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 April 11, 2017

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Canopy

October 16, 2002 - 1.5 hours
Unpacked and inventoried the finish kit.

April 15, 2003 - 0.75 hours
Cleaned and painted the roll bar black. I don't like the way the white powder coat looks on the slider canopies so I painted mine with a black satin enamel.

May 18, 2003 - 2 hours
Pilot drilled the aft decks for the roll bar attach bolts. Trimmed and primed the little spacer blocks that go under the aft deck and started trying to bend the roll bar to the right width.

May 26, 2003 - 5.1 hours
Finished bending the roll bar, clamped and drilled the roll bar to the forward fuselage. Spent way too much time putting the little spacers and nuts up under the aft decks, and bolted the roll bar to the fuselage. I had to make a couple of shims to get it perpendicular to the fuse. Then I cut and fit the roll bar brace and drilled the holes to bolt it to the fuselage and the roll bar. I cut the slider rails to length and drilled the little nylon guide that goes on the back of the canopy frame. Started building the canopy guide track, but I didn't get very far.

I clamped the roll bar to the table, wrapped some rope around it and used a wrench to make a turnbuckle to bend it.

The roll bar and the roll bar brace.

This is the little roller assembly that attach to the canopy frame and allow it to roll in the rails.

May 27, 2003 - 1.6 hours
Finished building the slider track and taped the track to the fuselage. I started trying to figure out how to fit the slider frame to the fuselage. This is going to be a patience testing exercise.

The canopy slider rail is duct taped to the top of the fuselage for initial fitting.

May 28, 2003 - 1.25 hours
Today I worked on bending the canopy frame. Cussed a little, bent a little, cussed some more, unbent a little, measured, cussed, bent, cussed.....

June 1, 2003 - 1.9 hours
I was a little bit more calm today so I didn't cuss as much but the bending on the canopy frame still progresses slowly.

June 2, 2003 - 1.2 hours
More bending and tweaking on the canopy frame. I am getting close but I am not sure where 'good enough' is on this thing. If it has to be perfect then I am going to be here for a while.

June 8, 2003 - 1.5 hours
More bending and scratching of the head on the canopy frame. I think I may have actually gone backwards today.

June 9, 2003 - 1 hours
Tweaked on the canopy a little more. It goes well for a while and then a little backwards then better for a while then backwards. I just have to quit working on it when I start to get frustrated. I think I have the front bow right and the side rails about at the right shape but it seems to taper out a little as it goes aft. I also cut a piece of hardboard to lay in bottom of the aft fuselage so that I can crawl back there and fix a few things. That'll give me something to do when I can't stand the canopy anymore. Maybe I just need to be less picky.

June 12, 2003 - 1 hours
Bending on the Canopy frame a little more. I just about quit on the whole thing and then after playing around with a paper sack I decided to try twisting the frame along a different axis, and it seemed to work better. I know have the canopy lined up excpt the aft bow is 1/4" off.

June 14, 2003 - 1.5 hours
Worked on the Canopy frame some more. I'm still bending it this way and that and it still does not want to assume the right shape.

June 15, 2003 - 3 hours
I think I may have the canopy frame close enough to work. The left side rail is a little low on the aft end but if there is a way to make it work like that then I'll leave it. I'm gonna give myself a couple of days and then maybe I'll feel like tweaking it just a little more.

June 22, 2003 - 0.45 hours
I installed the little piece of all thread on the rear canopy track. This should help me fine tune the height of the rear of the canopy frame.

The forward bow of the canopy is not quite parallel with the roll bar but this will be covered with fiberglass later so it won't matter.

The rear bow of the canopy acutally fits pretty well.

This little piece of all-thread is there to support the overhanging slider rail. It also gives some fine adjustment on the height of the rear of the canopy.

June 28, 2003 - 2 hours
Drilled the slider rails to the aft canopy decks. Drilled the rear track to the top of the fuselage. Cleaned up the shop a little bit to make room for moving the big ol piece of plastic around.

Well there it sits. All ready for me to start carving on it.

June 29, 2003 - 5.5 hours
Started cutting on the canopy. I acutally got as far as making the Big Cut. I started by trimming off some of the excess around the outside of the canopy. This is more for practice than anything. Then I put the canopy on the table upside down and figured out where to drill the hole for the latch handle. After that I cut the canopy along the side bows (with plenty of extra) an then I clamped it all together to mark the line for the Big Cut. After taking a break I cut the bubble in two. It is exciting to have that part behind me with no cracks and the cut in the right place.

