Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quick update on fuel lines

Ok, I just had to post tonight to show you the new hoses that Tom from made for me.  Look at the nice 90 degree bends and how it lines up with the holes in the ribs!  This saves me a lot of headache and concern because every time I "bent" my own using aluminum they both looked bad (just like the brake lines you can see in the pictures) and had gouges from feeding them though the various ribs that need to be threaded.  Now I have a perfectly safe and leak proof fuel solution in the cockpit!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

One day short of a full year

Yep as of tomorrow it will be one full year since I started this project.  It doesn't seem like its been that long and I have so much more to do before this thing flies!  This week I was busy doing many things and not all of them were airplane related.  I did get quite a few tasks complete as you will see from the pictures.

I riveted the recess housing.  No more cleco's sticking out of the front of the firewall.

Here you see the flap position sensor bolted to the aft flap housing stanchion.  I also glued some cable holders to the inside so that I can run the wires down the inside of the housing.

I drilled and bolted the engine mount to the fuselage...then I promptly removed it so that I can add lots more to the firewall.  This picture doesn't show it but I also mounted the brake reservoir on this side of the firewall.

The co-pilot stick is removable so I added these little spring clips to the stick to make sure it stays in place.  I also drilled and installed the bushings for my stick grips (both sticks). 

Oh yea, I also drilled and set my taper pin for the front gear leg.  The taper pin helps prevent the gear leg from getting loose over time.
Hey, where did that picture come from!??  :-)  This is the nose strut on Harry's Cessna 150 that Amy and I went flying in today!!  Yep, it was Amy's first time flying with me.  She ended up not feeling well during the flight and we are not certain if it was the lunch or the flight.

Ah, here you can see the brake reservoir installed on the firewall.  Also in this picture the front deck is riveted in... finally!

And the last task of the evening was to run the rudder cables.  Sounds easy right?  Well it turned out to be a pain trying to get the rudder cable ends through the plastic grommets that protect the cable from the aluminum where the cables pass through bulkheads and such.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stripped, painted and layed-up!

Been a busy week and weekend in the garage.  Remember those pictures a few days ago showing the airplane looking like an airplane?  Well, 'tis no more!  I stripped almost everything removable from the airplane and have been busy prepping for paint in the interior.  Today I started the process and got most of it done.  Probably have to do some touch-up over the next few months as I ding and scratch stuff but I got the majority of it done.

I also had some real fun today!  I made my first vacuum bagged layup of carbon fiber.  My epoxy pump failed in the middle of the process so my resin to hardener mix was off.  We will have to see how well it came out after it hardens for a day or so....if it hardens.  I learned a lot which is great, besides it was just plain fun.

A few pic's of the weeks work.

Oh yea, Travis and Mariah came over for my birthday last week and we made an attempt at putting the right wing on.  We ran into a bit of a problem when the aft spar did not line up exactly with the mount on the fuselage so we removed the wing and I will work on that sometime in the future.

Another picture of the wing on the airplane.

Here it is all stripped and ready for masking tape and plastic.

My makeshift paint booth for painting the interior.

Here we go with the new color.  It looks glossy but the paint is still wet on the bulkhead.  It will actually look more satin when dry.  I don't want the glare of glossy in the cockpit.  No I didn't paint the floors or the seat pans, those will be covered with carpet and seats.

This is my carbon fiber panel layup.  At this point the vacuum has been applied for about 6 hours.  I think I will let it go until bed time tonight to make sure the epoxy is as dry as its going to get.

This is my next project, or it was going to be.  I need to fabricate a cover for the fuel pump so I was doing a little measuring and realized I don't have a piece of aluminum big enough, nor do I have enough carbon fiber to make a cover.  Guess I will be doing some ordering soon.  :-)
Ok, one more picture of the fuselage paint after I removed the plastic and paper masking.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

