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Archive for March, 2011

Mounted Right Flap – 1.5 hrs

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Thursday Mar 31, 2011

Tonight I set about to mount the right flap to the wing skeleton. First I rechecked the straight edge on the end rib of the wing to establish the trail position of the right aileron. Remember: measure twice, drill once.

Rechecked aileron alignment

With that confirmed I placed the right flap on the wing and clamped it roughly in place with a couple of cleco clamps. Then I tweaked the position longitudinally for a 1/4 inch gap between the flap and the aileron and I used a bubble level to set the trailing edge level with and parallel to the aileron trailing edge. After checking it about five times I was ready to start drilling. In this picture you can see the flap aligned and I have already drilled two holes at the far right end of the hinge. I used a few clecos to hold the flap brace in position relative to the wing skin but the clecos tend to push the hinge inward away from the skin so I kept the clecos along that row at least 6 to 8 inches away from where I was drilling. That seemed to work fine.

Flap aligned and drilling started

Here is a shot after all the holes were drilled through the hinge and cleco’d. Yay! Both flaps mounted. Now I get to take it apart, deburr it, and cut and mount the hinge pins like I did on the other side.

Flap hinge drilled and cleco'd

But before that I started removing vinyl from the bottom wing skins. This is just one of those boring, time consuming tasks that I have to do so I will spread it out over time as I do other things.

Started removing vinyl on bottom wing skins

I got word from Vans that my slow build fuselage kit was shipped today. It should arrive at my garage by Tuesday next week. Thus starts Phase 3 of a 6 phase plan; empennage, wings, fuselage, finishing, firewall forward, avionics!

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Categories: Flaps, Wings

Misc. Aileron Tasks – 2 hrs

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Tuesday Mar 29, 2011

Tonight was spent doing several small tasks needed to finish the mounting of the left aileron and to prepare to mount the right flap. First up was making spacers for the left aileron hinge bearings from aluminum tubular stock. Approximate lengths are shown on the drawing but you have to measure the actual gap and cut to the required length. Here is the inboard bottom spacer which came out a little under 0.7 inches long.

Left inboard lower aileron bearing spacer

The left inboard upper bearing spacer came out about 0.375 inches long.

Left inboard upper aileron bearing spacer

With that done I mounted the right aileron without spacers. I’ll make those later. Here is the outboard bearing bracket which uses several washers as spacers and does not require a tubular spacer. This one determines the longitudinal position of the aileron on the wing.

Right outboard aileron bearing bracket

Then I installed the bellcrank in the right wing. I had previously reamed out the bore of the bronze bearing to 0.250 diameter so I already had a good fit, but the white brackets and bellcrank all have to be drilled out because the mounting holes are slightly undersized due to the powder coating. I also installed the pushrod to the aileron as you can see in this picture. This is a temporary install so I did not put the nuts on yet. Here you can also see the blue alignment tool that Vans so kindly provides for positioning the aileron in nominal trail.

Right aileron bellcrank

With that in place I adjusted the length of the push rod to align the trailing edge of the right aileron to a straight line from the centers of two tooling holes on the wing end rib. Now that this is aligned I can set up the flap for match drilling to the flap brace.

Right aileron aligned in trail

Categories: Ailerons, Wings

Left Flap Hinge Pin – 2 hrs

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Monday Mar 28, 2011

After researching the two recommended methods of installing the flap hinge pin I decided to use the method where the pin is split in the middle and clamped down to the flap brace. I want to be able to remove the flap without removing the aileron first and this method lets you do that. So I cut the hinge pin into two pieces, both longer than necessary and bent one end 90 degrees then added a jog of about 30 degrees as you can see in the picture. I had several feet of excess hinge stock left over so I cut two pieces of one loop each which slip right over the end of the pins. The hinge pieces overlap so I drilled one .144 diameter hole through both pieces and through the flap brace. Then I trimmed the ends of the pins to fit nicely. Most of the time was spent measuring and getting things lined up properly for a good fit.

Flap hinge pin mounting

I lined up a #6 screw nut plate with the hole and drilled and countersank the rivet holes for the nut plate. I will install the nut plate after I prime the flap brace.

Countersunk for a nutplate

Then I used a microstop to countersink the holes in the flap brace for the skin dimples.

Machine countersink flap brace holes

Categories: Flaps, Wings

Finished Right Flap – 6.5 hrs

March 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Saturday Mar 26, 2011

First in the agenda today was to finish the right flap. Having just done the left flap last weekend the procedure was fresh in my mind and it went smoothly, taking less time than the left flap. The process was basically identical to the steps I posted before so I did not take many pictures. Here is the right flap finished except for riveting the hinge to the spar. Before doing that I wanted to check the alignment to the wing to make sure which loops of the hinge I wanted to remove near the middle for installing and removing the hinge pin. Disclaimer: I came up short three MK-319-BS rivets in my inventory for some reason so I could not install those on the inboard rib. I’ll have to order some more from Vans. They can be installed anytime.

Update: I found five more MK-319-BS rivets in my kit in the stall warning subassembly bag. I used solid rivets to install the stall warning switch so I used the rivets to finish the right flap.

Right Flap Finished

Once the right flap was done I started the alignment of the left flap to the wing. I wanted to get the wing half of the hinge aligned and drilled so I could move on the cutting the hinge pin and making a tie down point for it on theĀ  flap brace. The plans don’t really help much on this area. The drawings are about the only help Vans give you on this. But I researched how others have approached this process so I had a pretty good basis for my plan. The first step was to align the aileron longitudinally. That means putting the right number of washers between the outboard aileron bracket on the wing and the bracket on the aileron itself. With that done I installed the tool that Vans provides to set the aileron in trail to the wing. Then I mounted the flap using one cleco clamp at each end to hold it in place. I checked and adjusted the gap between the aileron and the flap to 1/4 inch per the drawings. I adjusted the position to make the trailing edges co-aligned.

