Archive for September, 2011

Riveted Bellcrank – 2 hrs

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Friday Sep 30, 2011

Tonight I set up the elevator bellcrank. That included making the tubular spacers and riveting the two halves of the bellcrank together.

Then I cleaned and alodined the firewall gussets. These have been sitting around awhile and I wanted to get them coated so I could rivet them this weekend.

Categories: Cabin Area, Fuselage

Finished Riveting Aft Deck – 2 hrs

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Thursday Sep 29, 2011

I worked on three things tonight. First step was to finish riveting the aft deck. The remaining rivets could not be done with my squeezer so I had to shoot and buck them. I was solo so it was a bit tricky holding the bucking bar through the openings with one hand while shooting the gun with the other hand. But they all turned out fine. Yes I know there are two more to do at the F-708 bulkhead but those will be done after I take the top skin off.

Then I finished drilling the F-707B angle to the F-707 bulkhead. Remember, this is the one I originally thought I messed up so I remade it, but it turned out I messed up the second one and the first one was right. If that makes sense you are following too closely.

Then I set about making eight little hangers for a pair of conduit runs I plan to install under the seats and the baggage floor. Those panels get riveted down but I want more room to run wires through there than is provided in the center bay. Some people install the floors with nut plates or add custom access doors, but Vans says that those panels are important structural members and I don’t want to compromise their integrity. So I’ll just run a couple of conduits before I rivet the panels on.

I made a little sketch of the hanger and selected some .020 aluminum sheet for them. I stacked all eight together to make it easier to trim to final shape, drill the 3/4 inch holes for the conduit and drill two #40 holes for the rivets that will hold them on.

Then I bent a flange on each one and scuffed them up for priming. Hangers done! Next I will clamp them to the center section ribs and match drill them. But that is not tonight.

Categories: Cabin Area, Fuselage

F-707B Angle, Priming, F-656 Gussets – 6 hrs

September 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Sunday Sep 21, 2011

Looking back at the end of the day it doesn’t seem like I got that much done today although I was busy the whole time. Sometimes it goes that way. I know I lost some time on the F-707B angle. It’s that little piece you seen in this photo that attaches the upper center rib to the F-707 bulkhead. It’s .063 x 3/4 aluminum angle about 1.25 inches long. The drawing says to pre-drill the one hole at the top where it mates to the bulkhead so I did. When I tried to cleco it to the bulkhead it would not go because the hole did not line up when the angle was pressed against the rib. So I made another F-707B angle with the drilled hole shifted to the left by about 1/8 inch which “fixed” the problem. Something did not feel right but I drilled it to the rib and bulkhead and that is what you see in the photo.

Later I was looking at Mike Bullocks web site and I realized what was wrong. I had the leg of the F-707B angle on the wrong side of the rib. No wonder the holes for the bulkhead came out so close to the web. Later I went back and put the original F-707B angle back in with the rib on the other side and it fit fine. Duh! Well, no damage done. I’ll just stay with the original angle.

Here is a photo of the interior of the shell. Nothing specific to point out here. I just like the shot.

Next I opened up the upper top skins to get access to the F-656 gussets. Some people say that it is best to clamp these gussets in place while the upper skins are cleco’d on to get correct alignment. I found that as long as the bulkhead was cleco’d to the longeron all you have to do is adjust the gusset until the edge is parallel to the skin. That is how I aligned them. I could have done this before putting the upper skins on.

Next was a priming session. I cleaned and primed the bellcrank parts, seat belt anchors, upper center rib, and F-656 gussets. No photos to show for that. I’ve shown that process too many times already.

Then I realized that the F-656 gussets mount to the F-706 bulkhead with flush head rivets so I dimpled the gussets and the bulkhead. The gussets were dimpled with the squeezer. It bent the flanges a little during dimpling but those were easy to straighten with seamers. Two of the holes in the bulkhead on each side were easy to get with the squeezer but the two outside holes were tough. I used a make shift technique with a vice grip clamp as shown below. That’s my dimple die set for the squeezer. It produced a somewhat shallow dimple. Not perfect but OK. When I riveted the gusset in place the squeezer helps drive the bulkhead dimple deeper into the dimple on the gusset so it turned out fine. After the primer was well dry I riveted all four gussets in place.

