Right Flap Brace and Aileron Gap Fairing

December 12, 2011

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Alright, before we get too busy getting excited about two posts in a row, let’s talk a little about Christmas. This year, we decided to do a Christmas tree. A few Saturday’s ago, we ventured out into the cold (it was pretty warm) and cut down our own tree (no we didn’t, we bought it from the farmer’s market).

Anyway. There are three interesting pictures from the day.

Jack, incredulously watching us decorate the tree.

Ginger's falling asleep. OMG this is the closest she's been to feather's since FEATHERGATE.

Finally the tree.

Now it needs some presents. Send me some presents.

Just kidding.

Let’s get back to building, shall we?

Tonight, high on the excitement of flipping the right wing over, I decided to get some more aluminum down from storage.

These two pieces are the Aileron Gap Fairing and the Flap Brace.

Part numbers shown for the right wing.

Turns out these have been in the garage for over a year now, so when I pulled off the blue vinyl, there was some residual…well…residue.

A little acetone fixed this right up.

I scuffed these up quickly (I’ll do this more completely when I’m about to prime) and got out the right aileron brackets. The top of the inboard bracket was interfering on my wing (like everyone else’s before me), so like them, I ground down the top corner a little with the scotchbrite wheel.

Here's the corner I ground down.

And clecoed in place.

The outboard bracket clecoed in place.

Here’s the flap brace, looking inboard.

I'll matchdrill both sides, but only rivet the brace to the spar now, the skins will come later.

The flange on the inboard most section is sitting a little funny, so tomorrow, before matchdrilling, I’ll see if I can’t straighten this out a little.

Crooked flange.

Flap brace looking from inboard to outboard.

Then, I clecoed on the aileron gap fairing.

With no trimming, look at how nicely everything lines up. Man, this is easy.

30 short minutes tonight, but it’s better than nothing.

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Mucho Aileron Work

September 11, 2011

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Well, happy September 11th. (And by happy, you know what I mean.) Many thanks to those who pledge their lives to keeping the American Dream alive. I get to build an airplane in my garage because of many courageous Americans- past, present, and future.

Thank you.

Now, let’s get back to living the dream. Time to bend some aileron skins.

I knew when I made the homemade bending brake for the elevators that they wouldn’t suffice, but I pulled that puppy out, mainly to steal the hinges.

The drywall screws are where I screwed it into the side of the workbench.

Warped much?

Anyway, this week I ran by the aviation big box store and picked up an 8-foot 2×8. I had the guy at the store cut 2 feet off, then rip it down the middle to make two 2x4s, both 6′ long.

Back at home, I clamped them together and screwed some hinges to them.

What a nice, straight piece!

I made sure to measure out and draw some perpendicular lines to ensure the hinge axis lines were all in the same line. (The empennage ones were not well aligned. They worked, but it was hard to actuate.)

Alright. Let's get to bending.

Just like last time, I screwed the brake into the side of the workbench so one skin was flat against the workbench surface. This worked really well for me.

Sorry about the messy workbench.

I had purchased a few different sizes of dowel to go in the trailing edge, and after a couple attempts (with the girlfriend’s help), I just couldn’t get things to bend.

I switched to the smaller (1/8″, after first trying the 3/32″) dowel, and I got it a little better, but not all the way.

Finally, I pulled out the dowel, and gave it a shot.

Much better.

Except, I got a little bit of a bow. I guess since I was grabbing the brake at the ends, I was getting more “Squish” on each end.

I still need to go a little further, but see how the middle isn't as done as the edges?

Anyway, I set the spar into the skin and here’s where I was.

Almost there...

After one more effort, I had it perfect.

I pulled out the straight-edge to make sure the flat surface lasted all the way to the trailing edge radius.

Good here.

And here.

And here.

Is there an echo in here?

After another bend and a whole bunch of clecoing…I had two assembled ailerons!

I love assembling a new airplane part for the first time.

After some matchdrilling of the top surface, I flipped over, and drilled every other whole of the lower skin to spar holes to #30 (pilot holes are prepunched to just under #40, hence the alternating cleco sizes).

Bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver bronze, silver bronze, silver, bronze, silver, bronze, silver bronze, silver bronze, silver.

Next up was drilling the steel water pipe- excuse me…”counterbalance pipe” to #30 through the predrilled holes in the skin.