The frame is set in the canopy to determine where to drill the hole for the latch mechanism.

After drilling and smoothing the hole I put this home grown clamp to help me hold it in place while I mark other cuts. This is barely finger tight only, don't put a wrench on it.

Once the sides were trimmed sorta close the Big Cut is marked. This still needs some support before I start cutting it.

Well I did it! It had my nerves frazzled but there it is and with no cracks.

It even fits the frame, kinda.

June 30, 2003 - 1 hours
Positioned the canopy on the frame and clamped / taped it down. Layed out the places where the holes will go into the front bow and the top. I couldn't get the nerve to actually start 'drilling' so I read the manual some more and took another look at the plans and went to bed.

July 1, 2003 - 1 hours
I trimmed the canopy a little more. I still had it overhanging the side rails a bit and missed the part in the book where it said to cut it to just above the rails.

It only took a couple of minutes to make a nice plexiglass scraper out of a hacksaw blade

July 4, 2003 - 3.5 hours
I almost finished drilling the canopy to the frame. I left the aft bow undone because the sides were a little long so I trimmed a little bit of the sides to make it fit better. I didn't feel like drilling those holes while I was tired so put the latch mechanism together.

This is the canopy latch mechanism.

July 5, 2003 - 2 hours
Finished drilling the canopy frame. Marked the sides to the final cut line and started trimming all of the excess from the edges of the canopy.

The canopy is drilled to the frame!

July 6, 2003 - 4.5 hours
Finished trimming the edges of the canopy and spent quite a bit of time polishing the edges so that they were nice and smooth and rounded. Also match drilled the cover strip to the top of the canopy and almost finished countersinking the holes.

Getting ready to match drill the canopy to the top cover strip.

July 8, 2003 - 2 hours
Finished countersinking and enlarging all the holes in the canopy bubble. Enlarged the holes in the canopy frame to #30. Tweaked the canopy frame some more to get it to fit just right and reassembled the whole mess. It actually fits pretty well. I guess all that aggrivation with the canopy frame paid off.

First trial fit of the windscreen. I have quite a ways to go.

July 10, 2003 - 1.2 hours
Trimmed and tried the windscreen several times. It's a trial and error kinda thing but it's getting closer every time I try.

July 11, 2003 - 1.5 hours
Trimmed some more on the windscreen.

July 12, 2003 - 5.5 hours
Finished trimming the windscreen. It took a long time but I think I have a pretty good fit. It may still need a little bit of tweaking. I also spent some time getting the edges of the windscreen rounded and smooth. I set the height of the canopy frame to match the roll bar. I almost finished drilling the holes in the slider tracks out to full size. I want to get the slider tracks nailed down before I drill the rollers to the canopy frame, so that I can run the canopy back and forth and make sure it is going to be smooth.

July 13, 2003 - 2.5 hours
Finished drilling the holes for the slider tracks. I also put a couple of screws in the tracks so that I could slide the canopy back and forth to check the alignment of the rollers. I drilled the rollers to the canopy frame, and I also started drilling the windscreen to the roll bar.

July 20, 2003 - 5 hours
Finished drilling the windscreen to the roll bar. Drilled the little clips that hold the windscreen down to the forward skin. Countersunk and enlarged all the holes in the windscreen. The windscreen is held to the roll bar with screws so I tapped all the holes in the roll bar for the #6 screws. Finished the latch mechanism, except I didn't trim the hook all the way yet. I want to wait until I get the rear track and anchor blocks down before I commit to that size. Drilled and screwed down the rear canopy track, even though by the manual this should be done after the anchor blocks it seems to me that it would work out better if I nail that track down first. We'll see.

Windscreen is fit and drilled to the rollbar.

These little clips are used to hold the front of the windscreen down. These will be covered with fiberglass later.

The holes in the windscreen are countersunk and enlarged for a #6 screw.

The canopy latch mechanism. I still have some trimming to do on the hook to get it right but you can see how it works.

This is the outside part of the canopy latch.

A little trick I figured out for installing multiple washers behind the windscreen.

July 22, 2003 - 1 hours
A couple of the screws on the rear canopy track were still sticking up a little bit so I tweaked the countersinks a little. Also Messed around with the little anchor blocks that hold down the rear of the canopy.

July 31, 2003 - 0.5 hours
Adjusted the rear of the canopy down a little bit because the rear anchor point pin was going to go into the block a little bit high. it still is a bit high for my liking and it looks like the weldment is different from one side to the other, so I also made a 1/8" shim to go under the anchor block hold down. I bet nobody will notice it as long as we don't tell anybody.

