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short solo movie clip Latest Posts
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It at first you don't succeed, well, so much for skydiving.


Panels & Tank Painted!
9/28/2008

click for larger image
Le screw-up le tank...

Gauges

It's been a while since my last post, and yes, I have been working on the plane, or rather, creating the white instrument gauges, which was a PAIN. The system Decal Pro is awesome as an end result, but the journey getting there utterly sucks. The problems / failures encountered were due to there being so many steps in the process, yet one didn't know if one had messed up at a particular stage until the very end - when you tried to apply the transfer - very disheartening. Some of the gauges literally took 7 or 8 attempts.

I think someone asked about durability...if removing the guaranteed initial failure transfer soon after applying, it came off with a bit of hard work with alcohol and rubbing, but I tried to remove one a week later and it wouldn't budge, so I MEK'd the darn thing. Which kills it with a bit of work. One can spray over the whole deal with a clear something or other to avoid an inadvertant MEK attack if one wishes. I don't have pics yet, because I have just dropped them off at the instrument shop for reassembly. I think the guy didn't believe me when I said I had done them! I had to go into detail how I scanned and traced the old dials in Photoshop with layers...then ran through the Decal Pro system. Some of the gauges are unique to the aircraft like the pic below.

new                                                                                                                       old

old and new

 I will be posting a pic once they come back and are installed in the newly painted instrument panels.

Panels

The glove box door was made, hinged and painted separately, along with the panels. When I got the gray top coat I had chosen 2 years back off the top shelf, it wasn't gray, it was a nasty dirty white/pink color. I should have checked the can when I bought it I suppose..altho, maybe urethane paint doesn't like sitting there for 2 years? Anyways, I went and got some more paint, and sprayed them today. Next week I will cut the panels with a fine grit cream to take off the high gloss so I end up with a desired satin finish. Then I can label the panel for switches.

Gas Tank

I ended up focusing on the gas tank in the middle of playing with instrument panels due to having to dry fit the tank to confirm clearance for the passenger alti [there is only 3" of depth]. One thing lead to another, so I started to tackle the fuel gauge problem.

I didn't want a sight gauge which is great - if you are sat in the front hole... a float type sender unit would clash with the flop tube in the tank, so after bending the ears of a few guys, and some from the forum, I decided to use a  capacitance sender. This is basically a probe/tube inserted into the tank, and the E and F levels are electronically calibrated to a matching gauge in the panel. The first inch of the probe is bendable to a mx 1" radius, so I could tweak the probe into a location where the flop tube misses it. I needed a plate welding to the tank to accomodate the sender unit, something I didn't dare tackle myself. So I got one of my TIG gurus I know to do the honors. Prior to paint, I pressure tested the tank with a $5 test kit from Vansaircraft.com, there was a leak, and for the life of me I couldn't find it with soap bubbles. Finally, I replaced the rubber gasket in the filler cap. Viola. Once sprayed with Randolph epoxy primer, the sender was fitted. I had no sealer, so I went a few doors down to an A&P buddy who loaned me some nasty black stuff for the job.

Now heres comes screw-up time...of all the places I could have positioned the sender, I had to put it where it would clash with the rear tank retaining strap didn't I? See pic. I am still thinking of how to fix this. The pic shows one approach: discard the X section, fab' a piece that sits over the sender [circular? less material?] and weld on with saddle straps. The other idea would be to move the strap to the rear, trouble is, this tank is 30 gallons (tight), so I am concerned that welding on new bushings on the longerons will clash during removal and insertion of the tank.

I have an old gas isolation valve, I polished up the brass with a dremel and sprayed with a clear lacquer. I also sprayed the red lever with Krylon rattle red, then Epoxy Clear Coated the lever for longevity. I also made a facia plate for the valve and have labeled it with a fancy on/off graphic using the aforementioned decalpro kit.

So, looking ahead, I need to fix the tank strap, assemble the panels, then I'll probably be looking at fuel line placements for the main and upper tank. 


I don
I don't take many pics of me with the build, 'figured I'd need the odd one for the FAA...
I enjoyed gazing at this today...
I enjoyed gazing at this today...

Latest uploaded pic Latest Pics
11/30/2013
go to page entryExtending and repairing the nose bowl.....
11/22/2013
go to page entryOn arrival.....
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