Countersunk the canopy

Broke the top edges of the side skins with the edge roller. Sawed a kerf into a small wood block on the band saw and used it to tweak the edge of the top skin under the slot and aft. Dimpled the canopy attach holes in the side skins.

 

Countersunk all of the holes in the canopy with a zero flute countersink.

 

Fabricated that aft canopy seal with a hole punch and a razor knife.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Finish Kit (hours): 64.0
Total Time (hours): 794.0

 

 

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

 

 

Cut, deburred, scuffed, and primed the canopy frame parts.

Cut all the parts that needed parting.

 

Fabricated the canopy handles from aluminum angle.

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Deburred and scuffed all the parts.

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Primed everything.

 

Started assembling the canopy frame. Dimpled and rivered the hinge intercostals. Dimpled the skin. Fluted and fit the substructure. Started riveting the substructure together.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Finish Kit (hours): 26.5
Total Time (hours): 756.5

 

 

Finished rear window and started on Canopy Latch

I used the edge roller to break the edge of the top and side skins where they meet the rear window. I final drilled the skins #27 and dimpled the holes for #6 screws. The squeezer wouldn’t fit into the space between the top skin and the roll bar brace. After a fair amount of ass-scratching I tried using a #6 screw and a K1000-06 nut plate to press the dimple into the center hole. It worked well.

I decided to wait until later to actually install the window. This will enable better access to the fuselage and keep me from beating up the window while I’m working on the rest of the stuff. But everything’s done and all I have to do is add some sealant and screw it in. For sealant I’ve decided to try Lexel. It’s a clear solvent based sealant that is safe for acrylic. Other builders have reported good success with it.

 

I separated, deburred, and painted the stiffener angles. I’ll rivet these in place as soon as the paint dries.

 

I picked and inspected all of the parts for the rest of the canopy.

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I peeled all of the parts for the canopy latch mechanism. I separated the peices that needed parting. I deburred and scuffer all the parts. Then painted everything to match the interior.

 

I test fit the canopy latch pins in the bushings that I installed in the roll bar. I realized that I neglected to mask of the bushings when I painted the roll bar and got some paint in there. I wrapped some sand paper around a brass drift and used it to clear the paint. Everything fits fine now.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 4.0
Finish Kit (hours): 18.0
Total Time (hours): 748.0

 

 

Started mounting avionics

Made some trial panels from plastic. I’ll use these to lay out the panel and make sure everything fits before I start cutting metal. I’f I do this properly and everything works out, I should be able to use these as templates to lay out the actual metal panels.

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Temporarily mounted the GAD27 (ARINC), GAD29 (electrical device controller), and GEA 24 engine indication system. I mounted the GEA 24 directly to the sub panel. I made a stand-off mount for the GAD 27 using some aluminum sheet and some aluminum tubing. This let me “stack” the two boxes fore and aft. This was the same approach that Jared took in his plane. So I can’t claim credit. I also mounted the TCW integrated backup battery system. I fit the boxes, drilled the sub panel, and attached the boxes with temporary hardware I had lying around. I’ll get the proper hardware this week.

 

I fabricate a doubler to mount the WaaS GPS antenna. I cut a piece of aluminum to sive, laid out the holes for the antenna and rivets. I match drilled the empennage top skin to the doubler. I dimpled the doubler, riveted nut plates to it, and primed with SEM rattle can. I dimpled the top skin with the pop rivet dimple dies. I riveted the doubler to the inside of the skin and screwed the antenna in place with the supplied hardware.

 

Started fitting the radio stack. I used a digital level and shimmed up the front of the radios so that the were perpendicular to the panel. Determined that I need to enlarge the center opening in the sub panel in order to accommodate the radios without blocking the canopy release. Even then, everything barely fits.

I picked up a vibratory cutter and a flush cutting blade. I’ll use this to cut the sub panel tomorrow.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Options and Miscellanea Time (hours): 7.0
Total Time (hours): 682.5

 

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