I Hate Drilling Stiffeners

August 15, 2011

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I’m still trying to nail down a good time for continued wing skin riveting, so in the mean time, more ailerons.

But first, a little taste of how I like to walk the dogs. Or rather, how they walk me.

In the same vein as last night, I’m not really a big fan of drilling stiffeners. Maybe it’s because I’ve done it on the rudder and both elevators, but it’s just kind of boring.

You can tell it’s boring by my lame pictures tonight.

After drilling some stiffeners, a boring picture.

Halfway through the 32 total stiffeners, one of my #40 drill bits broke. Boring picture.

I labelled each stiffener with the aileron (right or left), side (upper or lower), and then 1 through 8 from inboard to outboard.

After about 45 minutes of that, I decided a nice small (15 minute) task would be to knock out the edge finishing.

Did anything assist me in that decision? Yes.

A pretty bad cut on my knuckle from dragging it across a skin edge. Ouch. (So far, this project has cost some blood and sweat. I’m sure the tears are on there way…)

All the edges edge-finished, and some nice round corners.

Here are both aileron skins and the four piles of stiffeners, all matchdrilled.

I may be done with drilling stiffeners. Who knows.

1.0 Hours. I bet tomorrow’s post is called “I Hate Deburring and Dimpling Stiffeners.”

(Actually I don’t hate deburring and dimpling stiffeners. I can do it inside, where the A/C is nice and chilly.)

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Started on the Ailerons

August 13, 2011

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Well, Joe and I haven’t been able to find a good time to come over and get the last of the wing rivets done, so for tonight, I’m going to move on to something else. Even though I could go back and continue working on the left wing, I think instead I’m going to start on the ailerons and flaps. Instead of just the right aileron and right flap, though, I’ll just go ahead and build both sets.

First, the ailerons. Here’s a plans change picture, for your amusement.

The ailerons!

First up, let’s start collecting some parts. Here are the aileron spars.

One withe blue plastic, and one after I'd removed it.

Then, I gathered up some nose ribs, the hinge brackets, and the spar reinforcement plates.

Aileron parts.

Following the directions (although I’ve skipped the stiffener-fabricating part), I lined the edges of the reinforcement plates up with the ends of the spars, and centered them vertically. They seemed to go only one way (they’re a little rectangular).

(Does that sound a little ominous? Keep reading.)

After some matchdrilling, I stepped back for another picture.

All four reinforcement plates drilled.

Then you stick the hinge brackets on, and drill up to a #12 for some AN3- bolts.

Looking good. Everything's aligned.

Then, I took everything apart, and noticed that my edge distance was not so great. After rechecking the orientation of the plates, I realized that I had initially lined them up correctly, just to assume that they were the wrong way (it didn’t look like they would fit). I flipped them 90° and drilled.

I found an awesome online tool to do this for me. Hilarious, right?

I held them up the correct way, and sure enough, there’s room. Bummer.

Just so I could end on a high note, I found the aileron ribs, and pulled the blue plastic off.

Some aileron ribs.

I clecoed them to the spar, along with the nose ribs, so that I could see something that kind of resembled ailerons.

Yup, these look like ailerons.

1.0 hour.

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Bent Right Elevator Trailing Edge

April 28, 2010

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What a great night in the shop tonight. And, the airplane actually forced me to get something done on the house!

After work today, I needed to stop by the Aviation Depot to buy some hinges, wood, and an 1/8″ dowel rod for elevator trailing edge bending.

Since we’ve been wanting to upgrade the hardware in our house for awhile, I decided to buy the nice hinges, and used the replaced hinges for my bending brake.  Here’s a shot of our powder room door, mid-installation.

Top hinge is the new “oil-rubbed bronze” hinge. Bottom hinge is the old (builder standard) hinge. Looks a lot better.

Up close. I like the new one a lot better. (Later, I went around and made sure all of the crosses in the screw heads were straight up and down. It’s an anal retentive thing I do, especially with light switch plates.)

