How I finished my open cockpit edge

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by wally, Apr 12, 2004.

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  1. Apr 12, 2004 #1

    wally

    wally

    wally

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    When I got my Pitts project, one of the previous owners had done some sheet metal work on the fuselage. The top of the fuselage and turttle deck are complete and instrument panel is in.

    I am sure most of you have seen open cockpit planes before and they usually have a nice rounded lip around it. I always wondered how they did that.

    What I had to start with was a sharp sheet metal edge around the cockpit.

    What I came up with worked pretty slick and may be adaptable to other planes needs so I thought I would share.

    I used some 1/2 inch PVC electrical conduit. it was like a dollar for 10 feet. This is the rigid gray stuff. I also had a heat gun from years ago doing shrinkwrap packages too - like a hair dryer only hotter.

    I used the heat gun to soften the conduit and slowly shaped it to match the cockpit edge contour. When it cooled I used a Dremel tool with one of the little discs to slit it along the full length. I was afraid it might spring open or unwrap but it didn't. I just slipped it onto the edge and used a little more heat gun heat to final shape it. It Looks really finished as-is. The color even matches the aluminum.

    It really stiffened and supported the metal edge too.

    I will probably add some small screws to hold it to the sheet metal and then cover it with leather or Nalgahide (as soon as they are in season again).

    Wally
     
  2. Apr 12, 2004 #2

    Dust

    Dust

    Dust

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    I think that the rules for hunting Nalga are the same as for crow.

    if a crow is doing or is about to do harm you can kill it year round. The decision as to wether the crow is about to do harm is up to the shooter.

    BTW, i think the light blue/greenish Nalgas are on the endangerred list, so you might have trouble finding one

    BTW, BTW, great advice, might use it on my cozy leg holes

    SAVE THE NALGAS
    shoot the whole set

    enjoy the Nalga's

    dust
     
  3. Mar 24, 2005 #3

    PTAirco

    PTAirco

    PTAirco

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    Cockpit edges

    Now I thought this would be an easy one:

    My openings are edged with 4130 tubing so I can actually stand on it, yank on it while climbing in and out and generally abuse it no end, to the astonishment of other biplane pilots!

    However, trying to get a neat vinyl/naugahyde covering over the additional foam padding (pipe insulation) is not as easy as it looks. I even cut it to contour, wasting precious yards, but it seems you need to be a black belt in origami and have three hands to get it on smooth. has anyone come across any pictures/descriptons of how it used to be done? I want mine laced along the edges, but not over the top of the padding (looks like a cheap steering wheel cover then- Hey, there's an idea: buy a dozen of those and string them together!)
     
  4. Mar 24, 2005 #4

    orion

    orion

    orion

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    Many years ago I ran into the same problem when doing several car restorations. Working with the hide of a Nauga can be rather difficult, especially if one lacks patience. In the end here's what I learned:

    First and foremost, don't be cheap - get the best material you can. The working qualities are highly dependent on the material, its finish and the type of backing it has.

    To get the material around complex shapes usually involves quite a bit of trial and error. I attached the covering using a contact cement. Both surfaces were painted with two coats of the adhesive. This is especially important for the Naugahide as it tends to absorb some of the material and thus loses a bit of the stickiness, especially if it is allowed to dry too much.

    First, apply and stick the material to the most visible surface. To get it around to the other side(s), you can use a combination of a squeege, roller, or anything similar, and a heat gun. When you heat the material, make sure to keep a close watch on the surface temperature since it can melt. Don't heat it any more than you need for it to be pliable.

    Work relatively quickly - if you work too slow the heat will dry the contact cement too much and it might not stick.

    End the wrap on an edge that is hidden. Secure the wrap (if on wood) with a series of staples. If the surface is visible, use something like some type of finishing strip that you can nail down with pins or very small finishing nails.
     
  5. Jun 24, 2009 #5

    Alan Waters

    Alan Waters

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  6. Jul 12, 2009 #6

    Nozzlejocky

    Nozzlejocky

    Nozzlejocky

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    Sounds like a great idea. I'll have to keep that in mind. As of now, my plans are for a Pietenpol, which I'd likely trim out in leather, but the tubing is a definite idea to keep in the 'ol idea bank.
     
  7. Jul 12, 2009 #7

    bmcj

    bmcj

    bmcj

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    Leather wrapped coaming usually has some sort of base underneath to define the shape, whether it be rubber tubing, soft foam rubber, loose stuffing filler, or whatever else might be used.
     
  8. Sep 3, 2009 #8

    Amsafetyc

    Amsafetyc

    Amsafetyc

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    I think for getting the rounded edge I am consideiring foam pipe insulation covered with leather and held in place with leather lacing in a wrap.

    John
     

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