Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Long weekend triumphs and travels

Yep, I took a long weekend this past weekend.  Four days where Amy and I could spend some time together and just enjoy ourselves with nothing demanding our attention...that is unless you consider that airplane in the garage that just doesn't want to let me be!

Well, several things have happened since last we chatted.  First, the ailerons are done...finally.  Those leading edges were a bugger but they were easier the second time around.  Riveting went well and everything came out strait!  I am actually very surprised by that since that nose skin puts a lot of stress on the rest of the assembly.  But as you can see in the pictures below it actually came out great!

Next, I started the flaps.  Not done yet but made good progress...see pictures below.

Finally the big news, Amy and I drove Mariah down to Salem for her senior year at Willamette and on the way back we just happened to stop by Van's and picked up the fuselage kit!!  YEE HAW!  Yep, its home and I am not going to crack the top open until the wings are done.  So it may be a couple of weeks, but its here!

Oh, one more thing, I am making some engine changes on my airplane.  After endless debates with myself and far too many "you are doing what?!?" comments from others I have decided to not go with the 200 HP engine.  I am still going to use the block from the 200 horse engine because it is heavy duty, better rods, and a stronger crank.  As I mentioned before this block has many great things going for it.  I talked to Dave, the guy I bought the engine from and he is going to exchange my angle valve parts for newly rebuilt parallel valve top end.  That will give me a standard 180 hp engine and save a lot of weight.  Anyway, things are afoot in engine land.

Aileron completed.

Even has a strait trailing edge!

This looks like one of those "find me if you can" pictures but actually its just a picture with both ailerons temporarily installed on the wings.

Flaps just starting to come together for initial drilling.

Flaps with leading edge's cleco'd on so I can start doing some drilling.  Notice my clamping method of holding the flaps to the table top.  Van's says to use 2x2's with weight, well I don't have 2x2's and I thought the 2x4's would do a better job.  Then I added the clamps on each end to really make it solid!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ailerons take shape

The past couple of work sessions have been focused on the ailerons.  They are slightly challenging because the forward skin places significant stress on the rest of the assembly due to its half formed shape and the fact that is is thicker than the rest of the skin.  Mariah had to help me cleco the forward skin to the spar and then the plans call for a lot of weight to hold things still while match drilling.  Here is a picture of the finished product.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A lesson in dimpling

I have come to realize that a huge part of the quality of a set flush head rivet is the quality of the dimple that it is put in.  That was very apparent while working on the wing top skins.  Well today I decided to put to "paper" what I have learned so that I can refer back to it in the future and maybe somebody will stumble upon this article and it will help them.  I will most likely post this on VansAirforce.com as well so that I can get feedback and suggestions for things that I missed.

Anyway here is the story.  When I start dimpling I always put the male dimple in the bottom of the C-Frame and the female in the top.  That helps make sure the dimple dies are lined up with the hole, and not some random spot on the skin.  This is not always possible but when it is I do it.  Next, I always hold the female die down against spring pressure onto the male die.  This prevents the spring from bouncing around and allows me to be much more precise with my dimples.  Then I use multiple soft blows with the hammer to set the dimple.  The purpose of this method is really two fold.  You CAN hit the dimple too hard and harden the skin around the dimple which could lead to future cracks.  It also lets me watch the reflection of the C-Frame arm in the skin to see when the dimple is properly formed and I can quit whacking it.  I will try to explain with pictures...

See the reflection of the C-Frame arm?  Thats my reference.  You can also see in the reflection my hand holding the female dimple down firmly on the skin over the male dimple.
Next I start tapping and you can see my reference line (arm) start to reflect a small bow inward.  That means the dimple is not yet properly formed.

Here you can see a small "volcano" affect in the reflection.  This means the dimple still needs a little more whacking.  Put the female die back down and give it another whack or two.  The last whack or two do seem to take a little more effort but its also easy to over-do it at this point.

Speaking of over-doing it, see the slight "cup" shape in the reflection?  That is where I have set it a little too much.  This one is not bad but they can get pretty "cupped".  If you reach this point simply use a pop-rivet dimple die and re-dimple this hole and it straightens up nicely.  

This is what the reflection should look like if the dimple is properly set.  No cups or volcano's.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Rivets that refuse to set.. or maybe its the riveter!

The last few days have been pretty detail oriented.  I have prepped and installed the aileron brackets, prepped and installed the flap brackets (with some notable exceptions) and installed the wing gap fairing.  I am now working on the ailerons.  The flap brackets proved to be a bit of a challenge since my 3x rivet gun does not fit into the spacing between the wing ribs with enough room for me to get my hand on it.  I tried a couple of rivets with poor outcomes so I have now ordered a couple of new tools.  First I ordered a small single offset rivet set that is shorter than the double offset I am using now, and second I ordered some rubber caps that go over the rivet set to help keep it centered on the head of the rivet.  The problem I was having was that the rivet set was "walking" across the top of the rivet and smashing it flat.  Lets hope the new tools solve that issue so I can get the last few rivets set in the flap brackets.

