Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nov 23-27 -- Install Nutplates

This is getting repetitive: installed more nutplates of varying sizes in varying locations, over a period of several days.

Unfortunately my attempt to drill holes for the Apex tiedown bars did not go well. The first one suffered from layout issues that made the holes off-center. Bottom line is that a ruler plus marking pen is simply inadequate for accuracy. Looking online, it appears that others pioneered this mistake well in advance of today.

On the second bar, I was able to produce a unique piece of art. The work scooted under the edge if the stop on the saw. Result: wrecked aluminum and broken tooth on the aluminum saw. Luckily the blade held together, so no amputations. Ordered a new blade, two new hunks of aluminum, and a beer.

BTW, for others building RVs, these apex plates can be ordered with the pain of tapping the hole already finished. See Cleaveland Tool's website.

Total Time: 3 hours

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov 21 -- Install Nutplates

This is going to be a series of boring posts. Tonight I installed 8 of 24 nutplates that will hold access plates attached to the wing spar.

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nov 19 -- Finish Nutplates for Fuel Tanks

Exciting, huh? Spent all day attaching a gazillion nutplates for the fuel tanks. Guess that's penance for having fun flying the Luscombe yesterday. But it does make for completion of one paragraph in the instructions!

Total Time: 7 hours

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nov 17 -- More Holes

Tonight consisted of three tasks -- and I will be at these for quite some time.

First, I primed a bunch of nutplates. They are plain steel, so if anything ever needed priming in the Pacific Northwest, these nutplates would be at the top of the list. Note that the photo shows two types. I only used the flat (small) ones, but figured that I may as well prime some of each.

Then each center hole was drilled to 3/16" (instructions are very vague here), and the bottom of each hole was deburred.

Next up was to create a template piece of metal to use for testing countersink depths. The aluminum test piece is the same thickness as the tank skins (0.032"), and dimpled for a #8 screw.

I started installing nutplates, one or two at a time, and riveted them in place. The nutplate will sever to center the countersink bit.

Set up my new single-fluke bit and gingerly drilled to the correct depth, testing with just the screw and also with the metal template to make certain that all is correct. Think that I need to go just a touch deeper; however want someone else to look at my work first. Easy to drill deeper, but not so easy if the holes are too deep...

Total Time: 2 hours

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nov 16 -- Countersink Wing Spar

Tonight was Hole City. Counter-sank half of the holes in both of the wing spars (where the fuel tanks will bolt on). All this made possible by the arrival of new single-flute countersink bits, because the old ones were too dull to work. This countersink is sooo much nicer than the standard ones!

Building both wings at the same time, so overall progress will be faster due to efficiencies. Or at least that's the lie that I am telling myself.

Not much else to say, other than there are still lots of holes to work on!

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nov 12 -- Start Wing Spars

Big day in that the two wing spars, which had been leaning against the garage wall since last April, finally slid out of their plastic bags to join the project. They are supposed to be hung on a wing stand; however I am delaying that day until really needed, because the stands burn up a lot of real estate in the garage.

Once out, I also opened up the many hardware bags of rivets, screws, and fittings. Tucked each of them away in a wall-storage bin with clear plastic drawers. Hopefully the parts organization is logical enough to find the parts when needed later.

And finally the first couple of nutplate rivet holes were countersunk.

Below are photos that are mostly for the records -- and that show the hand-etched serial numbers of each spar.

Total Time: 7 Hours

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nov 9-11 -- Build a Rib Flange Straightening Tool

Tonight's mission is to build a straightening tool for the rib flanges. A video of the idea is here, and a fancier tool was found in a Van's Air Force forum post.

Well, "tonight" turned into three nights thanks to interruptions such as the family's Domain Controller crashing, a surprise launch of a new Amazon Web Services region, etc., etc. Nonetheless, the two photos below represent the tool. This puppy is slick, and initial tests indicate that I should save a ton of time on the wings. Just wish that I'd built it for the empennage ribs...

The base and wood immediately on top of the base are pine. All wood directly attached to the metal sidebars is maple from my scrap box. That maple was originally intended for new cabinets, but I know that you won't tell anyone!

Here's the bill of material, if you want to build your own:
  • 1 ea. 2x6, cut to 18" long
  • 1 ea. 2x4, cut to 10" long with an 11 degree undercut bevel on the "business end"
  • 1 ea 1x1-1/2 maple (or any hardwood). I cut mine to 16" and it could be longer. Also thing that a 2x2 might be sturdier -- this handle takes a lot of abuse
  • 1 ea 3" long block, made from the same maple stock. I used my biscuit jointer to insert a couple of wood biscuits and glue up a double-height block. Probably overkill, but I got to play with more toys that way.
  • 1 ea. 3/16x1x3ft Weld steel flat bar, purchased at Lowes and cut into 2 ea 10" lengths. OK, cut into 12" lengths and then shortened to 10" when I screwed up alignment on 1/4" holes in one end.
  • 2 ea. 1/4-20 x 2-1/2 bolts, also from Lowes Aircraft Supply. These are not aircraft grade bolts -- they just look like it.
  • Washers and self-locking nuts for the bolts. I managed to purchase 1/4-20 bolts and 28-TPI nuts. Like I said, Lowes is not aircraft grade -- and mixing things up like they did was annoying. Fortunately I had nuts on hand.

Total Time: 2.5 hours (not counting going to Lowes to find a hunk of steel).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nov 8 -- Deburr Wing Ribs

Tonight was straightforward: Crack open a stack of wing ribs and de-burr the edges on them.

Still need to de-burr all the rivet holes.

Total time: 1.5 hours

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nov 5-6 -- Finish Empennage

Last post on July 4, and in between was pretty much all travel. Around the world sounds like the adventure of a lifetime, until you do it twice in ten months...

This weekend was back at the project, and it was momentous! Finished work on the empennage, or at least as much work as can be done right now. Fiberglass tips and final assembly come at the end of the project.

Built trim tab #3, which came out great, assembled the elevators to the horizontal stab, and drilled an important hole in the elevator horns.

But not until a friend with a flying RV came over to eyeball my work. As per one of the photos below, alignment was off a bit once parts were assembled. Everyone told me that this is normal, although that seems odd in a CNC environment.

In order to drill that hole thru the center bearing, I used some punches from Harbor Freight that fit precisely into a wide variety of hole sizes. In this case it was a 1/4" pin that created the dimple to use as a starting point for the drill. After a #40 pilot hole, worked my way up thru a #30 to a 1/4" bit. The #30 intermediate hole included part of my finger, although I decided that assembling the finger at this time might be inconvenient.

I also realized how woefully dull my inherited drill bits are, so I ordered $300 worth of new cobalt drill indexes -- the first time in my life that I actually purchased all the bits new as a set. Probably should have done this years ago.

All parts now hanging on the garage wall, and it's time to start on the wings.

Total Time this weekend: 19 hours