Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Back to the fuselage

This week I have managed to get back to working on the fuselage.  After last weeks frustration with the engine I am happy to be back working on something different.  As you will see by the pictures below the forward part of the fuselage is coming along nicely.  Its almost time to mate up the front and back halves of the forward fuselage.  Once that happens things are going to get pretty tight in the smaller side of the garage.

The entire forward section of the fuselage bolted together for final drilling.  That means its all coming back apart again for dimpling, deburring and countersinking as needed.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A week of engine work...and a little frustration..imagine that

I spent the entire week working on this engine and as of this evening its close to being done enough that I can get back to work on the fuselage.  However, and there always seems to be one of those, I am very frustrated with the engine right now.  Let me tell you a story... part of it you have probably heard already.

Remember a couple of years ago I took my engine over to Avian to have it overhauled?  Well that story keeps on coming.  This time I can't put all the blame on them because I could have prevented this as well if I had done a lot more research.  Anyway, when I dropped the engine off I asked them to convert it from an O-540 B2B5 to an O-540 D4A5.  My research at the time indicated that the only major difference was the counterweights in the crankshaft which makes sense because the B2B5 is a lower horsepower engine.  I wont rehash the horrible situation I had with the owner of that company but I mention this only because they are not an option to fix the problem I ran into this weekend.  As it turns out there is one other major difference between the two engines...the B2B5 does not have the internals to run a constant speed propeller!  What?!?  I didn't even know that was an option on the 540!  So at first this was a disaster for me since I expected the crankshaft was solid and it wasn't even an option to do a constant speed prop.  After doing a little research I found that the crankshaft will indeed work for a constant speed prop and that all I have to do is replace about $1000 worth of parts.  Oh...that and completely disassemble the engine and start all over again.   Frustrating!!!!  So you are probably wondering why I mentioned Avian in the beginning?  Well I was hoping/expecting them to make all changes needed inside the case to convert it to a D4A5 and in fact they did give me a new logbook that says its a D4A5. 

I'm not going to disassemble the engine so I decided to finish up assembling the various parts so I can preserve it while I decide what to do next.  My current thought is I will have a mechanic tear it down and replace the parts.  Its not a hard job but getting down into the internals of the case makes me nervous so I would rather have somebody who knows what they are doing do that part.  Or maybe I will sell the darn thing and buy a new engine from Van's.  Not likely on that option because I have all the things I want in this engine and I'm still about $15,000 less out of pocket.  One final option I have is to install a fixed pitch Catto 3 blade prop.  I've heard of other guys who do this and love it but I don't think I will go that way.  The constant speed prop just gives me so much more takeoff power and with the gross weight this airplane will carry I think thats pretty important.

Anyway, here is what it looks like as of this evening.  The pushrods are installed in the tubes but they are not yet gapped properly.  The screws on the valve covers are just tight enough to keep the covers on and the oil inside but I did not torque those.  I also did not torque the accessory case cover bolts or the sump bolts.  These will all have to come back off.  I did torque the cylinders on though because Lycoming wants these bolts torqued at all times.  I've heard it has to do with case stresses and I've also heard it prevents main bearings from slipping when you rotate the engine.  I don't know if either or both of these are true but regardless the cylinders are torqued on.

See that little flat circle in the middle of this photo?  There should be a gear spline there for the prop governor...that was my first indication that things weren't going well.

I have some exhaust port covers that need 2" o-rings (on order).  Once those are on and the oil drain back tubes are installed I will be ready to fill this thing up with oil for storage.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Engine assembly - the beginnings

I received the sump I shipped to Divco for repair in the past week or two so I decided it was time to start assembling the engine.  I have it covered in plastic with a can of desiccant in the bag to prevent corrosion but I would feel much more comfortable if I knew it were filled with oil.  Once the cylinders are on and all external openings are plugged I can make that happen.

First up was to install the idler gears that set the timing between the crank and the cam.  This turned out to be pretty simple...once I found the marks that help with the alignment.  The Lycoming overhaul manual is definitely written expecting you to have lots of experience with these engines.

