Sunday, March 17, 2019

Cleaning up a bit

I got a little help from some friends this past week...well actually two weeks ago to get the fuselage moved over to the new stand.  Harry also helped me finish riveting the aft top skin on the tail cone.  I'm almost ready to join the two but as I mentioned in my last post I want to try to keep things in the small garage bay.  That means its spring cleaning time!  I sold a few things, moved a few things, and trashed quite a few things.  Now there is enough room for the fuselage with the tail cone attached and it leaves me about 12" of space to walk around one end.  I hope this is enough for a while anyway. 

Not much for pictures this week simply because of the clean up work but here is the garage almost ready to get back to work.


In this picture it doesn't look as clean and open as it does when you can see the entire garage.

A few tools/parts that I am going to put up for sale soon.  I also have an extra pneumatic squeezer that I should probably add to the pile.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Steps are in

After spending at least two months on section 29 I felt kind of weird when I was able to finish up section 30 in just a few work sessions.  Section 29 is not technically complete but its close.  This week I did get the gear weldments bolted in and that was quite a project.  Those weldments require a little "persuasion" to line up properly but I had already created a small AN3 persuasion tool (AN3 bolt with the threads removed and a tapered end) so I was ultimately successful. 

The steps were not too terribly hard to install.  I did remember to install those bushing I turned on Ben's lathe a few months go.  They fit nicely and I think the steps will stay nice an tight....or at least I hope so because getting those bolts back out will be a bugger with the floor installed on the baggage area.

Finally I finished off the week by building a fuselage stand that I will use for the remainder of the build (until I finally get it up on the gear).  I had grand plans of building a all metal adjustable stand that would last generations but after a few hours of cutting, a few welds, and a trip or two to the welding supply store I gave up on that project.  The design I used will allow me to use jacks to raise the entire fuselage high enough to put the gear in and that's all I really need.

The next section I am going to complete is the tail cone attachment.  Unfortunately that also means I may have to move to the larger bay in the garage.  I did a little measurement and its going to be darn tight in the smaller bay once the tail cone is attached.  I may be able to do a little rearranging and get it to work but its going to be very tight no matter what.

One of the first tasks to installing the steps is to cleco the baggage floor into place to hold the ribs in the proper position.  Once cleco'd in you bend them up and cleco them to the seat brace.  I did a modified version of this.

Next step is to install the step and the support block so you can drill the block into the rib.  I stopped taking pictures at this point because there wasn't much to take pictures of.

Oh yea, I had a little help from Jeff to get the tail cone down from the hangar ceiling sling I had it stored on.  Then Harry helped me load it up into Ben's Suburban.  Finally Ben came over and helped me unload it.  Now it sits in the ever shrinking garage waiting to be installed.  That is the next section.

Pilot side gear weldment installed.

Co-Pilot side gear weldment installed.

And finally, the new fuselage stand sitting under the aft end of the fuselage waiting for some help to lower it down.  

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Section 29....still

I think I'm beginning to understand why people don't like section 29.  I've been almost done for two weeks now!  Well actually I've been on vacation for the past two weeks with not much time to work on the airplane but still...shouldn't it work on itself while I'm gone?

Travis came over and helped me with the last of the skin riveting before we left for vacation.  That was a huge help to me.   I almost hope he decides to build an airplane some day because he has an amazing ability to visualize parts as well as read the plans.  Anyway in addition to the skins I was able to finish up the rear vents (which I don't really like but...) and I've finished riveting the front floor skins in.  Actually I'm not 100% done with the front floor skins because I still have a few side rivets to put in that will have to wait until I am done with the fuel pump mount that goes in the tunnel.

The only steps left for this section is to rivet in two side ribs (which should go pretty quickly) and to install the main landing gear weldments.  That last step will probably be a bugger since it involves many bolts and holes that all have to line up properly...and never do...depending on the temperature in the garage, the phase of the moon and how I position my head while banging it on the wall.  :-)

I'm probably going to step forward to the next section before I try to install the gear weldments.  I have a couple of shims that I need to prime before I install the weldments and the steps (next section) are made of steel and need priming also.  If I'm going to mix up a batch of primer I might as well try to use all of it.

Did I mention we went on vacation?

Yep, definitely vacation...

meanwhile back at home.... and this was only the first night...there was even more snow fall after we left for the Dominican Republic...24" in fact!

Floors riveted in place.

Outside of rear side vents installed.

Inside of rear side vents installed.