DeJa Vu

Time for that weekend update but I feel like I have said some of this before, hence the Deja Vu.  See, I think I mentioned a few days ago that I was finally finished with the center console.  Well that turned out to be far from the truth.  One of the steps to making the console functional, and one of the main reasons I decided to install one was the fact that it makes the fuel valve up front and center.  Well you would think that all I would have to do is drill a hole, install the extension and call it good right?  Hah!  That little bugger took me almost all day on Saturday to get installed correctly.  I had to first locate the correct location for the hole which required me to do a little geometry (anybody remember SOH-CAH-TOA?)  Ok, once I figured out that I had to adjust the hole location down by 5/8 of an inch I drilled my hole.  Not so bad right?  Well next I went to install the backing plate for the valve extension and guess what? It didn't fit.  I had to drill out the rivets on the top of the console forward slope, use my Dremel to cut out some rather large slots that the backing plate "wings" could fit into, drill the holes for the backing plate attach bolts, and then try to rivet it all back together again.  Yikes!  I did however persevere and was able to get the backing plate installed.  Done?  Hardly!  Next I had to cut the extension rod down to size.  Anybody remember the term measure twice cut once?  I know what you are thinking right I did not cut it too short.  I actually cut the rod about 6 times a little shorter each time until it fit because there was no darned way I could get a ruler in the opening to do the actual measurements.  Not to mention I had to do all this while standing on my head inside the cockpit!  No, there are no pictures of that...

Oh yea, while I had the top un-riveted I decided to go ahead and cut the holes where the flap switch and the fuel pump switch will go.  I sure hope I got the correct size because I still haven't even ordered the switches!

Here you can see the fuel valve mounted and the two holes I cut for the rocker/paddle switches.  Those switches should be accessible while I have my hand on the throttle.

Here I am beginning the process of fitting the switch panel bar for the instrument panel to the center console.

Remember I mentioned something about standing on my head in the cockpit?  Well this is the view, albeit right side up, that I had while trying to measure and cut that purple rod in there.  Its hard to see in this picture but its the round thing that goes up and down between the three holes.

And here is how things looked when I knocked off Saturday evening.  The switch panel is fitted to the center console but I have to drill the reinforcement angle that is attached to the back of the switch panel and bolts to the center console.  You can see the angle clamped to the top of the console in the picture above with the center rod visible.
And here is the panel after all day Sunday work.  There is a lot of work that went into getting this far including riveting some brackets, installing platenuts, fabricating angle, and a ton of other small details.  Oh, I also cut the pilot control stick down by the same amount the Tosten grips increase it by.  In this picture the grip is installed but not tightened down.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I got Happy Mail!

Yep, thats what Amy calls it when something exciting comes in the mail.  Mine was a little bigger than our average happy mail but I think you can see why in the pictures below.  I also finally finished up the center console tonight.  I had to install the throttle quadrant which required some fabrication of some spacers to center the assembly in the console.  I was also able to bolt it into place in the fuselage but had to call it quits at that point.

Isn't that beautiful!  My prop arrived today.  The tips are lexus blue and I really like the color!

Here is a close up of the blue...dang thats nice!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Center Console

The past week seems to have flashed by!  Seems like I haven't made a ton of progress on the plane but I guess when I look back over the week I have made a move in the right direction.  One of the tasks that I did make significant progress on but did not take any pictures was the empenage fairing.  That's the fairing that goes around the vertical Stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, and the tail cone of the fuselage.  I will try to get some pics to post another time. (edit- Ok, I added a picture to the end of the post)

However, I spent pretty much the whole weekend working on the center console and I have to say I am both impressed with the kit and utterly disappointed.  The design of the console is really very nice, but the quality of the kit is not so good.  The material used does not seem to be quality aluminum, in fact if there such as thing as "pot" metal aluminum then this would be it.  The kit was laser cut and most of the cuts are dead on accurate, but a couple of times now I have found where the cutting was done wrong.  I posted one picture below of an example of the errors.  I ended up re-making the parts that were wrong so its not a big deal but it did take a lot more time than it should have.

The part of the left is the one that was cut incorrectly.  The two small holes on the bottom should have been on the other flange like the one I made on the right..

The is the center console as I was doing the hours of work required to get it to the state you see it in the next couple of pictures.  In this picture I have just finished putting the storage compartment pieces in.

And, here it is sitting between the seats.  Its not bolted down yet but it seems like it is going to fit.

Here it is from the back, a bit hard to see.  That will change once I get the instrument panel back in.  I will have to prime it I believe.
This is the empenage fairing.  Its not finished but it at least sits properly now.