Next up is getting the cylinder assembled and installed on the engine block which is almost half done at this point.  I ran into a bit of a snag after installing and torquing all 6 cylinders.  When the accessory case is installed there is about a half inch of gasket that sticks down below where the oil sump mating surface is.  You are supposed to trim this excess off with a razor blade and then install the sump.  During my trimming process I managed to "flip" one of the cut ends into the one small opening that would allow it to fall into the case...the just completely sealed case.  I had to remove one cylinder to get access and in the process of trying to finesse the gasket scrap out I managed to nudge it just enough to where it dropped into another hole that I am really struggling to access.  I've tried lock wire, vacuum, cussing (because that always helps) and nothing has succeeded in making that scrap come out.  I'm not going to split the case so I decided to call it a night and think about it a bit.

Unfortunately for the blog this is a rather messy oily process so I didn't take many pictures.

This is the basic setup for installing the pistons in the cylinders.  The cylinder is sticking out of the plastic bag with the piston, rings, and gaskets sitting beside it.

Its hard to see in this picture but deep down in the barrel of the cylinder is one of the piston rings.  Each ring has to be checked for proper gap at a couple of different positions due to the chocked barrel design of these engines.  If you look at the very top of the ring you can see the gap is pretty small down there but has to be a minimum of .0075".  Fortunately all 12 of the compression rings were perfectly gapped.  The 6 oil scavenging rings all needed to be adjusted which was fun...

And once the gaping is complete, rings installed and cylinder barrel oiled its time to slide the piston pin into the piston and slip the who assembly into the barrel.  
Here are all 6 cylinders installed and torqued.  Unfortunately I had to remove the bottom one on the right (#2) to try and get access to that scrap of gasket material I was mentioning.

This is the inter-cylinder area.  I took this picture because I want to make a few modifications to the inter-cylinder baffles.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Section 28

I am finished with section 27 which is the Firewall section.  There are still a few things to do such as the heater boxes need to be bolted on but I'm still thinking I might buy some stainless steel boxes to replace the aluminum version's that Vans includes in the kit.  Still not sure on that one but in any case its just a quick bolt on.

I jumped ahead a bit to the brakes section.  The plans tell you that its ok to jump ahead and do the brake lines that run down the tunnel at this time so I went ahead and started that process.  It reminded me of why I went with braided lines for the 9A...bending tubing is a bit of a bugger!  I got one side done but will likely redo it as I'm not 100% happy with the way it turned out.

Lastly I got my sump back from Divco last week.  I primed it this weekend and I now have everything I need to assemble the engine.  My only hold back is that once its assembled its going to be pretty darn big and I'm running out of room to store stuff! 

In my office I have a huge box with windows, the overhead console and the center console as well as a few odds and ends.  In the work area of the garage I have the instrument panel, the various pieces of the fuselage, and who knows what else...its getting tight!

Oh yea, I forgot that I had drilled the cotter pin holes in the two wheel pant standoffs that I turned last week...I had to buy a centering jig and then find a way to "clamp" it to the standoff.  A hose-clamp worked out nicely.

Right down the center of the hole!

Lots of RV-10 parts sitting in my office waiting their chance to get installed. 

Firewall all cleco'd together with Firebarrier 2000+ (the grey stuff) to prevent any carbon monoxide gases from getting into the cabin.

Same thing, other side.

New parking brake mount installed. (the black part on the left side of the photo.  This is the part I created with my CNC.
Here is the parking brake valve installed and the left side brake line attached.  I still need one more fitting for the right side brake line and that should arrive later this week from Aircraft Spruce.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Another modification - Wheel pant extensions

One of the commonly known failure points on the RV-10 is the extension that attaches the main wheel pants to the axle nut. Being the creative group that airplane builders are it didn't take long for a few options to appear including this one.  Some of these solutions are available commercially such as this kit from Cleveland tools which lists for $50.

I'm a long ways away from needing these but since I have Ben's lathe set up I decided to take advantage of it and turn my own.  I spent $6 for the aluminum, and 6 hours of airplane time, to make my own version.  Was it worth it?  No doubt, not in the money saved ($44) but in what I learned about metal work and also the satisfaction of having made my own parts.  There is still a bit of work left to be done on these (tapping the bolt holes for example) but overall I'm happy with how they turned out.  I love these modifications!

Here they are.  Two nicely turned extensions with a huge pile of aluminum shavings in the background.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Special Mods

I really look forward to working on the fuselage for a couple of reasons.  First its simply because the fuselage is "where the people go".  It also, and probably because of the first reason, is an area where I plan to do most of my modifications to the airplane.  This week was a week (actually 2) of modification.

