Thursday, February 27, 2014

18-06 RIGHT, completion of flaperon

This was a fun day.  Just worked and worked and worked and had a great time.  It felt very good to get a lot accomplished and have a finished product to show for it.

IMG 2954

Actuator of R aileron

IMG 2955

Close up of support bearing

IMG 2956

Finished Aileron.


Note the straps on the large crate.  I was kind of excited to get into that crate and take a look at the finish & fuselage kits.

18-04 RIGHT, bracket attachments

Time to do some catch-up documentation.  I’m writing this on 3/14, but have dated the postings to the days that I took the pictures (completed the indicated steps.)  As such, the textual description may be a tad sparse.


IMG 2950

Right Pivot Bracket

IMG 2951

Right Actuation Bracket

This looks like it’s crooked, but that’s just the sloping edge of the bracket.  

18-05 RIGHT, Internal ribs & counterweight

well, I didn’t take a picture of this one.  Sorry ‘bout that.

18-06 LEFT, completion of flaperon

No muss, no fuss.  Just some repetitive and satisfying riveting and assembly work.

IMG 0176 2Left Flaperon with skins attached

IMG 0177 2

Close up of flaperon with pivot bearing

18-05 LEFT, internal ribs & counterweight

The internal ribs are attached, as is the counterweight.  I did have a small bit of trouble with the initial test fit of the leading edge skin, as the counterweight protruded about 1/16” to 1/8” or so.  I cheated by pushing it inward (bending the flange on the nose ribs) prior to match drilling the nose ribs to the leading edge.

IMG 0175 2Left flaperon skeleton, awaiting skins 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fuselage & Finish kits arrive!

Not much to write about, but wow!, where am I going to put all that stuff?

IMG 0174 2

Fuselage & Finish Kits

I’m guessing that the lower longer box is the fuselage.  To its left, you can see the scrap leading edge of the wing  Behind it are cloth draped tailcone and wings.  Over to the right is a much taller crate, presumably the finish kit with the bubble canopy and fuel tank.  My plan is to finish up the flaperons (one of which is visible above the finish crate) before opening these guys and doing the inventory.

18-04, actuation & pivot brackets prep

Again, this page was largely completed for me by the factory and there really wasn’t much to do.  The plans describe how to locate and match drill the holes in the actuation brackets (shown below) and the pivot brackets (not shown), but those parts are now apparently pre-drilled.  

On the other hand, it’s still possible to make additional work for myself.  The nose ribs get a little bracket attached to them (as demonstrated with the washers and AN3 bolt in the photo below.)  I made one without paying attention, then the other with the same degree of care.  I was disgusted with myself when I realized that they weren’t perfect mirror images since the 2nd one had the bracket installed upside down with respect to the first one.  I drilled out its rivets, then noted that the 1st one was the incorrect orientation and I had just drilled out a perfectly good part.  Now I was really peeved with myself so I left the shop for an hour or so and did something else before trusting me with any more tools.

So, I finally got the orientation straightened out and clecoed everything together.  I’m not sure that I needed to do the spacing trick with the washers, as it appeared to be more for preparing to match drill the actuation bracket, but I figured that double checking the factory couldn’t hurt.


IMG 0178 2

Actuation Brackets clecoed in place

IMG 0172 2

Primed brackets


18-03, counterweight prep

Well, it was time to face the dreaded drilling of the stainless steel.  I read a fair amount about it and decided that the important parts were (1) change the pulleys on the drill press to low RPM, (2) ensure I had a new (sharp) drill bit and (3) don’t try to match drill in place!  The technique I decided made the most sense was to set things up as per the plans, but wherever they said to match drill, I inked the spot then used a spring loaded center punch (arbitrarily using 6 punches per spot) to make a starter divot into the stainless steel.  Then the structure was dissasembled and taken to the aforementioned drill press.  First pass was with a #40 bit, followed by a #30.  This actually worked out pretty well and there were no real problems with the actual drilling.

The instructions are pretty ingenious about allowing the builder to get a straight row of holes for the leading edge and two holes placed on the opposite side for the attachment of the nose brackets.  The nose brackets are only held in place with a single rivet, but that is really only for assembly.  Once the structure is complete, the counterweight is held by 12 rivets into the leading edge skin which, in turn, is riveted to the flaperon spar in the usual fashion .  

