Big weekend: I have bonded the first fuselage skins onto my Bede BD-4C airplane. I painted 3M Scotch-Weld #10 Contact Adhesive onto both the skin and the fuselage angles and then “just” stuck the two together. Here are a few photos. There is actually more adhesive on the plane than is visible in the pictures. The camera flash “made” much of the glue “disappear.”
Truthfully, bonding the skin on was a little more involved than “just” sticking the skin onto the fuselage support angles. I had drilled a pair of small holes in each end of the skin, with matching holes in the fuselage. I used these to align the skin at one end, while Candy held the rest of the skin up and away from the fuselage (with the aid of some artfully placed scraps of wood).
Once the end was aligned and clecoed in place, we stuck the rest of the skin down, being careful not to leave any wrinkles. This was not too hard, since the aluminum does not stretch like a vinyl sticker. I then pressed all of the surfaces together with a solid rubber roller and quite a bit of pressure. The adhesive’s instructions tell you to use “full body pressure with a 3 inch roller.” My roller was only 2 inches wide and the aluminum is thin and soft so I moderated appropriately.
Once the rear section was on, we repeated for the forward section. At only 3½ feet long, this skin was comparatively easy to handle. The forward section overlaps the rear section, which made for a simple seam.
The result looks good, with the only rivets being the ones near the corners of the skins.
Yesterday, my gaggle of friends returned to my house and returned the Bede BD-4C to its rightful orientation: on its wheels. Since my stomach does not even like roller coasters and I do not plan on doing any aerobatics in the airplane, this ought to be the last time the plane is ever upside-down.