The new shop layout.  The wings are in the mobile cart that Dad and I built.
Oh yea, I installed the black wiring tubes as well.  What a pain!

Aileron bracket riveted in place.

Its hard to see but if you look closely you will see the fishing line that runs from the outer flap bracket to the inner flap bracket and is centered on the middle bracket nicely.

drilling out the top hole in one of the angles that supports the flap brackets.

Wing gap fairings installed and riveted.

Starting on the ailerons.  Here the counterbalance is cleco'd to the forward ribs.  The tape is holding in a rivet that I used to keep the counterbalance centered on the rib.  Vans tells us to use a temporary pop rivet but those never work quite as advertised.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Garage cleanup day

Today was cleanup day.  I decided I better start calling the garage a garage again since I bought a hangar and that could get confusing.  Anyway, I started out the day setting the last few rivets on the inboard edge of the right wing.  I had waited to do those until the wing was in the cart because its a bit of a challenge to get to them while they were on the build stand.  Then I took down the wing build stand and realized I just had a huge mess of stuff that I needed to store.  So, I started cleaning up the garage and rearranging stuff yet again.  A few hours later I was ready to get back to work on the wings.  I managed to get the aileron brackets installed but that is about it.  Tomorrow I will start on the flap brackets.

Inboard aileron bracket

Outboard aileron bracket

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Wings in the cradle

Today is a big milestone day for me.  Let me explain.  When I first started this project I visited a couple of builders that were in the process of building their 9A's.  Both of them had their wings in a cradle and I thought to myself how far I had to go.  Well, now my wings are in the cradle, not complete, but off the building jig and into the cradle for the next step in the project.  I'm jazzed!

Dad helped me put together my "flat" 2'x8' table for building the ailerons and the flaps, and Mariah helped me finish up riveting the right wing top skin.  We all celebrated by going to Olive Garden for dinner!  Mariah's favorite, and a condition to gaining access to her help.  ;-)

Today's pics.

Mariah readying the next batch of rivets.

Grandpa "supervising"

Wings in the cradle!

My flat table for building ailerons and flaps.

A super messy hangar but NO WINGS ON THE BUILD JIG!

The bottom side of the right wing.  Look Ma' no skin.

We're baaaaaack!

Yep, Dad and I got back from Oshkosh last night and it was a bitter sweet moment for me.  I have been so looking forward to going that it was a sorrowful moment when I got off the plane and realized that it was over.  That was the bitter part, the sweet part was how much fun it was to go!  Wow, what a life, airplanes, airplanes and more airplanes.  The week started on Tuesday evening when we arrived.  I hadn't planned on doing much more than getting the lay of the land but we ended up staying for about 5 hours.  I think Dad was in airplane overload by the time we left.

Dad and I attended classes on the DAR inspection, performance tuning, a couple on painting, fiberglass, composite construction, and a few more that we only sat in on for a short time.  I got to meet Sam James from James Aircraft and Klaus Savier from Light Speed during a couple of the sessions.  Both are very interesting people.  Klaus showed a picture of a carbon fiber sump that he built for his plane.  I want!

We watched the daily air show only peripherally.  I had so many places I need to go and things to see that I pretty much ran Dad ragged.  We finally rented a scooter for him to use because the Whitmann airport grounds are huge!

Anyway, I didn't spend as much money as I thought I might (a good thing) but I did get a few items and most importantly I gained a ton of knowledge.  I did have one disappointment that was completely my fault or at least my lack of knowledge.  I didn't get to see all of the RV's that were there.  In fact I didn't go out to look at the home built lot until Thursday morning thinking I had all week.  Well I guess many people show up early and leave early so by the time I got to tour the lot about 40% were gone.  Oh well, live and learn.

Below are a few pictures I took.  Certainly not all but a few.
This says it all

Dad on his hot rod after I wore him out with my enthusiasm... and need to see everything at once

The AOPA sweepstakes aircraft for this year.

My favorite session...assembling a Lycoming engine.

I took this shot for those rare people out there that might be interested in a whirly bird.

The new Velocity twin.  Maybe my next airplane?

Interior of the Velocity twin.

Front view of the Velocity twin.

Half car, half airplane, but not really good at either.

Jet Man on his decent after running out of fuel.

Lots of formation flying was done..I only got a few pics because they don't come out very good.

Klaus Savier during his engine tuning lecture.

Not a great picture but this is the carbon fiber sump Klaus built.... 2 lbs!!

Sam James during his RV fiberglass talk.

Sam at work.

Nice Velocity I met the owner of.

My cowl.