On the firewall I plan on mounting a parking brake.  This requires a mount of some sort and there happens to be a bracket that gets riveted to the upper left side of the firewall that is designed to connect the brake lines with the lines coming from the pedals.  This seemed like a good place to mount my parking brake and there happens to be a company (Airward) that makes a "kit" that allows you to do exactly this.  I like this company's products but I don't care much for the prices....or at least thats what I thought at first.  For $197 they will send you everything you need to mount the parking brake valves in the required location.  Being the cheapskate that I am I decided I would just use my CNC and make my own kit for about a quarter of the price.  Sounds logical doesn't it?  Well, having spent about 10 hours of my time coming up with a similar "kit" I am starting to see a lot of value in that $197.  :-)  None the less I did manage to get the parts I needed and am ready to move forward on that project.

F-6122-1 is the bracket that I will be replacing with a parking brake mount.

This is my CNC noisily cutting away at the square bar that I purchased to make the bracket replacement.

Another view of the CNC cutting away.  This is a huge mess to clean up by the way.

Anyway after many hours this is what I ended up with.  It doesn't look like much now but soon it will have a parking brake valve bolted to it and it will be riveted in place of that F-6122-1 bracket you saw in the plans above.

Next up on the modification list is a tunnel access plate.  The electric fuel pumps are located in the center tunnel.  Working on those pumps and associated fuel lines and power leads requires you to work from above with very limited space.  The company I mentioned above (Airward) makes a "kit" that you can purchase and install in the side of the tunnel to give you a nice open way to access the tunnel components.  Unfortunately the kit they make is not the size I needed so so once again I took to the CNC and made my own access panel and backing plate.  This was much easier than the bracket above but it did take about 8 hours total to design, cut, and install the access panel.  As of this time it is not riveted in place but its ready.

This is the tunnel side wall.  The pen marks are the size of the access cover that I will be installing.

And after many hours of cutting, deburring, drilling, dimpling and even a little riveting this is where we stand tonight.  

Finally I have one more customization that I completed today.  My good friend Ben let me borrow his lathe again so that I could turn a couple of inserts that will go inside the step support tubes.  The RV-10 has a problem where the bolt used to fasten the step support tube in place has a tendency to loosen due to the bolt collapsing the thin tubing. There is another company that makes an insert that prevents the tube from collapsing.  Well since Ben has a lathe I decided to spend $8 on a piece of aluminum and turn it myself.  This wasn't a long project but it sure is a satisfying one.

HAH, this picture makes it look like the bar is all white but as you can see below its actually just simple 6061 aluminum.  The spinning motion must have given it the white appearance.

Here is the aluminum stock turned down to the proper size.  The grooves you see are where I will be cutting these "blocks" off of the bar with my band saw.

A bigger picture of the entire lathe and bar set up.

After turning the bar I used my dowl centering jig (the blurry thing sitting on the bench to the right of the picture) to drill these holes into the exact center of the blocks.  Once these holes are drilled I simply cut the blocks off of the bar using my band saw.

And finally the blocks get slid down into the step tube after the bolt holes are drilled.  You can see how these new blocks prevent the collapse of the thin aluminum tube when bolts are tightened.  

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Starting the firewall

Travis came over this weekend to help me finish riveting the mid fuselage floor skin to the bulkheads.  It was nice having him over again to help with the riveting.  He, and many others helped a lot on the 9 when I was building it but the 10 has been a little different in that I have found ways to do most of the riveting solo. 

I started on the Firewall this weekend and I will say that it seems to be much easier than the 9 firewall.  Maybe its just experience but it seems to go together much easier and there are fewer self manufactured parts in this firewall.  More detail in the pictures below.

I have a few modifications to make to this next section of the plans.  First I had to drill another hole in the firewall for a return fuel line.  I plan on having either a EFI fuel return of at least a purge valve to help with hot starts.  Next I am cutting access panels into the side of the tunnel so I have better access to the fuel pumps and related fuel system components.  That requires a backing plate and a cover plate so I designed a pair and then started the cutting process this weekend (on the CNC).  So far I've made two covers but no backing plates.  There are a couple of changes that I still don't know about yet that will have to have a modification made to the firewall.  First I don't plan on using Van's method of oil cooler mount.  It basically bounces the air flow off of the firewall and then back into the oil cooler.  I think I can come up with a little better system than that.  Second, I plan on using stainless steel eyeball type control cable penetrations and the three small holes that Van's put in the firewall for this purpose are too close together for the 1" eyeball.  So a little work will be required there.

