Yesterday I skim coated the entire canopy skirt with epoxy. The idea is to fill as many pin holes and deviations as possible before moving to the priming step. The first thing I did today at the airport was to sand the skim coat to make sure everything was even and smooth as best I could.
Then I brought the canopy skirt home to allow me to prime with out folks at the airport complaining. Here is the canopy skirt ready for its first coat of primer.
And here it is after the first coat of primer. I have to say I’m really happy with how it turned out, and a bit surprised. Areas that I thought would look horrible are actually pretty darn good, and other areas that I thought were good still require some significant attention.
This left side of the cross brace is one of the worst parts – in the areas that will be very visible. There are some pinholes, a few imperfect applications of the carbon fiber, and in general it still looks a bit gnarly. However, its not far off.
Its hard to tell how good or not things are even from these photos. The light and shadow combined with the varying thicknesses of primer (I went pretty light with the first coat) can be deceiving, however the intersection of the lower stiffener and the rear bulkhead are fantastic.
The outside of the canopy is nearly flawless – granted this needed the least work out of the box, but I’ve paid special attention to making this smooth as it will eventually have a shiny clear coat application like the rest of the aircraft. The interior of the canopy skirt will have a some what more matte to reduce glare.
Again the lower stiffener to canopy skirt fillet is flawless.
The corner here has a little flaw – I’m pretty confident I can get rid of these.
After the primer had time to dry, I went back and sanded with 120 grit sandpaper. This area, as one of the high visibility areas that was worse than other areas got lots of attention.
A few pinholes – but again – very happy with how this looks at this stage. This is, after all, my first significant foray into fiberglass work beyond the empennage tips – which are child’s play next to this!
I didn’t prime the top one inch of the skirt – this area will still need to be bonded to the canopy, so there isn’t much point to putting primer there – quite the opposite in fact. I’d think primer would only serve to weaken the canopy bond.
I will not be able to get this 100% primed and ready for painting prior to the canopy installation. The canopy itself will need to be bonded and faired. Then I will make final adjustments to fit and finish. My goal at this stage is to use the filler primer to identify flaws and fix the flaws. There is no avoiding more priming and paint once the canopy is on, but I can minimize the amount of sanding and adjustment post canopy bonding.