Anyway, after a ton of VAF research, Orndorff video watching, and builder website reading, I settled on the “other” method, which puts the hinges on the long face, and really only bends with the short side of the 2×4 (or 2×8 cut in half). You really only want that much bending the skin anyway, because the bend needs to occur locally at the radius, not away from the trailing edge. If the wood is imparting force in the middle of the skin, you will end up with the dreaded “bulge.”

Here’s my bending brake being assembled. I had six hinges, so why use them. I grabbed these 2×4, which were nice and straight, and just long enough for the trailing edge. I’ll need to replace these for the flaps and ailerons. I read somewhere they need to be more like 5 feet long for those.

Here it is after assembly. On the left, you can see my skin, that needs to be bent. In the middle, the three dowel rods I purchased. While I was standing in the store, 1/8″ seemed too small, so I bought a few different sizes at $0.50 each. Of course, everyone was right on, 1/8″ is perfect.

I’m going to put the trailing edge of the skin in the little opening at the bottom of the brake (as it is oriented in the picture).

First thing,  I screwed my bending brake to my 2nd workbench with one of the bending surfaces flush with the bench top.

Bending brake, installed.

Then, I put the 1/8″ dowel into the trailing edge of the skin and taped it in place. (Not shown in the following picture, because I was recreating the process for the camera. Look 2 pictures down for the dowel rod.) Then, you put the skin in the brake all the way against the hinges, and start bending.

This is not a fast process. It takes a surprising amount of force. I thought it was going to be a one shot deal, but it takes a lot of bending. You start with the skin against the hinges, then bend around the dowel. That took a whole bunch of times (I was stopping a lot to inspect). Then, you move the skin a little away from the hinge, and bend again. This allows you to really form the edge around the dowel.

If you pretend there is a dowel rod in there, this would be the first bend.

Here’s where I could get to with the dowel rod in place.

About halfway there.

Then, you remove the dowel rod and keep going, same deal, but a lot more gently, because I didn’t want to squeeze the trailing edge too much (now there is no dowel rod to prevent squash-age.

I thought this was good enough, but this is about 3/4 the way there.

Of course, because I thought that was good enough, I clecoed the skeleton into the skin.

It’s starting to look like something that could be considered an elevator.

But, after grabbing my straightedge, I’m getting some “fall-off” before the radius. This happens because the radius hasn’t been formed well, and then you pull the skin down to the skeleton, and it bends close to the trailing edge. It’s not terrible, but I know I can do better.

It’s not the dreaded bulge, but it is some pretty good “fall-off.”

Another shot.

No good here either.

Near the inboard edge.

Hmm. I unclecoed, and grabbed this shot. I’m about an inch from where I need to be, and the tension I am putting on the skin to pull it to the skeleton is causing that slight bend near the trailing edge.

About an inch.

I put that bad boy back in the brake and kept going. This time, I used two BFPs (the “p” stands for pliers. I’ll let you figure out the “b” and “f”) on either side of the brake and finished it up nicely.

More bending.

There we go. I made up that last inch, and now it rests right where the skeleton would go.

Much better. Perfect, in fact.

Here’s an end-on shot.

How great is this? A perfect bend.

Let’s get out the straightedge.

No fall-off before the radius.

Another place on the elevator.

And again, no fall-off. So happy!

After all that, I pulled the vinyl off of the outside of the elevator skins in preparation for deburring.

Hey! There’s shiny aluminum under there. Let’s start putting this bad boy together.

Total, it was two hours tonight, including bending brake construction. It was a great 2 hours though. I am extremely happy with the results. I have a perfectly bent trailing edge.

Boo-yeah.

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EAA 1426 Fly-in Drive-in

April 10, 2010

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So I’m writing this almost a week later, but I’ll try to capture my experience last Saturday.

I woke up Friday afternoon set on having some contact with airplanes, so with a quick search of the EAA calendar, I had a fly-in-drive-in to attend. One of my buddies who owns a C182 was busy and said he wouldn’t make it, so it looked like I would be driving.

Here's 7am in NC looking around my garage corner. Not too bad, although the fence needs painting. Maybe next year.

A half an hour (and Chik-Fil-A biscuit) later, heading north on 77 toward Pilot Mountain.

Look closely at the vehicle in front of me. Crap, a State Trooper. no speeding today.

