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Re: REFLECTOR: Fuselage Leveling

Bill, I don't know what kind of electronic level you were using, however my
SmartLevel will read to one tenth of a degree and detect a piece of paper placed
under one end.  It also has a calibration mode to allow you to ensure it is
zeroed or to set an angle as a zero.


William Wade wrote:

> 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.


// James F. Agnew
// Tampa, FL
// Velocity 173 FG Elite ( http://www.VelocityAircraft.com/ ) under construction