Brendan had a tough year last year but not to bad when you consider he had only been flying for less than a year. Here are some photos of a fuselage repair I did last year for Brendan. The subject today is the green Pike Superior fuselage with a good crack.
First, sand the area to clean it up. If the area is soft or completely broken, firm up the area with some CA.
Then sand a “V” shape into the fuselage so that the bottom of the V is almost completely through the fuselage at the crack and thin up to the surface about 2.5″ fore and aft of the crack. Again, if the fuselage is soft, firm up with thin CA.
Apply a layer of thin lamination epoxy like West Systems to the area. Then apply a coat of carbon cloth over the crack area and about 2″ fore and aft of the crack. Next, a double wrap of 2-ounce glass cloth about 2.5″ fore and aft of the break. Brush on a layer of epoxy.
Next, take a 1″ wide ribbon of nylon taffeta or ripstop. You can usually find some at a local fabric store. I was going to look in Michaels or Hobby Lobby ( the craft store, not the hobby shop) to see if they have taffeta ribbon. It might be easier to find. I have a few hundred feet of it from a high start company I bought out. Starting from an area before the epoxy is on the fuselage, tape an end of the fabric to the fuselage and wrap over the epoxy area to after the epoxy area. Tape the end. You want to wrap firmly, but it is not that important to overdo it.
Next, take two layers of paper towel and cover the area. Then with vinyl electrical tape wrap over the paper towel. Stretch the tape out as you wrap as this will provide pressure over the patch.
Let the fuselage cure for 24 hours and unwrap the tape, towel, and nylon cloth. The nylon will act as a barrier film and allow the excess epoxy to pass through it and let the towel soak it up. The nylon will not stick to the epoxy and will easily peel off. The area will just need a very light sanding and will be stronger than new.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009