Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lots of rearranging going on

The past week or so has not been the best for airplane building.  Lots of things going on around the house, work has been a little crazy and lots of extra curricular events going on.  However, I did get to spend all day in the garage today and boy did I make a mess and a bunch of modifications.  First I built a loft to store my skins, then I used that space to build a paint/primer booth.  And finally I got a chance to work on the airplane.  I did a little priming as a final step before riveting the bulkhead together.  See the pics...

The plans call for a 4 degree bend in two of these pieces.  This was my "jig" and it worked wonderfully.

The "loft"

The loft again.

The skeleton of my paint/prime booth.  Next I added a little plastic, a fan, a filter, and some hooks for hanging parts.

I used my Hobby air hood for the first time today.  Its a little cumbersome.

And here are the primed pieces.  Tomorrow we will see how well it worked.

Oh, I thought I would mention that I purchased a cheap HVLP spay gun to use with the epoxy primer.  I am absolutely amazed at how well it worked.  It's just a throw away but I think it really is a nice tool.  Harbor Freight so it wont last long but it sure did its job tonight.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Center section complete

I didn't get much time on the airplane today but I was able to finish up the center section.  Today was moving day and Amy is now a full time resident along with Z-man. Anyway here are a few pics.

Finished up the fwd section by riveting the braces on.

These two little spacers took a bit of time to make exactly 1 7/16" long from a 4" piece.  I had to make two of them exactly the same length and perfectly square on the ends.  The plans say to use a drill press with a file and you now what, it worked great.

Remember those two pieces that I posted about yesterday?  Well here they are ready for flight!

And here it is all bolted together.  All I need to do now is put the bushings in and move on to the next piece.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Center section work

Last night I finished up the firewall and started the center section.  This is really fun because its starting to come together.  Give it another month or so and it will really start looking like an airplane is being built!  I did manage to get the uprights (laying horizontally in the picture below) riveted on as well all 12 5/8" holes drilled for bushings.

Ohhh pretty!  This is the center section that really is the heart of the airframe.  The wings attach to this bugger and it becomes the load bearing part of the fuselage.
These two control mounts are part of tonight's work.  I had to drill the mounting holes and then trim off the area that is outlined in blue.  I used my band-saw and a file to clean it all up.  Actually turned out pretty good.  These are where the control sticks attach to the center section.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Firewall takes final shape

Tonight I was able to get most of the firewall riveted together.  I used a back-riveting technique and it worked wonderfully!  The results are a nice smooth forward surface.  See for yourself.

Nice smooth forward firewall surface.

Aft side of the firewall.  Shop heads on the rivets come out so nice when back-riveting.  All that's left are a couple of brackets, aux fuel pump bracket and the brake cylinder bracket.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fire! oh wait, thats firewall...

Yep, today was the first day for fuselage work.  The first project on the list was the firewall and I almost managed to finish it. Need to do a little more countersinking and then rivet it all together which is likely to take a few days now that I am headed back to work.  Only one picture for the day.

The firewall with all the pieces ready to dimple, countersink and prime.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The end of an era, or at least the beginning of the next phase

OK, its official (I deemed it so), the wings are as complete as I am going to get them before I move on to the fuselage.  I've spent the last week or so finishing up the deburring, dimpling and edge dressing the bottom skins on both wings, running pitot static tubing, and adjusting the wiring tubes.  The skins are now hanging on the wings in the crate, the garage has been cleaned up a bit and I am ready to start the fuselage tomorrow!

Getting ready to dimple the left bottom wing skin.  I built a new dimple platform that will help me with all the skins I have to dimple for the fuselage.  Oh, I also removed the flaps so I could hang the bottom skins and if you look closely you will see them hanging on the wall above the small parts organizers.

Another shot of the garage.  I made a few modifications this weekend to help optimize space.  The table saw is behind the rolling toolbox but I now have a shelf/bench top mounted above it so I can work there and still get my saw out.

Amy took a picture of my dimpling one of the left bottom skins on my new dimpling platform.  Notice I am wearing my 2013 Oshkosh shirt.  :-)

Both wings now have the dimpled bottom skins on and its time to move on to the fuselage!

Oh yea, I got my new (used) flight suit in the mail today.  This is suppose to fire resistant but I think it just looks cool so I had Amy take a picture of my wearing it.  I think I need some patches!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Details, details

Today has been a day of details.  There are still a few that need to be taken care of on the wings before I move on to the fuselage.  For example, the control tubes, bell-cranks, and push-rods all need to be manufactured and hooked up to the ailerons which themselves need to be properly attached and adjusted. Pitot static tubing needs to be run and the bottom skins need to be deburred, dimpled and cleco'd in place on the wings.  Sounds simple enough doesn't it?  Well, 12 hours later I did manage to get the control tubes, bell-cranks, and push-rods manufactured, and hooked up to the ailerons.  I also managed to get the ailerons attached and adjusted.  I ran into a bit of a problem though. On the left aileron I found that one of the rivet shop heads is interfering with the smooth movement of the aileron.  So, I am going to have to grind that tail off and just to be safe I am going to drill and install another 426 rivet with the flush head on the correct side.  On a side note I did drill the holes for the AOA lines for my pitot static system but found that the bushings that came in the SafeAir kit were for a 3/8" hole and the pre-drilled holes are 7/16".  So I ordered some new bushings from Aircraft Spruce.

