Sunday, July 7, 2019

Doors - the beginning

Based on the experiences of others I have decided to do the doors next.  This will allow me to fit the strut brackets before I install the overhead console.  As such this post begins what I expect to be a couple of months worth of door posts...

First step is to trim the door skins to a more reasonable size and then begin the process of fitting and (even more) trimming to fit the opening in the cabin.  The initial trimming is complete, the doors are bonded together, and the final door assembly has been trimmed yet again to fit into the opening.  The hinges have been attached and the doors actually operate as intended!

One other item of note is I've moved the fuselage over to the big side of the main garage bay and I've disassembled the divider wall.  I can still fit both cars in the garage and I now have room to install the motor mount, tail components, and maybe even the engine (without the tail installed).   I did have to order and install a new garage door opener for the small bay and while I was at it I decided to upgrade the lighting in the garage to all LED.

Door's cleco'd to the fuselage so I could drill the holes to hold the door on while the two halves cure...see more below.
Two things of interest in this picture.  First the fiberglass in the top of the picture.  This is a product called Parabeam.  Its hard to see but its actually a 3D type of material with two skin's sandwiched around a lattice structure that gives the whole thing a mattress look and feel.  Second is the spreader I used to lay the epoxy/Cabosil mixture onto the doors.  I used a little trick I learned while doing tile work.  The edge of this spreader is notched so that I can lay a consistent layer of epoxy to bind the two door halves together.

The inner half of the door sanded and ready for wet-out and epoxy mix.

Fuselage with a layer of plastic as well as some packing tape to keep the doors from sticking to them.

Left side door cleco'd to the fuselage after I spent about an hour wetting out the Parabeam, wetting out the surfaces where the epoxy/Cabosil mix will meet, and the finally the epoxy/Cabosil mixture applied.

Lots of squeeze out so hopefully I got a nice amount of coverage.
On the right side door I managed to take a picture of the epoxy/Cabosil mixture after I had "combed" it with the spreader I mentioned above.

A look from inside the cockpit through the baggage door after I had cleco'd the right side door on for curing.

Remember that Parabeam stuff I mentioned earlier?  Well this is what it looks like when its cured.  You can see the inner lattice from this perspective.  I took this picture looking inside from the center latch hole I cut.

Left side door trimmed to fit into the opening.
The plans have you cut an AN3 bolt to act as the hinge pin for the doors.  Its a good idea but I decided to use Ben's lathe to round off the head and trim it down a bit to fit in the pocket a little better.

Of course every RV-10 builder has to take a picture of the first time to door opens on its own hinges.  Those gull wing doors are just awesome!
Once the doors were trimmed to fit it was time to start putting the actuation mechanism in place.  This is the pocket that the handle sits in.

Trimming the Delrin guides to fit their pockets.

Center gear assembly installed and aft actuator rod attached to the rack piece that goes into the center latch.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Cabin Top

This week has been all about the cabin top initial fitting.  Travis helped me get it down from the overhead last week and its been a dusty several hours since then.  The good news is the top is on and fitted with most of the holes drilled.  I still have to drill the center support post but once thats done it will be time to remove it for lots of upgrades/modifications.  I'm glad to get this part of the project almost done because of the magnitude of fiberglass to be worked.  I don't really mind working with fiberglass but with the size of this piece it made it much harder to move around.  Not only that but I cut my hands several times on sharp edges trying to manhandle the darn thing.

Next up is to fit and install the overhead console.  Then there is a huge list of tasks that I want to get done before I do the final install.  These final steps include riveting the last two skins on and I think I want to take advantage of the access to install wiring, brackets, nut plates, firewall stuff, you get the idea.

One thing you will probably notice is that I moved the airplane into the main part of the garage.  I just didn't have room in the small bay to work on the cabin top.  I may take down the temporary wall at this time but I'm not sure that now is the right time.  I don't like leaving any of our cars in the driveway more than necessary, especially during the hot summer months.

First, or second, or third attempt at getting it to fit.  There was a LOT of cutting and sanding to get it to this stage.  You may notice that at this time the top didn't quite sit down against the fuselage.

Getting closer....

Ok, it fits, now its time to cleco the rear skin on so it can be drilled.  This took at least three more on/off cycles to get the fit just right.

All edges drilled for riveting.  

Look at all the dust and debris in there!  Just a small sample, believe me!
Countersunk screw holes for bolting the forward half of the cabin top to the airframe.

"When it starts to looks like an airplane you are half way done"...well its starting to look like an airplane.  :-)

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Controls installed

It's kind of funny but the title of this post is "Controls Installed" which is not technically correct.  I've completed most of the work of configuring and installing the controls in the cockpit but there are still a number of steps that will happen later in the build as things start to come together.  Anyway for now that section of the plans is complete as is the flap controls and the rear seats.  No modifications to the controls but I will have to strip/prime/paint the control sticks.  See the picture below for more details.

There are no pictures of the rear seats because I used the seat frames that I built for the 9A.  When I purchased the new seats for it they came with their own frame so these were extra.  Now they have a home and they are identical to the rear seats that are designed for the 10.

