Monday, December 30, 2013

Take a seat

Its been a busy few days in the garage.  I've been off from work and spending a lot of time working on the plane.  I have taken care of several tasks that are not in the instructions.  There was a single sentence that says, construct the seats in accordance with the plans.  Well that single sentence took me two days to complete.  however, the seats are not complete and I am prepping for a serious day of priming....hopefully tomorrow.

Oh, I did get my fuel pump today!

New EFII fuel pump.

Newly completed seats sitting in the plane.  Almost time to get in and make airplane noises!

Friday, December 27, 2013

One step back and two steps forward

I know I goofed up the title but its more appropriate to tonight's blog post.  First the one step back part. Yesterday I was feeling pretty good about getting a few smaller tasks complete and moving on to the baggage compartment work.  As I was placing the back wall in place I noticed that it wasn't fitting snugly up against the bulkhead.  Hmmm, what now I think.  Yep, I put the wrong rivets in several locations (see pictures below).  I had put the 470 rivets (round head) into holes that were suppose to be dimpled and riveted with the 426 rivets (flush head).  So today I started by removing those rivets and doing a little dimpling and re-riveting.

Now for the two steps forward.  I managed to get both steps drilled, fitted and ready for primer.  That was a job that I was not looking forward to.  One interesting note about the passenger side step is that I took the advice of my friend Jeff and had a small plate welded onto the back side of the vertical part.  It seems that there have been numerous failures due to cracking.  If you look at the pictures you will see what I mean.

One more thing, I started the design process for my panel and center console.  Last pic shows the results so far.

This is what the original back side looks like.  This happens to be the pilot side step.
And here is the passenger side step with a small plate TIG welded on.

Those nice flat rivets are the ones I had to replace on this bulkhead.
And those nice flat rivets needed replacing as well (same on the other side).
Here is the pilot side step cleco'd on.  No pictures of the passenger side yet.

Here is the beginnings of my panel and center console.  Most of the stuff I will have for starters is here but there is still lots of work to do on this diagram.  This is done with Google Sketch-up by the way.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas everybody

The title says it all!  I am sitting here in the office writing this post as everybody else is napping from one of the best Christmas mornings I have had in a long while.  I can't really put a finger on what made this one so special but with all four kids joining Amy and I it was just a very enjoyable morning of gift opening and breakfast.  Here are a few pictures of the festivities.

Look at the size of the loaf of banana bread!  Mariah and Travis made them for gifts this year and each one must weigh five pounds!

Travis opening something...

Mariah and I during the gift opening.

Ok we had a few days of frost and the garage was too full for the cars so Amy had to scrape a window.  I guess thats what prompted a gloved ice scraper present.  

Ice cream cone shower cap?!?  Who'da thunk.

No caption needed for this one!

Ok, I guess you have to be kids to be crazy enough to be out in 31 degree weather blowing plastic bubbles in your PJ's!

Aint she cute!

Some of my loot. A Go Pro 3! and check out this has LED lights in the bill!  I love this kind of stuff!

Well, no true airplane lover would be caught dead without a parking sign like this one and with the airplane wings in the living room it just feels appropriate to hang the sign here for now.  :-)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feeling much better this afternoon

Yep, feeling much better so I spent a little more time in the garage.  I managed to get some riveting done on the firewall gussets, the slider deck and gussets, and I even started on the baggage rib to tail cone rivets.  Those are a little hard to get to so I am going to have to get some help from one of the kids.  On a different note I had a first today...I crawled into the airplane for the first time!  Kinda bare in there but that's not going to be the case for long.  :-)

Firewall gussets riveted in.  look at that mess on the floor of the plane!  somebody should clean that.

The sides and the gusset riveted in.

The elevator bell-crank.  Those little tube spacers were fun to fabricate.

Its the little things...

The past few days have not been overly productive as I have not been feeling very well.  I did do some work since its either work on the plane or sleep and I can only sleep so long.  I managed to get the aft deck riveted on, a series of gussets drilled for final riveting, and I installed the aft top skins just for fun.  Well not actually just for fun, I did want to make sure everything was lined up correctly before I drilled a few of the gussets.

I also spent some time working on Amy's Christmas present and while I can't tell you what it is I can tell you that need more soldering practice!  Small wires and even smaller contact points are a pain to get solder to stick to.

Oh, one more thing, I ordered my finishing kit from Van's last week.  They say 8 to 10 week delivery time so hopefully I will be finishing up with the fuselage at about the time the kit is ready for pickup.

I had to put the forward section together so I could see what this is going to look like.  Yep, this is purely for fun.  My panel is not going to use the stock vans panel you see in this picture, I am using the affordable panels modular panel kit which I have but have not unpacked. 

The aft top skins installed.  Its hard to see but in the middle of the plane, under the skin you can see a orange clamp, thats where one of the gussets I had to final drill is located.

