Sunday, May 29, 2011

Glassing the Longerons...

After spending some time cleaning up the sides after glassing, it was time to glass the longerons.  To prep, I first had to fill some surface imperfections left from bubbles in the peel ply from when I glassed the sides.  I also rounded the corners of the longerons to help the glass contour better.  Another builder recommended this also because your shoulder will be bumping into the top longeron and that square corner will remind you that you didn't round it every time it happens.

TIP: I used a process recommended by a fellow builder, Buly Aliev, to glass the longerons.  I started by laying out a plastic sheet, marked it with a sharpie the size I needed for the 4 ply glass to go on the longerons.  Then I built up the layup from the top layer to the bottom layer starting with a layer of peel ply.  Buly didn't necessarily recommend the peel ply but I like it because of the sanding work it saves.  After wetting out the peel ply and the 4 layers of glass, I cut the entire stack to the dimensions marked by the sharpie leaving a neat ready to apply glass layup.  Next I brushed some raw epoxy on the longerons and transfered the application over onto the longerons glass side down of course, massaged it into place, squeeged out the air, and voila.  A helper makes this Dad was in town and came in really handy.  It wasn't as easy as it is to write about it...I had some dry spots (oversqueeged) to deal with and some difficulty in gettting the glass to stick in some of the tight corners ...but the process Buly recommended worked well. 

Just remember, most of the inside layups of the fuselage sides and the inside longerons are visible when comlete and you want them to look good when painted.  To look good then, they need to look good now so it would be a good time to fix any inperfections, like peel ply bubbles, now when it's much easier then waiting until time to paint the interior when space inside to sand and work is more cramped.

No pictures this time...wouldn't really show you much.  Onward to the lower longerons.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Post Glass inspection....Oops, repair needed.

After pulling the peel ply off the sides, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  The sides looked pretty good and I didn't even have any air bubbles in the control stick depressions that I fully expected.

That's not to say there weren't problems.  I did a terrible peel ply job.  I should have split the peel ply into two pieces and dealt with one side at a time...too many peel ply wrinkles and bubbles....fortunately those are easy fixes and primarily cosmetic.  I also found a couple of air bubbles on the aft edge that were easily fixed with hot epoxy and a syringe.  The real issue was the aft area about 2-6 inches forward of the firewall location on both sides....those darn air specks showed up again. :-(    Hmmm, how did this happen.

After reviewing my process that day, I think I figured out what happened.  I laid out all the raw glass for the second ply before I began to wet it any of it out.  The last area I got to with the epoxy was the aft end of both sides.  I think that the raw glass may have pulled too much of the epoxy from the underlying first ply which created specks of air.  By the time I got to the aft end with epoxy, these specks of air were too dried into the first ply to get out.

I stared at the area for 15 min's or so and then decided the area may not meet the inspection criteria.  Since this area is deemed a critical area (per plans "all fuselage areas within 10" of the firewall"), I decided I had to do something about it.  So I sanded down the worse areas to the foam on each side and re-glassed with 2-ply of 30 degree UND and the plans called for 1-ply of BID as a repair topper.  The repair looks good...onward!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

1st Annual Milton Fly-In and Chilli Cookoff

Went to check out the 1st Milton Fly-In today.  It was a small fly-in but a good chance to get out and see some flying airplanes.  As luck would have it, of the approximately 20 airplanes that came, 2 of them were Rutan Canards.  One Long EZ and one Defiant which happens to be owned by a couple in my local EAA chapter.

There are only about 70 Rutan Defiants worldwide and the owner of this one actually has two but I understand the other is not in flying condition right now.  It was a pretty nice looking airplane.

Hopefully this will continue.  It would be nice to have a few fly-ins every year almost right in my backyard.


Friday, May 20, 2011

7 Hrs Later...The Inside of the Fuselage Sides Are Glassed...

Well today was the big glassing day.  Wow!  As expected, this was a large, somewhat hard to deal with layup.  The plans say this is a 3-4 hr job (with a helper)...It took me every bit of 7 hrs working mostly by myself.  Below you can see the completed layup with weights along the longerons to make sure they are seated well onto the sides.

I completely understand why the plans have you glass both sides at once but it sure makes adjusting the cloth difficult if you don't lay it down close to right the first time.
That's one place where the plan's recommended helper comes in...highly recommended.  Another place a helper would be great is mixing epoxy so you can keep moving.  My wife helped me stretch out the long pieces of glass cloth to get them laid correctly and my son helped me lay the longerons just right so I wouldn't have to adjust them much once in place.  I might still be there without their help.

As it turned out, I think everything looks pretty good.  I won't at all be surprised to find a bubble or two, especially in the control stick depressions.  Those are hard to get the cloth to lay down well.  So I'll probably have a few fixes to do but it all looked pretty good when I covered it with peel ply.  I tried to make sure to use plenty of epoxy to make sure everything wet out well and I used a heat gun to help it along.  We'll see how it comes out tomorrow afternoon.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Day for Foam Cutting...

