Europa #435 G-RODO Build Journal - 2021 06

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5 After some unsuccessful attempts to make a tool for it, mark a line freehand down the forward edge of the starboard door frame. Re-fit the latch cover and extend the line down onto it. Mark at 10mm and 50mm down from top edge for holes. Centre pop at those crosses, but that causes a big flake of gel-coat to break off. It's not structural but it looks ugly, so remove the cover from the door frame and stick the flake back on again with 90-second epoxy.

A couple of hours later, the epoxy has cured well. Re-fit cover to door frame. Drill through cover and frame on the centre-pop marks 1.2mm. Open up gradually to 5.1mm to clear M5 screws. Remove cover and countersink one of the holes in the frame with a small snail countersink bit until a rivet nut sits nicely. Start to countersink the second hole but the bit suddenly goes right through the frame, leaving the hole much too big. Wonder about re-locating the hole, but that would leave an unused hole in the cover. It might be possible to insert a backing piece with a hole the right size. It could be drawn into place using a string or nylon line and epoxied in position. Find an offcut of pre-preg and trim to approximately the right size. Drill it centrally 9/32" for the rivet nut.
10 Try drawing the pre-preg piece into the door frame with nylon leader. Decide that it could be held in place for bonding with a balloon inflated behind it. Order some long-shaped balloons on eBay.
14 Long balloons delivered.
22 Clear up garage floor a bit and roll fuselage out onto drive for access to port side.

While opening port door ready to remove it, notice that the aft hinge tang is striking the edge of the fuselage recess earlier than expected. Mark where relief needed. Remove port door and store fixings in the plastic zip-bag along with the ones from the starboard door. File down the aft hinge tang for improved clearance, and also file down the excess flox where the fixing holes were filled on both tangs.

Mark the door frame and the latch cover for the positions of the M5 rivet-nut holes. With the cover fitted, drill through both marked spots with #50 drill. Open to 5mm. Remove cover. Open holes in frame to 9/32" and carefully countersink (with a larger-diameter countersink this time!) until rivet nuts sit flush. Mix a batch of Evo-Stik Control epoxy and apply with a small spatula to the inner face of the frame around the holes. Fit an M5 rivet-nut to the pliers tool and coat it with a thin film of epoxy, taking care not to get any on the end of the mandrel. Set the rivet-nut in one of the prepared holes - need to support the lower arm of the pliers on a wooden block so I can get my full weight on the upper arm; there is no way I would have the strength to close the pliers with my hand grip. After setting the rivet-nut and unscrewing the mandrel, clean excess epoxy off the door frame and the tool with acetone. Repeat process for 2nd rivet-nut and clean up. Try fit of latch cover - one of the holes needs slight shifting with a needle file but cover goes on OK after that adjustment.

Getting ready to re-fit port door, notice that some of the screws are longer than others, and that one of the long ones has got bent. Check journal for what length screws were used where. Port door has 2 off AN525-10R12 on forward hinge and 2 off AN525-10R10 on aft hinge. Re-fit port door, choosing the bent washer that seems to fit best at each location.

Check location of strobe cable outlet on starboard side and drill 10mm in a similar place on port side. Fit a 10mm x 6mm x 2mm grommet and draw the strobe cable out through it. Decide not to fit the connector now, so drape the loose end of the cable back into the cockpit.

Try the long balloons in the starboard door to see if they can be made to support the repair piece of pre-preg. Can't blow up the balloons by mouth. First try with the blow-gun on the compressor inflates the balloon so fast that it bursts. Turn the regulator right down to minimum pressure and that is slightly easier to control. Balloons burst inside the frame on several tries - there are sharp points here and there inside. Sleeving the first section of balloon seems to help and I manage to get the pre-preg positioned quite well but I feel doubtful about the reliability of this method - much too easy to burst the balloon, even when moving the pre-preg around. Wonder if I could make a stepped washer that could be pulled against the back of the pre-preg and then dropped out of the frame once the bonding is completed.

Roll fuselage back into garage.

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