And a really hard to see picture of the fuselage with the side skins riveted on...no cleco's except those that wont be removed until I do the firewall steps later on.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Riveting....lots of riveting

Most of the past week has been devoted to assembly and riveting.  As the title suggests its a lot of riveting and I'm trying to do it mostly by myself.  There are many rivets I just can't do by myself so at some point I will have to call for help but so far so good.  :-)

On a related note I finally made the decision to use the Grove brakes that come with the kit.  Originally I was concerned about the brakes based on comments I read on VAF but it seems Van's has made a change from the older Cleveland brakes to the newer Grove brakes like the ones I have on my 9A.  With that decision made I was able to order my finishing kit.  They say its a 10 week wait so I figure it should come just about the right time, or a little early is fine too.

Oh, one more thing, Jeff and I did a little IFR practice this past week and were treated to a beautiful sunset.  Obviously the pictures below don't do it justice but I thought I would share.



I decided to insulate the floor area both in front and back.  There will be carpet on the floor but I like the idea of extra insulation to keep our tootsies from getting too cold in the winter.  This picture is of the passenger side front.

I took this picture after the assembly process was completed and just before the marathon riveting started.
And here is the same side after day 1 of riveting.  Note that the fuselage riveting is broken into 4 sections starting with the aft half of each side.  This week I was only able to get half the riveting done or more specifically the aft half of the assembly.  As I already mentioned I do have about 8 rivets in the aft half that I need help with.

Aluminum is really a bugger to photograph.  This is the aft half of the left side of the assembly but the reflection of the blue tarp on the side skin makes it hard to see.

Finally I had to take a picture of the whole thing as it sits this afternoon.  Now its time to go watch the Superbowl...for the advertisements only since I don't really give a rats butt who wins.  :-)

Monday, January 28, 2019

Dimpling, deburring, countersinking, etc complete

As I mentioned last week this week was about dimpling, deburring, countersinking, and even some priming.  I finished up the priming last night and had to do it in the garage because its too cold to use my basement (crawlspace actually) painting booth.  That means hanging lots of plastic and putting up with the smell of Akzo 2 part epoxy that seems to permeate anything!

I can't believe I am saying this but I miss the priming process.  The parts look so nice when they are fully primed but I'm trying hard to stick to my plan to not prime things that don't need it on the interior of the fuselage.  It just adds weight and no benefit.  Some parts still need priming such as anything made from the aluminum angle we work with.  The longerons and a few other parts that I manufactured all got some primer.  I also primed a few small parts simply because they were pretty scuffed up from the initial assembly process.

Looking at the pictures below reminded me that I don't think I have ever talked about the priming system I use.  A couple of years ago I purchased the 3M Accuspray system and have been very happy with it.  Its a system of disposable cups, and spray nozzles that makes mixing, spraying, and clean up a very simple task.  The spray pattern has been excellent, in fact its as good or better than the expensive paint gun (Devilblis) I purchased when I was working on the 9.

I'm afraid I only have two pictures for this weeks post...

Longerons, and other parts after priming.

Fuselage under plastic to keep the primer dust off.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Section 29.. getting there

I think I expected section 29 to last for several months but from where I am at now I think I will be done before the end of February.  I will need some help riveting but the fabrication part is complete.  It's now time to disassemble, debur, dimple, and prime a few parts.  Then its rivet it all together and go on to section 30.  I'm pretty excited about that prospect.

This weekend was probably the most physical session I've had working on this airplane.  Drilling 72 holes in steel at a very slow pace is just hard!  Given that half of those required the drill to be pointing up makes it all the harder.  I took a couple of pics (below) of the parts I am talking about.

I am quite happy with how well the longerons fit after the bending process.  I used a bending die that I purchased on VAF and it really did make the job much easier.

On a related note, I ordered the electric boost fuel pumps this weekend.   Its not too many chapters before I have to install the fuselage fuel system.  I plan on using electronic fuel injection on this airplane and redundant fuel pumps are a must because there is no mechanical fuel pump installed on the engine for this configuration.

Here it is fully assembled (for section 29).  I was preparing for the marathon drilling session when I took this and the next picture.


This is one of the two lower mounts that needed to be drilled.  Notice the cleco's both top and bottom.  Those bottom holes were very tough to maintain any pressure on and keep the boelube (drilling oil) flowing into.

This is a view of the upper bracket.  I had already removed most of the cleco's in this picture.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Out of band but fun

I did a little flying yesterday and thought I would post a few pictures of the flight that I think were pretty cool.

View from the lead ship (Jeff).  Mountains are beautiful with a fresh blanket of snow.

View from my passenger's (Steve) perspective looking up at the formation.

Jeff and his RV-7A

Bob and his Super RV-8 (Super means big 6 cylinder engine)

Harry and Angelina in Harry's Harmon Rocket II (another big engine RV...ish)