This was much easier than I thought it was going to be. No big deal.

It was time consuming, and I used some boelube, but it was easy.

Then, even though this picture looks just like the one above, I have two matchdrilled ailerons.

tada!

I have a few holes I need to get to (forgot to flute the nose ribs, so I didn’t drill those holes, and there’s one counterbalance pipe hole you have to wait on), but I’ll finish those tomorrow and start the long process of prep for priming and final assembly!

2.5 Hours.

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Started on Right Wing Tie-down Bracket

August 26, 2010

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Wuhoo, the new squeezer showed up!

After a few minutes of messing around with it, I grabbed the two K1000-4 nutplates and studied the plans carefully on which side of the spar they go. A quick hint (other than just reading the plans) is that the nutplates go on the side that couldn’t possibly need to be flush (in between the spar cap bars).

Anyway, here, I’ve countersunk for AN426AD3-6 rivets.

The two larger holes are examples of where Van's (or Phlogiston) buffed out some spar scratches with some scotchbrite.

Oh yeah, I also flipped the spar over and deburred (you can hardly see the deburring) the backside of the holes I drilled to #40.

The little silver rings are where I deburred. Because these will be totally covered by the nutplate and the shop head, I'm going to refrain from spot priming them.

I used the new squeezer to set my only 4 rivets today.

Don't these look pretty? (There are small rings around the rivet heads. That is from the cleco I used to hold the nutplate on while riveting the other side.) It seems weird the cleco made that little mark.

Moving on to the tie-down bracket. First thing, I need to fabricate the W-726 spacers from this 1.25″ wide angle stock. I’m supposed to cut 4 of them, 2 for each wing/tie-down).

Why is this one on the ground? Is it because the light is good for the camera? NO. It's because it is @&*!@ hot after cutting. Ask me how I know.

Here are the other three.

Each of these spacers should have a 1″ hole cut in the center for lightening (not lightning). Since all of my hole saws are in sizes other than 1″, I decided to grab the W-731 tie-down bracket and get to work on that.

Okay, the manual says to cut the tie-down bar to length from the AEX stock.

Okay (…searching plans…), looks like 7  15/32″. Of course, I measured 7  7/32″ marked, and almost cut before my gut told me something was wrong.

The bar is actually 7 16/32" ( or 7.5"), so I'm not going to cut them 1/32" when I'm sure the edge finishing on the scotchbrite wheel will be more than enough. (Also, it doesn't appear the extra 1/32" will interfere with the top or bottom skin at all.

I keep walking by this sticker and laughing. I thought I would share.

Translation: "If something doesn't fit right, you've royally screwed something up."

Okay, back to the tie-down. After marking and drilling the one (of four) holes for the spar in the bracket to 3/16″, I stuck an AN3-7A bolt in there and just eyeballed the alignment.

(You are supposed to drill just one, then fit the bolt through the whole assembly. Then, you flip the entire assembly over and matchdrill the tie-down bracket from the back.)

I was a little concerned that there was some overhang on the right side of the bracket. (I measured and drilled very, very carefully).

Looks like there is some overhang on the plans, too. Sweet.

Anyway, I stopped there because I can’t really matchdrill everything until I get the spacers placed behind the tie-down bracket, and I can’t really do that until I have the lightening holes drilled (the spacers will be riveted to the tie-down brackets in four places, which in turn hold some nutplates on).

Here are my spacers for the right tie-down bracket.

1 hour, 4 rivets.

Now, I need to find a good hole saw or fly cutter.

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$6.48

June 22, 2010

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After getting stung by a wasp two times in the last two days trying to mow the lawn in the backyard, I gave up (shows determination and perseverance, huh?) and retreated to the comfort of my garage for some airplane work (the floors can wait until tomorrow).

Back to the tab. Before I do any more cutting on the elevator, I want to get the tab hinge drilled so I know exactly where the outboard edge of the tab will swing. I am doing this before they really tell you to in the directions (the directions have you actually finish the elevator, then start working on the tab.

Anyway, you are supposed to draw a line 1/4″ from the loop edge of the tab, and first matchdrill that to the tab. (I started with the elevator side, which eventually bit me in the ass. Read on.)

I decided to mark both sides with the 1/4" line. Hmm. Doesn't look like there is going to be a lot of edge distance.

