My order is in for the CNC-hotwired foam cores for the horizontal stabilizer plug. These are being done by a company called Flying Foam, which normally caters to R/C modelers. I'm going to start off with a plug of the horizontal and elevator combined. Later, I will either cut the elevator part off and add leading edge features or (more likely) commission a separate CNC hotwired elevator plug that includes the leading edge features. The hinging pintle anchor features will have to be added to the plug in post-processing, since they don't lend themselves to the kind of ruled surfaces you get from hotwire cutting.
I've also got the composites tooling shop started working on the mold for the canopy transparency frame. I've decided on a relatively simple open channel for the frame cross-section. I'll evaluate it for stiffness, and if it is sufficient, I'll stick with it. If it feels too flimsy, I'll either add more thickness, or add a closure panel that turns it into a box section. The attractive thing to a boxed approach is that it would let me use the transparency frame as a manifold to distribute defog air like on the DG sailplanes. It would also offer an aesthetic cover over the canopy latching mechanism parts. Here's a guidance sketch of the cross-section and application. I've also asked them to get some more digital photos of the canopy frame tooling and first article forward fuselage.
Also, I'm starting to collect a few tools to get into the composites molding business. I just won an eBay auction for a Gast rotary vane vacuum pump (link expires 6 May 03) that's about twice as big as I need. And Steve Smith says I can have the tank from his old air compressor as a reservoir and mounting platform for the pump. So that will get me started on a rig for bagging the cores and the first molded parts.
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page updated 7 February 2003 all text and graphics copyright (c) 2003 HP Aircraft, LLC