Wing Covering Started

April 3, 2019

It’s been a while. A month. What’s happened in a month - sure doesn’t feel like much.

With the continued delays with the fabric application there was some work started with cutting and fitting the wing tips. This, in short, sucked. It took about two days just to get the cuts done and everything trimmed. Now I still have to glue the ends together and a lot of finish work and also cutting out for the lights.

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I felt a bit lost and moved on to the wing struts and got the speed fairings hysoled in place.

Again, delays continued with the fabric but I tried to press on. I decided I could start covering the wings as they were not going to have any of the issues I was concerned about. They were fully preped so that’s what I’ve been working on.

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I got the bottom of both wings now covered and shrunk. It went pretty smoothly. Each to cut out. Glue application was pretty straight forward. I used pencil to mark the bottom of the fabric for glue location. The one thing I have noticed is there is a substantial amount of glue wasted. You have to brush on wider than expected as it’ll never line up perfect after you start sticking things together. On one hand it’s necessary our you’d never have glue where needed, on the other you’re wasting close to 50% IMO. I have to figure out if I can improve this.

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Speaking of glue. I did have a bit of a scare moment when I re-opened the glue from a month ago. As I poured it out it was chunky. Not good right! After a few phone calls to Lars, some pictures and investigation of the remaining bottles of glue we determined it was just chunks of dried up glue from the edges of the bottle. I did glue tests and fished out the chunks for close inspection. The glue test was perfect. The chunks were thin and smooth and were clearly dried up. The original worry was the it had frozen at one point. However, that would have been very distinctively different chunks. Phewf.

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Application to the wings was pretty easy. It’s about taking your time, especially with the LLE. That you need to get totally smooth and no creases. You don’t have the option to shrink it! It takes a while to really figure out the temps and speed to move at - especially just to tack vs total setting of the glue. It’s sticking - so hopefully it’s good!

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This time I also waited until the following day to shrink. Again, that’s so satisfying. I used the heat gun first as I find it much easier/safer than the iron with large wrinkles. I followed that by the iron shrinking. The only bit I had trouble with was not cutting back enough the fabric that wraps the trailing edge. When I shrank, there was a distinctive line coming through where the fabrics touched. A little heat and pliers got the fabric pulled back off enough to trim and then re-apply glue and heat. Everything fixed.

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The one issue I did find, which is rather annoying, is that any contrasting color transitions show through. So for example, the white primer to wood. In the right light you can very clearly see this transition. I was rather disappointed to see this. All that extra work just felt like it was down the drain.

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But, a swift kick in the arse by my buddy got me going again. It’s minimal on the bottom, and most will be covered by the leading edge tape, which is going to be black. However, we did decide we have to find a way to fix this on the top side before covering.

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So, that’s where I’ve left off today. We are trying so of the matching orange paint I had mixed up to see if it will cover the transitions. Tomorrow will tell once it’s dry. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to paint the entire surface the same color.