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Initial Fiberglass



One decision I made before I started is that I wanted a metal aircraft.  Wood and fiberglass were fairly quickly eliminated as options because I don't like sanding and buffing forever... so here I am making a fiberglass cowling.

During the "study" portion of this sub-project, I discussed this with Claude Guilbault, who is a local "expert" in making homebuilt parts.  Claude told me that I should consider the options in the following order:

. Buy an existing cowling (like the one from ZAC)

. Get a mold and make a fiberglass one

. Buy a nose bowl and make an aluminum cowling

. If nothing above can work, make "one of" fiberglass cowling

He and another friend, Gary Gutsche explained me the process of making a cowling.  It is not by choice that I went to the fourth option.  My engine installation not being standard, I could not use the ZAC cowling and while I checked for using a mold that some friends made in Sherbrooke, I found that it needed to many corrections to fit on my installation.  The major issue with it is that my engine is mounted further from the firewall due to the in-cowl radiator.  My reduction drive also puts the propeller fairly far from the engine.

After I wrapped my engine with something similar to Saran Wrap (it comes in large rolls from I don't know where---a friend brought me that), I made a plywood frame that will guide the shape of the cowling and provide support for the Styrofoam pieces.

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Once the Styrofoam was put in place, I leveled everything using joint compound.  This has been a long process of applying compound, sanding and doing it again.  Eventually, I thought it was all done and then, a friend came home.  Angelo, who works in construction has a pretty good eye and determined that the upper nose needed correction... AH!!!  Later, another friend, Ghislain Benoit, who is a ceramic installer and also has a pretty good eye, noticed some deformations on the top and helped me level that AHHHHH!!!!!! (no pictures of that).  And then, on June 9th, after I removed the masking tape from the aluminum, I noticed that the cowling mold is no longer aligned with the skin due to all the sanding that has been done.  OH NO!!!  Here I go for another cycle.

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