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The Making of a Cockpit
Posted in Cockpit, Fuel system on March 6, 2016
After deciding to find my seating position I soon realized all the steps that had to be accomplished before I could close up any of the areas in the cockpit.
I started with the fuel selector cover. I machined a mold to lay it up.
Here is the finished mold. It is waxed and ready to go.
As the cover doesn’t support anything and is only there to keep crap from falling in the hole I went with 3 layers of cloth. I was messing around and wanted to see how well the MGS epoxy tinted. I thought red would be a good color. I will still have to finish the part as I ended up getting some resin pockets around the radius.
Under vacuum and curing.
I also decided to make a base for the battery. I’m still not sure how it will mount but I knew it would need something to sit in. I covered it in tape and gave it a couple coats of wax.
I put on 5 layers of cloth and peel plied the sides.
I bonded in the thigh support ribs. I had layed these up and cut them some time ago so its always a treat to pull ready made parts off the shelf.
The thigh support was clamped to some former’s and put in the oven so it would hold its shape.
The project that I purchased already had the consoles made. The core was a little deteriorated but a little sanding brought out some fresh surface so I decided to use them. They were already fit to the fuse so it saves me a bunch of time.
I needed to bond on some thigh support ribs to the consoles but wanted to do it over glass. I had decided to glass them in place as per the plans. I do like the Idea of having them removable for accessibility but the Idea of more structure was even more appealing. I will be adding access panels to them so I guess its a compromise between both. I applied micro to the area that I would be glassing.
After the glass was applied I clamped the support ribs in place and peel plied the edges.
I had some resin left over so wanted to put it to use. This is the carbide that I put under the nose bumper. I needed to support it from the inside so I mixed up some flox and micro and created a surface around it that I would be able to glass over.
Here it is. I decided to let this cure before I glass over it. I thought it would be easier if it wasn’t moving around during glassing. On a side note, Marco, has put up an excellent tutorial on his youtube channel www.youtube.com/channel/UCXcf5-C0U5oIiZ9mIqaYYgA on how he made a mold and cast his design of a nose bumper.
I cut out the bracket for the fuel selector. I actually ended up making three of these. The first one I had the orientation of valve incorrect. The second one I over bent and it cracked. The third one worked great. I did make mine out of 0.063 instead of the 0.040.
I used my vise press brake to bend the bracket. This is a pic of the first one which was wrong but the process was used on the third one.
Here is the bracket bent and alodined.
The ANDAIR FUEL VALVE FS20X2F comes pre drilled and countersunk for the installation of anchor nuts. They probably all do but I can only comment to the one I purchased.
Next I installed the anchor nuts onto the fuel selector.
Next I layed out the location of the cover.
Here you can see the support rib that was bonded to the console.
The opening was cut in the thigh support to accept the cover. I was also testing to make sure my support ribs were all in their correct location.
Here is the cover sitting in its new home.
The holes were transferred from the bracket to the cover. You can see in this pic the excess resin and air pockets that I had in the radius. I know the cover looks resin starved but its not. This test worked out like others I have done with different resins. The pigments that I added have a tendency to work themselves to the surface of the part when they are used under vacuum. I had made this part excessively resin rich to try to keep as much of the color in it as possible which is why I trapped so much resin and air in the radius. The lighter areas are where the pigment has dissipated.
I assembled the fuel selector, bracket and cover. You can see on the outside surface of the part is a lot more red than the inside. The darker spots are where the perforations are in the release film. The pigments tend to pool there.
Everything fit in its place nicely.
The fuel selector bracket was back drilled into the bulkhead.
This is a pic of everything sitting in its place. The cover sits just a little proud which will be taken care of when the thigh support is glassed.
So here is the plan for the access covers in the consoles. I had to do some test cuts for some parts at work where I needed to do some under cuts and remove honeycomb from the panel so it was ready for edge potting. I normally just cut a square but since it was the right thickness I decided to cut the covers. I got the test done and some covers at the same time 🙂
The back side of the consoles have already been glassed. I then marked out the location of the access panels and removed the core. In this pic you can see how the honeycomb has been cut back from the edge to allow for the panel to be edge potted.
Here is the access panel sitting in the console. I didn’t get a pic of it but the core was under cut so I could glass four layers of cloth layed up on the inside layer of glass of the console. This will create the landing for the access panel to mount to. I decided to do only one side so if I don’t like the results then I only buggered one side. If it does work then it also allows me to cover up the ghastly cutout for the control stick. I purposely didn’t do the cutout for the seat belt as I figured it would be more accurate to do it after the panel was located.
I then used up the rest of my resin from glassing the four layers on the console to edge pot the panels.