August 4, 2003 - 2.5 hours
Finished the rear canopy anchors, and trimmed the canopy latch a little more. I think I'll save the last bit of trimming on the latch until it's all together. It still seems to have a little bit of give in it.

Left rear canopy anchor. This is how the aft end of the canopy is secured when it is closed.

August 4, 2003 - 1.25 hours
Layed out and drilled the holes in the canopy side skirts.

August 9, 2003 - 1.5 hours
I drilled the side skirts to the canopy frame and then started drilling the C-759 inside canopy skirt and I mananged to mess it up. I am not sure that following Van's instructions is the best way to install this part or not. They call for drilling the side skirt to the frame first and then putting the inside skirt between the two and drilling it. Well mine wound up working it's way down while I was drilling the holes and by the time I got to the aft end of the frame it was so far down that it interfered with the frame. I'll order another on Monday.

August 10, 2003 - 3 hours
I clamped the C-759 on the other side of the plane hoping that I would not mess it up like I did the right side on yesterday. Nope, I messed it up too. I guess I'll have to figure out another way to do this. ARGGGHHHH, If I'm not an alchoholic by the time I finish this canopy it will be only by the grace of God. I went ahead and made up the side skirt braces and that is about all I can do on the canopy until I get the parts. Since I'm waiting for canopy parts I made the little plate for the throttle/prop/mixture controls to mount to the panel and measured lentghs for throttle and mixture so that I can get those on order.

August 17, 2003 - 6 hours
I managed to get most of the side skirt parts drilled and fitted. There are a lot of holes in those things. I trimmed the relief in the front of the side skirts where it clears the curve in the fuselage as it slides back and I took the hole thing apart and started preparing all the parts for paint.

I took the canopy off to get those inside side skirts to line up right.

This is a bad picture of how the inside skirts line up with the canopy frame.

Whew the side skirts are drilled to the frame and it actually fits.

This is the side skirt brace drilled and clecoed to the frame. I'm going to paint it all and rivet it before drilling it to the side skirts.

August 23, 2003 - 4 hours
Prepared, primed and painted all the canopy frame parts. Finished mounting the cabin heat box. I also test fit the exhaust just to see how things were fitting up front.

I wanted the canopy frame to be black. I never liked the white color I think it stands out too much.

The desicant in the dehydator plugs turns pink when they are saturated with water.

A few minutes in the oven at 200 degrees or so gets the water right out of the dehydrator plugs

This is the bottom side of the cabin heat box.

Another shot of the cabin heat box. I went with the stainless steel box and it takes up a little bit more room than the aluminum one.

August 26, 2003 - 1 hours
Re-mounted the newly painted canopy frame. Riveted the side skirt braces to the frame clecoed the bubble back on. I also sized and cut the strip of aluminum that goes accross the back of the canopy and clecoed it on.

This is the inside of the canopy frame.

The little notch in the front of the canopy side skirt is there so that it will clear the curve in the fuselage side as the canopy rolls backward.

September 1, 2003 - 1 hours
Shannon came out and helped me drill the canopy side skirts to the side skirt braces.

September 3, 2003 - 0.75 hours
Dimpled and primed the side skirts and the side skirt braces.

September 7, 2003 - 5 hours
Finished countersinking all the rivet holes on the side skirts. Dimpled all the holes in the side skirt brace. I also trimmed the plastic away from the canopy in all the places where it contacts the frame and reassembled the canopy on the plane. Then I put the #6 screws in that hold the canopy to the side skirts. Started trimming and fitting the aft skirts. Made a strap duplicator for finding the holes on the aft skirts. I also played around with the alternator to see how it fits.

September 8, 2003 - 1 hours
Did a little bit more trimming on the aft skirts and started drilling one of them to the frame.

September 10, 2003 - 1.5 hours
Shannon came out and helped me drill most of the rear skirt to canopy frame rivet holes. It looks like the thing may fit together after all.

September 13, 2003 - 0.5 hours
Finished trimming the aft canopy skirts.

September 14, 2003 - 3 hours
I had to trim a little corner off of the side canopy skirts because the edges were right on one of the canopy to frame rivets. Shannon helped me drill the last few holes that attach the aft skirts to the side skirts and I finished trying to get them to fit just right.

This is the aft canopy skirt.

