November 15, 2019

Finishing the Forward Floor Substructure

Still working on page E6. I finally decided on a paint to use for skins inside the cockpit – still using SEM self-etching primer as the base, and then Rust-oleum “Stops Rust” Satin Enamel in a color called Coastal Gray. This enamel is readily available at Home Depot and Lowes (right now anyway). After a few days, it seems to cure to a pretty durable finish. I made up a bunch of test squares with various combinations of primer and top coat, I’ll have a separate post about that later. I would have liked something more aircraft-specific; a lot of Van’s builders recommend using Sherwin Williams Jetflex WR for the interior skins. It does look nice but the nearest distributor is in PA, and it’s quite expensive – not to mention I’d also have to invest in a HVLP spray gun and air compressor. So, rattle cans it is for me!

One of the intermediate coats of RO enamel going onto the floor skin CF-SKN-011-C-C. The stripe in the middle is because the console covers that part anyway, no point in painting a part that will never be seen!
I also painted a bunch of skins for the center console since the weather was ideal for painting outside
I didn’t think to paint these brackets so I masked them off to paint in-place
The manual doesn’t say anything about putting rivnuts onto this skin CF-SKN-022-L/R but I figured there should be rivnuts so that a cover can be screwed down. The holes were drilled for M3 rivnuts (4mm), but the kit only includes M4 rivnuts (6mm hole). I don’t have a metric step drill, so I use my imperial step drill to open to 7/32”, and then a 6mm drill to get to final size. I do this two-step process because drill bits are not really designed to enlarge existing holes, and doing so usually causes the hole to be out-of-round, more like a triangle shape. The 7/32” step gets the hole to almost the correct size (5.55mm).
Rivnuts installed first, then these skins are riveted into place
Looking good, and I like the surface finish of the paint on the skins!
I installed one of the joysticks. I already ground down the bracket that the bushing fits into to ensure the joystick moves smoothly. I had to remove the bracket attached to the main spar carry-thru so that I had enough room to maneuver the joystick through the webbing in the main spar carry-thru

Also worth noting: I saw on another blog a suggestion to elevate the forward floor a bit. The forward floor is not supposed to sit flat on the same plane as the skin beneath the main spar. I stuck a short piece of 2×4 underneath the forward floor and that seems to work.

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