Every time I think I am being creative in finding a new way to do something I eventually find that somebody else already figured it out.  However, I did come up with the simple way of cutting a nice square piece of bushing with my drill and hacksaw.  

Here are the aileron push rods with the ends riveted on.

Here are the finished control tubes all cut to length, primed (inside and out), and ends riveted on.  Came out pretty nice I think.

I'm not even going to try to take credit for this one.  This is a mod I found on Smitty's web site (he got the idea from somebody else).  This is the aileron travel stop.  Its just a delrin rod (7/8" in diameter) with a hole drilled in it big enough to fit the bushing.  After installation it looked great!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Flaps complete

Last night I was able to finish up the left flap and get it temporarily mounted on the wing.  Today was fuselage inventory day.  I am always amazed at how accurate the inventory of the Van's kits are but today I found three items missing.  I suppose given the sheer number of parts thats amazing and in this case it wasn't the fault of the person packing the crate, it was the bags that had some short parts.  I guess I will have to call Van's on Monday to see about getting the missing parts.  Anyway, I am done with the inventory but I still have a little work to get some of the larger skin pieces put safely away.

Left flap ready to mount on the wing.

This is what my inventory looks like about mid day.  Lots of parts!

Here is the first missing part.  There are supposed to be 8 of these platenuts but as you can see there are only 7.

Hmm, this one is upside down but you can see that there are a couple of cotter pins (one of each type) missing.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Woah! Two days in a row?

Probably wont get a chance to work on the plane tomorrow so I thought I would do a quick update tonight.  I was able to finish up the right flap tonight.  The trailing edge came out looking nice and strait!  I got started riveting the skins on the left flap and hope to finish that one up in the next few days.  Here are a few pics.

Right flap completed sitting on the bench.

Hard to see in this picture but the trailing edge is looking good.

Ok, couldn't resist.  Had to install the flap on the wing just to see how it looks.  "I LIKE"

And this is how I ended the night.  Left flap in the saddle with the top skin partially riveted on.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Will these flaps just get done already!

Yes, its been a while since I posted but these actually has been some progress, just not as much as I had hoped.  So lets start with last weekend (8 days ago).  I attended the EAA's electrical and avionics two day course up at Paine field.  I am very glad I did since not only did I get another resource, but learned a few things about electronics that I didn't know.  Most importantly I got some hands on experience with different crimpers, strippers and similar tools.  I have done some electrical work, and even a little electronics work and most of that applied but it was fun doing the d-sub pins and antenna coax.

Now on to the airplane.  I am still working on the flaps... still.  I have the right flap on the bench ready to rivet the trailing edge but I ran out of energy for the day and rather than push it I decided to wait until I was fresh to tackle that one.  The left flap is not far behind.  It is ready for final assembly and in fact the skeleton is already riveted together, just need skins now.

On another note, I have been doing a little flying.  Amy and I braved the traffic and drove to Tacoma Narrows to fly the 172N they remember, the one that had oil leaking down one side of the airplane.  Well, it was suppose to have been fixed so we paid the toll, drove an hour and a half in traffic (one way) to get there and guess what.... yep there was oil running down the side of the airplane.  So, my flight instructor asked the mechanic at Pavco and he went on a rant about crappy gaskets that Lycoming provides and that it was as "fixed" as it was going to get.  We didn't fly.  In fact we left and I am still a little miffed about the whole thing.  On the way home I stopped at Crest to see what they had for 172's and guess what, they had a few (with no oil leaking down the side of the airplane) so I scheduled a checkout and am now cleared to fly at Crest.  I will have to tell you about my check out ride as I had a bit of a scare as a NORDO cub decided to land on the same run way I was landing on, except from the other the same time.

Enough talk, here are a few pics.
Some tools that I need to purchase.  Courtesy of my class.

My "jig" for dimpling those hard to get holes at the tip of the flap ribs.  It worked out great!

Starting to blind rivet the right flap leading edge to the nose ribs.

See the screw head?  Well, the plans say to hold the trailing edge strait while I rivet the bottom skin to the flap spar.  Well, I decided to drill 4 holes in my longest level and screw it to the table.  Problem solved.

Right flap being weighted down so that I can do the trailing edge.

Yes, there is a flap under all that "weight".  Just picked the heaviest items I could move and set them on top of the 2x4's I have distributing the load.

The left flap skelton and skins ready for my next work session.  Oh, that big box they are sitting on, that is the fuselage and its sitting there taunting me.