Upholstery & Seat Belts

ACME Harness :0) ...



I have been fitting the harness system. All the holes in the belt end hardware were 7/16, so I had to make some stepped bushings on my trusty little Harbor Freight mini lathe so the hardware married up to the smaller holes on the fuselage. I decided to add a 'twist' to the harnesses; most harness sets come with a logo sewn on each piece showing the company that made them (these are Crow harnesses), so I made up some custom patches with a bogus company name 'ACME Harness Co'.. kind of a tongue in cheek reference to Wiley Coyote's (Road Runner cartoon fame) unreliable contraptions. They were created in Photoshop, printed using T-shirt print media, sewn up by a friend, and glued on with fabric adhesive. The secondary lap belts are green so as to match the color theme of the plane (predominantly white, Kawasaki green, and black trim).

It seems that the sheet metal attach strips for all the body panels got slightly deformed (only 0.25 thick) during blasting, it wasn't much, but enough to create the oil canning effect when screws were attached to the panels. Initially, I started to add 0.005 - 0.025 shims between the screws and the strips, but decided that was too clunky an approach. So, I applied a thin layer of Rage Gold body filler to the strips, pressed on a long straight edge across the strips while it set, removed the straight edge, then epoxy coated over the strips. I will be touching them up with some gray paint to blend them in. They are now perfectly flat and the sheet metal sits nicely.

The ELT is fitted. I now need to decide where to put the ELT antenna...I am thinking of mounting it inside the wooden turtle-deck.

I initially was not happy with the upholstery work (I think I got what I paid for), but ya know, now it is in-situ, everything seems to blend in and it looks quiet posh! I did have two padded armrests upholstered, but they were pretty poorly done and noticeable, so I decided rather than get them redone, I would not bother with them and just make do with the aluminum armrests without any padding since they feel comfortable.

The turtle-deck door was a real challenge. It came back from the upholsterer with no finishing attempt on the back of the door, he had just pulled over the vinyl and stapled it down, some staples were proud, and the trimming of the vinyl was all over the place, not to mention the bunching of the vinyl near the corners...there was no way the door would sit flat against the turtle-deck. It took me a couple of evenings to attack and win over this thing...scalpel, contact adhesive, 3 pairs of reading glasses (yes, worn at the same time!), patience and tenacity. The finish on the back of the door that hides everything is a 1/32 sheet of ply sprayed black. See pic below.

The PAX back rest panel turned out really well. This panel I actually upholstered myself, since I knew what level of work was required having done the t-deck door-back, I didn't want to risk farming this out, and risk bitching again. The black seat belt pass-thrus are a Porsche part would you believe. The sheet metal panel bridging the PAX to pilot instrument panel was an utter pain to make. It is even a pain to screw on even now it is done; to get it to float and sit nicely, I have to cleco it down and replace clecos with screws as I go. Still, it's looking nice.

My boost pump and regulator are now all ready to pass thru the firewall, with everything safety wired, where I thought it was needed.

I have also been playing with fabric and testing out the tricky area where the t-deck meets the vertical stab. This testing has been done with polyfiber materials, but I am heavily leaning towards Stewart systems, which is water based. I have just ordered a bottle of their Ekobond fabric adhesive and will play with that.

The camera on this iPhone4 ain't that good :0\