September 19, 2004 - 3.5 hours
Today I decided to change gears a little bit and go back to work on the canopy. I had decided that I was going to do the aft skirts in fiberglass but I didn't feel like getting the epoxy out today so I put the first skirts that I made on and I've about decided that I may be able to make them work. It seems that I had the canopy too far back when I did the initial fitting so I may be able to trim them down and get them to fit. I'll work on it for a few nights and if it doesn't go my way then I'll go back to the fiberglass idea.

It doesn't look so bad. I may be able to trim this to fit.

This is as far as the canopy will close because the aft canopy skirt extends too far.

September 20, 2004 - 1.5 hours
Trimmed on the aft skirt of the canopy. I think it may work out.

September 22, 2004 - 1.6 hours
Still more trimming on the aft canopy skirts. It's looking like it will fit okay but I sure am taking a lot of material off of those skirts. I think it'll look okay when it's all said and done.

September 25, 2004 - 3.5 hours
Decided that the aft skirts weren't going to work after all. I simply have them too tight and the canopy isn't going to close until I trim the completely away. So today I started laying up fiberglass skirts. We'll see how that turns out.

I bridged the gap between the canopy and the fuselage with wax paper glued down with 3M spray adhesive. In hindsight this probably wasn't the best idea but it was the best that I had at the time.

I made a paper template of the aft canopy skirts and cut them out of a piece of 8oz cloth

And the first layup is done. There is a low spot where the wax paper sagged a little bit but I think I can fill it and make it work.

September 26, 2004 - 0.5 hours
I smeared some Super-Fil on the canopy skirs to help fill the low spot caused by the gap betweent the canopy and the fuselage.

October 2, 2004 - 0.75 hours
Sanded on the aft canopy skirt a little and put another layer of Super-fil on it.

October 3, 2004 - 1.5 hours
Sanded the last of the Super-fil and put two more layers of fiberglass on the aft canopy skirt. I see much sanding in my future.

October 17, 2004 - 2.1 hours
Drilled the mounting holes in the fiberglass aft skirt and then started trimming and sanding to get it to fit just right. It looks like it is going to work okay. It looks a lot better than the metal ones that I made.

First trial fit of the fiberglass aft skirt

October 23, 2004 - 2.75 hours
Sanded and trimmed on the aft skirt some more. Discovered that the little 'doghouse' that covers the rail is not shaped quite right so I cut it out and layed up another with the little nylon slide as a plug.

This is the last of the layups on the aft canopy skirt with peel ply on top of it. The peel ply really keeps the finish work to a minimum.

October 24, 2004 - 1.5 hours
Sanded and trimed a little more on the aft skirt. This thing is taking way too long. I layed a couple more layers on the little 'dog house' and another coat of super-fil. I also spent a lot of time cleaning up. It's getting to the point where I can't find things anymore and that's not very productive. I didn't include the cleanup time in the database.

October 31, 2004 - 0.5 hours
Still filling and sanding the aft canopy skirt. While I had some fiberglass mixed up I also glassed some stiffeners to the oil filler door too.

I useed some extra foam from the cowling to make a couple of little stiffeners for the oil door. I wanted to try and get by with one latch and since most people see some bulging on the oil door I decided on these little stiffeners.

January 9, 2005 - 1.5 hours
Sanded on the rear canopy skirt a little and then mixed up a litttle filler and smeared it around.

January 10, 2005 - 0.75 hours
Sanded the filler on the rear canopy skirt from yesterday and mixed up a little more. This is a little bit too much trial an error for me but I'm narrowing down on it. Hopefully I'll be able to put this canopy to bed before too long.

January 11, 2005 - 0.5 hours
Sanded the canopy skirt some more, and I think I may have put the last batch of filler on it.

January 22, 2005 - 1 hours
Sprayed a coat of surfacing primer on the aft canopy skirt.

January 23, 2005 - 0.75 hours
Sanded the coat of primer that I put on yesterday and then mixed up a batch of epoxy/micro ballons and filled some of the bigger pin holes and scratches that showed up in the primer. It's hard to see those things in the fiberglass but they show up really well in the primer.

January 24, 2005 - 0.45 hours
Sanded on the skirt some more. I hope that all the holes and scratches are filled and I can get this thing done with just a couple more coats of primer. We'll see.

January 30, 2005 - 0.75 hours
Put on another coat of primer on the aft canopy skirt

February 4, 2005 - 0.75 hours
Sanded the coat of primer off the the aft skirt. I think I have more pinholes this time than I did last time.

February 9, 2005 - 0.4 hours
Sanded the aft canopy skirt smooth.