I also started riveting the aft deck to the tail. I first did all the easy ones I could get with the squeezer. Then I did a couple with the double offset set which I hate to use because it is so easy to get smiles. These tuned out fine however.

One other thing I did today was to trim the edges of the side rails to the skin profile. The instructions say to file these carefully. I took them off to sand the edges so I wouldn’t scratch up the skin. It took four or five iterations on each side to get it right because I did not want to remove too much.

I guess I did get something done today.

Fwd Top Skin – 3 hrs

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Saturday Sep 24, 2011

Today did not yield as much time on the project as I had originally hoped. But that is how it goes sometimes. Life gets in the way.

Back when I built the F-711 bulkhead I riveted the top angle onto the uprights. Turns out I should not have done that. There is a little note on the drawing that says to wait until the skins are riveted before doing this. I missed that note. It turns out the angle blocks the shop end of two rivets, one on each end. So you have to buck those rivets before installing the angle. So I decided to drill out the rivets and remove the angle to get access to those rivets. Well the first rivet come out fine but the second one left an oblong hole. It was too large to rivet so I drilled it out to #12 and put in an AN3 bolt and lock nut as you can see below. This is the first time I have had to do this. Well it certainly will be strong enough. And since it will not be visible from the outside I guess I won’t sweat it.

I got the forward top skin cleco’d on also as you can see.

Canoe Gets a Top – 1.5 hrs

September 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Friday Sep 23, 3011

Alright! A weekend is here to get some progress done on the project. First thing tonight was to drill the elevator bellcrank for the pitch servo. I’m using a Dynon servo and the hole is 2.5 inches above the bearing centerline. Now I can prime these parts this weekend.

I cleco’d on the F-656L and R gusset plates but they look like the wrong parts. I’m going to wait and get the top skin on before I decide what to do with these parts.

So the next step was in fact to cleco the aft top skin on with the F-786A Top Fuselage J-Stringers. I cut these to length a long time ago but I had to trim the ends to fit to the bulkheads. The instructions also say to draw a line done the center of the flange to help you align it to the skin holes before drilling. I started clecoing the skin on from the top center working my way down the bulkheads. This skin is not pre-bent and it takes a surprising amount of force to bend it to the contour of the bulkheads but I did it solo. Wow, this really is an airplane! I can almost see it now. I drilled and cleco’d the J-stringers from the F-707 to the F-708 bulkhead.

Oh about those F-656L and R gusset plates – they are the right parts. I can see that they align well enough now that the skin is on.

Misc Aft Fuselage Stuff – 1.5 hrs

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Thursday Sep 22, 2011

Drilling the seat belt anchors was the first task tonight. They were already lined up so all I had to do was drill through the longerons with a #12 bit. Then I deburred the parts and scuffed them up for priming.

Next I removed the angle on the F-728A vertical channel and drilled through the lower three holes on the bulkhead. Then I riveted the angle back on the channel from top to bottom. I was able to use the squeezer on all of these.

Finally I dimpled the holes and riveted flush head rivets for the F-728A channel to the F-706 bulkhead.


More Side Rail and F-695 Gusset Work – 2 hrs

September 19, 2011 2 comments

Monday Sep 19, 2011

I realized today that I didn’t finish the F-721B side rail work yesterday. The aft five holes on each side need to be drilled out to #30 and two of the holes need to be countersunk. So I did that tonight as the first order of business. In this picture you can see one empty countersink and one with a rivet in it. I did this on both sides. Click on the picture to enlarge it. I’m not going to rivet this yet because there is still some work I need to do on the F-705G angles that sit under the F-705 bulkhead.

But the main event for tonight was drilling the F-695 gussets to the firewall and longerons. Some of the holes go through the steel firewall weldments so that slows things down a bit. But after a while and many chips I had all the holes drilled on both gussets.

Then before shutting down I marked and aligned the shoulder harness anchors on the aft fuselage. Here you can see one clamped in place but I will drill it in the next session.

