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Covering the Right Wing


10 December 2010: I get started. I'm not completely unfamiliar working with fabric. I once worked part-time making boat canvas. In addition when we owned a sailboat I made its entire inventory of sails. Poly-Fiber fabric looks like Dacron sail cloth but, beyond that, the similarities end. I'm discovering that my prior experiences are only a little help.



Rolling out the fabric. My sail making experience was handy for this.





Gluing the trailing and leading edges. Way too much fabric is left off the wingtip. I saved it but in the future, I will have to do better measuring.




11 December 2010: I cut relief cuts around the ribs and false ribs and continue gluing the leading edge wrapping around the spar. Look carefully in the first photo and you see where I painted the cut lines with Poly-Tac to prevent fraying after the cut.





Gluing the capstrips: Previously I pre-coated the capstrips with Poly-Tac. By brushing Poly-Tac thinned one-to-one with MEK I activated the Poly-Tac beneath the fabric to complete the bond. I've been repeatedly told not to worry about the irregularities, girts, and folds. All will be made right with the application of heat. I'm trying to suppress doubt. Of course I'm now thinking of ways I could have done better. A kit plane is a great contribution to life-long learning.



12 December 2010: I begin with wrapping the bottom fabric around the edge of the root and tip ribs. The clamps were an impulse buy at the local hardware store. They proved ideal for this application.






Next I begin attaching the top fabric. Here I've glued the trailing edge.





15 December 2010: A problem! By gluing the trailing edge first I caused the fabric to not fit well over the leading edge. I removed the fabric and started over. This time I just clamped the fabric to the trailing edge with clothespins. I then adjusted the clothespins until the fabric fit smoothly over the leading edge. I attached it to the leading edge with a narrow glue line and then did the same with the trailing edge. After that I trimmed, wrapped, and glued both edges to finish the attachment. I finished my day by gluing the capstrips.



17 December 2010: I start my day by wrapping the top fabric around the root and tip capstrips.








Magic!: Heat shrinking. I set the iron to 250 degrees and wash all my sins away. (Well, most of them. If you look carefully there is a place over the fuel tank where I've wiped an area with MEK. There was a hardened drop of Poly-Tac that became obvious when the fabric tightened over it.)





For about $60! I purchased this infra-red thermometer from Radio Shack. I allowed me to continuously monitor the temperature of my iron.






18 December 2010: Preparing for rib lacing. I first marked the top of the root rib and then transferred the marks to the bottom by using a level as a straight edge and a carpenters square to spot each mark.






I used masking tape to transfer the marks to the tip rib.






With Linda's help! We snapped chalk lines to transfer the marks to all the ribs





It's getting late. I did manage to apply tape to a few of the ribs.





19 December 2010: Rib Lacing! I spent most of the day applying tape but, late in the day, I was able to do seven stitches. On rib 2 and 3 only the very aft can be laced due to the fuel tank taking the space between the spars. On rib 3 I've left a space for the flaperon bracket. It's probably not necessary to rib lace in this area but, it was a great place to get started and develop my technique.



20 December 2010: Rib lacing complete! Linda helped me. It takes a little time to get started but, after that, it goes quickly. A careful look will reveal some places where I skipped a stitch. The structure of the wing prevented this. I have to think about an alternative.




21 December 2010: A solution. In the non-propwash area of the wing I'm allowed a 3 1/2 inch interval between stitches. I've been using 2 1/2 inches because that is the propwash interval and I decided to let that standard apply for the entire wing. However, if the situation warrants I can "bracket" an obstruction with a 3 1/2 inch interval.




Permanently riveting the wingtip mounts.





22 December 2010: Pink Goop! I continued heat shrinking with the iron set at 350 degrees and then painted Poly-Brush to the reinforcing tape over the laced ribs.







24 December 2010: Poly-Brush. I coated the top of the wing with Poly-Brush.





25 December 2010: In spite of it being Christmas, I just had to coat the bottom of the wing.





27 December 2010: Doilies! I first mounted a section of Poly-Fiber ultra light fabric onto a frame and then shrunk it with a 250 degree iron. I then marked the shape of the doilies on the stretched fabric. After removing the fabric from the frame I cut the individual pieces with a pinking shears and glued them in place with Poly-Brush.



30 December 2010: Tape! After marking their positions with a chalk line I pre-coated the fabric over the top cap strips and applied 2 inch tape. You can see that I have a bit of work ahead of me working out the gaps with an iron.




The Book is Right! I set the small hobby iron to 225 degrees and smoothed the tapes. Almost all the lumps and bumps disappeared.





31 December 2010: Taping the false ribs. I first had Linda help me snap a chalk line marking the end point of each false rib tape and then drew lines defining the chord-wise position of each tape. After pre-coating with Poly-Brush I glued them in place. You may notice that I masked the entire end rib. This is to keep insects, etc... out of the wing when it's stored in the hangar. A careful look at the first photo shows where I taped a piece of screen to provide ventilation.



2-3 January 2011: Taped the bottom capstrips and false ribs. In addition I marked the location of the leading edge tape and pre-coated with Poly-Brush.




5 January 2011: Taping the Leading Edge. This took two attempts. When I removed the first attempt it left a "ghost" image on the fabric. You'll notice this on some of the photos.



First I attached the 6 inch tape to the bottom with a 1 inch glue line that follows my chalk line.




I then smoothed the tape over the top and attached it with another 1 inch glue line. (Poly-Brush) By smoothing with my hand I just took out the slack. I made no attempt to stretch out the wrinkles.





