Sunday, August 14, 2016

Outer Wings (Part 3)

On the left wing, I tried to modify the plans method to make it easier on myself. I cut out foam nose ribs that, rather than stick all the way out to the leading edge, only stuck out far enough to support the foam planks. Unfortunately, they weren't quite right, and it caused a lot of headache and frustration trying to rip out and replace foam. So this time, I did it a little closer to the plans method. Glued foam nose ribs in place, but then sanded them to the airfoil contour before adding the rest of the foam. It worked quite well, and was much easier than trying to work out the geometry of the nose supports changing size, length from the spar, and angle changes for washout.

Foam planks being cut and placed:

Once in place, I began the arduous sanding process yet again.

Honestly, it only took a couple hours, including frequent hydration (read: lost motivation) breaks and several "Is there *any* other way that would be *slightly* better?" pauses. One of those gave me the idea to cut slits along the entire length of my aluminum angle sanding block, and use that edge as a saw. It worked fairly well for large chunk removal, as long as you were careful not to cut too close to the final shape.

Eventually, I did manage to finish sanding the top of the wing (although not perfect - thank goodness for micro!) and got ready for another round of glassing. It's been so hot, I've been getting all of my supplies ready and all of the prep work done in the evening so I can get up early and finish glassing before 9 or 10 AM. Any later and the vinylester just sets up too fast. One interesting thing with vinylester that seems different than any other two-part system I've used - if the vinylester is gelling, and I'm not quite ready for it to set, I can actually add a little extra time by adding a little more vinylester (with hardener added, of course.) Not sure how or why, but it's saved me from a lot of repair work a couple of times.

I didn't get any pictures of the process, but it went like this:
Step one: micro from the front spar back to the trailing edge (skipping the spars)
Step two: lay one layer of 5.8 oz cloth and one layer of 1.5 oz cloth on the micro'd area, wet out completely
Step three: micro from the front spar forward and underneath, two inches past the chord line
Step four: wet out two layers of 5.8 oz cloth on a piece of 2 mil plastic, then lay the cloth in place on the leading edge of the wing. Much, much easier to do one layer at a time, otherwise you risk wrinkles in the bottom layer that are pretty impossible to get out once the resin begins to set.

The result is quite good, with very very few bubbles and only one small wrinkle. If the thunderstorms stay away long enough tomorrow,  I'll pull the plane out of the garage and flip it, then begin gluing foam around the bottom leading and trailing edges. Beginning to get excited about my progress, and I think I've figured out how I'll do my wing tips next.
Continued in Outer Wings (Part 4)

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