Friday, December 27, 2013

Vans Aircraft RV-12 Airplane Build, Section 34: Canopy Installation (part 7)

Reference: Page 34-08, 34-09; 10.5 hours

Step 1: page 34-08 Countersink the two #8 flush screw holes in the C-1207 guide blocks and then tap them for a 8-32 screw.

Step 2: Next they were installed.

Step 3: Inserted the Guide Plates into the Guide blocks and after positioning them, these were match-drilled to the canopy frame using a #30 drill bit. After priming these are then riveted to the RV-12 canopy frame.

Vans Aircraft RV-12 plans say now is a good time to paint the frame.

This completes page 34-08.

Step 1 page 34-09: Fabricated the canopy lift handles as called out in the RV-12 airplane plans.

Builder's note: Because I was not happy with the lack of overhang clearance of the canopy skirts and the fuselage sides I made .032 aluminum spacers to make up the difference.

Before continuing I painted the canopy frame using the same paints and technique used on the cabin with the excepting of using NAPA 7220 self-etching primer in place of alodine and zinc chromate on the frame. (Used this same method on some of the RV-10s interior with good results.) Left the outside on the front canopy "arms" bare for bonding epoxy to. In hindsight I might as well have left the inside of these arms bare as well as they are going to need repainting, but more on that later.

This completes todays work on the RV-12 airplane kit by Van's Aircraft.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Vans Aircraft RV-12 Airplane Build, Section 34: Canopy Installation (part 6)

Reference: Page 34-06, 34-07; 7.25 hours

Today is a big workday for the Vans Aircraft RV-12 LSA Kit. After heating the garage and canopy it is time to start installing the canopy skirts in the RV 12 airplane.

Reference page 34-06

Step 4: Position the canopy skirts as outlined by Van's Aircraft. Match-drill into the canopy frame with #30 drill bit and cleco as you go.

Step 5: After removing the canopy skirts from the RV-12 airframe, deburr the holes. Dimple the forward five holes in the skirt. Curl the upper forward edge to fit the contour of the canopy. Trim the aft edge of the skirt to leave a 1/16" gap between it and the rear fuselage skin.

Step 6: Countersink the forward five rivet holes in the canopy frame to match the dimples in the skirts.

Builder's note: Rotate the canopy up SLOWLY make sure it doesn't hit the instrument panel and damage the canopy! Mine just touched (no damage) and needed some additional trimming.

This completes page 34-06.

Reference 34-07.

Step 1: Ethan climbed into the cabin through the rear windows to help hold the canopy angles while drilling. Yes, he dressed for the heat inside!

Step 2: After the canopy skirts were re-celcoed in place we worked together to drill the upper set of holes through the skirts, canopy and into the canopy attach angles with a #30 plexi bit. Clecoing as we went.

Below you can see Ethan is holding a wood block for backing up the angles as I drilled them.

Step 3: After this Ethan was freed and all the canopy mounting holes where final drilled to #27 size with a plexi drill bit.

Next was the coutersinking of the front rivet holes. I used a electric screw driver and a deburring tool with the correct angle for this job as I was worried a regular countersunk would catch and crack the plexiglass. NOTE: See the RV-12 kit plans for the specific depth of the counter sunk holes on page 34-07! They are not the standard depth used in aluminum.

Step 4: Pilot drill the canopy handle #30 as directed by Van's Aircraft in the RV-12 plans. Then use it as a guide to pilot drill the canopy latch (inside handle). Final drill and tap the handle as directed.

This completes page 34-07 and today's work on the RV-12 airplane. But don't dispair there is more (a lot more) canopy work to come! So long until then.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Vans Aircraft RV-12 Airplane Build, Section 34: Canopy Installation (part 5)

Reference: Page 34-06; 3.5 hours

Today work on the RV-12 airplane deals with attaching and drilling the canopy. Again work the canopy to ~70 to 80 degrees F before starting the work. At this temperature the plastic is more flexible. Here is an EAA video by John Monnett video drilling plexiglass and how to prepare drills bit for it. I have posted it before but its worth posting again.

Step 1: After removing the canopy mark the front bow where the canopy touches the bow as outlined by Van's Aircraft. Note the slightly darker area where the tape is pressed against the bow by the canopy bubble. Pre-drill the bow #40 holes in the center of the tube perpendicular to where the canopy bubble would contact it.

Step 2: Put the canopy back on the frame, align and secure it to the RV-12 airframe.

Step 3: Drill both the canopy and front bow using a #30 plexi bit (see the video above on instructions of how to make one). Start at the center of the bow and work outwards cleco as you go. I alternated between the front and rear canopy bows as directed in the RV-12 kit plans. Builder's note: At this point I had two heaters in the cabin area keeping everything warm with towels over the back window area to keep the heat in.

With the holes all drilled it's time to take a break from working on the RV-12 light sport airplane.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Vans Aircraft RV-12 Airplane Build, Section 34: Canopy Installation (part 4)

Reference: Page 34-05; 4.0 hours

Today starts the fitting and trimming of the canopy on the RV-12 airplane I am building. Working with the plexiglass bubble can be a little unnerving. I have found that heating the room and canopy to ~80 degrees F make the work much easier and less prone to cracking. Because I am doing this during the winter I used two small space heaters and then ensured the canopy plastic was warm to the touch before working on it.

