Chapter 25 – Finishing Headrest

Chapter 25 – Finishing Headrest & Rollover Assembly

24 October 2015 — Although it’s a small piece of the headrest, I figured I would account for the GPS antenna puck cover since I was working on it.  Here’s a couple shots of the micro finishing & cheese grating of the GPS antenna cover that will go on the top of the headrest (along with the ice shields that will cover the elevator weight slots in the canard).

Cheese grating vs not cheese grating:

Cheese grating vs no cheese grating

And then when all are cheese grated:

Cheese grating wins!!

Next, I’ll final sand all these parts and start in on getting 3-5 epoxy wipe layers on this stuff.

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4 November 2015 — Today I was able to carve out a little time to work on the rollover assembly.  I needed to sand down the base of the rollover on each side to clean up the irregular surfaces & shoot it with primer again.

I sanded round #1 using 100 grit paper on each side, then did a final round #2 sanding with 220 grit paper.

sanding rollover base

sanding rollover base

I then cleaned up the freshly sanded surfaces with Simple Green, took the rollover assembly outside and shot the sanded areas with 3 coats of the same Rustoleum gloss black primer that I used previously.

3 coats of gloss black primer

After hitting the rollover assembly with a few coats of primer, I decided to test out my boat paint on the headrest GPS antenna puck cover (which has clearly had pure epoxy and primer finish applied to it since my last post above).

Painting GPS antenna cover

I duct taped the antenna cover to the top of a paint spray can and then brushed & tipped on the first coat of white boat paint.  This will be the first of a few test applications I use to see if I’m going to move forward with using boat paint, or at least this brand of boat paint.

Painted GPS antenna cover

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5 November 2015 — Tonight I sanded down the first coat of final top coat paint on the headrest GPS antenna puck cover, and then sanded down and added the first coat of final white paint to the elevator outboard weight ice shields.

Now, to be honest I haven’t been blown away with the performance of this boat paint.  I don’t have negative feelings towards it either, but the jury is still out.  I may need to look at a better way of applying it, because on these parts I just used a cheap paint brush.  Thus, we shall see . . .

Painting a boat!

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8 November 2015 — I happen to really note the color of the boat paint on the headrest GPS antenna cover and the ice shields.  It’s not a bright white, as the primer is not, so I’ll be calling Jamestown Distributors this week to figure out the way ahead on that.  I want the white on my bird to as white as possible… not the 1970’s dull off-white stuff.  So I’ll be evaluating the paint as I move forward.

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10 November 2015 — I broke out the new paint to try it out.  As I said before as I was looking at the actual color of the white boat paint I had ordered before, in contrast with the white label on the gallon can and a standard white piece of paper, it clearly looked off white.  To compare and contrast the new paint I sanded down half of the headrest GPS antenna cover with 220 grit paper, and then painted it with the new paint.  I have to say that A) the new boat paint went on much easier and laid down much better than the old boat paint, and B) the new paint seems to have more of a “blue” hue vs a “yellow” hue, as you can see below.

New paint

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29 April 2017 —  Today I sanded down the GPS antenna cover that will sit atop the pilot head rest.  It too has presented a fair number of challenges.  I’m hoping over the next week to get these darn things knocked out!

I then sanded & primed the the GPS antenna cover.

•••

10 May 2017 — Today I spent a little bit sanding down the GPS antenna cover, and it needed a few dabs of Metal Glaze for some blemish cleanup.  In addition, you just might be surprised how intricate the sanding job is on this thing, just to get what is seemingly a fairly simple & basic shape.

Here’s the other side that I also hit at the lower edge with some Metal Glaze.

And here’s the GPS antenna cover with 3 more coats of primer, which it will need to help finalize its shape.  After I give it a good wash, barring any more shaping requirements, I’ll hit it with a couple of coats of dull off-white primer as the final coat & color.

•••

11 May 2017 — Today, my last task of the evening was to wet sand & Simple Green wash the GPS antenna cover.

After I prepped it for more paint, I hit with 3 coats of white primer/paint to cure overnight. This antenna cover will not be a gloss color, but rather either semi-gloss or even flat.

•••

14 May 2017 — Tonight, my last official build act for the evening was wet sanding the Garmin GNS480 GPS antenna cover.  I then hit it with 3 good coats of matt clear coating (yes, crappy pic).

With that, I closed up shop for the evening and left the lovely paint fumes to themselves.

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Recent Posts

Project Update

Hi Folks,

Well, Rough River 2017 is in the history books.  A great Rough River all the way around!  Marco’s new GRT Mini & GNRS480 avionics install went off without a hitch, providing an awesome proof of concept for my upcoming panel.  In addition, the myriad of builder tips that I got from Buly, Rick Hall, James Redmon, Terry Schubert, Mike Beasley, Bruce Sinclair, Bill James and countless others were gold in the bank for so many upcoming component decisions and configurations I need to make.

As I mentioned before, I’ve had to adjust my schedule a bit over the past 6 weeks, which of course impacts my goals.  Yes, I will continue to fight in my hope that this will be the final push to get the main assembly of the aircraft completed.   I do plan on having the main structure of the aircraft finished by year’s end.  An aggressive timeline to be sure, but I think it’s very doable.

I’m still working out the finer details of making everything fit inside the cockpit.  Since the vast majority of what I’m doing are all mods, these usually require a lot of in-house R&D, and then trial & error when finally at the install phase.  However, the curve is exponential in that as each component is designed and installed, it accelerates the build because besides just being in the “done” column, it is one less thing to design and build.  Moreover, it’s a variable that has been changed into a constant.

All this is just to say that even though things seem to be going slowly, there really is a momentum building for this project.  These pesky mini-tasks burn time, but as they are finished and systems are integrated, then when the final airframe components builds are finished, this plane will seriously be close to being done. Again, these mini-tasks are definitely time-consuming and a lot more slow going then planned.  But finishing them now allows me to work all this stuff while I can stand right next to the fuselage without having to deal with strakes, or nose, being in the way!  

I have to say that it’s much easier and more fun to build the big stuff that makes this project look like a plane, and I often feel my discipline waining to go build something “cool”.  So, although obviously not as sexy as seeing major aircraft components (i.e. nose, strakes, canopy) being completed, these mini-tasks are oh so necessary for quality of flying later on!  Moreover, these immediate tasks, in turn, will allow me to finalize the configuration of the nose components. At which point I will focus on the building the nose and the canopy.  . . while concurrently finalizing the wheel pants install (nope, haven’t forgot about those!).

Cheers!

 

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