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Old 02-25-2008, 11:01 PM   #57
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strong work

...caught up on your thread today. Impressed with how your tackling complex problems; welding tanks, battery boxes, and now compound curves? wow.

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Old 02-27-2008, 10:12 PM   #58
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Totally cool, really

Unbelievable, but the panel fits almost exactly. Normal spring type clecos were sufficient to pull the panel tight to the shell. Kip, my hat's off to you for your tool and your suggestion--I didn' tthink it was possible. Here is the untrimmed panel (1/4 to 1/2 inch extra on three sides) installed with clecos:

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Not wanting to get back to [ugh] sanding the frame, I took some time to admire the panel--sorta ick. I am now thinking that maybe it would be a great esthetic to cut the panel in half along the line shown below (with suitable overlap, etc.) and to extend it at the corners to look more like an original panel than a window cover. The rivet line would be a natural extension of the existing dome joint and might attrack the eye in a positive way. It's no Buck Rogers helmet, a la a Wee Wind, but it borrows from that tradition. What thinks the peanut gallery?

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Zep
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:03 AM   #59
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I kinda like the one piece better
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:42 PM   #60
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yeah, I vote for one piece too. cleaner. K.I.S.S. etc etc

props, dude. nice work. you and Kip can tour the west as Butch and Sundance. Have rivet gun will travel. all Coloradoans should be proud ;-)

now I gotta go do some ick myself and sand a frame...
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Old 02-28-2008, 02:09 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
... and effective compound curve, it looks like it's working. I won't be able to fit it to the Safari until Wednesday.

Attachment 55095

The technique is to put your full weight on the roller and move it rapidly (maybe speed has nothing to do with it) back and forth along the lines shown in the photo. ...Zep
I believe the term for Kips tool is now a "Colorado" Wheel. Great work, I kinda like the two piece idea you have.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:47 PM   #62
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I like the 2-piece idea and when all the panels are shined-up, or have the same level of patina, it'll hide the fact that it's a patch a bit better.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:37 PM   #63
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I think the one piece looks better. The one piece is like the ghost of the window now gone and holds the design together. The two piece looks like a patch to me. or rather two patches.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:28 PM   #64
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I'm going to attempt the two piece window patch. But let's get back to that later in the week.

Today is "Dome Day." Maybe I should say "Dome Eternity." The objective is to replace the plastic forward dome with 11 aluminum panels. The dome should use solid rivets, except for the edges when it is installed to the interior skin and ribs. This requires the dome to be fitted, drilled, clecoed, unclecoed, removed, clecoed, riveted, the installed. (others have done this in a simpler fashion but, true to Andy's comments elsewhere, I am willing to take extreme measures to achieve modest results see axle thread for proof of that!)

First step is to get some trial templates. Luckily, I could use the dome over the rear bedroom of a Sovereign, so I had some thing stiff and of the right shape to lay the paper against.

Stiff paper seems like a good idea but the first conceptual error was that I could draw one edge per piece of paper, take them down, then transfer the other edge from the adjoining piece back to the first piece--I mean, once they're out flat you can measure, right? Wrong. Well, not in theory, but if you want to drive yourself nuts, try it. You got to draw both edges on the same piece. Then make sure you lay up the next piece and copy the now underlying join line onto the next piece, plus it's other side, etc.

But the paper just didn't feel adequate (a better craftsman can get away with it, but I needed something stiffer). A sheet of thin plastic seemed the right answer ($20). Wow, much better, but the plastic still had the tendency to form a slight trough shape along the long axis. This doesn't seem like a big deal until you see how much the join edges move with slight changes in how tight the template is to the dome.

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After a lot of thought, I decided that panel #5 should have a horizontal lower edge, so all templates were shifted and re-cut to obtain a pattern where #5 meets the corner of the window and has zero width at that end.

I finally got the courage to cut some metal panels. They went up fine, but whoops, the overlap wasn't sufficient. This could have been easily corrected by bringing the curve out from the shell just 3/8", but I wanted to maintain the 1-5/8" shell depth and dome shape as closely as possible. You can see the pink foam shims that I used to maintain spacing. These shims also provide sufficient support so that the panels don't flex when drilled.