Here is a picture I didn't want to see.  If you look closely at the powder coating on the control stick you will notice that it has a "hammered" look.  I've seen this before and its actually corrosion under the powder coating.  I pulled the control stick back out of the airplane and ran a scrap of aluminum over the "bumps" and this is what I got.  Rust.  I will have to completely strip the powder coating off of the sticks and then prime/paint them.  

Flap motor and actuation mechanicals installed.

I had a little fun this week as well.  This is the oil cooler mount that gets mounted on the firewall.  I decided to install an over-sized oil cooler on this engine so I don't have any issues with oil temperature.  However, the oil cooler mount is sized for a standard 3 row oil cooler.  So, I had to do a little modification.  I simply cut the opening larger by trimming the top of the mount all the way up to the edge.  Then I fabricated and riveted a piece of aluminum angle to the top of the mount.  Add a few nut plates and I now have a cooler mount that fits the 15 row oil cooler perfectly!

A little better view of the front of the mount.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Fuel System aft of the firewall

As I've mentioned before I am planning on installing the SDS EM-5/6 electronic fuel injection system in my airplane.  This weekend I took some time to try to finish up the fuel system aft of the firewall and while I think I have it mostly complete there are still a few steps to be completed.

The line on the right is the supply line coming from the fuel tank.  In this line I have a ball valve and a holey filter.  The ball valve will be lock wired open but will allow me to isolate the fuel filter from the fuel tank when it comes time to inspect the filter.  The middle line is the return line from the duplex valve to the tank.  The line on the left is the brake line.

I had to drill a new penetration hole for the return line.  This gives you an idea of where it is in relation to the other two lines and the control rod.

Interestingly enough you may notice that the return lines run up and over the control tube.  I've seen others put 90 degree elbows in and run the line straight down and then aft to the bulkhead fitting.  I tried that but found that it could interfere with the forward and aft motion of the controls.  Its really hard to tell right now since I don't have the tail feathers installed which means I don't know the exact location of the stops.  This seemed to be a good alternative. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Rudder Pedals - a new approach

Ok, I think this subject warrants its own post.  I've never really liked the way Van's does their rudder pedals.  They get the job done and they are relatively inexpensive to install.  Thats all good news and part of the reason the RV series is so popular...they work well and they are not super expensive..or they don't have to be anyway.  But...I don't like the fact that the brake master cylinders are on the front side of the pedals, and I don't really like the looks of the plastic brake lines.

It turns out I'm not the only one who feels that way.  Paul from ControlApproach created a beautiful set of pedals for the RV-10 but they are above my budget range for this airplane.  However, he also created a retrofit kit that utilizes the Van's rudder pedal bars!  This is still pretty expensive but I pulled the trigger anyway and boy am I happy with that decision.  The pedals are a work of art and very high quality.  Take a look at the pictures and I think you will agree.

First I decided I didn't want the rudder cables running outside of the tunnel.  This little bar will attach to the rudder bars as you will see in the following pictures, and the rudder cables will attach to it...inside the tunnel.  This is not part of the kit that Paul provides but I think he is working on something similar.
I started with some 1/8" stainless steel bar stock and had a local welding shop tig weld a piece of 1" diameter round stock to the end.  I did have to cut/grind out a nice contour for the round stock to fit into.

Here is the idea.  the cable attach bar will be bolted to the rudder bar and oriented so that it is in the same location as the tab on the rudder pedal bars.

After drilling a hole in the round stock portion I lined it up on the rudder bars so I could drill a similar hole for the AN3 bolt that will hold this together. The bolt goes all the way through the bar.
To prevent the tube from collapsing and causing elongation of the hole due to bolt wiggle I fabricated a bushing that has a #12 hole drilled in it.  The AN3 bolt will pass through this bushing and give some internal support to the entire assembly.  What you see in this picture is the "tool" I created to slide the bushing down inside the rudder bar arms.  Its simply a piece of piano hinge wire that I used a 6-32 die to put some threads on and screw into the 6-32 hole I drilled into the side of the bushing.  This allowed me to slide the busing down to the hole and move it back and forth as needed to align it properly.

This is just a picture of me tapping the 6-32 hole in the side of the bushing.
Here you can see the bushing inside the rudder bar.  I slightly offset it so you could see it.

Hard to see but in this picture you see me sliding the bushing inside the rudder bars.

This is a picture of a few of the parts of the Control Approach retrofit kit.  Look at the quality of these parts!

In this picture you can see the welded tab that is a little offset and does not allow the clamping blocks to sit properly.  I ended up milling down the left side and adding a washer to the right side to get it to fit properly.

Assembled and aft side picture.  Note that I used some washers as spacers.  Thats not going to stay that way. 

Fwd side picture.
Back side view but the pedal on the right is still using the washers as shims and is not yet in the correct position.

And here they are sitting in position.

Slightly angled view.  Notice that the rudder cable attach bars are actually inside the tunnel now.  If you look closely you will see that I riveted a filler piece in where the rudder cables normally enter the tunnel on the pilot side.  The copilot side has a large opening that I cut so that I will have easy access to the fuel pumps.

A close up view of the pedals after I had removed the temporary washer setup.  This is what its supposed to look like with the curved arm on the left pedal mounted behind the bar.  I did have to do a little machining and shimming to get the clamping block on this pedal to fit properly.  The welded tab on my rudder bars was not centered.