Glassing the exterior fuselage

To glass the exterior of the fuselage, I started out by masking off the area of the speed brake. This keeps the fiberglass from sticking to the foam and so later helps remove this section without damaging the foam.

Here is a shot of the support stands I built to hold the fuselage while glassing.

 Notice the rotating head - this will enable me to spin the fuselage lengthwise like a rotisserie chicken! I added  a mesh padding to protect the firewall and F22 bulkhead from getting damaged when clamping it tight.

 Also, I converted an old firewood rack into a fiberglass roller dispenser! I can't imagine having completed this chapter without it!

I want to point out that I switched to EZ poxy (with hardener #87) to glass the exterior. Reason being is that the aft portion of the fuselage is part of the fuel tank. Aeropoxy is NOT fuel resistant! I'm not 100% certain that EZpoxy is, but from all the research I could gather, it is the most fuel friendly. I'll conduct more research on this topic later - worst case scenario, I will use some sort of sealer on the fuel tanks.

My girlfriend Elle helped me out every minute of the 13 hours that it took to glass this thing! I can't imagine having to do this alone!

So we started out by mixing dry micro and filling any large voids. We then mixed slurry and applied it to the entire half of the fuselage. Although the plans say to do one side at a time, we were committed to complete the entire fuselage on the same day. Notice the 30-30 triangle I made on the fuselage - this is to help me position the fiberglass into proper orientation later on.

Elle making sure every square inch was covered! Using a roller really helped!

Here is the fiberglass layup schedule I used - this is from CP#28 under builder hints, along with CP#29 (LPC #70) saying that the correct orientation for the first two plies the foam sees are at a 30 degree bias... NOT 45 degrees (I changed the figure below to take this into account). Also, note that the 0 degree orientation plies only get applied from the pilot seat forward.

First layer going on! Notice the fiberglass dispenser! It made the job much easier! I used the 30-30 triangle to position the cloth at the correct angle (positive 30 degrees).

I then started to smooth it out and let the slurry tack it into place. Notice how I also trimmed the edge to an inch past center-line as per the layup schedule - this is so you don't end up with a bump running down your fuselage!

I then patched the remaining areas and wetted everything out.

 Here is the 2nd layer (negative 30 degrees) being applied...

2nd layer fully wetted out...

The 3rd layer was applied at a 0 degree orientation as stated in the plans and ran from the pilot seat all the way forward to the F22 bulkhead - kind of hard to see from this picture. Notice how the 3rd layer gets trimmed an inch before center-line. 

After the 3rd layer, the top longerons get three 3" UND strips for reinforcement. These are staggered (52", 50" and 48" long). The first one starts 15" forward of the firewall.

The process was repeated for the other side. Working late into the night, we finally made it through. Notice the peel ply added to the seems. Peel ply was also added along the bottom fuselage center line. I was so exhausted from all the work that I forgot to peel ply the F22 bulkhead perimeter, the strake cutouts, and center section spar cutout line.

Notice the glass extending past the top longerons - I did not bother to knife trim since I knew I was going to use the router to give me a nice clean edge later on.

Next day - removing peel ply. Elle gets a kick out of doing this...

The aftermath! It was like waking up after a long night of partying and finding your house is a complete mess!

Time to trim!

 I wanted to show how the fiberglass laid over the lower aft longeron. Notice how I wrapped the landing gear attach points with a plastic bag.

Here is a close-up, showing how the aft belly meets with the lower aft longeron. When glassing, I made a 45 degree cut all the way up to the point where the foam met the longeron. 

Here is the F22... notice how the support stand head was modified so that it can hold it at the proper height in order to allow for a level axis to rotate about.

The hole to the wheel well...

 As usual when trimming, I started out with the vibrating multi tool.

I then used the router with a flat bit (with a flush roller) to trim the rest of the top longerons...

A bit messy, but very nice and flush!!

The fuselage exterior is now 'complete'! 

Time to sit in it and make airplane noises! 


Dario Zapata Camacho said...

Nice , great Job!!

Ron said...

Great work!! I am taking notes as I start my own build. Quick question: What is the weight of the fus after you glassed to this point in your build?

Austin, TX

Ary said...

Thanks Ron!

Unfortunately, I did not weigh the fuselage at that point. I never purchased scales to weigh items this big.

welcometodream said...

Hi Ary!
Did you overlapped UNI layers?

Thank you

Ary said...

Hi Javier, I followed the plans and don't recall making any deviations from the plans. The plans state to butt up the uni plies.. not overlap. The plans specifies how to overlap the seam along the fuselage bottom on centerline. Email me if you need help clarifying.

welcometodream said...

Thank you Ary.