Monday, October 16, 2017

Landing Gear (part 2)

(Continued from Landing Gear - Part One)

My landing gear legs finally showed up, so I took advantage of the last of the warm weather to get some fiberglassing done. I was pretty excited, since the plane has been sitting on jack stands for quite some time now, and I'm always nervous about it falling off when I'm getting in and out to make airplane noises.

Once I had the gear planed to thickness and edges chamfered, (ScotchPly is really hard on planer blades!) I wrapped a couple of layers of bi-directional cloth infused with epoxy around them, as per the instructions. After that cured, I hot-glued a couple of straws to the backs as a housing for the brake lines.

I mixed up some really thick micro and filled in all around the straws to help the next layers of fiberglass lay smoother.

Once that cured, I sanded it all smooth and wrapped the next layers of fiberglass cloth and epoxy around the back. Nothing to it, really.

The next step was to use some more micro and just squeegee it over the sides of the leg, so I could sand them nice and smooth (without adding much extra weight.) I also used a high-speed rotary tool to open up holes to the straws and sanded everything smooth.

Before I got to the fiberglassing stage, I had gotten the brackets all drilled and prepped. Because of the shape of the brackets, I had to get a little creative with the hole placement for the axles.

The next step was a little scary - the geometry of the axles and landing gear is sort of important, and I only got one shot at drilling holes into the fiberglass legs. I took my time and re-verified a couple times, and I still ended up with one axle not quite pointing the right direction - but I can machine a nice aluminum shim to fix it, since it's off by only a couple degrees. 

Once my holes were all drilled, I mixed up some flox, spread it on the brackets, and bolted the legs to the brackets for good.

While I waited for that to cure, I got my new rims and tires out, packed the bearings with grease, assembled them onto the axles, and the axles onto the brackets. It's starting to look serious now!

As soon as the epoxy showed the slightest indication of curing, I couldn't help but drag the whole assembly out to the garage and bolt it onto the plane. It's not a great picture, and there's a ton of crap in and around the plane, but it still looks a heck of a lot better with landing gear than it did on jack stands!

I haven't been idle with the engine - just frustrated, and lots of work for very slow progress. It was really good to get this out of the way, just to feel like i'm getting *something* done.

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