Aligning left flap to the wing

I also checked the level of the aileron and the flap. They don’t need to be exactly level, they just need to match.

Checking level on aileron and flap

When everything looked right I began drilling the hinge starting on the left end. I drilled with light pressure, and put a cleco in every hole. Here is the end result with the hinge completely drilled.

Flap hinge drilled and cleco'd

Then feeling all satisfied with a job well done I realized that I forgot to check the actual angle of the aileron relative to the tooling holes on the end ribs. Darn it if the aileron wasn’t slightly off in the up direction. I removed the lower outboard skin so I could get to the aileron pushrod and adjusted it. After lengthening the pushrod a few turns I got the tooling holes aligned using a piece of aluminum angle as a straight edge. This picture is not very good but take my word for it, the center of the holes are now aligned to the edge of the angle.

Setting left aileron in trail

Then I rechecked the alignment of the trailing edge of the flap to the trailing edge of the aileron and now there is just a slight offset with the aileron about .010 aft of the flap. It’s a tiny difference and you can’t see it with the naked eye unless you put a straight edge across the two surfaces so I ‘m not concerned about it. But it bugs me a little that it would have been perfectly flush if I had adjusted the aileron before drilling. Live and learn. Measure twice, drill once!

Edge alignment check

Categories: Flaps, Wings

Started Assembly of Right Flap – 1 hr

March 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Tuesday Mar 21, 2011

Tonight I cleco’d the ribs and bottom skin to the spar of the right flap and riveted the FL-706A reinforcement angle to the spar with five universal head rivets shown here.

FL-706A riveted to the flap spar

Then I riveted the ribs to the pseudo-sparthat is actually part of the bottom skin using the small shims custom made to fill the gap that naturally occurs.

Ribs riveted to the psuedo-spar

Then I cleco’d on the top skin and set the flap in the stand. Next step (another day) will be riveting the ribs to the skins. That’s all I had time for tonight.

Skins cleco'd on and ready to rivet to ribs

Categories: Flaps, Wings

Finished Left Flap – 2.5 hrs

March 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Monday Mar 21, 2011

Tonight is the final push to finish the left flap. Picking up from yesterday I riveted the spar to the ribs using LP3-4 blind rivets. The upper most row was tight with the top skin in the way but I was able to get them in. Then I riveted the top skin to the spar. The prescription here is rivet gun, flush set, tungsten bucking bar. No problems. Here is a sample of some of the rivets.

Flap spar to top skin rivets

Then I riveted the inboard reinforcement plate to the reinforcement angle on the spar. That is the top row of fiver rivets in this view.

Inboard reinforcement rivets

Then I riveted the hinge onto the spar/lower skin. But first I removed three hinge eyelets at the middle of the hinge assembly so I can install the hinge wires from the middle out. This is the alternate method described in the plans that makes it easier to install and remove the flap. I just cut the eyelet off with the band saw and smoothed the edge with the scotchbrite wheel.

Hinge riveted to bottom skin and spar

By the way the seam of the skin overlap region turned out really well. I mentioned several days ago that I used the edge forming tool to bend the edge down a few degrees before dimpling the skin. In the picture below you can see that the seam is completely flush. I doubt it would look this good without forming the edge.

Skin overlap nice and tight

Here is the completed flap. One down and one to go.

Left flap done!

Categories: Flaps, Wings

Left Flap Assembly, Part 2 – 5 hrs

March 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Sunday Mar 20, 2011

This morning I began riveting the left flap skins to the skeleton by riveting the longitudinal row of rivets that join the top skin to the bottom skin because those rivets are down in the bottom of the interior. The idea was to start there and work my way up to the spar. First step was to wrap my bucking bar in foam packing material and tape to keep from scratching the skins up inside the cavity. I left two open areas where the bucking will take place.

Bucking bar wrapped up for protection

I also put a piece of foam packing material down in the bottom of the cavity for extra protection. In this picture you can see I’ve riveted a few of the rivets in the first cavity. It turned out all I had to do was put one finger behind the bucking bar with slight pressure to get a good rivet with the flush set on the rivet gun. The weight of the bucking bar was resting against the foam material.

Reaching the rivets way down inside

The rivets along the ribs turned out to be harder because the space is too narrow for my big hands to hang on to the bucking bar in those tight confines. So I used wood blocks to support the weight of the bar. I also taped a paint stirring stick to the bar so I could hold it above the cavity. That helped quite a bit.

Riveting skins to ribs

Here is the make-shift bucking bar handle.

Improvising for better reach

There is one rivet directly underneath the nut plate on the inboard rib that I tried to shoot but the bucking bar wouldn’t get enough area on the rivet shank and it rolled off the edge when I drove it, leaving an unacceptable shop head. So I drilled it out and installed a MK-319-BS blind rivet instead. You can see it right below the nut plate in this photo. I’m not the only builder who has done this.

Used a blind rivet right below the nut plate

In this photo the skins have been riveted together and to the ribs but the spar is not installed yet.

Skins all riveted to the ribs

Next I riveted the FL-706A reinforcement angle to the spar. These rivets are unreachable after the spar is installed. Notice that the shop head is on the thicker material side as is recommended.

Riveted the reinforcement angle to the spar

Then I cleco’d the spar and the hinge to the skins in preparation for riveting. But not today. First I have some shop rearrangement to do.

Spar and hinge cleco'd and ready to rivet

I finally took down the wing assembly fixture, freeing up space I will need to build the fuselage. I saved the pieces however because I might reassemble it behind the paint spray booth to provide more storage space. I think I will need it when I start unpacking the fuselage parts.

Wing stand is gone!

Categories: Flaps, Wings