On the other hand, that single rivet didn’t do a good job with maintaing a tight tolerance.  You’ll read about that later.

IMG 0170 2

Stainless Steel Counterweights, drilled and mounted

IMG 0171 2

Close up of mounting bracket, leading edge holes

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

18-02, flaperon small parts prep

This was a lot easier than I expected.  The page calls out for fabricating Actuation Brackets and Pivot Brackets out of extruded aluminum, and VAF had several comments about the amount of time this would take.  To my pleasant surprise, I discovered that the parts are already machined and ready to install, so steps #1 and #2 are pre-completed.   The other steps involved very easy fluting of the ribs that will hold the counterweight and support the leading edge of the flaperons.


IMG 0169 2

Flaperon small parts

Saturday, February 15, 2014

17-06 RIGHT, wingtip close

The wings are complete!  If I get the ailerons done before the fuselage and finish kits arrive, that’d be sweet!

I’m glad I waited until I had the wing tip built out and ready before I started bending the tabs on the wingtip skin, despite thinking it through, I wasn’t completely sure which way to bend the tabs until I actually had the skin in front of the assembly.  Even then, I double checked the orientation, about 15 min apart.

I did discover an error I had made on the left wing; the wing tip trailing edge is designed to have a lip that goes under the top skin.  When I did the left wing, I must have been tired and placed it over the top of the outer skin.  I’m not sure if it’s worth removing the rivets, since there’s always some damage in the process.  I think I’ll leave it as an exercise for the careful observer.


IMG 2927

Right Wing, completed 


IMG 2928

Right wing, completed

17-05 RIGHT, wing tip buildout

IMG 2924

Right wing tip build out, top view

IMG 2925

Right wing tip build out, bottom view

IMG 2926

Right wing tip build out, wing inverted prior to closeout skin

Monday, February 10, 2014

17-03, 17-04 RIGHT

Busy, busy day.  After completing the light, I attached the outer and mid skins in an afternoon.  I had already attached the inboard skin and its wing root doubler, so it wasn’t much work to complete these two pages.  (Well, it was a lot of work, but it was boring repetitive and fast work.)


IMG 2917

Outer & Mid upper skins

I did discover a moderate “oops” when I started riveting the mid skin.  The nose rib at the junction of mid and outer lower skins had been completely missed when I placed the 5 rivets on the leading edge.  I realized the problem when I tried to align the 6th hole in the rib.  It wasn’t hard to drill out the 5 rivets, but getting the debris out of the wing bays was very hard, and I’m not sure I got the little bits of rivet from the shop side.  Hopefully I got them all.  I’ll let you know when I pick up the wing again and if it makes any noise!

40-05, 40-06 Landing Light

The only step that needed to be done for page 40-05 was riveting in the landing light itself, and that was one that I didn’t want to do do until the very end.    I received a new Lexan piece and was planning on fabricating a new lens with some heat forming (as needed) to get a better fit to the inside curvature of the leading edge.   When I placed the new Lexan for a test fit, I realized that the alignment depended on holes that were initially spec’ed out as #40 but later drilled out to #27 and then dimpled.  I didn’t think I’d be able to get it well aligned, so I thought I’d give the original lens one more try.  

I took the original lens and put it in boiling water for a few minutes, then gently applied some pressure to the lateral edge to decrease the radius of curvature.  While it’s not snug against the inside edge of the outside part of the whole, it’s about half as bad as it used to be.  I decided that “Perfection is the enemy of Progress” and riveted everything in place.  Voila!  The landing light is finished!


IMG 2910

First Light 

 I forgot to mention;  I had previously purchased the floating connectors used at the wing roots.  Before I buttoned up the light, I rigged the appropriate power & ground leads to the mating connector and hooked it up to a 12 v battery charger and did a ‘smoke test’.  I can’t post the video, but I also connected the Pulse Power lead and verified that that mode worked too.  I’ll complete the rest of the wiring for the connectors to have power for the nav and strobe lights, and a buzzer for the stall warning switch.

IMG 2911

 Landing Light

As long as we’re on the topic of lights, etc. I won’t be doing the Nav/Strobe assemblies on the wing tips until later in the summer due to the (very!) cold temps in the garage.  From what I have read, I need temps in the 70-80 °F range to work with the fiberglass flox, so that’s going to wait until later.