Monday, May 31, 2010

May 29-31 -- Memorial Day Weekend

Three whole days off -- what an opportunity! Quite a bit of work, with results to show.

Day 1
Primed spars and miscellaneous parts, then started to cleco the results back together. The big news, though, is that I installed the first rivet! It also became the first rivet that I drilled back out, because the result sucked. In fact, there were quite a few rivets drilled out due to the fact that I was having problems handling the rivet squeezer. The trick to drilling them out is to drill into the head, then use an awl to twist the head off. A few times that didn't work; however a cold chisel definitely did once the head was weakened by a hole in it.

I finally mounted the squeezer in a vise, and things went much better after that. Can't believe how slick this squeezer is! Wish that I'd had one for my last airplane project.

Day 2
Primed horizontal stab inner skins, and continued to rived the spars. My nemesis, the HS-908 attachment brackets, continued to cause problems. The plan is to re-install all those rivets once I order more. It was a riveting technique issue...

Also picked up some new plastic pipe for conduit in the Home Depot Aviation Department. The final choice is overflow pipe for hot water heaters. Simply cut a metal fitting off one end. No idea right now what I'll install in the tips -- but am guessing that it will either be a camera or a ham radio antenna of some sort.

Day 3
Riveted brackets for elevators on to spars, then attached nose ribs to skins. The middle nose rib on each side is a two-person job, and I am indebted to Jim Piavis who came over to help out with this part of the project.

The plans are not very clear about how to attach fairings, and it's important to install nutplates now if they will be needed later. So email sent to Fairings Etc. for guidance.

Total time this weekend: About 14 hours.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 25 -- Countersinking

Finally done with the annual Luscombe gathering. Only an hour tonight; however I was able to finish countersinking the horizontal stablizer. Think that the countersink bit is dull though, and will purchase a new one the next time that I order tools.

Now it's time to prime parts and try-fit the electrical conduit that I purchased.

Time: 1 hour

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16 -- Prime Ribs

Work on the plane is still sandwiched between "real work and getting ready for the Luscombe Gathering in Columbia, CA next weekend. Yesterday I spent the day at Paine Field (KPAE) flying kids on Young Eagles flights. Kids were awesome; however the BEST moment of the day was when the tower transmitted "Boeing 777; you're number 2 to land behind the Luscombe". Of course a few seconds later they changed their mind and told me to switch runways.

Oh yeah, about the RV project...

Today I went "off plans" for the first time. I plan to turn this plane into an electronics platform for things I haven't even thought about yet. Accordingly, I am running convoluted loom as wiring conduit to any location with a fiberglass fairing: in this instance the tips at the end of the horizontal stabilzer. You can see in the photos how I made a jig to hold the nose ribs for drilling. (The ribs were not really primed prior to drilling, but the camera was off with Karin when I made the holes.) Those pins are nails inserted from the back side of the wood after drilling holes. Then I cut them off with a band saw and cleaned up the nail with an abrasive wheel.

Still a few more holes that need countersinking; however I wanted to start priming parts on the weekend when ligth was good. Once again the photo is a reconstruction -- but you can see that I am hanging these parts from lilac bushes to paint them. (It was dark by the time the camera came home, so photo quality is not high.)

There is plenty of controversy and discussion about what primer to use, and how to prep the surface. I decided not to go the alodine route, despite having some of the old-school chemicals in the garage. Once a year or so NAPA sells self-etching primer for 50% off. So I cleaned out a NAPA store in anticipation of this moment. Not every franchise offers it at the sale price -- so I looked at to find a store that did. It's TEC 7220. And per the recommendation of others, I cleaned the parts up with Coleman fuel. Just happened to have a gallon in the garage, so the price was right, and it was a great opportunity to find a way to use up the fuel. Only issue seems to be that despite doing all of this outside, Karin is still complaining about an odor in the house.

All in all, a most excellent weekend. Flying, building, and sunshine.

Total time today on the project was 3 hours.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10 -- Finish Countersinking HS Spars

Was determined to finsh this step tonight, and it was a pain because I used a Milwaukee heavy (duty) drill, in order to keep bit speeds low. One of the initial issues that I ran into was a wandering bit on the air drill. The countersinking is not quite finished; however this was the majority of it in the horizontal stabs. The bit seems to be getting a bit dull, so it's time to order a replacement. (It served well, building another entire RV ahead of mine.)

Time: 1.5 hours

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 9 -- Countersink Horizontal Spars

Been a few weeks since any activity on the project. Was getting ready to fly the Luscombe to Columbia, CA for our annual event, had to perform the annual on it, and spent a week in Vegas working (Vegas == YUK!).

Finally today I was able to finish match-drilling the new HS-908 bracket and also counter-sink the front spars. Still need to drill the rear ones, but also need to get some work work done this evening.

Been a not-so good weekend though. Saturday I took off in the Luscombe, and just after announcing my intentions and lifting off, I smelled burning electric smells. Radio is now dead, and it smells like the burning was inside of it. Off to the shop Monday AM.

Today was spectacular! Karin and I went hiking this afternoon, and I suffered a severe asthma attack, and was unable to reach the destination -- a mere 1-1/2 miles total each way. Last time I had one of these was in the eighties, so probably need to look into the correlation between asthma and even-numbered decades...

Total time today: 4 hours

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Apr 29 -- Drill Spar and HS-908

Despite the many posts about my attempts at manufacturing HS-908 brackets, they still were not right. Latest issue was that they were not quite aligned with each other.

So I manufactured yet one more, then drilled it by clamping it back-to-back with the one intended for the opposite side and match-drilling a hole in the new bracket.

Next, I clecoed the new bracket to the spar and clamped angle aluminum to both of them in order to make alignment perfect. Figured this part out with the help of Google. Wow, this airplane stuff is so much easier than back in the seventies when I last tried to build a plane.

Time: 1.5 hours