Chapter 23 – Cowl baffle bulkhead

I got a late start today with a number of distractions before finally getting into the shop.

I transferred the thin cardboard bottom cowling aft bulkhead template to thicker cardboard.  I then dialed that in to fit the lower cowling.

Once fit into place, I then covered the cardboard form with duct tape as mold release.

I whipped up some epoxy to wet out and set peel ply onto the taped form.

I then laid up 2 plies of carbon fiber and peel plied the edges where they intersected the cowling.

Then, while setting the lower cowling into place on the plane, the lower baffle plate snagged the layup and distorted it a bit on the left side.  After messing with it for a minute, I realized I was about to make it much worse since I would lose a good number of the carbon fiber strands in that corner in my attempt to set it back right… so I called no joy and simply straightened out the fibers as best possible.  After all, the strength will be there, and it is in the lower engine area, it will simply be more of a cosmetic issue.  I’ll assess later if need be, and left it to cure.

I then turned my sights onto my “new” band saw —that my welder buddy James gave me— to get it up and running.  I spent about 45 minutes resetting the motor pully and dialing in the saw.

With the saw up and running, I then started trimming a number of 0.032″ 2024 scrap pieces from the VANs baffle kit to start making baffle seal edge securing strips.

The band saw worked a treat as I started cutting a number of these baffle seal edge securing strips.  Over the next day or so I’ll finish making these up to allow me to secure the top baffle seals to the aluminum baffle walls.

Tomorrow I’ll layup the front side of the bottom cowling baffle bulkhead and continue cutting out these baffle seal edge securing strips.  My goal is to have the baffles finished within the next few days.

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