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Re: REFLECTOR: Fuselage Leveling
David- Whatever you do for a cradle, I'd suggest you make it solid and low
enough so that you can climb in and out of the shell. I spent more time
inside the hull than out, and you can recheck the level when you go to
attaching strakes, etc. I used a framework of 2x's and 4x's to support
plywood pieces shaped to fit the fuselage then siliconed after the initial
level. I used 5/8 ply which didn't give enough surface area or perhaps
wasn't a close enough fit as the outer skin was crushed slightly in one spot
3" long. I also used two sets of water levels to get simultaneous readings
in both axes. Do your work on the underside first though (speed brake, gear
doors). I forget the sequence but you may need to detach it at some point to
fit the landing gear, then reattach for the strakes.
I found hotmelt glue to be preferable to Bondo for many temp attachments.
It's not as strong but it's faster and doesn't harm the skin when you have
to remove it. If resin gets on it it may detach. Be careful to remove all
traces with solvent.
My kit dates to 1/91, and I leveled the flanges without any trouble that I
remember. I didn't spot the cowling twist until too late- after the top was
on. My port side is 1/2" higher than the starboard. If I have clearance
problems or if it's too obvious I'll reshape it. Good for you to spot it at
an early stage.
Digital levels may be convenient but they are not very accurate. A good
bubble level is accurate to .029 degrees. Try lifting one end of a bubble
level and see how much height you get before you notice the bubble is off
center. Then lift a digital. I found a digital would shift 1/8" or so before
it gave an indication, which I thought was excessive.
Plumb bobs are the worst, but I don't know of a good substitute. Use a
stand with an arm if you can. A piece of duct tape on the floor makes a good
surface to mark when you're lofting or aligning wings and canard. This is
more than you asked for and probably more than you wanted to hear. I hope
some of it helps.
Have fun- Bill
prototype 'Super' Chipmunk N18EF
Velocity Classic RG N6098S in the works
>I plan to buy a digital level very soon.. And agree that looking at the
>bubble at a distance becomes very difficult at times.