Now you can see both clamps (one on each side)

Stand back and admire!  I think this is going to be an airplane someday.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rolling the Canoe

YES!  Its finally happened!  Travis and I finished up the riveting and then when Mariah arrived we rolled the canoe.  Seems like I have been waiting for this milestone for a while now and because I had to rely on the time of others to help it was a little slow in coming.

This is how things looked before we started tonight

And here's what things look like now!

Another view with a smiling Mariah!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Free time for odds and ends

This weekend was a mixed bag of work on the airplane.  First Travis stopped by on Friday and we did a little more riveting on the fuselage.  The progress is slow and we probably have 8 hours or so more to do but he works some late hours so our time together doesn't always match up well.  Saturday I was able to seal the firewall with fireproof sealant.  That allowed me to finish the assembly and prepping for rivets on the fuselage.  I also managed to finish up the tail rivets by myself but that's about all I can do alone.

Sunday I spent most of the day working on a Christmas present for Amy but I did get some time later in the day to assemble my engine stand and get "big red", the engine case, mounted for assembly later on.  A few pictures show the engine.  Can't wait to start assembling it!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Baby its cold outside!

The title pretty much says it all!  Its been so cold that I haven't really had the drive to go out into the garage.  Even with my heater running all night it only got up to about 50 degrees in there.  However, that doesn't mean I was idle all weekend.  I did manage to get the firewall and a couple other parts primed.  That was my big hold up and the weather today warmed up enough in the sun that I could etch and rinse the firewall.  I did run into a slight hiccup though, after doing the etching I took the firewall out to rinse it off and both of my hoses were frozen solid.  I was pretty sure I drained them but there must have been some water sitting in a loop because nothing would go through.  So, I got out the bucket and used it to do the rinsing.  I think I rinsed my foot more than the firewall but at least its done.  Oh one other thing, I built the rolling fuselage stand that will allow me to move it around the garage.  Both cars should fit inside the garage comfortably once again.

The fuselage sitting upside down on its new rolling stand.  I added a little height to the stand for this part and after I finish the riveting and roll it right side up I will set it lower to the floor for ease of access.

This is a picture of the firewall after priming sitting on the front of the plane.  Still not ready for riveting but getting close!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Acetone...and 7220

So I mentioned last night that I was going to re-prime the firewall because of the horrible condition of the 7220 Napa primer I used.  Well today I started the process of removing the old primer.  Acetone worked like a charm on the 7220!  However, I have to sing the praises of the Polyfiber epoxy primer I used on some of the parts that were attached to the firewall already.  The Acetone did not touch that stuff!!!  Nice!

I took the day off today because I am having a floor installed the in the basement for storage so not much work got done.  One pic to show.

Its so pretty all nice and clean, I almost hate to prime it. See the two white vertical angles mid firewall?  those are the pieces I primed with the Polyfiber epoxy primer.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Can it be December already?

Well the weekend is done and I had a nice long 4 days to work on the airplane....and work I did!  I think I put in at least 40 hours in that 4 days and my body is telling me so.  Lets get to it shall we...what did I accomplish in those hours?  Well not a lot of pictures to show but here is the list.

  1. Thursday
    1. Countersunk the longerons (this took forever!)
    2. Prepared about 40 different parts for priming.  This includes a lot of organizing of the garage, hanging of plastic, wiping parts down with lacquer thinner, and staging them for etching on Friday.
  2. Friday
    1. Turkey day so about all I got done was the etching of the parts and the priming of most of them
  3. Saturday
    1. finished priming the parts that I hadn't got to on Friday and started assembling the fuselage again.
    2. Tons and tons of "little details" that needed to be taken care of before I can start riveting the fuse together.  I know I missed a few but hopefully they wont be hard to fix when I finally figure out what they are!
  4. Sunday
    1. Finished assembling the fuse, took care of a  bunch more "to-do's" and prepped for riveting.  A friend came over to help with the riveting.  THANKS Shane!
Enough of that...I'm sure there was a ton of other things to tell you about but here are the few pics I took.

My "jig" for countersinking the longerons.

This is my idea of a paint booth.  It didn't do a great job but at least it kept most of the priming dust off of the rest of the garage.

The inside of the paint booth after I had completed my first priming session.  Lots of white in here.

Here is a picture I couldn't resist taking.  Its the inside of the fuselage before I got the side skins hung.

Oh yea, my bugaboo.  If you look at the big angle up at the top of the picture you will see a gap as if its sitting crooked.  Well, its not, the darn thing (and its brother on the other side) are actually not square.  I checked the stock I used to make the part and it wasn't square either!!  To fix this I had to drill out all those rivets and put it in my vice to "persuade" it into the correct position.  Thats ok, I also decided to re-prime the firewall aluminum.  As you can see from this pic the 7220 primer does not hold up well.

Ah yes, Shane running the rivet gun.  I can't tell you how helpful it was to have him here!