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Tony Spicer 01-11-2021 04:03 PM


Do you have a son/grandson standing by to take over the project down the road? :)


David Paule 01-11-2021 05:38 PM

Paul, yes for sure, nutplates are on the list. I might use Click-Bond or the homemade version David taught me.

Tony, unfortunately not. But I come from long-lived people and there's hope that I'll get it done one of these days.

Incidentally, looking over the canopy fairing interior after spraying it, it definitely needed another pass of filling and sanding. In progress today.


David Paule 01-23-2021 05:23 PM

The interior of the fairing is painted now. It took thee coats and if I had the time and paint I could have kept going, filling, sanding and painting. The paint added two ounces. The overall fairing/frame weighs 5 pounds 8 ounces without the latch hardware.

In these photos the fairing is upside down.

Here the latch is shown latched.

And unlatched.

The hex pieces on the bars will let me hold the bars when I tighten the jam nuts.

Later I painted the latch bars and make the external canopy latch handle. The latch bars were a little awkward to paint. They are tubes and needed paint all around. I set LP-4 -3 rivets in a piece of scrap angle and left the stems on the rivets. With the angle clamped to the table, I slipped the bars over the stems and sprayed them. Worked well, but a little wobbly. Before putting the angle back in my scrap bin, I removed the stems so that I wouldn’t get stabbed later.

Incidentally, I was using a $14 Harbor Freight touch-up gun for this. Good enough.


David Paule 02-07-2021 04:33 PM

Before gluing the canopy to the fairing/frame assembly, I needed to prepare the outer latch handle. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to latch it from the outside. I chose to do it like the RV-8 plans show, even though their handle is a little different than the RV-3B version.

Mine is the C-406 handle. The RV-8 version is the C-656 one.

Note that this uses an 8-32 screw. The RV-3 and RV-3 type uses a 10-32 screw, as shown here in the RV-4 drawing:

To my eye, using a #10 screw here appeared to cut away too much of the tube. We’ll see - I haven’t done the analysis but it wouldn’t be difficult to drill out to #10 if need be.

I drilled a pilot hole into the handle on the drill press, using a Vee-block to ensure squareness.

To line it up with the long axis of the plane, I removed the canopy fairing/frame and measured down the fuselage side from the left top longeron a couple inches and drew a line parallel to the longeron on the blue vinyl. After reinstalling the canopy fairing/frame with the latch in place, I pressed the handle on to the shaft. Then, with the latch in the locked (i.e., flight) position, it was an easy thing to rotate the handle until it was parallel to my line.

I had to use a 12” drill bit to drill through the shaft because the handle’s hole was so close to the side and the long bit was flexible enough to allow that. That’s why I used a pilot hole.

Removing the latch assembly and reinstalling it in the handle, with the handle back in its Vee-block, it was easy enough to drill it for the 8-32 tap.

However, when I went to tap the hole, the tap handle interfered with the latch mechanism itself as shown here.

Yes, I know I could have done this in my drill press or something, without using the tap handle at all. But I removed the assembly (two screws) and completed the job. Then I countersunk the end of the handle for the screw head, and carved the handle into shape.

I’d hoped to report that the canopy was glued to the fairing/frame assembly by now, but it’s not. I decided to finish the interior flange of the canopy attachment flange before that, since it would be difficult to finish it later. I had planned to simply brush on some of the gray paint. I'll use that HF touch-up gun for this. There’s some more filling and sanding ahead again.


David Paule 02-21-2021 05:35 PM

One of the small things I did recently was putting the flap handle together. I’d previously made the rod assembly inside the flap handle and someone made me a nice Delrin button, which I promptly lost. Hate that. One day it showed up again, having carelessly wandered into the wrong drawer. I assembled the system and found that my spring was way stiffer than desired.

I have a trick for assessing spring forces. If it’s for something that I operate with my fingers, I compare it to a common wooden clothespin, which generally has a decent feel. That led to trimming the length of the spring by about 1/2 inch, and now the button force is not bad.

The unprimed thing in the flap handle’s slot is nothing more than a tool, a retainer for the interior hardware. Whacked it out of .120 scrap. It does have one flap notch just to prevent it from falling out.

Here’s a photo of the canopy fairing/frame while the canopy itself is still off, taken to show it’s overall size. Or show mine, depending upon your point of view. I'm the one wearing the mask.

More small things -

Made the covers for the roll bar cut-outs in the top tailcone skin.

Removed the gray SEM primer from the to-be-visible parts of the cockpit so that I can spray them with that gray epoxy primer I’m using on the interior.

Filled and sanded the interior portion of the canopy flange, and sprayed it gray.

After removing the tape on the inside of the canopy, I found that I had inadvertently made several smallish scratches near the perimeter flange. Some of them were a millimeter deep but short. I’m repairing those. Here’s how.