Another shot of pilot mountain.

Once in mountains, there are a couple nice vistas looking back toward the south and southeast.

77 looking south on the way up the mountains.

Once I pulled into  the airport (Twin County, HLX), I met a couple people standing on the ramp and up pulls a beige 182 with a 3-bladed prop. Wait a minute, my buddy Jon has a beige C182 with a 3-bladed prop.

That plane looks familiar.

I wonder who is going to get out.

It's Jon!

(Had to get a picture of him standing straight up.)

Anyway, while I’m a member at EAA 1114, their meeting isn’t until next weekend, and the EAA 1426 chapter fly-in promised pancakes. After some talking with Jon, we stumbled across this piece of machinery.

I’m going to try to capture the jokes about it. I take credit for none of them.

UFO (Unidentified Frying Object.)

So the joke goes that there was a retired Air Force officer who, as part of chapter 1426’s winter activity list, designed and constructed this beast to contend with some of the other pancake cookers out there.

Someone made a pretty funny joke about it being a disc-shaped metal object seen near the airport, and that it was a UFO (Unidentified Frying Object.) I actually spilled a little coffee out my nose at this.

Somebody then pointed out that it must be an advanced design project from the Air Force.

The the Air Force guy piped up and said…

"Nope, it's leaking oil. Must be from the Navy."

Much giggling ensued. No offense to the Navy, or any armed services branch.

Anyway, I got a couple action shots. The cooking surface is a 3/8″ aluminum disc (not aviation grade, the health department won’t approve that as a cooking surface because of some anti-corrosion additives or something). I was interested in that, but couldn’t find any more details. Anyway, th disc spins about 1 RPM, which, with 4 burners (note the manifold in the lower part of the next picture) at 90° from eachother, yields <counting>…18…19…20 pancakes every 3 minutes.

Two times around on the first side, then flip and one more time around.

Action shot! (That's a nice spatula, too.)

Look at how perfectly they are cooked.

Anyway,  I had to get a picture in front of it. Here I am, for only the second time in the blog. Sorry I didn’t comb my hair.

Who, other than me, would say, "Hey Jon, take a picture of me with the pancake cooker!"

Then, they showed me a partially completed RV-7 kit. They inherited it from someone, and are thinking about selling it. (I think they are more interested in completing it within the chapter, but they were interested me in at least taking a look.) If anyone reading this wants the contact info for them, let me know, I can put you in touch.

RV-7 horizontal and elevators.

An aquajet (ride for kids).

The wings.

More wing pictures.

Even more.

The vertical, rudder, flaps and ailerons.

These look like the older style wingtips to me.

Oops, forgot to rotate the picture.

Then we walked back to the main hangar, and I grabbed some pictures of the various projects there.

One of two helicopter projects in work.

This is "one of the first non-straight-tal 172s." Even though I used to work for Cessna (I was on the jet side of things), I can't remember what date that would have been early 60s?

I don't remember what I was trying to take a picture of here. Maybe the hangar doors and a 172...and half a ladder. Here are some hangar doors and a 172...and half a ladder!

Ooh, a King Air.

Looking back outside. The pancake cooker is in front of the helicopter being prepped for paint.

Here's the inside of that 172. No priming. No corrosion. Hmm.

A closeup of one of the helicopters.

Inside for breakfast, I got a picture of the sausage and egg chef and the EAA banner they hang up for meetings.

I'm hungry.

One of the very nice ladies there helping with breakfast came to Oshkosh in 2008 and got a picture in front of the Honda Aircraft Company’s HondaJet (HA-420). That’s our proof of concept aircraft.

A picture of a picture of the Model 420 HondaJet.

Then, Jon had to head out, so we grabbed a couple pictures in front of his plane.

We're bad at the whole lighting thing. Maybe we should try the back of the aircraft.

Much better. Jon told me it was okay for you guys to see his tail number. If you say so, Jon.

Then, I snapped some pictures of Jon’s departure.

Vroom.

Vroom.

Vroom.

Vroom.

Vroom.

Quiet vroom.

Then…I left, too. (How anti-climactic.)

On the way home.

That’s all. Now back to work on the airplane!

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