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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nose and nose gear - part 17

Making the “pointed end” (7.0 hrs)

The nose space not taken up by bulkheads needed to be completely filled with foam, then the whole forward nose structure would be cutoff, yes... cut off! 

The inside of the foam cone could then be carved from the rear, the inside glassed, then the whole cone reattached to the main nose bulkhead, or something like that. 

None of this appealed to me at all.

For one thing, I hated the idea of cutting off something I spent so much time making, then having to reattach it. I also wanted to minimize the time spent carving the inside of the nose cone. You see, while the blue “fuselage foam” I substituted for the nose (instead of the flimsy urethane) is very rigid and strong, it is also very tough to shape, especially the concave parts where aggressive foam removal tools are harder to employ.

I decided not to do any of that, and instead split the nose somewhat horizontally, working on the bottom half first, and complete the top half at a later date. I wanted to be able to transition the nose cone top surface into the canard section, and into the canopy frame structure in a continuos smooth surface, and that would have to wait until those parts were in hand.

Meanwhile, I would employ the same techniques used thus far on the nose to fashion the nose battery compartment. 

Battery will be housed in the forward compartment

Thus I began shaping foam pieces that would be later carved into the outer nose skin.

Eyeballing the foam size and angles

Such an overkill, but so easy.

Front angle cut, working on the rear angle.

Once the foam fit reasonably well on the left side, I wrote down all measurements...

Approximate measurements

... and made an opposite one for the right side.

Making the right side panel

This fit for the most part, but a few scrap pieces had to still be glued together to achieve a better fit.

Adding a small sliver of foam to improve the fit

As previously, I mixed some tacky micro, and used it to glue the foam parts to the nose structure, and let it cure.

Glueing the front...

... and the back.

Foam blocks permanently attached to bulkheads

I opted to leave the floor panels out until I can glass the inside of the two side panels.

Then I focused on the most forward section.

Not knowing exactly where the tip of the nose cone would end up, I made a bigger foam “wedding cake” than I probably needed, and attached it to the small bulkhead.

Welding rod skewering the foam cake

"Shouldn't the frosting go on top of the cake?"

More "curing action"

Do you think anybody would notice the nose, if I were to put a jet engine in the back?

While I wasn’t quite ready to shape the nose yet, the foam stuck out of the sides of the fuselage like “gills” on a fish, and they needed to come off before they drove me insane.

These ugly protrusions have to go, now!

Since this foam is very tough, I started out with 36 grit sandpaper on a portable belt sander. In order to reduce the amount of debris flying in my face, I fastened the vacuum hose to it, and quickly gutted this fish.

Introducing the "Foam Terminator"

Awkward to use, but very effective.

Now the wedding cake nose piece started to bother me, and I saw no reason I couldn’t do some initial hacking of that as well. This time I used the same sandpaper in my home made sanding block, and went to town on it. 
A few hours of sanding later, I could finally start to see, what the nose might look like when it’s finished.

Now all the neighbors can tell which way it's headed.

A lot more sanding required

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