I put a Novus starter kit on order. For now, I used 400 grit to remove the actual initial damage, and then 600 grit to smooth that somewhat. The next sandpaper I had was 1,500 grit so I used that to get those small sanding marks out. Finally, I used 2,000 grit, the highest I had, to take it one step further. Besides this one, there are four other locations. This is by far the largest.

I found that small strips of sandpaper, about 1/4” x 2” seemed to work best, and used them wet. This size seemed to minimize inadvertent over-sanding. I went through lots of small pieces of paper towel, cleaning the canopy, every few minutes.

There are also a couple of places on the flange that will need a final coat of the gray paint when this is all done.


David Paule 02-27-2021 09:16 AM

The canopy hinge pin retainer was pretty easy and works nicely. It's just a bent end that snaps into a tooling hole in the seat bulkhead.

Hereís the right hand roll bar cutout cover. The left hand one is similar. Hint - the cover is cut on the inboard side to allow for installation. Drilling those rivet holes was difficult. It would have been easier to make the cut at the aft end. I chose to put it where I did so that the roll bar itself would tend to hide the cut.

Touch-up paint for the roll bar is on order. It uses Eastwoodís 2-part rattle can paint. It sprays well and is durable, but once the paint is mixed, the can is only good for 48 hours. Still, for some jobs, itís the way to go.

Since the Novus kit for polishing the canopy hasnít arrived, I decided that Iíd determine how thick a seat cushion I needed with what I had. I clecoed the canopy to the fairing/frame and attached the hold-open latch. The other latches are operational.

The round thing on the seat is a block thatís 1 7/8Ē thick. The ďseatĒ is merely a slab of 2Ē insulation left over from the fairing mold. Turns out that with this thickness, the block just fits between my head and the canopy. This clearance is about what my mentor advised, so I guess itís good.

Youíll remember, perhaps, that the RV-3B has a concave seat, to allow for a tall pilot.

I had made mine flat since most people seem to carry some foam filler down there.

Now that I know my sitting position, there are any number of things to work on. An incomplete list:

Manual trim lever,
Avionics shelf,
Side panel design,
Rudder pedal and brake cylinder mounting (they are merely clecoed in for now),
Fuel valve,
Com antenna doubler,
Baggage rib beef-up.

The last is because I lightened them before I installed them, and went considerably too far. These are the parts with the blue vinyl.

Now they are glued and riveted in and are clearly not strong enough. The really annoying thing here is that my career was as a stress analyst and I did not address these. Time to fix them. Iím installing some light angles vertically where the webs are in between the holes. Iím not putting them at each location but about every other location. Iíll still save some weight, but not as much.

Iím using some of the extra 1/2Ē x 1/2Ē x .025Ē angle stock that the baggage floor stiffeners are made of. Fortunately, Iíd bought extra. Any two of these can carry the rated baggage load.


yarddart 02-27-2021 07:35 PM

Great workmanship you are going to love it. I own rob Holmes rv3b

David Paule 03-02-2021 05:50 PM

I sure hope so. Your RV-3B is one of the really good ones. Rob gave me a tour when he brought it out here.

The baggage rail stiffeners are now installed. They were glued in place and then riveted. The work platform is askew because the fuselage was on its side; I rotated the photo so it appears right side up.

The Novus kit arrived and I was able to polish out the remaining marks on the inside of the canopy. That stuff really works! After that I sprayed the last few places on the canopy flanges that had been marred during that work. It wasnít the work itself that marred the canopy flange paint, though, it was the tape Iíd put on the fresh paint to identify the locations to be worked on, and which lifted the paint in small spots. Anyway, that got fixed too.

After a little more prep work, Dallice came by to help me glue the canopy on. It took us just about an hour. There was considerable squeeze-out, as hoped for, and in the photo Dallice is filleting the edges. After it had oozed for a while, I opened the canopy and did the same in a few places inside.

That milk carton on top is filled with scrap metal. It makes a good weight.

The exterior of the fiberglass is more than a bit rough, and that goes to more than just surface texture. Iíve got some shaping/sanding/filling etc. in my future. But most of that will wait till Iím back on fiberglass with the cowl. For now, the canopy/fairing/frame/latch assembly is complete but for finishing.


kentlik 03-04-2021 09:02 AM

This is such a great project to follow! Seeing how much work and detail goes into the construction of the early kits is amazing.

Looks great!

David Paule 03-06-2021 06:37 PM

Moved the canopy out to the hangar to get it out of the shop. Here it in in my car.

The crate and support frame I had been using as a stand for it are in my truck for the next trip.

Kent, this whole canopy assembly is non-standard. I'd have saved a lot of work if I'd generally followed the plans here. However, I enjoy composites and wanted to make something from scratch of that material for this airplane. This is it.


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