Step 1: Mask off the attach angles and front and rear bows to protect the canopy bubble. The RV-12 plans say to lay the tape flat on the front bow. Well, this didn't work so well as I couldn't see the "dark" line through the blue tape. So after these steps I removed the canopy and recovered the front bow with regular making tape and it worked well.

Step 2: Placed canopy over frame. Didn't need to mark and drill the 5/8" hole for the latch as it was already there.

Step 3: Held the canopy in place with tape and marked the areas that needed trimming with a Sharpie. As I mentioned above Pushing-down the canopy on the front bowl to make a bow contact line didn't work with blue painters tape. So the canopy was removed from the RV-12 canopy frame and the front bow re-taped with creme colored masking tape.

Builder's note: The above pictures show some of the areas that needed trimming. So with the canopy warmed up I cut and trimmed it with the tools pictured below. One good practice with plexiglass is to round and smooth the edges so there are no nicks or stress points to crack later.

All of this took several tries to get the canopy to fit just right.

Builder's note:In the picture above you can see I used clear packing tape to hold the canopy. This worked but left adhesive residue on the aluminum, so I don't recommend it.

This completes page 34-05 and todays work session.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vans Aircraft RV-12 Airplane Build, Section 34: Canopy Installation (part 3)

Reference: Page 34-03, 34-04; 2.0 hours

After a little respite, it time to start back on the canopy of the RV-12 airplane kitted by Van's Aircraft.

Reference: page 34-03

Step 4:
The kit comes with these small wooden blocks that are used to set up the correct spacing between the canopy bow and the roll bar. These blocks will be used again during the main landing gear installation, so don't throw them away!

It should be noted that the canopy frame needed a lot of stretching and adjusting to get the required fit to the fuselage sides. Even so I ended up adding spacers under the canopy skirts. I'll say more about that in a later entry.

This completes page 34-03.

Reference page 34-04

Step 1: Now is the time to flute the Canopy attach angles to match the curve of the canopy sides. The flutes should bump up away from the frame and are made between the predrilled holes. The dimensions for the placement of these are shown on page 34-04.

Step 2: Match drilled #30 and clecoed the angles in place. Work from one end to the other of the attach angle.

Step 3: Remove the Attach angles from the RV-12 canopy frame, deburr (I also primed them) and then reattach them with the LP4-3 rivets called out by Van's Aircraft. In deburring the edges I took the time to make sure they were smooth so they wouldn't scratch the canopy.

That's it for page 34-04 of the RV-12 airplane plans. So I will leave you with this pcture of the canopy in the open position on the Vans RV-12 airplane.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Vans Aircraft RV-12 Airplane Build, Section 34: Canopy Installation (part 2)

Reference: Page 34-02, 34-03; 2.5 hours

Today continues the work on the RV-12 aircraft canopy frame and the first (of many) installation of the canopy frame onto the airframe.

Step 4: Measure mark and drill the four side canopy angles. See the illustrations provided by Van's Aircraft on page 34-02 for dimensions.

This complete page 34-02.

Reference: RV-12 airplane plans page 34-03

Step 1: Attach the canopy frame and struts to the fuselage.

Step 2: Pace 1/8" cardboard spacers between the canopy frame and the fuselage canopy decks on the airframe.

Step 3: With the canopy frame closed check the edge clearences as called out by Van's aircraft and bend the frame as needed. Also make sure the frame doesn't catch on the insturment panel top.

My frame did required bending. Both for the last step and for the next entry, but more on that later.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vans Aircraft RV-12 Airplane Build, Section 34: Canopy Installation (part 1)

Reference: Page 34-02; 2.0 hours

Today starts a new section of building the RV12 airplane. I'm also changing the format of the blog and am going to paraphrasing each step verse recording them verbatim from the plans. The steps will still be numbered so you can match up the pictures with the steps in your plan.

Step 1: Drill both ends of the canopy gas struts. The plans were updated to version 3 on 6/8/12 and the hole sizes changed. One is now 1/4" and the other is 3/8". Yes I used a unibit and it worked well.

Step 2: Countersunk the two holes in the frame to fit a #10 screw. According to Van's Aircraft these should be either flush or can protrude up to 1/32".

Match drill the rivet holes int the canopy frame, deburr and install blind rivets as called out by Van's Aircraft on page 34-02 figure 2.

File and sand the weld on the center of the canopy's front bowonly where the canopy plastic will sit. There is a detail drawing in the plans on page 34-05 that will help.

Attach the gas struts top the canopy frame with the included hardware. Note the strut cylinders go towards the front of the airplane.

Next trim the gas strut attach screws (the ones that attach to the canopy frame) so that only 2 threads are sticking out past the end of the nuts.

Step 3: Position the Latch Handle Stop on the Canopy frame. The dimensions are given on page 34-02 figure 2 of the RV-12 airplane plans. Deburr and attach it using the rivets called out.

That's it for todays work and entry. So long until next time.