15.2.1 Fuselage Headliner

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I wanted to get the overhead panel wired before flipping the fuselage rightside up. Doing so meant that I needed to get the fiberglass assembly prepped for that work. The switch panel’s metal backing plate and plastic overlay are already made but they need to be attached to the fiberglass panel. So, before doing the upholstery work, I had to cut out the mounting hole for the switches. You can see that in the photo below. I’ve also precut a piece of vinyl fabric. This is my first attempt at covering fiberglass with vinyl!

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I'm pre-marking the vinyl while test fitting to make sure that it'll fit properly.

I started by gluing the top of the fiberglass assembly to the vinyl. Once that was nice and smooth, I wrapped and glued the rear part of the assembly. The vinyl stretched nicely around the curved pieces. I’ve also pre-marked where I need to cut the front section before gluing it down.

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Before installing the switch assembly I need to upholster the overhead panel assembly.

The entire assembly is now upholstered and wired! I’m testing my wiring in the photo below. It all seems to work!

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Testing the switches and LED backlight to make sure everything is working properly.

There’s more to the headliner upholstery than this though. It was fun to practice on this panel.

While the fuselage is still upside down, I decided to work on unholstering the headliner. Basically this all just gets glued to the ceiling of the fuselage. I’m starting with the NACA scoops that slightly protrude into the cabin. For contrast, I decided to cover these in navy blue. I made some paper templates first, then cut out the material and glued them down. The material doesn’t need to go all of the way back because most of this will get covered with a rear cover panel anyway.

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More upholstery work while the fuselage is upside down. Here I'm covering the exposed part of the NACA scoops.

The next step is to start covering the cabon fiber beams. I want these padded, so I’m using 1/4” foam padding, which gets glued to the beams first. The padding helps to protect your head while getting in and out of the back seat!

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Some of the upholstery gets padded. I'm using 1/4" foam padding which I apply first.

Once again I made some paper templates before cutting the vinyl. You can see the finished product below. The upper section of the carbon fiber beam is now upholstered!

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Here's what the padded upholstery looks like. It's nice and soft in case someone bumps their head getting in!

Now it’s time for the large, white headliner pieces. These will also be padded. Again, I’ve made some paper templates (as shown below) for each side. I’m leaving about an inch unpadded to make room for the window frames and the overhead duct.

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In order to accurately cut the large headliner pieces, I made some paper templates which you see in this photo.

And there you go. The two white headliners are now installed. I think they came out nicely, considering this was my first attempt at doing anything like this. It was a bit tricky gluing these in. Because the pieces are so large, I wanted to accurately place them before spraying down the glue. So, once in place, I folded each one back about half way, then glued that half down first. I then flipped the other half forward and glued it down. That worked pretty nicely. Inevitably, I accidentally sprayed some glue where it shouldn’t have gone. Good old WD-40 did a great job getting that glue off followed by a bit of alcohol to get the WD-40 greasy stuff off. Of course, I tested all of this on a scrap piece first to make sure it wouldn't remove the color from the material!

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And now the white vinyl is glued down. I like the contrast between the white ceiling and the navy blue trim!

You’ll see more of these pieces later when the overhead duct gets upholstered and installed. In the meantime, I upholstered both of these overhead extension pieces that hold the cabin lights and air vents.

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This is one of the extension pieces that will hold the air scoops and overhead cabin lights to the overhead duct.

Here’s what the back of the piece looks like. Since I custom made these pieces, knowing what I know now I would have constructed them a bit differently. Never-the-less, they came out pretty good. Those corners were tricky though. I had to spend some time on YouTube getting ideas for dealing with them!

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Here's what the piece looks like from underneath.

The fuselage “ceiling” upholstery is now complete. I’ve temporarily attached the air vent and lamp extensions. Let’s hope this high-strength cement really works. I’d hate to see my ceiling drop down once the fuselage is back to being right-side up!

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The fuselage "ceiling" upholstery is complete!

Here's a wider view of the completed ceiling.

That basically completes the headliner installation. Obviously there’s still a lot more upholstery work to do. I’ll get to that later.

ui© John Trautschold 2018