February 10, 2005 - 0.4 hours
Sprayed another coat of surfacing primer on the aft skirt. This was the last one. A little more sanding and it'll be time to rivet the canopy together. I'll be glad to finally get that over with.

February 11, 2005 - 1.5 hours
Sanded the aft canopy skirt, and there were no pin holes. I guess it's done. I also made a little handle for the side of the canopy to help lift it.

I may actually have this aft canopy skirt finished. It almost seems to good to be true. Now I just need to get all this mess riveted together.

One thing about fiberglass, you can make stuff fit really well. This little plastic doohickey is supposed to slide back and forth with the canopy and help keep that RV breeze off the back of your neck.

March 19, 2005 - 2 hours
Figured out the line for the fiberglass on the windscreen, and put some electrical tape on it. I also made up some microballons and put some filler between the windscreen and the fuse skin to smooth out the transition for the fiberglass that is coming soon.

This a small fillet of microballons to fill that little gap between the skin and windscreen

March 20, 2005 - 9 hours
Finished riveting up the canopy. WHOOOPPP!! I really didn't think I'd ever get that thing finished but it's done, it didn't crack and it fits pretty well. Vern came over and helped me get the windscreen ready to fiberglass. We sanded the filler, the plexi and the fuse skin. I wound up moving the tape a little bit because I had gotten some filler up next to it and couldn't clean it up without hurting the tape edge. No sense in getting this far and not doing it right. We decided that I didn't have the right epoxy (I have the fast West Systems and we need the slower 207 stuff) so we postponed doing the layup. The canopy rails moved a little when I had them off for painting the cockpit last year so I piddled with that a little bit and I also added some more filler to a few low spots on the windscreen transition and also on the blind rivets holding the aft canopy skirt. I cut a bunch of strips of fiberglass cloth in anticipation of "The Layup".

The windscreen is ready for the fiberglass fairing.

The canopy is finally finished.

Another shot of the canopy, showing the fit of the aft skirts.

Yet another shot of the canopy, it fits okay. It needs a little tweaking there on the bottom of the left side skirt.

March 26, 2005 - 3 hours
Fiberglassed the windscreen today. It's off to a real good start. Vern did a fantastic job so I don't think that we'll have to spend much time sanding it.

The layup on the windscreen is done.

May 22, 2005 - 4.5 hours
Vern came over and we worked on the fairing for the windsheild. He spent a bunch of time sanding on the fiberglass and then we mixed up a big ol' batch of epoxy / microballons and smeared it all over the thing.

Vern does a much better job of smearing the microballons that I do.

June 10, 2005 - 1 hours
Tonight I was getting ready for doing the fiberglass layup around the windsheid where it meets the canopy. I got a long piece of cardboard and layed it out on the table and then cut three pieces of 8oz BID cloth for the layup.

June 11, 2005 - 3 hours
Vern finished sanding the fiberglass transition from the windshield to the fuse and we got the glass layed up between the windshield and the canopy. I got a call from West Houston Airport today and I am getting a T-hangar the first of the month.

The windsheild fairing turned out really nice. Vern did a better job than I could have ever hoped for.

We put the cloth down on some cardboard and wetted it then brought the whole thing over to the plane and put it on the canopy. It really helped keep the dripping down to a minimum.

June 18, 2005 - 1.5 hours
Sanded on the fiberglass roll bar fairing.

June 19, 2005 - 3 hours
Cut the roll bar fairing back to the proper width. I sanded and shaped the fairing as best I could and then mixed up a batch of Epoxy / Microballons and smeared it all over the thing, to try and make the transitions smooth.

June 20, 2005 - 2.2 hours
Sanded the filler off of the roll bar fairing and then put some more filler on it. How do people build plastic airplanes?

June 21, 2005 - 1.2 hours
Sanded and sanded on the roll bar fairing. I think I just about have it. It needed just a touch up of filler so I put some of that on it and hopefully I can call it good tomorrow.

June 27, 2005 - 0.9 hours
Installed the rest of the little #8 screws and nuts that hold the canopy rails down.

By putting some electrical tape on a wrench I was able to hold the nut and washer well enough to get them started up under the canopy rail.


Disclaimer:
This web site and the infomation contained within it are for entertainment purposes only. The opinions expressed on construction techniques are my opinions only and should not be confused with proper construction techniques. There is undoubtedly more than one way to build an airplane and some methods that I use may or may not work in any given circumstance. If there is any question please call the kit manufacturer. I love to help but I am not responsible for the misuse of any information contained on this web site.

 March 3, 2016
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