Chapter 13 - Step 10

This step involves adding the top to the nose, carving and glassing the nose.

Level Sides February 4, 2003. I made the top piece and layed it into position and found two problems. The top of the sides weren't level and the top part of the NG-30's wasn't quite even and parallel with the nose sides. I added some scrap foam to all these surfaces and sanded it all smooth and level. The top piece now makes great contact with all the parts, just as called out in the plans.

Rounded Nose July 28, 2003. Here is the nose bottom after sanding it to shape. What a mess this makes! Wear a mask - you will make a ton of foam dust on this job. I followed the plans method of sanding and it worked just fine. I first sanded the bottom to contour using the bottom of NG-30 and NG-31. I then sanded the sides to contour. Between F-0 and F-22 I sanded to shape by eye trying to get a nice, rounded shape. Once the bottom and sides were done I went for the corners. I did this by eye too. Go slow. If you over sand you will be adding a bunch of filler later. I had to use a dremel to grind down F-0 just a bit. F-0 needs to be beveled to follow the shape of the nose and it sands MUCH harder than the foam of course. I found it was best to grind F-0 down below the foam level about 1/16" or so and then I could freely sand the foam without hitting the hard bulkhead. I little micro before glassing will fill that in.

Rounded Nose July 28, 2003. Another shot of the rounded nose. Keep this in mind - the nose has several compound curves that are tricky to get perfect. I thought I had it just right and then everytime I looked at it from a different angle I would see a slight wave in a curve somewhere. Subtle, but there. Be patient here and be meticulous. It is so much easier to spend the time sanding this foam than filling and sanding a bunch of micro after glassing to get the curves just right. The only thing that gets in the way of shaping the nose is the aluminum plate at the top of the strut.

Rounded Nose July 28, 2003. The shaped nose from the side.

Strut Cover July 28, 2003. My strut sits just a bit below the bottom of the nose. This allows for the whole strut and the entire wheel to be enclosed. However, it also presented a small issue when preparing to glass the bottom. Since the strut sits a little low, I couldn't glass it as is as described in the plans. My solution is simple - I added some foam to the strut and sanded it down to match the contour of the nose bottom. I will now glass the bottom per plans.

Glassed Bottom August 27, 2003. Here is the bottom after the glass has been added, trimmed, and cured. Of course the edges were all peel plied for when the top is glassed.

Covered Strut August 27, 2003. Here is the cutout for the strut. I actually cut out the strut at knife trim time. This was much easier than trying to get this just right with cured glass. After this I extended the strut and added the BID tapes to the back side to secure this to the strut as called out in the plans. Overall this came out well.

Nose Foam September 14, 2006. The top of the nose forward of F-0 was filled with foam and then a hole was made for the ballast compartment. Here you can see the nose after shaping to contour along one axis.

Ballast Compartment September 16, 2006. A top view showing the ballast compartment. I will be able to get a lot of lead in here as needed.

Shaped Nose September 16, 2006. When it was time to shape the canopy deck I added the nose top foam and the canard cover foam and shaped it all at once. This gave me a great shape. The plans method of sanding each section separately is too open to having a poor transition. You can seem many canards with this issue on the flight line. I also added foam to fill the ballast compartment. Without that foam I was having trouble shaping the nose plus I need the full shape to glass the top and make the ballast compartment door.