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  #1  
Old 11-25-2018, 07:18 PM
iamtheari iamtheari is online now
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: ND
Posts: 196
Default Canopy build order (vs. hanging the engine)

My engine is coming sometime in the next week or two. My finishing kit is coming sometime in mid-December. As is only natural, I want to hang the engine immediately. I'm building a tail dragger, if that matters...

Section 38 is canopy and window. At 42 pages and 407 steps, it is the longest section by a considerable margin. (The nearest competition comes from the cowl (219 steps), gear and wheel fairings (246 steps) and cowl baffle (243 steps).

Section 40B is the engine mount and landing gear. Section 43 is the engine installation.

Is there any compelling reason why the plane cannot be put on its wheels and the engine mounted before the canopy is built? My rational reason for wanting to get it on the wheels and the engine mounted is that my build buddy is probably going to be instrumental to getting the canopy build well as he has a lot of fiberglass experience and I have almost none, but I can put a lot of solo time into the plane working on things in front of the firewall.

Also, I built my own workbenches and used my imperfect basement floor as a flat place to build them top-down, so having the plane on its wheels in the basement is probably a better resemblance to the final overall way the plane will sit than having it on top of saw horses and/or workbenches.

All thoughts welcome. I'm 3-5 weeks away from having any of the parts to do any of these steps, but I want to plan ahead as always. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2018, 07:29 PM
rv7charlie rv7charlie is offline
 
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Location: Pocahontas MS
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If you hang the engine prior to all that other work, you'll be walking around it constantly while doing all that other work. If you put the plane on the gear now, you'll be climbing 3 feet up/down every time you need to get in/out of the plane.

My choice was to level the fuselage (without engine) on supports high enough to mount & align the gear/fairings/pants, then remove them and return the plane to the low dolly. I used tiny metric flat head screws to attach the forward top skin at the canopy intersection line (clecos elsewhere), finished the canopy work, then removed the forward top skin for electrical/plumbing work. I'm really glad I did it that way.

FWIW,

Charlie

edit: If you don't have the finish kit yet, there's no reason you couldn't hang the engine & do hookup planning/prep, then remove for the rest of the work. The remove/reinstall will take a lot less time than the time wasted walking around it during the rest of the work. :-)

Last edited by rv7charlie : 11-25-2018 at 07:32 PM.
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2018, 08:31 PM
iamtheari iamtheari is online now
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: ND
Posts: 196
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rv7charlie View Post
If you hang the engine prior to all that other work, you'll be walking around it constantly while doing all that other work. If you put the plane on the gear now, you'll be climbing 3 feet up/down every time you need to get in/out of the plane.

My choice was to level the fuselage (without engine) on supports high enough to mount & align the gear/fairings/pants, then remove them and return the plane to the low dolly. I used tiny metric flat head screws to attach the forward top skin at the canopy intersection line (clecos elsewhere), finished the canopy work, then removed the forward top skin for electrical/plumbing work. I'm really glad I did it that way.

FWIW,

Charlie

edit: If you don't have the finish kit yet, there's no reason you couldn't hang the engine & do hookup planning/prep, then remove for the rest of the work. The remove/reinstall will take a lot less time than the time wasted walking around it during the rest of the work. :-)
For the 14, the engine mount is in the finishing kit. So I canít actually do much until the kit arrives.
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2018, 09:09 PM
DaveO DaveO is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Greenfield, IN
Posts: 275
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I have received the finish kit before the fuselage QB kit. I am in the process of cleco-ing the Canopy together.

I have not heard of anyone putting the canopy ahead of the fuselage. I hope that it works. I believe it should as all is riveted together and it will be the same no matter if I had the fuselage or not. Providing that I put it together square and level.

I built a 7A and I did not put the engine or gear on until I had most if not all the interior of the fuselage done. You want to keep it low to the ground to make it easier to get in and out. Doing panel, brakes, install seats, controls, floor, wiring, etc.

Just my 2 cents and it won't buy much.
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2018, 09:16 PM
Tom023 Tom023 is offline
 
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Check page 38-12 step 6. You have to bend the canopy rails to match the fuselage curvature.
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2018, 10:14 PM
DaveO DaveO is offline
 
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Location: Greenfield, IN
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Tom,

Rats!
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  #7  
Old 11-26-2018, 01:19 AM
control control is offline
 
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If I build another 14, I will do a lot more of the wiring, placement of ANL-fuse and things like that before hanging the engine.

I liked having the fuselage down low when doing all the sanding on the canopy. I am currently working on the gear leg fairings and I would have liked to do as suggested above and done that without the engine mounted.

Getting the engine on is a great milestone but many tasks become a hassle once it is on, do not rush it!
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2018, 10:19 AM
Bavafa Bavafa is offline
 
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Location: Sacramento, CA
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FWIW, I resisted installing the gear leg as long as possible, specially for the canopy work. While most of the work for canopy is done on the bench, you will need to put it on & off and the added height does make it a bit harder and create opportunities for mishap. On the other hand, you want the warmest weather for the canopy if you can wait or just heat up your workspace. Drilling and cutting the canopy in cold raises the risks.

I thought the engine work was one of the easiest part of the build and it does not take long.

Good luck.
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2018, 02:08 PM
iamtheari iamtheari is online now
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bavafa View Post
FWIW, I resisted installing the gear leg as long as possible, specially for the canopy work. While most of the work for canopy is done on the bench, you will need to put it on & off and the added height does make it a bit harder and create opportunities for mishap. On the other hand, you want the warmest weather for the canopy if you can wait or just heat up your workspace. Drilling and cutting the canopy in cold raises the risks.

I thought the engine work was one of the easiest part of the build and it does not take long.

Good luck.
I'm building in my basement. It has its own furnace. With the heat off it runs 65F but I can easily turn that up and/or add some localized heat to the canopy area on days I work on it. Question for everyone who is saying that having the fuselage lower is better: How low? Is there an ideal height? Mine is probably 30" off the ground as it sits right now (short sawhorses under spar carry-through and normal sawhorse with a cushion under the tail) but I can lower it to the floor, optionally on furniture dollies, if that's better. I still have to paint the interior, do the rudder/brake systems, aileron/elevator, flap, etc. And I can't lift the thing solo anymore. So wherever I put it, it will have a lot of work done at that height.
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  #10  
Old 11-26-2018, 02:45 PM
control control is offline
 
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I guess the ideal height would be so that you can rest your hip on the side rail when leaning into the fuselage.

I had to have it about 1 feet above the floor to be able to open and close the canopy in my garage, it was a pretty comfortable height for all canopy work. Wish I had kept it there longer!
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