New Fuselage Stand – 5 hrs

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Sunday Sep 18, 2011

I spent a couple of hours this morning finishing the new fuselage stand. I made it 42 inches wide so it matches the width of the fuselage at the main spar. It’s great to be able to roll it around on casters to take best advantage of the space in the garage. I still need to install some foam at the aft support. Right now I’m using a small cardboard box and a thin piece of foam.

My friend Scott came over today and we worked on the F-757 gussets. This is a tip up canopy design so a square hole is required in the gusset for the latch. That was the first order of business – cutting the square holes. Then we fit them to the fuselage and drilled holes through the longerons and the F-705 bulkhead. I also trimmed the F-721B side rails slightly to make the cut-out match the square hole nicely. Then we deburred and scuffed the parts, cleaned them, soaked in Alumiprep, and alodined them. Since the latch will rub against these parts every time the canopy is closed I don’t want to prime or paint them. Anodize would be great but I am too lazy to find a local processor I can afford.

Then we cleaned and primed the aft deck parts. I forgot to take pictures of this process. I’m sure you have seen enough of that anyway. I’ll get a photo when the parts are riveted to the aft fuselage.

Next I located the F-695 gussets and did a fit check. The forward edge does not fit flush with the firewall if the side edge is parallel to the edge of the longeron so I trimmed a smidge off the forward edge to improve the fit. Then I marked the location for all the holes and drilled them to #40. Then I opened them up to #30. Finally I deburred all the edges of the gussets.

Flipped the Canoe – 8 hrs

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Saturday Sep 17, 2011

Work on the project covered a lot of ground today. I started early, before the neighbors were up and about so I did something quiet. All week I looked at the rudder pedals I painted last weekend and I just wasn’t happy with the gray paint. It just wasn’t working for me so I stripped it all off with MEK and alodined the pedals instead. Now the match the master cylinders and I am way happier with the look.

Then we asked our neighbor Al to come over and help us flip the canoe. It isn’t really that heavy but it is awkward to handle so having the extra hands was helpful. Here is Denise standing by our blue canoe. It’s clear that the saw horses are too high for working on this thing so I have to make a new stand.

But first I leveled it fore and aft and side to side so I could fit the aft deck. It only took a small shim under one side of the front saw horse to get it level side to side. I propped it up on the aft end with a cardboard box on the saw horse for a spacer and adjusted it fore and aft to get it level. Here is the level on the right longeron. The left longeron read the same.

And on the F-705 bulkhead.

And on the F-704 bulkhead.

And on the aft deck which I put in place with clamps. I forgot to take pictures but there are two shims that go under the aft deck which you have to make from stock. Not a big deal at all but I managed to cut one short by an inch and had to make it over again. What do they say? Measure twice, cut once.

After checking several times to make sure the fuselage was level and there was no twist on the aft end I match drilled the aft deck to the longerons. I also match drilled through the spacers. This picture looks really cool with the reflective surface of the alclad. I’d like to leave it this way but this area may take in moisture so a good coat of primer will be a better plan.

I couldn’t resist putting the rudder pedal assembly into the fuselage. The nuts are not torqued because I may have to pull this out again.

Then I made a trip to Home Depot and bought the materials I need to make a lower stand for the fuselage. I found the plans on Vans Air Force posted by Lars Pedersen. I am making a slight mod but otherwise matching his design. Thanks Lars. I got about half way through building this thing today. I’m pooped now so I will pick up here tomorrow.

Categories: Fuselage

Riveted Steps – 1 hr

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Friday Sep 16, 2011

It occurred to me that it will be easier to rivet the steps to the side skins before rolling the canoe so Denise helped me take care of that tonight. I got underneath to buck and she shot the rivets from outside.

The rule of thumb is to put the factory heads of rivets on the side of the thinner material. But in this case that would put the uglier shop heads on the outside where they would be eternally visible. Since Vans lets you put pop rivets in these holes from the outside for retrofit purposes it makes sense that putting the factory heads of solid rivets would be OK too. Everybody else does that also. And they do look nice and clean on the outside as you can see below.

Categories: Center Section, Fuselage