September 30, 2004

Fitting Up

I forgot to grind off the center hinge eyes for mounting the seats when it was easy to do... So now I get to do it the hard way. Also, I finally broke down and abandoned the taped shut chopstick method for holding washers and ground up a special pair of plyers.

To take up the slack in the control column you have to slide thin washers into place, which becomes a real wrestling match! Van's says you have to put in a 5 degree bend on the fuel tank attachment bracket. How you would do this without an arbor press is a mystery to me... I really really really don't like using a setting block and the hammer and vise method, whenever I can avoid it.

Now for some of the finer points on running fuel and brake lines...

September 28, 2004


Interesting start to the day... I went to start the computer - which runs a real time linux kernal - to do some milling/drilling or the rudder stop brackets. Sure was a nasty surprise to see it wanting to boot into Windows 95!

After tearing the machine apart, I found it was booting off an old slave drive which had Windows 95. Sounds like the master drive is spinning up a little slow these days, so I backed up all the numerical control programs to my main machine in the house.

Whew! Sure killed half the day.

Got the rudder stops milled and drilled and all the control surfaces have been test fitted. I only have the aeleron motion stops to set on the wings. It took me about an hour to figure out how to drill the inboard pair of holes on the horizontal stabilizer.

I finally resolved to run a 3/32 aircraft drill as a pilot hole and then run the 3/16 drill using an airdrill from inside the fusalage, and drill back out once I had a pilot hole for location. Sure was a bit tight getting both paws, an air drill, and the air hose in the tail cone!

September 26, 2004

Tail Feathers

Have the tail feathers mounted. Still have mounting details to work out and drill.

September 25, 2004


We're getting the windows and doors buttoned up... and meanwhile back at the ranch...

Have the rear spar of the vertical stabilizer drilled in place. Tomorrow I'll drill the holes for the mount on the forward spar of the vertical stabilizer, then it's time to debur, prime, and rivet some of the parts.

I thought Cathy's technique for hammering nails was quite interesting...

Haven't a clue how I would have drilled the holes in the vertical stabilizer rear spar without a right angle attachment (in this case to my dremel tool). There isn't a lot of room to move your paw around in.

September 24, 2004

Window Dressing

Boy, these windows are heavy! Installed the sliding doors myself, but had to wait for Cathy to come home to put the 4x8 window in.

Didn't get any pictures of the plane today, but I moused around for over an hour getting the vertical stabilizer... err... vertical... and clamped into position. Now to work out how to drill the bolt holes, etc.

Based on the effects I saw today, the slider and 4x8 window should be a sun-room hit in the winter, so the fusalage and I expect to have to share some space with my mother-in-law's knitting, sewing, and the occasional bread rising, this winter.

Now all I have to do is get the wiring, drywalling, and miscellaneous finishing done before the snow flies. That includes getting the plumbing for the fuel lines done before I take everything back apart and reload the fusalage into the "room with a view" for winter.

Need to saw up a couple cords of wood yet, too!

September 23, 2004

CNC Mill

Using my CNC mill for some extra details.

Rather than chance clamping the plate that attaches the vertical stabilizer at the front with c-clamps, and inviting the obvious mis-alignment problems, it works out better to scale the pilot hole (1/8) pattern on the horizontal stabilizer (2-3/8 x 3) and use the mill to drill pilot holes in the attachment plate.

Then it's a snap to just cleco the plate in place and run a drill through the holes, one at a time, to size them for the bolt.

The first shot is the best screen shot I've been able to get of the software I started to write as curiosity project when I was recuperating from a little cardiac adventure back in 98. I've used the software quite a bit on this project and actually dusted off the wormy source code to straighten out some bugs with milling circles.

September 22, 2004


After a trip to Oklahoma and Texas, and cleaning up some of the rubble in the garage, I've finally had a chance to start machining details and laying out the holes to mount the horizontal stabilizer to the airframe. You don't want to mis-drill these key holes that have to tie into the main longerons.

September 15, 2004

Flapping Flukes

Some days you just have to work with whatever space you can scrounge up.

