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Thread: Composite Building Newsgroup

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Rockford, IL
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    30
    >>Finish on fiberglass is never perfect. <<

    With composite finishing, learn from the boat builders and the Corvette guys. Lots of time has been spent by both learning to properly finish fiberglass. It can look better than any other construction material if you learn how. Lots of info online too.

    Btw, auto shop supply houses, most decent sized cities have them and online too, are a great place to purchase finishing supplies inexpensively.

    Bill H.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Morgantown, KY
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    2
    My goodness, I wouldn't advise learning from the Corvette guys! Maybe they've improved over the years, but my experience with them is they're a bunch of tiger hair throwin' bondo butchers.
    I'm not the last word in composites by a long shot, but I did work for about 30 years at Rockwell International, and then Boeing; after they bought Rockwell's aerospace division, in advanced composites.
    I built the Space Shuttle, B-1B bomber, and a lot of other stuff before I went out on my own.
    Currently, I build composite components for Jabiru, North America, and I build the entire airframe for the Arion Lightning aircraft, and a number of other parts, pieces, cowls, etc, for other aircraft companies.
    I'm also co-author on a couple of composite patents.
    If I can help you out, let me know. I don't have a web page developed yet, but we do have a FB page, AM Composites, if you'd like to take a look there.

  3. #13

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    Mar 2016
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    Rockford, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by foolonthehill View Post
    My goodness, I wouldn't advise learning from the Corvette guys! Maybe they've improved over the years, but my experience with them is they're a bunch of tiger hair throwin' bondo butchers.
    I'm not the last word in composites by a long shot, but I did work for about 30 years at Rockwell International, and then Boeing; after they bought Rockwell's aerospace division, in advanced composites.
    I built the Space Shuttle, B-1B bomber, and a lot of other stuff before I went out on my own.
    Currently, I build composite components for Jabiru, North America, and I build the entire airframe for the Arion Lightning aircraft, and a number of other parts, pieces, cowls, etc, for other aircraft companies.
    I'm also co-author on a couple of composite patents.
    If I can help you out, let me know. I don't have a web page developed yet, but we do have a FB page, AM Composites, if you'd like to take a look there.
    I'm not saying learning from how Corvettes are built, hardly, really poor quality, I am saying learning from the guys that refinish Corvettes. Some of those spending $80k for a car want it to look like it's worth that much.

    Bill H.

  4. #14
    Byron J. Covey
    Guest
    Beautiful, smooth, glistening finishes (as seen on many auto restorations) can be an indication of an overly heavy finish. The airplane builders who achieve that degree of finish without lots of filler are the ones that impress me.


    BJC

  5. #15
    cub builder's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Location
    North Central AR
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    403
    The point I apparently failed make is that with repeated filling and sanding, the finish can be very high quality. But the builder will always see imperfections in his own work that nobody else will notice. The amateur builder can quickly build to a nice finish, but if you want perfection, it takes a lot longer as there will always be minor imperfections you could fix. I'd rather paint and fly than spend the next year sanding and filling repeatedly. Thus the statement about getting tired of sanding and filling in search of perfection, so you paint and fly. The point at where you decide to stop sanding and start shooting paint is different for every builder. But I would bet that every single builder that has built a glass plane could walk up to their plane and point out at least 10 imperfections or mistakes they made while finishing, even though very few people would notice any of them.

    My own glass plane is full of imperfections. But it's good enough to have garnered a number of awards at numerous fly-ins. While the awards are a nice complement to my work and greatly appreciated, they were never my goal.

    -Cub Builder

    Perfection is the enemy of good enough.

  6. #16
    George Sychrovsky's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Location
    Shirley MA
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    35
    If you are filling and sanding repeatedly it means you are doing it wrong.
    Disclaimer ; opinions of others will vary depending on what they’re selling.

    http://the-grand-design.com/

  7. #17

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    Mar 2016
    Location
    Rockford, IL
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    >> But the builder will always see imperfections in his own work that nobody else will notice. <<

    Oh yes, absolutely. I know where the flaws are and see them all the time, no one else ever sees them.

    A problem with composites, much like other building methods is the finish you'll easily obtain results in the work you've done previously. If you're very careful while you're laying up the glass, you'll have a much better surface to finish later and a much easier job getting that finish. If you're in a rush and sloppy with the glass, you can still get a decent finish but you'll pay for your rush job getting that finish.

    Bill H.


    Last edited by griffin800; 05-04-2016 at 02:56 PM.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    10
    Hello Cub Builder,

    I really liked your KR website but what I am most interested in was your elevator trim tab. I am planning to put a trim tab similar to that on my Jabiru.

    I was planning to put the servo entirely in my elevator but your example of making it exposed and flush mount is intriguing. Is that working well? I may still mount it inside my elevator but I haven't figured out the mounting yet. I was thinking of making it accessible by removing the trim tab to expose a pocket but I haven't figured out how to mount it. I want to avoid any exterior screws or hardware if possible.

    What material do you recomend for the trim horn? From the looks of the photo, it looks like you used metal. I assume I will try to layup the horn but I am not sure how I will do it yet. Any suggestions?


    Wayne

  9. #19

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    Apr 2016
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    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Byron J. Covey View Post
    I really enjoyed reading the webpage on finishing composites. It made the process sound very straight forward.

    With my Jabiru, the interior of the cabin is raw cloth and epoxy, no topcoat. The manufacturer recommends covering the entire interior with carpet. I don't like this option and would like to finish the epoxy in most areas. Is the micro solution the best option for filling the fabric weave and overlaps? There are a lot of tight, inside turns that don't have a lot of access. Sanding the fiberglass burs was hard enough, I imagine sanding micro solution smooth in these areas will be very challenging.

    Thoughts and comments?

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Tehachapi, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eckertwa View Post
    The manufacturer recommends covering the entire interior with carpet. I don't like this option and would like to finish the epoxy in most areas. Is the micro solution the best option for filling the fabric weave and overlaps?
    Carpet is heavy.

    You've got a few options. Here are two.

    Rough up the surface with 80 grit, then apply West 105/206 and micro in a relatively thin layer. But only do this in places where the surface will be visible AFTER all the upholstery and access panels are installed, as well as headliner, etc. IOW, ONLY where the surface will be visible in the finished airplane. This will minimize the surface area to deal with. Then sand the micro, prime and paint.

    Alternatively, you can just rough up the surfaces (same surfaces as described above) and then paint with Zolatone or the functional equivalent, and a clearcoat. Some of the spatter paints are very nice, and do a good job of hiding the weave. If you're trying to win Grand Champion at OSH, this won't be good enough, but if you just want something that looks good and doesn't take forever to do, it's fine.

    My $0.02.

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