|Panels & Tank Painted!|
|Le screw-up le tank...|
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.
I will be posting a pic once they come back and are installed in the newly painted instrument 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.
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'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...