Then, I took the hinge apart (you can see the hinge pin in the next photo) and clamped the elevator side to the elevator, lining up my 1/4″ line in the first prepunched hole, and aligning the first hinge loop where I thought it looked good (making sure this fit with the plans).

Hint: If you take apart the hinge, you can easily clamp the hinge half to the elevator (and tab, with the other half).

Next, I lined up the outboard side. This tab hinge is nice and square with the edge, and with the holes.

Let’s drill!

Here are 6 holes drilled (I'm working inboard to outboard).

All done with the elevator side.

Next, I reassembled the hinge and spent a few minutes just kind of getting everything lined up.

I wish this were the final product, but this is just me mocking things up before drilling.

With the greatest of coordination, I managed to hold a straight-edge against the inboard edge, line up the inboard pre-punched hole with the 1/4″ line, and line up the trailing edge of the tab with the trailing edge of the elevator, AND take this picture. Boo-ya.

Looks good so far.

Then, I drilled the inboard hole. The inboard side is perfect. (Can you tell that some other part may not be by the way I phrased that?)

If you look closely (lower left corner), you can see that the tab trailing edge is further aft than the elevator trailing edge.

I was pissed. I lined up the hinge with the elevator edges and holes, and with the tab edges and holes. This means that either the elevator or the tab isn’t perfectly square.

I thought about just moving the tab forward, but then there would be slightly different distances between the skins from inboard to outboard. I measured it…it would have been about 1/32 difference. No one would have noticed except for me.

But…I can’t leave it alone. I’m going to reorder the hinge and try again. This time, I’m still not going to follow the directions. If you make the hinge perfectly square to the tab, it’s going to be off on the elevator side. I’m going to have to split the difference between both by first clamping the tab in perfect position, then clamping the hinge in place and matchdrilling a few holes.

Admittedly, I should have followed the directions by starting with the tab edge, but it wouldn’t have mattered, it still wouldn’t have been a perfectly square hinge line after I was done.

The tab hinge is AN257-P2 according to the materials list in Section 4, but the part shows MS20257-2.

I also think, given my edge distance worries (must be okay because it is per the plans? I don’t know), I am going to order the MS20257-3 (or AN257-P3, which is 1 + 1/4″ wide instead of 1 + 1/16″). I checked with Van’s, and they want $9.70 (plus $4 handling, plus $12 shipping or something) for an 24″ piece of AN257-P3.

I checked aircraft spruce, and they wanted $4.75 for a 3′ piece and $1.73 shipping via USPS.

Which one do I choose?

Duh. $6.48 for my first re-ordered part. Bummer. (It’s better than a $60 elevator skin, though!)

Here are my edge distances.

I love this kind of building. Thinking, playing, mocking up, etc. The normal matdrilling dance gets old…this is the stuff I really like.

1.0 hour tonight. Frustrating, but fun.

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Final Prep for Right Elevator

May 20, 2010

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Well, after deciding not to work out tonight (in favor of wine), I made it out to the garage pretty late for some final prep work before riveting the right elevator.

Tonight's build partner, 2004 Manyana (play on words) Crianza. A delicious tempranillo from Spain.

On with the building, you say? Fine.

One of the last real fabrication items I have left on the right elevator was enlarging the counterbalance skin dimples. To make a long story short, I don’t have #10 dimple dies, so I dimpled with #8, and then planned on using the AN507 screw head and a nut tightened down to enlarge the dimple enough for the screw to sit flush.

This did not work.

Okay, instead of waiting for a week for a $40 dimple die to arrive, let’s be creative.

Plan: matchdrill two holes in a block of wood, countersink the holes, then use a flush set to enlarge the dimples.

Here's my block of wood, later to be countersunk.

Well, I don’t really have any good pictures of my attempt, because that didn’t work either, and I was getting frustrated.

Finally, I told the girlfriend to come out and listen to me explain the problem. (I knew this would help me come up with a solution.)

Without even flinching. “Why don’t you use a bigger screw to make your dimple?”

my face = <deer in the headlights>

Of course! (Except I didn’t have a bigger countersunk crew, but it set me down the right path.)

This should work. (It's my punch set that came with my rivet gun.)

Setup recreated (I had a piece of tape on the skin to prevent marring.)

The hole on the left has been "enlarged." This worked great!