This is the mid fuselage section that Travis and I riveted the floor skins to.  Notice the bubble wrap?  Well those two bulkhead frames kept poking me in the face...

Oh yea, another modification that required some custom work.  This is the fuel selector mounting plate.  The Andair duplex valve that I purchased is different than the one Van's supplies in the kit.  So I had to modify the mounting plate to fit the new valve.  You can see the part that I cut out (blue) and the new section riveted to the side flanges.

Here are some measurements for the access plate that I am putting into the tunnel walls.

And here is the CNC happily cutting away on the first cover plate.
And finally, after several hours of deburring both the aluminum parts as well as the stainless steel firewall parts I was able to fully cleco the firewall together.  Next up is the round of final drilling the holes before disassembly.   See those steel plates on the bottom of the firewall that look like shovel heads?  Well those are not on the 9A firewall.  On the 9 I had to fabricate some beefy aluminum angle and I remember that giving me all kinds of fits.  In fact I had to drill them both out and "bend" the flanges to get everything to line up during final assembly.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Little fuselage pieces become bigger fuselage pieces

Today was one of those pretty satisfying days.  Lots of part came together and I didn't screw up anything that couldn't be easily fixed.  That's after spending about 8 hours in the garage!  Good day.

This is the passenger area.  The ribs on the left form the bottom of the seats and the black area is where the feet go.

Adding bulkheads one at a time working my way back.

Its hard to see in this picture but this section of the fuselage is only the passenger seating area, and the baggage area and its still over 6 feet tall.  Yes, that's the Seahawks game going on in the background.

This is the same section after I moved it to the floor so I could attach the floor skins.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Black Primer?

There are only a few parts of the fuselage that will be visible to the passenger in the section that I am working on now.  Most of these parts are sub floors, and interior supports.  However, there are still a few parts and I remember having a hard time with the painting process of the interior of the 9 so I decided to prime the visible parts with an almost black epoxy primer.  My hope is that the final coat will be tougher than on the 9 (less susceptible to scratching) but even if it does get scratched I hope that will be less visible with a dark primer under it.

This past week or so I have been priming, dimpling, deburring, and assembling the various bulkheads in the fuselage.  Here is the progress thus far.

Rear seat inner tunnel bulkhead panels.  These will be down in the foot well and as you can see have the front seat belt attach points riveted to them.  The holes at the bottom of the panels are where the rear seat heat will come from.

Its pretty hard to see the dark panels against the carpet but all 4 of the footwell panels are cleco'd in and you can finally start to see some structure come together.

Side view but even here it's still hard to see. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Fuselage bulkheads

This week I spend most of my time working on the bulkheads for the fuselage.  This is particularly relaxing because its simple follow the instructions type stuff.  I also have very little priming to do on this section of the fuselage because it will never see water.  The tail-cone does get wet inside when it rains as water rolls down the vertical stabilizer, under the fairing and into the tail-cone.  However there is no place for water to normally enter the forward section of the fuselage so I don't plan on priming anything that is Al-clad.

This is the set up I use to rivet the big 470 rivets on the spar carrier bulkhead.  You can see the rivets set in their holes but you can't see the scotch tape that I used on the back side to hold them there while I drive them from above with the rivet gun stabilized by the C-Frame.  This makes for some very consistent and strong rivets.

This is the other end of the spar carrier where I have completed the riveting process.

Here is the rear portion of the spar carrier bulkhead.  You can see that it has several seat rail brackets as well as a couple of stiffeners that get riveted and bolted on.  In this picture I had already completed riveting the two outside supports similar to the first two pictures.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Back to work on the 10. Wingtips and Fuselage...finally

I've been waiting for this day for months now it seems but I finally got to start work on the fuselage.  The fuselage was my favorite part of the 9 to build so I'm excited to get started.  However that means endless hours of deburring for the next several sessions.  Oh well its therapeutic. <just keep saying that>

I also decided to finish riveting/epoxying the wing tip hinges into each wing tip.  I know there will be more work to do once I get ready to do final assembly but at least the VOR antenna is in and the wing tips are attached to the wing.

Oh one more thing, I got to do a little evening flying this week.  It was beautiful and I took a few pictures.

Right wing tip with VOR antenna mounted and attachment hinges riveted and epoxied in place.

Finally the first steps in the Fuselage phase begin...and on a beautiful fall evening to boot!