Rear Bulkhead Modification

Time: 6 Hours

I got most of the painting done on the gear towers the other night and will finish that up tomorrow. If you don’t get your second or third coat of Rustoleum on with an hour of the previous coat you have to wait 48 hours before re-coating. This is to prevent wrinkling of the next coat as there is a chemical process going on between the outer coat, which drys faster than the under coat. If you try to re-coat after the first hour you essentially have a wet coat on top of a dry coat on top of another wet coat. This lends itself to bad wrinkling. So with all that said I let the gear towers dry for over 48 hours and can re-coat them tomorrow. While I was waiting I decided to start the process of modifying the rear bulkhead for an access panel to make working on the avionics much easier.

IMG_3753.JPGThis panel divides the forward baggage compartment from the avionics bay. There is an upper and lower portion. To work on the avionics under a normal build you would have to remove the instrument panel or crawl under the panel to gain access. A modification that makes that task easier is to cut out a hole in the upper portion to make access to the avionics easier through the baggage area. I took many notes and pictures from my buddy Glens -8 as well as several at OshKosh this year. I laid out all the parts and did some marking of the cuts.

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IMG_3752.JPGAfter going over each part in my head I finally started the cutting.

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IMG_3869.JPGI cleaned up all the edges with my Dremal, sandpaper and my files. I had ordered some sheet stock from Aircraft Spruce, one of which was a 2’x2′ sheet of .040 thick Alclad. I used this to make a doubler for the area I just cut out to stiffen things up a little.

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IMG_3872.JPGOnce that piece was fitted and cleaned up I measured out the rivet holes to hold it in place as well as the rivet holes that will hold the CamLoc 1/4 turn receptacles on. I’m using 4 CamLocs for this door and they will make it real easy to open it when needed.

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IMG_3874.JPGThe next few steps were to cut some piano hinge the right length and match drill it to the lower portion of the hole. I then grabbed some .025 sheet and fabricated the door. It was mostly a little measure then cut then measure then cut.

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IMG_3876.JPGBefore I could close the door I need to make a notch in the top of the door to make room for the baggage door hinge support bar the gets riveted to the upper portion.

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IMG_3879.JPGIt was getting late so I decided that was a good place to stop. I will get back at it tomorrow and try and finish up this mod. Lots of fun making this airplane all mine but it’s a lot of extra work! 🙂

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