Finished the left flap attachment details and preliminary hook up of the push tubes for the ailerons. I waited to finish fitting up the elevator to the horizontal stabilizer until I had the fusalage and wings pretty much set.

It works out better to wait and do the final drilling of the bellcrank weldment on the elevators... Then, trim the area where the counter weights swing to make sure both elevators stay in trail together with no screw-ups on hinge hole drillings, etc.

September 11, 2004

Rear Spar

Drilled and reamed the rear spar to fusalage attachment hole with my drill jig and bushings. Very nice surface finish on the hole. Also worked out the fitting-up of the right flap.

I used the first of two methods suggested by Van's to secure the flap hinge rod: Drill a hole slightly off center through the aeleron bracket, and then when you finish pushing the long pin in, place it so it pops through the hole, and the off center location keeps the pin from coming back out on the outboard side... And the fusalage is in the way on the inboard side.

Working out the clearance on the actuator pushrod for the flap took a while, the plans are... Sort of... Vague... On the details.

September 10, 2004


Van's customer support got back to me by this morning... Those guys have excellent support... They said up to an inch of sweep would probably not be a big deal... If I want the 1/8 off I have to pull the wings off and file the end of the spar back... Which I am not going to do.

Instead, made up drill jig and bushings to drill and ream the rear spar hole. Here are some photos of the jig/bushing/ream clamped into position, an indication of where the center of the hole will be, and an overall collection of the jig and tooling parts and my chicken scratch sketch which started things off.

I'll think about it and double check things probably tomorrow before I commit to drilling and reaming the hole in the rear spar/fusalage attachment.

September 09, 2004


Here are two shots showing a method for setting the specified angle of incidence for the wings.

The plans call for using a level, but I found this method of using a square allowed one to dial in the specified parallellism between the level with a 3" gauge block and the main longeron by using a 2x4 and a truck jack to dial in the incidence position to within less than 1/64" inch total deviation between both wings...

Trust me... I ain't that good using spirit levels even if I take my glasses off and eye ball the level glass up close and personal.

There is so far only one little sticking point... The wings are swept forward by about 1/8 inch. I've sent an email to customer support at Van's to check the acceptance of this before I commit to drilling the attach hole in the rear spars.

Meanwhile, as I await information from Van's, I'll work on a drill jig and drill bushings to assure the hole is set safely within edge clearance requirements and is square to the spars.

Man, is the humidity high... The garage floor looks like I took a hose to it!

September 06, 2004


Just getting started on the metrology work-out to make sure the wings are not swept (forward or aft) and to set the wing incidence. I've got to get some string and make up another plumb bob to check the leading edge of the wing for sweep. The left wing looks to be set to the required incidence measurement (3 inches) between the front and rear spars to within a 1/64 of an inch i.e. about 0.015 inch.

I'm planning on making a drill jig to clamp the rear spar and associated bulkhead together and make up a series of drill bushings so I can get the hole (a) straight, (b) the right diameter, and (c) with the correct and critical minum edge clearances...

September 05, 2004

Foxy Lady

Okay so some days I don't take any plane work pictures... This young fox is a really cute... Of course when it gets bigger and takes a hankerin' for chicken, it's going to be a less freindly encounter.

She's standing in the gap in the stone wall on the north boundary of the property. I've seen her before with another sibling.

September 04, 2004


The chick sprouts wings for the first time!

The big question comes down to wether or not the spars will fit in there respective sockets! The right wing was done first and it was the hardest.

I'm probably going to rent a surveying transit to go over the leveling one more time before I comit to drilling the rear spar which sets the wings critical angle of incidence.

Now for lots of fiddling around and checking and rechecking the alignments... Building an airplane... What a hoot!

September 03, 2004


Let the rigging begin!

Now all I have to do is clean the garage a little... That swamp should keep the alligators fed for while!

September 01, 2004

Fresh Air

The chick gets out of it's egg... Sort of. Took a little jockeying around, but I finally got the fusalage with it's 7' 6" main gear leg stance though a 6' opening.

The fusalage is now in the garage and after we clean up the disaster in there we'll start scoping out rigging for wings and empenage, then take it all apart and put the fusalage back in the house for the winter.