Carbon Fiber… Yeah Baby!

I picked up the parts I had done up in carbon fiber. I’m a bit disappointed that they don’t look more finished. I was kind of expecting nice and shinny, free from blemishes parts. I think that after some clean up and a little filling then a good couple of coats of a clear gloss finish they will look good. Right now it’s hard to see that they will be what I wanted.

Here’s a photo of the raw parts. They need to be cut and sanded. I used the Dremel with the bendable cord extension to cut them down to about the right size then used a sanding wheel and the electric sander with 240 grit paper to finish them to the correct size. You can see the outline of the original holes and cut outs, but I’m using the original parts as a guide to make sure I don’t cut too much. This stuff is super strong, but it cuts very easy and it’s easy to sand too much off.

The parts all cut out and sanded. I think the cubby hole cover came out the best. I was thinking that it wasn’t going to because the mold wasn’t so good.

Everything fits great. I’m going to wait to drill the mounting holes in the cubby hole cover for now. The brake lever and throttle also fit fine. The throttle coveris a tad bit “flexy” especially around the brake lever area. I’m going to add a bit of epoxy resin to the back to stiffen it up a bit. I think it will be fine once it’s mounted to the other console skins though.

I can’t wait to get a few coats of clear coat on these. I ordered some very good UV stable clear coat that I should have in a few days. I’ll do some experiments when I get it and hopefully it will work as advertised.

BTW I have one extra of each one of the covers so if anyone wants one or both just let me know. I want to make sure I don’t mess this up first before I give them away, but if you’re willing to do a little extra work and want to take on the challenge I’m more then happy to share.

Interior Skins (Part II)

Time 2.5 hrs

Done today:

  • Installed the left front inside skin
  • Installed outer seat rails on left and right side
  • Test fit rear inside skins

I finished installing the other front interior skin. This one was a little more difficult because it didn’t line up as well as the right side did. I eventually got it installed after some pushing and pulling and had to widen a few holes.

The seat rails went in fairly easily. The hardest part is getting the rivets it at the front of the rail where the flange is. The flange makes it impossible to get a rivet gun straight in so I used a thick piece of metal with a small hole drilled out for the rivet mandrel to pass through. The metal was then clamped in place. It helps hold the rivet flat and firm against the rail which is especially important because they are countersunk rivets so the seat can slide.

A few overhead shots of the interior. Front skins have all been riveted. The rear skins won’t be riveted until the canopy is on and the parachute cables have been bolted to the rear spar.

Interior Skin

Time: 1.5 hrs

It’s been a while since I worked on the plane mainly because I’m out of things to work on. I have been working on the logistics for a few things, but no real physical work on it. I did go down to Torrance TAF a few days ago and purchased the canopy kit. I was hoping I could take the canopy over to the paint place to have them spray the inside a little different color grey, but the kit was up on the top shelf and a fork lift was needed to get the kit down. Hopefully they’ll be able to pull the kit this week and I can get the canopy over to paint next week. I’ve also work on getting details on having some custom upholstery done by TAF. I need to purchase the leather and carpet and ship it over to TAF in South Africa. It will still come out cheaper then having someone here do the work and I’d rather support TAF anyways.

Today though I riveted the front inside skin on the right side. I have a whole row of holes that don’t line up so I had to drill those and debur them. After that was finished the riveting went along pretty well. I’ll have to do the same on the left side and it seems that I may have a few more alignment issues then the right side.

Right side skin riveted