Paul Lee - SQ2000 Project, Pierre SD USA

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Upholstery, painting & finishing adjustments.

Filled/sanded right wing and cowling waiting for priming. I am trying PolyFiber SmoothPrime. However, the "crosslink" chemical (little white/red bottle) that mixes in with the primer was all gelled up and could not use it. PolyFiber factory said they will send a replacement. Now I am out of primer and ran out of epoxy (for making filler with micro balloons) and waiting for upholstery sewing machine I ordered. Tried to get a local upholsterer to do the seats but they are too busy.
Waiting for epoxy, crosslink and sewing machine, decided to cut seat cushions. The foam can be cut to shape by pressing paper into the seat and making a pattern with four cuts. The cuts are glued together with 3M 74 orange glue. The foam cushions are only 1" thick to allow more head room for my long back. My 6 foot frame is more back than most people. Had a 6'2" visitor trying the seats and he had more head room than me.
Wow... 10 hours just to make two front seat backs. Guess I am not an efficient upholsterer - or a steep learning curve trying to figure things out.
I got the polyester fabric from With polyester you can use a soldering iron to singe bare edges to seal them (like rope) and you can carve holes same way for seat bolts (as per two holes on left side).
Seats are tricky. To get the caved in effect, I marked "vertically" parallel lines on the seat foam (5 sections total), used heavy plastic (6 mil) to mark/cut the strip patterns. The strips are then joined together by being glued on the back together with a thin strip (a mid reference line is shown for lineup) and then the strips are sown on each side of the join line. By the time you get all the stuff together - several days easily. I used up all the small spool (button strength) thread from local Wall Mart and ran out of thread and had to order it from some place over Internet. Now have to wait for the thread. No wonder homebuilt planes take forever.

AfterBuild 06/15/04 note: When I built the seats without the cushion they were approximately suitable for my long back height. But then I added a firm 1" cushion to the seats. This resulted in uncomfortable lack of headroom. So now I had to tear out the seat cushion (unglue the seat cover sufficiently) and replaced it with a soft 1/2" cushion which is not as cushy but restores the headroom to a comfortable level.

One of the things in EAA builders articles is a suggestion to place some sort of cushioning on leading edge of glare shield. Half round of a rubber hose was shown. But that would look ugly in this case. It turns out that KLS gave me a nice thick mouse pad when I bought the kit. When cut into 5/16 strips it makes ideal texture cushion strips which I glued on the front edge of the glare shield before closing the vinyl over it.

The seats, carpet and most of sides and top of inside is finished now. Essentially got to finish installing the new Narco VOR/GS 122D that couples with the IFR GPS. And then exterior priming and painting.... Wana get this thing flying before I die of old age. Just saw a guy on rec.aviation.homebuilt news group that took 12 years (2000hrs) to complete his RV-4. Not sure if I got 12 years. I think, like flying, its better to do the thing accelerated in a few years or less so you remember what you are doing.

The interior is 99.9% finished. The Narco 122D/GPS is in and seems to be working. The weather stripping is left off till after painting. The sides are finished in shaggy polyester felt which covers surface irregularities easier. I used with 3M Super 77 spray glue... good stuff. The brush on glue in a can from Airtex wasn't as good. Don't think I'll get first prize for interior, but it is functional and the seats are sturdy and comfortable. I chose a couple of shades of gray - figured there will be no colour clash..

The rear seat backs when folded down reveal the myriad of fuel and electrical system.

And now I have mainly exterior patching/sanding to do before taking it to a paint shop for paint spraying. (First photo updated 08/16/2007.)

The wonders of fiberglassing... A cup shaped holder perfectly holds a 15 cu ft SkyOx oxygen bottle - or could be used for misc stuff when the bottle is out.
Filling sanding has got to be on top of the messy jobs list - sanding dust all over the garage. Wife complains about it tracking into house.
One of the more tricky to finish is edging around windows. I covered the window edge with aluminum foil tape (Wal-Mart $2/roll) and then pasted the epoxy - glass bubble mixture over the beveled edge to cover initial irregularities I created with the rotary tool (Windshield and windows). Then sanding it level is easier with a B&D mouse sander. A light inside helps to see where the edge of the tape is.
Sanding really generates a lot of dust. Here is a $12 dust collector system while I work or clean: a 20x20 furnace filter taped on back of a 20x20 fan.
Priming with Poly Fiber UV Smooth Prime: I used a roller for priming the stuff. Despite what the instructions say, thin the mixture with about 10 - 15% water. As it comes out of the can it is very hard to sand down to a smooth finish. When mixed with water, the texture does not occur. If you have a fairly smooth surface to begin with, you can prime it and sand it with the thinner stuff much easier.