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The next step is riveting the the dome together. I don't like depending on the clecos to pull the dome into the proper shape. I'd hate to get this thing together and then not be able to fit it to the shell. You can see some ripples in the edge of the panels, which tells me I also want to flange them slightly and then shrink the flanges to make the proper curve in each panel. Thanks to AEROWOOD, this may be practical.

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In order to ensure a fit, I'm going to make a dome form from 3/8" plywood to duplicate the perimeter and center of the dome. The following two details are posted to aid phone discussion with the expert...

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Every day with a cleco is a good day.
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Old 03-19-2008, 04:34 PM   #65
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Spent the yesterday getting templates for the form and today making the durn thing. Turned out OK. All the layouts fit in both dimensions within 1/8", so I'm pretty confident this form is very close and will really help in when I [solid] rivet the panels together outside the trailer.

Getting the form shape turned out to be easy, but time consuming. I've done a lot of interior woodwork fitting and always took 50 trips back and forth from the bandaw and belt sander. This time I used narrow (like 10") strips of luan that spanned about half the desired curve, then clamped them together when the shape got close. Took about three tries. Marvelous! Why didn't this occur to me 9 years ago when I was younger and had consumed less Two-Buck Chuck?

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Here's the finished form. It can be disassembled and reassembled inverted to provide a form for the the other side of the dome.

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Old 03-19-2008, 04:42 PM   #66
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This is so cool, you are going to save me a bunch of time
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:49 PM   #67
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here's the form in action. These are "trial" panels that are pictured in a previous post with the "wrinkles" on the back side flange. Now that they are in the form and the right shape, the wrinkles are essentially gone.

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Old 03-19-2008, 09:00 PM   #68
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This is excellent!

I always enjoy the detail you bring to these post's.

Thanks!
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:30 PM   #69
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Dome fitting

It's been several days of trial fittings, flanging edges, shrinking the flanges to get the right curve, then more trial fitting and finally hole drilling. Yea! After all the problems fitting the curb side, the street side went quickly. The dome shape allowed all panels to be stable with only clecos in the window frame and the shell ends of the panels.

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Here's the final fit and drilling of the curb side. Rivet spacing is 2" in the center panel and 1-1/4" in all the others. I think it's been over 2,000 cleco in-outs so far in getting the panels fitted, so my grip is getting better...

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(no, that's not a large HD TV under the dome!)

It turns out the metal dome is a slightly different shape from the plastic dome--the plastic dome only came down to the top of the wing windows and to the main window box top rib above the center window, but not to the center window. That's about two inches difference. So the last (lower) panel's lower edge starts off from the wall on the horizontal (at the same place the plastic dome met the wall), but then slopes down as it turns, to meet the top corner of the window. This panel actually comes to a point right at the corner of the window frame.

Also, the inner metal dome is nearly a constant 1-5/8" from the outside dome (as constant as I could make it). I think the plastic dome had more space in many places between it and the outside shell. I surmise this from the poor fit of the templates that were made against the dome in the rear bedroom of the Sovereign.

With only half the dome installed it is unbelievably stiff. What a great improvement over the plastic dome. Now I'll take it down, put it back on the form, do the final hole drilling, and rivet the five curb side panels together.

I have to admit to a late epiphany today. I know why the older Airstream domes are interleaved the opposite direction, eg, the upper edge of the panels are on the inside, versus mine where the lower edges are inside--with the Airstream design you don't have to flange and shrink the hidden mating edge. This would have saved me at least half the hours I've spent so far. But esthetically, I like my interleaving better.

Speaking of flanges, here's the tool (another AEROWOOD special) that does it. I had no clue about this tool until Kip showed it to me--now I see a number of different varieties of the same tool in most sheet metal tools web pages!

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Old 03-26-2008, 11:36 PM   #70
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Remember post #58 above? Well, here's the final wing window conversion. Looks tacky as hell, maybe polishing the shell will help. But the rivet line is perfect.

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In order to put the patch under the dome skin, the edge had to be trimmed to get rid of the ragged edge and the window frame rivet holes. So there' s no going back to the window shaped single patch panel.

This patch, even though it is in two pieces, still had to be rolled to get a slight compound curve.

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