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  1. #1
    Executive Vice President, MyCockpit


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    Post How to cover a wooden shell structure with plywood, submitted by Ivar Hestnes

    How to cover a wooden shell structure with plywood

    By Ivar Hestnes



    This is a description of how I covered my homemade shell-structure with plywood. My guide is mostly by pictures with some comments. Most of this process is self-explaining and no need for me to ruin that with my bad writing. This would be ideal also for covering the FDS-shell structure if plywood is the chosen material.

    This is a very time consuming job to do but it is not difficult and anyone with the proper tools can do it. Be prepared for a 75-100 hour journey. But it is worth the effort. Please read through this manual and study the pictures several times before you start. Maybe you want to do some things a little different.

    Material list for my 737 shell was as follows:

    7 sheets of 4mm plywood
    19 tubes of glue that stick 26kg/square cm.
    ca 600 self-drilling screws, about 15mm with threads

    Tools that can be handy are as follows:
    Drill with different bits
    Hand operated saw
    Jigsaw
    Table saw for slicing plywood strips
    Electrical sander
    A miter saw is always helpful
    Knife
    Screwdrivers
    Let us get started















    Plywood sheets can be sliced in two directions. Try it so you understand that if sliced correctly, the strips will be very easy to bend. Slicing the other way it will be harder to bend and harder to work with.

    On the picture below you can see the first layer of plywood attached. It is very rough as you can see. The whole side is covered with 20cm wide strips and they are attached vertically. At the front end of the shell the shape gets more complex and I used 6cm wide strips and some other interesting pieces at the absolute front.

    It is OK with some gap between the plywood strips on the first layer. But the more work you put into the first layer the better the end result will become. Be careful all the time to follow the cockpit shape as good as you can.

    Drink a lot of coffee between the struggles and enjoy the work as you progress.



    Some pictures of first layer shown from inside the shell.


    At the front end I glued some extra strips under the first layer to help getting the shape right. This might be a smart thing to do in difficult places as you can see on the picture below.


    Here you can see the first layer on the roof almost done. Very rough but after sanding and use of jigsaw, it is good enough to attach the second layer.


    The most important with the first layer is to get the shape right and provide a place for gluing the second layer in place.

    When finished with the first layer and the glue has dried securely, unscrew all the screws. You don?t need them. The glue is stronger anyway.

    On the first layer I used ca 300 screws per side. That is 900-1000 screws for both sides and roof.

    On the second layer I used ca 600-700 screws per side. More tight between all the screws because of thinner strips and to make sure the second layer sticks properly to the first layer.

    One more picture from inside the shell



    Let us start with the second layer.


    On the second layer I used 6cm wide strips. These thin strips will be easier to work with than thicker strips and help us get the shape we want. It will also save us a lot of sanding. They must be glued tightly together to avoid gaps. Glue the strip-joints also. The second layer must be glued in a crossing pattern to the first layer to get the strength we want. This is very important!

    I glued and screwed the second layer of strips horizontally onto the first layer as you can see on the picture below. Please use lots of glue. That?s not the right place to save money.




    On the picture below, you see that f/o side is covered with 2 layers and 1 layer on capt side



    Here you see how I made the second layer on the roof to get the window openings shaped.



    Please unscrew all the screws and fill the holes with glue or elastic filler. You don?t like the screws there anyway. Before or later they will unscrew themselves since wood is a living material and screws are not. That would be really ugly.

    That?s it

    Hopefully you have an even better result than mine.

    Something to consider are if you want to put glass in the window frames. If so, don?t cover the frames completely with plywood. If done my way, you have 8mm thick space for glass. That will suit nice for 4mm glass and rubber-tape on both sides. Se picture below and you get the idea




    Everybody loves to see a nice livery



    After sanding the shell you should consider using filler.


    I used filler on the whole shell, and sanded. I did this process twice. Then I attached white primer, and 2 layers of white paint. Still you can see the ply-strips through the paint, but who cares

    I also made metal frames around the windows to get the look even more authentically. I don?t regret that. I am very happy with the end result and would love to see other builders get a nice shell with their favourite livery

    Best regards

    Ivar Hestnes



  2. #2
    Executive Vice President, MyCockpit


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    I wanted to thank Ivar for this fabulous "Tutorial." It truly is an amazing feat and workmanship.

    It is so nice to see our builders share their talents with other builders.

    I hope this Tutorial will encourage others to follow and submit tutorials to share with our fellow builders

  3. #3
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Michael Carter's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting the tutorial Ivar. If I ever get around to building a shell this will certainly come in handy.
    Boeing Skunk Works
    Remember...140, 250, and REALLY FAST!

    We don't need no stinkin' ETOPS!



    Powered by FS9 & BOEING

  4. #4
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Thanks a Million. This inspires me, and I must say, You have a lot of patience. Great work.
    ________________________
    Trevor Hale

  5. #5
    300+ Forum Addict ekezz's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Great Work Ivar

    Superb work! It makes the immersion more complete. Must have been a lot of hours getting it so high quality.
    Kester Meijer
    http://www.mycockpit.nl - to see my cockpit construction
    Certified De-Ice Supervisor EHAM

  6. #6
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Tomlin's Avatar
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    You along with Jeff B of another Learjet project, have convinced me to give this a go. I had planned on a very simple shell structure, but after seeing your projects, I have started figuring out how to build it myself but with a few modifications.

    Thanks for the tutorial!
    Eric Tomlin-
    Learjet 45 Builder
    www.flightlevel180.org

  7. #7
    150+ Forum Groupie QF6228's Avatar
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    This is a real fine bit of work!
    Thanks Ian

    Damien

  8. #8
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    Thank you very much.

    I am very glad you like my tutorial and I hope I can make more when time comes.

    Thanks Matt O. for help with posting it here.


    Really hope others builders also take their time to make tutorials. It is a good way to reflect over work that is finish and the pleasure of helping others

  9. #9
    Administrator W9XE/Project777's Avatar
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    Mycockpit.org

    Ivar

    This is a beautiful piece of work. Thanks for the tutorial. This is probably the most cost effective way to build as real as it gets for a project. You put a lot of time in it but the end result is well worth it.

    I am sure many builders would like to know the rib layout and sizes. Is there some place to obtain templates to build the shell or did you re-create them yourself?

    SUPER JOB!!!

    THANKS...

  10. #10
    150+ Forum Groupie PaulEMB's Avatar
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    Ivar,

    An excellent tutorial on how to make a shell - I wish I had your patience!

    I agree that this is the most cost effective and easiest way to build a shell - dimensions have to be +/- 15% from the real thing, paying attention to where 3rd party panels will fit.

    I found information on the aircraft builders web page - very often there is a cross section or seating layout diagram you can use to help you in the right direction.

    On the Embraer site I can find cross sections, scale drawings, and airport guides which give loads of info and ideas on building.
    Paul

    Project ERJ 145
    www.erj145sim.net

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