I finally tried spraying the stuff - with a Wagner airless I had sitting around - and it turned out better. I found that overall you need an initial primer coat and sanded down to get things even - but which will show some bare spots too. and then a final even coat which can be sanded with 400, 600 and 1200 grit successively. It seems that the primer does not have a tendency to fill in pinholes and some of those pesky tiny pinholes I filled with automotive glazing compound.

How to fill more uneven/textured surfaces: Some surfaces are rough but not epoxy microballoon filler candidates. You can fill those with a thick paste made up of UV smooth prime and microballoons. It is lighter and sands down real easy with coarse sandpaper.

After sanding the primer with 1200 grit sandpaper, you can see reflections on the surface. However, just before painting, the painter indicated he wanted 400 grit on the primer. So I went over the surface with 400 grit. Must have misunderstood his request earlier.
Priming/sanding finished. Waiting for the paint shop guy to show up and see if its ready for painting.

Glad this stage is over with. Amazing amount of dust in the garage, basement, house etc. Cleaned the garage two times to remove the dust. The best way I found was to use the air hose and blow everything down and sweep floor. First time there was about 2 lbs of dust, second time again another .5 lbs.

The paint shop is an automotive paint shop run by a pilot that has painted aircraft. Turns out that his paint shop doors are only about 12' wide and could not get the SQ2000 fuselage inside without a struggle. Decided to convert my garage into a painting room. The painter will come to my garage to do the spraying. I mounted two large box fans into a frame that fits the rear garage door to exhaust the overspray fumes. Just hope the cold weather eases off a bit. Its been averaging near 0 F for almost 2 weeks here in SD.
And the paint is on (02/01/04). The high gloss acrylic urethane paint was applied by Tim Antone, local body shop owner and pilot.
various connections and final adjustments need to be made: navigating lights, rudder spring and cable and compander connection.

Dang.. it.. The right rudder pedal inner weld broke while testing the rudder. Now will have to take it out and weld the pedal to the inner shaft properly. Good thing it happened on the ground.

After taking out the pedal assembly I was able to pull the whole inner shaft out. Don't know which manufacturer KLS gets the pedal assembly from but as you can see somebody forgot to spot weld the two holes to the shaft before welding the outer connecting half shaft. Apparently the pedal was hanging on to the inner shaft by friction. This is unlikely to happen again but you might want to double check yours by exerting opposing forces on the two right pedals to make sure they stay in place in line.

Since the two original welding holes are on the bottom covered by the outer half shafts, I ground out a couple holes on the top and welded through those. And... the new weld appears to be strong enough.

Don't know about you, but my hands are little too big to go into the outer/under wing bolt holes to access the upper/lower bolts inside. So far I used plain nuts and just spun them on. But with locknuts, there needs to be some way to hold the bolts inside when turning the nuts outside. A little welding and re-shaping with two 3/4 sockets makes things easier. The flattening of the sockets on top and bottom was needed because the bolts were close to the top and bottom of the spar.

A little warning: When tightening wing bolts make sure there are no wires/cables caught up in front of them. Happened to me once, yuk... replacing an antenna cable is not fun.

Anybody got suggestions to make nice streamline plugs for the wing bolt access holes?

02/10/04 - the plane is officially finished. I am just going around removing dust and grime, and occasional missing nut replacement, touchups, etc. Still waiting for the KLS factory towing jig for towing it to the hangar. Had it shipped Fedex ground about two weeks ago but Fedex messed up because the date on the tag was smudged and after it came all the way to town here they returned the whole thing back to KLS instead of getting on the phone to straighten out the problem. KLS sent it again last Thursday - hope it arrives this time. The weather 02/11/03 here is like a blizzard - not suitable for moving the plane anyway. Hope the weather improves soon too.
Tow jig from KLS composites arrived. Wings taken to airport 02/13/03. Now waiting suitable weather for towing it to airport.
Getting it ready for towing to hangar. I welded a connecting bracket from inner wing bolts to chain to front swivel T-bar towing jig KLS factory sent me (no instructions). The plane is held from sliding forward with a 1/2 rope loop around the nose.

And finally its out of the garage on its way to the airport where it arrived safely. The towing jig with the chain and front harness strapping worked well. The chain was for towing forward, the rope harness for holding it back when braking and the blue straps were for holding it from slipping sideways.

When you finish your project, KLS may loan the tow jig to you for towing to the airport. Or you can make your own. Its fairly simple construction. Its made of a tow receiver 48" 2x2 bar on top of which is welded a industrial duty caster frame on top of which is welded a 45.25" 1.5x1.5 bar for holding the nose up. The top bar has 1/2 vertical holes for fastening with bolts, or whatever.

And finally at the hanger with both wings on.

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