Last steps before glassing the sides.  I had to dish out extra room for the stick and the fuel gauges.  I already had them marked, now to figure out how to dish out the necessary foam neatly and accurately.  So I thought...I don't have a router, but I do have a Dremel tool.  I just need to make a tool to control the depth of the cut.  So I used a small piece of wood with a hole in it large enough for the cutter but small enough the hold the Dremel tool up.

We'll I managed to screw that up.  Let's just say my impromptu tool wasn't as good as the concept.  It was very uneven and I even went all the way through the foam in two places...a very bad job.  I ended up cutting a complete new circle of foam from my scrap and replacing it with 5 min epoxy for a fresh start.  Now what?  Then it occurred to me that they must make a similar tool (that works) designed specifically for rotory tools...sure enough...Lowes, $15, a Dremel cutting set with a depth gauge and 3 cutting bits.  It even fit my 25 year old Dremel tool.

This tool (above) plus a wider radius cutting bit than the ones that came with it made quick work of removing the foam to the proper depth.  I just sanded down the edges to allow the glass to lay down and I was done.

I used the same thing on the areas for the fuel sight gauges.  The Vance Atkinson Gauges are an addition to the plans version which is just a simple glassed window.  I went ahead and followed the basic plans approach but made the area flat instead of beveled since the Atkinson gauges can be seen from 180 degrees.  I made the cutout .5" longer than the gauge to allow for adjustment when installed.  You want to put the bottom hole of the gauge as close to the bottom of the tank as possible which according to the plans should wind up at 8.7" down from the bottom of the longeron.  We'll see in a few Ch. 21 this area will be opened back up from the inside, the foam removed up to the outer skin, and the gauges installed per Vance's instructions.

The picture above also shows the channels for the electrical conduits back to the firewall that I also cut today.  After reviewing the Cozy FAQs from Marc Z's page, I put them 14.7" down from the top of the fuselage side vice the 14.5 in the plans to avoid running into the pulley assembly in the firewall.

Now then, ready to glass the interior of the fuselage sides after one more thing...checking the fit of the longerons.  I laid them into the appropriate place, lined them up appropriately, and viola, they seemed to fit nicely...just a little weight in the center when epoxied in place will help ensure they mold perfectly to the sides.  The only thing that worried me was how to make sure the alignment was good and each fuselage side was identical.  The foam and spacers had enough tolerance build up along the edges that the gap between the two sides had some variation in it.  If I lined up the longerons assuming they needed to be lined up with the edge of the foam, they may not come out flat or level with the fuselage side  What to do....I know...another tool!

Tip:  The plans actually call for you to use a 7/8" wood spacer.  Withe the glue that's oozed out under the foam and the minor variations in the foam as it was built up, a board that goes all the way down to the work table wasn't going to work correctly.  My version of this tool not only allowed the gap to be accurately maintained but was also self supporting...resting on the longerons themselves...and didn't extend beyond the bottom of the longerons which allowed me to place them accurately regardless of the foam situation underneath.  See the picture but basically it is just a piece of 2x4 cut with a 7/8" T section, and cut into 4 pieces so I can spread them along the longeron.  I already test drove these and they work great.  I can ensure the gap is correct and by taking measurements from the longeron to the bottom of each side, I can make sure both sides match perfectly.

Now it's time to glass.


Aircraft Spruce adds Cozy builder support team | General Aviation News

Aircraft Spruce adds Cozy builder support team | General Aviation News
Click the link for the article.

This is great for the Cozy community. The Cozy Group email list on Google is already a fantastic source for support and questions but this makes it official and in my mind says the Cozy is here to stay a while.

Congrats Marc and Burrall.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Things to Do in My Cozy...Bahamas!

Once in a while you need to remember why your taking on this challenge.  I'm sure frustrating times are ahead, especially when I get to the engine and electrical....not my specialty.

Just the opportunity to fly something you actually built will be great satisfaction but it's the places you can go, the things you can see, the fun you can have, and the people you do it with that is the real reward for the effort.

So, every once in a while I'll add some motivation that I can review during those times when the building gets slow and it seems like I'll never get there.

Click the link to the right to visit one of the places the Baker-Cozy can take us...Bahamas


Monday, May 16, 2011

Time for some fuselage sides...

The 2nd step in Ch 5 is to re-align the jigs to build the sides.  This time the jigs will be turned vertically in two rows per side to allow for the proper compound curvature of the sides.  Below you can see the setup.