I gave the Poly-Brush plenty of time to dry. I then spent about an hour and half smoothing out all the wrinkles with the hobby iron set at 250 degrees. For some reason the photo makes the smoothed area appear rough. I assure you that it is taught and smooth.



Done! I coated the tape with Poly-Brush. You can see places that need more work with the iron and the ghost of my bungled first attempt.




6 January 2011: Finished! All the tapes are in place. The only thing left is to apply the drain grommets.




16 January 2011: Drain Grommets. The first photo shows the plastic grommets glued in place and pre-coated with Poly-Brush. The second photo shows the doilies in place and the third photo shows the holes cut and a final coat of Poly-Brush.




Milestone! The right wing is now finished except for paint. As soon as I can I'll move it to the hangar and bring the left wing to the garage for finishing.



Completing the Left Wing


17 January 2011: Swapping one for the other. The end fittings of the "rotisserie" have legs that allow me to set the wing on the bed of the truck without it touching. The forward part extends a little beyond the leading edge to allow me to butt up to the wall without damaging the wing.



Back to Square One!




18 - 27 January 2011: No photos! I'm spending my kit building time cleaning the hangar dirt off the left wing and applying a second coat of varnish on the wood.



28 January 2011: I glue the false ribs adjacent to the lift strut brackets in place.







30 January - 2 February 2011: began applying the second coat of varnish.



6 February 2011: Installing the Fuel Tank. After carefully making relief cuts to allow a proper fit and installing fittings I applied a bead of silicone adhesive on both flanges. A bit of rope, a bowline, a rolling hitch, and the tank is clamped in place.






9 February 2011: I grab a quick hour from my teaching schedule. I mask off the gaps between the tank and the ribs and fill them with epoxy. I then "tool" the joint with a wood mixing stick. After the epoxy is cured I'll remove the tape and should be left with a clean joint.





11 February 2011: Blocking rib 1. I use pieces of dowel to stiffen the root ribs against the pull of heat-shrunk fabric.






Fuel Placard. When I made the placard for the right wing my work was "acceptable" but not perfect. This time I spotted the screws before I split the placard into two pieces and experienced better results. I coaxed an old hand drill out of retirement for this.




12 February 2011: Rib #2. The first photo shows the rib and trailing edge section slip-fitted in place. The second photo shows these parts glued and clamped.






13 February 2011: Blocking the bottom capstrip. I use a straight edge to spot the position of the second rib capstrip and block it with pieces of boxwood.




16 February 2011: Fitting the false ribs along the bottom of the tank. The false ribs must have cutouts to accommodate the bottom of the tank. To spot the cutout I placed a level across the existing false ribs and butted a false rib against the end of the tank and the level. I then drew the cutout along the edge of the tank. After a little sanding and shaving I had a template for all the ribs.




19 February 2011: I know!! the dovetail saw is rusty. I've been meaning to clean it up but never got around to it. However rusty it may be, it did the job of trimming the leading edge. Just as duct tape did the job of clamping it in place.





20 February 2011: Pink Tape! It's my way of making sure that I put the pitot mast in the exact spot indicated in the Builders Manual. I've pretty much decided on a Dynon EFIS for the instrument panel. Because of that I'm installing the Dynon AOA pitot tube on a SafeAir mast. A few weeks prior I took a close look at the Super Sport brought to the Sebring Sport Air Expo by John McBean and Paul Leadabrand. I'm not sure if my way is an exact duplicate but I think I'm close. I start with building a plywood shelf.




Coping Saw! After tracing the outline of the mast I drill a couple of holes and cut it out with a coping saw.





Spotting the Holes. I marked hole positions on the flange of the mast and, after clamping the mast and the shelf together, I drilled the holes through both; clecoing as I go.





Nutplates. I rivet nutplates to the mast. In this way the mast can be secured to the shelf with screws extending from the bottom of the wing. An inspection port on the fabric behind the pitot mast will allow complete access to the Pitot/AOA system.





Glued in Place!






23 February 2011: I screwed up! It is my intention to be able to install and remove the pitot mast from an inspection plate behind the shelf. My original hole wouldn't allow that since the mast would have to be perpendicular to the shelf and there's not enough room in the wing. Today I enlarged the hole to an oval shape that allows the mast to go through the hole diagonally.




25 February 2011: Wing Tip! I begin installing the left wing tip.





27 February 2011: I trimmed the upper edge of the wing tip. The last photo shows how the lower edge overlaps the capstrip. By measuring exactly one inch outward from the inboard edge I'll be able to scribe a line at the exact location of the lower edge.





2 March 2011: Trimming is complete!






6-7 March 2011: Mounting screws. I've drilled the holes for the mounting screws and began installing the nutplates.



9 March 2011: Nutplates. You can see that I've riveted nutplates to the top mounting strips. I've yet to do this to the bottom strips which are held in place with nuts and clecos.





10 March 2011: Complete! With all the nutplates in place I remounted the wingtip and trimmed it at the trailing edge. I filled the space with Hysol epoxy and used a spring clamp to make it conform to the wing.





12 March 2011: Today I painted a cardboard box! Every book and video about spray painting tells me to practice with my spray equipment before actually painting something. So, I painted a cardboard box with my new HVLP sprayer. I may do this a couple of times before painting the right wing. My intent is to take advantage of days where my schedule and the weather cooperate and paint the covered items to the point of being coated with Poly-Spray.



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