Winter in Minnesota lasts… well it lasts a long time. I have to keep the workshop doors closed after the temperature dips below about 70 degrees during the day. This is necessary to keep the epoxy and work surfaces/substrates warm enough that epoxy will wet out properly and layups will fully cure. Normally that means that I am closed off in the Garaggio for nine months eagerly looking forward to the day I can open up the overhead door. Today that day was here. And so was I, on a short break from Airbus training.
Jon Myers came over and we got right to work prepping the airplane for filler. The first task was to get the seam forms taken care of. This involved getting sheet wax cut and placed so that all the seams would be molded in the filler. We also replaced the aluminum forward cowl to turtle back seam form that was previously used when filling the cowl. In order to get some of the sheet wax to stay where it needed to be, we had to tape it into place temporarily. The plan is to allow the micro to partly cure on one side, that will be enough to hold the sheet wax in place, and then remove the tape and fill the other side.
We had the airplane ready for filler by lunch time. So we broke for lunch, and when we returned we started filling. All seams were treated with flocro for durability when opening the canopy and other hatches. It took 4 hours to do the filling with Jon mixing for the most part, and me spreading. This was because most of the surface area was vertical and/or small, narrow areas that are difficult to get to.
On the left side, under the canard is the static port. In order to locate those holes after filler was sanded, we put tooth picks in them. That way they are not filled with filler, also, you can sand the wood of the tooth pick with the micro contouring, and it leaves different colored marks to be re-drilled. Pretty slick.
Another thing we did, was the canopy. It was taped off with electrical tape (a few work sessions ago) to give a crisp edge where we wanted the edge of the canopy frame to be. Then we took 2″ blue masking tape and put that over the electrical tape. This gave a larger protected area on the canopy, it also helped with the after filling clean up. We pulled the blue tape off which pulled the majority of the micro over flow off of the canopy. Then we could pull up the electrical tape, and get a very crisp, clean line between the canopy and the canopy plexi-glass. I am quite happy with it.
You can see here, that it was a nice day to work in the shop… with the doors open! Also, the airplane looks pretty darn good in its dress whites, even if it isn’t sanded. It looks like a whole new airplane! I cannot wait to see it all sanded out.