interfere with the forward top skin. It fit perfectly and no filing was necessary.

 

I shimmed up the side rails so that they are parallel to the side skins. I cut four clamping blocks/spacers and taped them to the aft of the aft frame and clamped it to the roll bar.

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Tomorrow I’ll start fitting the canopy to the frame.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Finish Kit (hours): 41.0
Total Time (hours): 771.0

 

 

Started assembling canopy frame

Riveted together the canopy handle and aft canopy frame.

 

Machine countersunk the side rails forward rails. Dimpled the side skins, the forward top skin, and the support flanges.

 

Clecoed the skins and forward rails to the substructure and reinstalled the forward and mid fixtures to the bottom.

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Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Finish Kit (hours): 35.0
Total Time (hours): 765.0

 

 

Work on canopy frame continues

Riveted the rail bases to the forward canopy frames. Clecoed the skins and splice plates to the frame along with the rails. Clecoed the forward and aft fixtures to the bottom of the forward canopy frame.  Carefully leveled everything and checked for twist in the structure. Rolled a curve into each end of the canopy frame closeout and clecoed it in place. Match/final drilled the closeout.

 

Machine countersunk the aft ends of the canopy rail flanges. Fluted the canopy rail angles and match/final drilled. These are thick aluminum. Glad I ate my Wheaties this morning. Machine countersunk the holes in the bottom of the angles. Then riveted the flanges to the angles. The plans called for dome head rivets with the shop heads set into the countersinks on the bottoms of the angles achieving a near-flush shop head.

 

Bent aft half of the rails to match the curve of the fuselage. Match/final drilled the rails to the angles. You’ll note the tape on the clecos. The plans have you cleco everything together through the matched holes. Then add clecos as you match drill each additional holes. Then go back and remove the original clecos and final drill those holes. So the tape was a reminder as to which were the original clecos. Machine countersunk the holes in the rails called out in the plans and riveted the rails to the angles.

 

Clecoed and final drilled the skins to the rails. Match drilled the canopy handle to the assembly as well.

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Clecoed the the rail assemblies to the forward canopy frame assembly and final drilled.

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Disassembled everything.

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My Back-ordered nose gear leg showed up today. Still waiting on the mains. Fedex delivered package 2 of 2 but not 1 of 2. Hopefully it will show up tomorrow. Fedex tracking says it’s in Forest Park. Not sure why given that it was in Kennesaw with the other package last night.

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Today’s Time (hours): 6.5
Finish Kit (hours): 33.0
Total Time (hours): 763.0

 

 

So close!

Today was a bit of a shit show. Last night I worked on the roll bar after a fun day of flying with Jared, Wes, and Scott. Realized that I didn’t have enough AN426AD4-5 rivets to complete the roll bar. So I put in an order with spruce. I need a bunch of stuff anyway.  Drove down there this morning and picked everything up. So far so good.

Here’s a picture of Wes’ beautiful RV-7 on the way back from NC yesterday.

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Last night I riveted the brackets to the roll bar brace. I temporarily mounted the left and right forward roll bar parts to the fuselage as a jig to rivet the splice plate. Then did the same for the aft half of the roll bar. Then I clecoed the forward and aft halves together with the inboard and outboard straps and window shims and final drilled everything. I deburred all the parts and countersunk the ones that needed countersinking. I riveted the forward roll bar assembly to the inboard strap with the AN470 rivets called out in the plans. That’s when I realized that I didn’t have enough AN426AD4-3 rivets to do the next step which was to rivet the outboard strap.

 

Segue to today… Went to Spruce. Got the rivets and a bunch of other goodies… Ignition switch and toggle switches. Then back to work… I riveted the outboard strap to the forward roll bar assembly. I joined it up with the aft half and used the LP and CS blind rivets to assemble the whole thing. I also riveted the bushings and doubles in place on the aft sections.

 

And then… Disaster! The little arrow in the picture is pointing the wrong way. I misread the plans last night. I had to drill out three quarters of the hundred or so rivets holding this whole thing together so that I could reorient the outboard strap to face the proper direction to properly mate to the roll bar brace. I lost about 2.5 hours to this. Plus a lot of frustration. Stupid mistake.

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Once I got through reassembling the roll bar, I was able to mount it on the fuselage and match drill the bases and get everything riveted in place. But to add insult to injury, I’m now short a number of CS4-4 and LP4-3 rivets due to the error. So I can’t actually finish the section. But I did get as far as I could and placed an order with Vans for the rivets. There’s only about half an hour of work to finish it up once I have the rivets.   I’ll move on to something else but it sure would have been nice to have been able to paint it up this weekend and call the Fuselage complete.

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Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 221.0
Total Time (hours): 676.5

 

Match drilled the cowl attach hinges

Match drilled the cowl attach hinges.

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Took everything apart and dimpled the skin, the firewall flanges, and shims. Machine countersunk the hinges and longerons.

 

I got the nut plates I ordered. So I also finished riveting the instrument panel in place.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 195.0
Total Time (hours): 649.5