Okay, let’s move on. Next up, I needed to locally bevel the edges where the spar and tip rib are underneath the counterbalance rib (so the top skin doesn’t show the transition bulges. So I marked those, and also started thinking about how to attach these empennage tips. See the two undimpled holes to the right? Those are two (well, 4, two on top and two on bottom) tip attach points that will eventually be drilled, deburred, and dimpled. Might as well do it now so I don’t have to worry about deburring between riveted sheets.

Lining things up to wrap my head around this interface.

I flipped the pieces over and drilled them to #30.

The top two holes have been drilled and deburred, ready for dimpling.

After dimpling…this #6 screw fits pretty well. (Editorial note: I’m pretty locked in to attaching the elevator tips with screws. I know there is really no reason to take the tips off, but right now, I don’t want to commit to blind rivets.)

That #6 screw looks like it will fit pretty well.

Once the other side was done, I primed the interior (and taped off exterior) side of the counterbalance skin.

Priming. You can see the two #6 dimples at the top of the left side of the skin. (I'll do the rest later...the rest are all accessible in the future.)

While that dries…let’s devinyl!

Hooray for devinyling!

All done. (After using compressed air to blow the flaked primer off.)

Back to emp tip attachment, here are the #6 holes in the skin, dimpled the same way as the counterbalance skin.

Nice big dimples. (Whoa, I forgot to deburr that relief hole on the left there. Fixed after picture taken.)

Let’s get this thing clecoed together.

Those big dimples sit nicely in each other. Here you can see those two holes are the only holes that overlap.

Next, the manual has you rivet the following two holes (not accessible once the spar and tip ribs are in place).

Protected with tape, this rivets were set beautifully.

Without clecos, it's starting to look like an elevator.

Next, “loosely place” the counterbalance in the counterbalance skin and “partially” insert the screws.

The untrimmed (on purpose) counterweight in the counterbalance skin.

last, but not least, they have you insert the skeleton in the skin and cleco together.

Wuhoo! It really does look like an elevator!

Those screw heads are pretty flush. (They are not tight yet, so they'll sit a little better once I get them tightened down.)

A couple pictures of some of the interfaces.

Just behind the counterweight.

Trailing edge of the tip.

Inside corner of the counterbalance rib. (What's that stuff hanging from the top edge? I'll have to investigate later.)

Finally, the trailing edge of the inboard rib.

Ready to rivet!

One more shot.

1.5 hours, 4 flush rivets set.

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Primed Right Elevator Skin

May 19, 2010

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Well, it was a short night in the shop tonight, but after almost a week without building, it was a productive hour.

All that’s remaining before riveting the right elevator together is to finish up deburring, dimpling, and priming the right elevator skin, and doing the same (as well as getting a big enough dimple for the counterbalance attach screws) in the counterbalance skin.

First thing, I grabbed an oversize drill bit and started deburring.

I still can't bring myself to buy a deburring tool. Maybe I'm being stupid. (Who got sawdust all over my right elevator skin?!)

Then, I realized that the holes on the very front edge of the skin (for the pop rivets after you bend the leading edges together) will be very difficult to deburr if I wait until after bending to matchdrill them. I decided, like on the rudder, to drill and deburr them now.

Just making sure the #30 bit is the right bit.

After drilling, this looks like it will fit the bill when I am ready to start riveting the leading edges together.

After getting all of the holes deburred, I grabbed my scotchbrite pad and got to work scuffing. I grabbed an intermediate shot so you can see what I am doing.

Scuffity-scuff scuff.

After scuffing, I cleaned everything up with MEK (because it’s harder to clean well with the dimples) and started dimpling. Here is the inboard edge of the right elevator (which is upside-down on the table) after dimpling with #40 dimple dies.

I love dimpling. Don't know why... (Whose palm prints are all over my elevator skin!?)

A before and after shot of dimpling.

Please no comments on the lack of edge finishing here. I did all the edge finishing after this step.

Like I said, after edge finishing and another wipe-down with MEK (and the requisite drying time), I put the skin up on my garbage bins and shot some primer on the interior surfaces. If you look closely, you can see where I have left the blue vinyl on the inside of the skins. That is where I don’t want any primer (weight savings) after I am done. When the skin is dry and ready for riveting, I’ll pull the vinyl out and be left with nice shiny, untouched aluminum.

I cant wait to rivet this stuff together. I am proud of this elevator.

One little hour, but good prep work for riveting soon!

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