Welcome to a work in progress

This blog is dedicated to the restoration and modification of a Glasfl├╝gel Standard Libelle H201B, and a tribute to those who have dared to do the same, and to those who are helping with seeing this dream take flight.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Assault and Battery!

Scotty!.. I Need More Power!

With all of the instrument upgrades, the original single 12 volt 12 amp battery would not last long.
I was told I would need to get two 12 volt 9/10 amp batteries to replace the single one.
So, I did!

Now the problem is, the two batteries don't fit in the original battery box in the fuselage, oh, if there were placed up-right, they would, but they now sit in such a way, that the battery contacts are not accessible.

 The width of the two batteries together were just a little wider than the box. (photo of the original box with the new batteries after the box was cut out).

The battery box placement is critical.

The main gear strut, when retracted, rest against the box.

The width was the only part of the box that needed to be modified.

The outline shown here is a bit of an exaggeration, but you see, the new design would not prevent the gear from retracting fully.

The first step was to create a mold for the batteries. I used wood to create a block the shape of the new battery box insides.

The mold gave me a few problems with the release due to using paint as a sealant, and not pre-planning a knock-out plug near a side on the bottom.

After the first couple of layers of glass were applied and cured, I tried to remove the shell.

Even though I applied a release agent, the shell had to be cut on the sides to be removed from the mold because of the poor design of the pattern.


I added several layer of glass over the outside of the box until I achieved the same thickness as the original.

I then created a shelf around the lip of the box and reinforced it with a fillet of glass roving to match the original

The old box was cut out using a variety of tools. It was tricky due to the confined space.

 Here is a shot of the new box next to the original one.

After widening out the opening, and cleaning up the edges, I began to test fit the box in place.

I removed the excess shelf lip to match the fit of the original.

There are uneven layers of fiberglass in the wheel well sides , but I was able to clean out the area to match the placement of the original box.

The next trick is to use a hot glue gun to tack a few spots to hold the box in place before applying the fiberglass patchwork.

I used some resin thickened with cotton flock to fill in the areas the were opened along the edge line.

After that had cured, I began adding the fiberglass strips to bond the box into place.

I added several layer to the outside of the box within the wheel well, and along the sides.

I covered the wet glass with peel ply to prevent the glass from lifting and shifting while the resin was curing.

After the resin cured, the peel ply was removed and any rough edges were sanded off.

After the final sanding was completed, I brushed on a thin layer of resin to seal open pores in the glass to prevent any moisture or contamination attacking the glass from inside the wheel well.

Now that the new box was installed, it was time to test fit the batteries while in the plane.

Due to the confined space, I found it difficult to remove the batteries. There was no real way to get a hold of them.

I devised a lift cradle for one battery using a plastic file folder cut and folded to the shape of the battery.

I added some nifty handles, which were made of plastic coated wire for strength.

Only one needed to be made. One one battery was out, getting the second one out was easy.

And here is the finished product!

The next step to complete this part of the project, is the battery box cover to prevent them from jumping out.

That is still in the works!

Do I smell more resin in the future?!

"Lay on, Macduff,
And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wheel well that ends well!

Back to that damn wheel well.

After having the fuselage upside down, the lights I was using illuminated a short coming on the leading edge of the wheel well fairing. It was not shaped symmetrically.

I didn't take a photo of the problem before, which I should have, but here is a picture after I reshaped the side and leading edge. Notice the tan color of the original fiberglass, and the light green of the new fillet.

I roughed up the original glass with 80 grit sand paper and applied a thick layer of resin mixed with cotton flock. ( I love this stuff over Cab-o-sil).

I covered the resin putty with peel ply to help keep it shape, and kept a light on it to keep the air temperate warm for curing.

After the resin cured, I sanded the material to the corrected shape.

The fun never seems to end!

Stay tuned...... Bigger things are still a happening,

                                   and No she's not ready to finish yet!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Belly Up!

The post title pretty much sums up what is happening here! And it will be a short one too!

Upon the recommendation from Robert, for it's lack of use, he suggested that I forgo the CG hook, and fill the CG hook opening.

I used fiberglass fabric sheets, cut to fit the hole from the inside and then a layer over the outside to feather it in.

With a little resin paste mixed with cotton flock, I filled in the holes and evened out the contour.

                                                      Finished and ready for inspection!

See, I told it would be a short post!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Trailer! Part 4 - Scrape, scrape, scrape, the boys are marching!

The trailer has been like a bad penny to me!

After leaving the trailer with Sandia trailer for over three weeks, I get a call from them with some unsettling news!

The estimate was 1/2 of what the original estimate was to do the whole trailer! $3500 to sand blast, re-skin, and replace the floor boards. The sand blasting alone was over $1500. The whole reason why I stripped it down was to lower the cost. I delivered half a trailer ready to be cleaned up, and so the price was cut in half, even after I did all the work stripping it down to save on the clean up.

So, I have the trailer back home, and I will do all of the clean up. Sandia trailer will re-skin, put in the floor boards, and make the hinged lower frame for the glass top.

At least the new Cobra hitch was welded on!

Here in New Mexico, the weather has been playing tricks with me. Through the month of June, there was no rain. Due to work and school, I was unable to do any work on the trailer over the weekends, but as soon as I was able to plan to clean the rust off of the trailer frame and paint, Ka-boom! Thunder and rain.

