I reject the “hump” and start again, more on the instrument panel.
After a bit of filling on the hump I’ve become a bit disenchanted with it a lot of filler added and still a load more to go. Despite using a filler made of as much microballon filler as the resin will stand it is noticeably gaining weight as fast as I do on holiday. This goes very much against the grain as a dyed-in-the-wool microlight pilot where light is the name of the game. The very idea of being fuel weight limited with a Robin engine up forward, not noted for its frugal fuel burn, is not at all what I’m aiming for.
So a start is made on producing another hump, but at least I learned from the last one so this 2nd model should be a lot easier. The new lot of foam is rough cut and glued in a fairly short time and I plan on trimming most of the surplus with a good sharp knife and then sanding the result into the desired shape.
The first crack at trimming and sanding went well, a good sharp knife slid though the foam with ease and even the glued joints gave it little pause. In fact it trimmed with so little trouble that I thought that it would be easy to overdo it and land up where I had started so I left a goodly bit for sanding. That also started well but part way through the job the elastic on my face mask snapped. I continued for a bit holding the mask to my face. Not one of my better ideas as a rasping feeling at the back of my nose showed, the handheld mask was not sealing well, Oh well, that was it for the afternoon as there was too much suspended dust around to do anything else without a decent mask. The idea though was a good un, the new hump, even in its partly trimmed state weighed a lot less than the partly filled one
Not having the chance to get a dust mask, my mind turned to other jobs for a while and I considered mounting the instrument panel. The normally-helpful build manual was a bit less than informative on this “As a guide the instrument panel should be made of 4mm ply or 1.5 mm aluminium , it should be mounted if possible without drilling extra holes in the structure in particular the tubes and be fitted with some form of anti vibration mount”. Well as a start I had the original instrument panel very kindly given to me by Jim Romain but no sign of how it had been fitted. Right, the tubes to which it seemed it must be fitted are at 45 degrees to the desired upright position of the instrument panel which is less than desirable. So it seems that I must fit to these tubes without causing damage to the tubes through drilling or chafing and this must have provision for the anti- vibration mounts. Resorting, once again, to the trusty LAS catalogue I found some decent looking padded “P” brackets and a look at Skydrive showed some mounts that seemed just what was needed. All that was needed now was a bracket to connect the brackets at 45 degrees to the horizontal mountings on the instrument panel, then I thought of using pieces of tube with holes drilled at 45 degrees to each other. A look into the scrap box, invaluable source, found some tube that I had found damaged in the airframe and replaced from which I could cut the sections that I’d need.
It was a bit of a fiddly job but a made a couple and fitted them before running out of the AN3-4A bolts that I needed, but the idea worked and the required bolts were added to the list of little bits that I would need from LAS.
Dust mask duly acquired; a bit more carving and sanding produced the desired shape just a bit oversized to allow for finishing. The next consideration is the making of the ply part of the structure over the tank.
I shall make it from birch ply and Balsa as lightly as I can but well enough braced internally to give it the strength needed. I cut up the first bits and offer them up, it looks promising. The ply is pinned and glued and proves to be a messier job than I’d hoped but it goes together leaving the balsa to be fitted when it is cured.
While that is curing I return to the instrument panel which is rubbed down and varnished although I had a nasty moment when the slip ball seemed to disappear. On my third search for it I found it; I had cleared the floor, raked around in all the crevices, when it turned up on the shelf where it should have been. Well not quite, it was hanging over the edge of the shelf face in pretending to be part of the upright, it was only when emptying the shelf for the second time I noticed it. When the varnish hardened I refitted the smaller bits back on the panel including making a guard for the ignition switch that it had lacked before, better they stay together I think.
(Written April 2015)