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.