From the second weekend in July and every weekend until the second weekend this past October, it has rained every afternoon!

Between the rain drops...
I started the work from the back of the trailer frame, and worked forward. I used everything from sandblasting, belt sanders, to a mouse sander. On tight areas I had to blast or use my hands to remove the rust.

Don't worry, when this photo was taken, I was still adjusting the jack Stands. The trailer didn't fall over!

Special Note:
The sales clerk at the paint supply shop recommended the product "Rust Mort" to treat the rusty areas. The product is a phosphoric acid solution that converts the rust and seals the corroded areas. It will only attach the rusty areas. But be advised... you MUST clean the residual product off before painting over it. Any moisture in the atmosphere will reactivate it until it has been neutralized.

I will spare you of the gory details, but sand and spot painting this was a pain in the ass!

I sanded down the fenders and blasted the rust out of the wells. Cleaned up the hub and leaf springs.

 Here is a sample of the fenders before the cleanup.

And after painting the primer on the them

Notice the blue tarp used to cover my work between the rain drops!

The next task was to repair the tailgate hatch. It was full of holes from light, reflectors and tie down latches.

I sanded the steel gate, which had over three different colors on it.

I used chopped fiberglass and fine cloth to repair the holes. I was please with the results. I used primer on it to seal the metal and to show any areas that I missed

And a shot with more of the frame painted with primer.

Eventually the frame did get sanded, treated against rust, and painted with primer.

I finished the frame the first week of October, and Sandia Trailer has it now to put the floor in, skin the sides, and fabricate the hinged lower frame.

The secret to getting a project like this completed is, Money, Space, Time, and Money... Of which I have little of!. But I do have plenty on insanity!

But if you really want something, you will find a way to get it!


Oh, by the way, remember how I said the trailer is like a bad penny... While transporting the trailer to Sandia trailer to finish the bottom work, the wind was blowing hard, and blew open the gate and it hit the road, the trailer lights blew off, and my license plate hit the road..... Like I said, this project,... well , you know the rest!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Trailer! Part 3 - The cradle that rocked the hand!

So far my worst nightmare on this project. Also mentioned earlier, including the use of old blue Astro-turf. 

This cradle has been fighting me with tooth and nail! The tear down wasn't bad, but it was the fiberglass cradle that was driving me crazy.

The problem with the cradle was the fact that it was too narrow and compressing the fuselage at the cockpit, flatting the sides and preventing the canopy frame to close without pushing the sides of the frame in to get it closed.

To correct the problems, the cradle frame supports needed to be spread wider, and the cradle needed to be spread about an inch to two inches so the fuselage will sit comfortably.

The first hurtle to overcome was widening the cradle. I was told that if I heated the cradle to over 180 degrees, the resin will soften enough to spread the fiberglass shell.

I cut a piece of board to fit the inside width of the shell and pressed it into place. I set up two halogen shop lights to heat up the resin.

I placed a thermometer inside the shell to monitor the temperature to 180 degrees.

 While the shell was cooking, I turn my attention to correcting the dolly frame.

I sand blasted the rust and old paint

I was able to spread the uprights to the desired width without breaking the welds.

I then primed and painted the frame. But, this will change later after I find out that the shell cannot be corrected.

After days of fighting the cradle shell re-shape. (actually it was weeks!), I put the heat test to the max. The shell would not bend at 180, or 200 degrees, so I bumped it up to 300 degrees, and all it did was cook the resin, it would not bend!

So, I was left with the task of remaking the shell.

I started with the original shell, but mounted to a board with the correct spread. To prevent the polyester resin sticking to the old shape, I laid a layer of plastic on the surface.

Next a layer of peel ply nylon 

Followed by a mixed layers of glass roving ...

and chopped glass mat, which soaks up a lot of resin!

After a dozen layers or so, the thickness of the finished cradle matched the old one. I spent a couple of hours sanding and finishing the shell so it would be ready for painting and re-covering.

Now let's get back to the dolly frame.... As it turned out, the new cradle and something special modified to the dolly rail, required the dolly to be modified.

The side uprights for the rocker arms needed to be moved out to the sides for the new width of the shell, and gone are the bottom tube supports and now are angle iron. I had my good friends at Sandia Trailer do the modifications.

And of course, it all had to be repainted!

Over the summer I was looking for a replacement material for that lousy Astro-turf crap. I bought carpet, but later was told that the pile was a little too thick and it would trap soil. It wasn't until I came across the solution at a boat repair shop here in Albuquerque of all places..... Interior boat carpet The material was soft, short pile, easy to clean, and it will not trap soil like regular carpet!

It was easy to cement to the fiberglass with Dapp contact cement, since the carpet was designed for that application.

I started at the edge, And carefully rolled the carpet into place, while applying pressure to ensure an even application.

Next I measured a lip of the carpet to be rolled over the edges for extra padding and protection

I used cloths pins to hold the carpet in place while the cement cured.

Here are the results of weeks of racking ones brain and fighting psychics. .. there was a lot of cursing too!

I hope making the mold for the replacement Horizontal stabilizer skin isn't this arduous!