TIP:  I used a chalkline to mark the centerline of my workbench and then used two 2.5" blocks marked with a centerline to get the center jigs lined up and 14.5" blocks for the outer two jigs.  14.5" is derived from the distance between the outer sides of the inner and outer jig (16") as called out in the plans, minus the thickness of the two jigs (1.5" total).  You can see both blocks, the 2.5" in the center and the 14.5" in the back to the left, in the picture to the right.

I followed the plans method of using Bondo to secure the jigs to the table.  This was my first time using Bondo and it was very easy.  If you haven't used it, mix up fairly small amounts at a time as it starts to set up to a rubbery state pretty quickly...similarly to 5 min epoxy.

TIP:  Change the order of the process in this step and wait to secure the jig to your table until you have shaped the masonite and foam for the sides first...that is unless you have more work space than most of us.  Once I had the jig up and Bondo'd to the table, I had no good place but the garage floor to layout those large pieces, get the foam glued together, and then cut out.  Had I done this first, I could have used the work table and then put the jig up.  Instead I had to revert to the garage floor.  Some builders have secured the jig together in a frame so it could be moved but I didn't plan on moving it until I was finished so i didn't go to that trouble.

Here are the two jigs set up complete with masonite to help make the curve and the matching foam to start the the fuselage sides.

After getting to this point, you now start the process of cutting and carving foam spacers to provide a more convex shape interior to the fuselage.  This last picture below shows how it looks as the micro on the last spacer is drying.  The many clamps are there to hold the foam in it's shape as it curves around the bottom curve of the fuselage side..

Near the front, you can see sharpie markings in a circle.  This will be carved out and nicely sanded to provide additional movement room for the control stick.  Ultimately I probably wont need it because the Cozy Girrrl Strakes modification I intend to take advantage of will have this area mostly cut out providing complete freedom of movement for the stick.

The sharpie marks in the rear (you can just barely see) are marking where the Vance Atkinson Fuel Sight Gauges will go.  This area will be carved out as well but the gauges will not be installed until Ch 21.  I intend to have electronic fuel probes as primary fuel level gauges but the sight gauges will serve as a nice backup.  Almost ready to glass these puppies.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Hey, You Can Now Get Email Updates...

The Google Blogger has a new gadget that allows you to submit your email and receive notification when I've made an new entry to MyCozyAdventure.  I'm testing it now but you can see it at the left side of the page.

Just type in your email, put in the text verification to prove your not a computer, then go to your email and click on the verification email you get sent.  It's that easy.

Just below it, you can also subscribe via one of the RSS feeds if that's more your speed.


Chapter 5 Begins...

Chapter 5 is where the fuselage sides are built.  First, the jig for the sides have to be built from 1x8s.  There are 12 pieces of the jig all together...5 different parts, 2 each of 4 of them and 4 of the last one.

3 of the pieces are used on their sides to shape the longerons...the top wooden hardpoints that run the length and define the top of the fuselage up to the bottom of the canopy.  Nothing really different from the plans here but be sure to read and understand the Cozy FAQs for Ch 5 on the Unofficial Cozy Builders Web Site.  You should do this for every chapter before beginning.  There is some key info there about the overhang for the longerons that will help make things all come together well in Ch 6.

Here are pictures of the jig ready to shape the longerons (left) and of the longerons after epoxying them into shape (held in place with nailed blocks), floxing (epoxy with flocked cotton added for structure) in the doublers in three places, and curing (right).

Below are the finished products ready to be glassed into the fuselage sides.  The boys hopped in to demonstrate size.

Ready to jig up to make the fuselage sides now.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

9 Months After Starting, Finally....Bulkheads

I've finally gotten the bulkheads done.  It took me longer than average 60hrs...not just because I'm slower than the average bear...but I rebuilt F-28 and the IP from scratch.  I made F-28 using the low profile but realized I would need the higher profile for extra support mounting the hinges for the forward hinged canopy.  The original IP, well I just wasn't happy with due to large amounts of small air bubbles in the layup.  I'm much happier with second one.

It also took me about 7 months longer than it should have.  Many of which was missing the past 3 mths due to preparing to deploy, another 2.5 mths in a class in Ohio.  Since I'm no longer deploying, I'll be able to make up that lost time and not loose the other 6 mths I would have lost being in Afghanistan.

All my bulkheads were looked at by the closest thing I have to a tech advisor...a fellow builder and Cozy mentor who''s 80% complete...Ron M.  He will have a beautiful Cozy when completed.  Thanks for all the advice and support Ron!

Here are all the bulkheads, laid out in the order they will be assembled,  ready to fit between two fuselage sides to be built in Ch 5.  I still need to build the firewall which goes at the far end just behind the aft landing gear bulkhead.

The picture above gives you an idea of the relative position of the bulkheads in the aircraft.  If you channel Barney and use your imaaaaagination, you can almost see a Cozy taking shape below.

On to cut out the fake and real firewall parts to close out Ch 4.