Chapter 18 - Step 11

This step invlolves building the canopy deck.

UNI Added to Canopy September 2, 2006. Here is the canopy after I added the strip of UNI along the bottom of the canopy. Obviously the peel ply is still in place. The real trick here is to get a nice line of glass along the tape line. Here's what I did. As we all know UNI gets "stringy" when cut along with the "grain". To deal with this I measured out the cut lines on the UNI and then applied a strip of masking tape on the glass just outside this cut line. I then cut out the glass by cutting down the middle of the tape - no "stringies". I then layed out my strips on plastic and wet them out with the tape in place. Once wet out I layed another layer of plastic over the tapes and then, using a straight edge, I cut just below the tape line leaving a clean straight edge. This is the edge applied along the tape line on the canopy. After cutting I removed the second piece of plastic (just used for the cut) and then picked up the tape. The trick now is to apply this perfectly straight cut piece of glass to the bottom edge of the canopy such that the newly cut edge is layed up against the tape line on the canopy. Since the tape line on the canopy follows a curve its a little tricky because the plastic the UNI is on won't curve like the UNI. Go slow and be careful with the brush and you can make it work fine. I split the UNI into four strips to go all the way around. Of course there is a 1" overlap at the three joints.

Starting Canopy Deck September 4, 2006. I have begun what turned out to be a rather long (13 hours) process of fitting all the foam blocks for the canopy deck. Each piece is custom trimmed to fit the curve and height of the canopy at that location. As is typical, I did the other side in half the time it took to do the first side.

Front Canopy Deck September 5, 2006. A shot of the front. Most of the foam goes side to side except for 5 pieces at the front that go front to back. No real reason for this, just the way I ended up doing it. I started with one long piece up against F-28 and then I did the 5 in the center front of the canopy. From there I just worked aft down one side then the other.

Initial Completion September 7, 2006. And here is all the foam in place. 62 pieces in total. 28 down each side (including transition piece), 5 in front and one along F-28.

Front Close-up September 7, 2006. A closer shot of the foam layout at the front. You can obviously see two different colors of foam. Both are the same kind of foam but for some reason one sheet was darker than the other. Kind of cool really. I've seen blue and pink here on other builder's sites.

Right Middle September 7, 2006. A shot near the middle of the right side. You can see I numbered each piece. I did this after getting them all in place because you then need to take them all off again. This way it's easy to put them back in the right place.

Right Aft September 7, 2006. A shot of the aft right area. This is my guess as to how to do the transition. Hopefully this is correct. In chapter 24 a bunch of pour foam is added and glassed aft of this and it all need to blend together nicely.

Left Side September 7, 2006. A shot down the left side looking aft.

Left Forward September 7, 2006. A crooked view of the left side looking forward.

Inside View September 7, 2006. Here's a neat shot from inside the plane. I just stuck the camera through the intrument panel and aimed up toward the front right corner. This shows how the foam looks from inside. All this foam will get trimmed flushed with the canopy later on.

Deck Foam September 9, 2006. After fitting all the foam pieces I took them all off so I could make final preparations. For fun I layed them all out on the workbench. It looked pretty cool sitting there.

Deck Foam September 9, 2006. Another shot of all the canopy deck foam.

Deck Foam September 9, 2006. And another.

Deck Foam September 9, 2006. Why did I put four pictures of this on the here?

Shaping Foam September 12, 2006. Here I have most of the sanding completed. But first I microed all of the blocks into place. I used tiny dabs of micro between each block. I put all the dabs down low so I wouldn't hit them while sanding them to shape. Yeah, right. What I realized part way through was that even though I was putting the dabs down low I was putting many right over the outside edge of the longeron. This meant I was still going to hit the dabs. At least I noticed this early enough that I was able to avoid doing so on the blocks on the other side.

??? September 12, 2006. A closer shot of the right side. The main sanding is completed here. The foam is flush with the tape line on the canopy. I need to tweak the line along the longeron to get it straighter. I ended up not using any of the templates. I just did this all by eye until it looked right to me. The only real question I have at the moment, concern really, is the shape I made over the front hinge. I've made no attempt to hide the hinge. I shaped the foam to match the fuselage side. But I may have removed too much near the front of the front hinge. I'll see soon whether there is enough left here for the hinge mount.

??? September 12, 2006. A closer shot of the aft end and aft hinge on the right side. The plans never say what to do with the turtleback flange forward of the cut line. The aft half was trimmed when the turtleback was floxed into place. I just decided to trim the foward half of the flange like the aft half. This all gets covered later in chapter 24 with the strake fairings. The other vague area, at least for me, was how the glass meets the canopy. I've decided to have it such that the foam and glass will be even with tape line. You can see this here as the foam forms a nice transition from the bottom of the forward window to the canopy tape line. Again, this is my choice to do it this way. I have some pictures of canards where the canopy deck isn't smooth or even from the windows to the canopy and it just doesn't look right.

Foam Shaped September 14, 2006. Here I've sanded the 1/16" depression along the front cut line and along F-28. I've also removed the foam along the canopy tape line.

Foam Shaped September 16, 2006. A closer view of the canopy tape line with the foam removed.

Foam Shaped September 16, 2006. Another wide view from the left.

Foam Shaped September 16, 2006. And one more view looking forward.

Canopy Deck Glass September 17, 2006. Finally came time to glass the canopy deck. I took a (another) hint from Wayne Hicks and decided to make a template for cutting the glass for a good fit against the canopy. I layed some paper strips on the canopy deck and then taped some more to each other to get a rough curve. This template covered one half of the canopy deck from front to back. I then cut all the BID and UNI. Here is how I did the layups:

  1. Layed out both plied of BID on plastic and used the paper template to cut the edge for the canopy.
  2. Separately rolled up each ply of BID.
  3. Microed all the foam.
  4. Set the first piece of BID in place and unrolled it. Carefully nudged edge of BID against canopy and into depression.
  5. Wet out first ply of BID.
  6. Added flox along canopy tape line.
  7. Layed second BID in place and unrolled. Carefully nudged edge against canopy tape line.
  8. Wet out both layers of UNI on workbench.
  9. Trimmed UNI using paper template.
  10. Layed UNI into place and nudged edge againt canopy.
One important thing to remember if you do it this way. The BID and UNI need to be mirror images of the other since the BID was layed out directly onto the canopy deck while the UNI was wet out on the bench then while still on the plastic it was flipped over onto the canopy deck. This flip means it must be reverse image.

Glass Half Full September 17, 2006. Due to time constraints the evening I did this layup I decided to layup one side of the canopy deck, add peel ply, and then do the other half another night. The negative to this approach was it was a bit harder to avoid a small bump in the center where all the glass overlapped.

Complete Deck September 22, 2006.

Complete Deck September 22, 2006.

Cutting Turtleback September 22, 2006.

No More Canopy September 22, 2006.

No More Canopy September 22, 2006.

Rough Drip Rail September 24, 2006.

Drip Rail Taped October 19, 2006.