6th July 2011

Odd jobs

Trimmed the UHMW block for the top canopy latch, and drilled the holes which bolt it to the canopy frame.  Found a washer that fits the shaft of the latch, and drilled the shaft for a cotter pin, but discovered that the washer’s OD is too large to fit on it; it hits the canopy frame.  I’ll have to dig deeper in the bags, as I must have pulled the wrong washer.  I’m also planning to install the spring modification that others have done, which allows the latch to tuck up parallel to the canopy frame, eliminating the possibility of locking oneself out of the plane if the latch were to slip.

Installed plugs in the open ports of the pitot & static manifolds.  I installed these manifolds to allow for easy expansion in the future, to run lines to a second/third EFIS, autopilot, and whatever new gadget comes along that needs it.  I haven’t found the second long screw I bought to secure these, though…looking like a fresh one from Menard’s.

Installed the center bearing block for the rudder pedals.

Shaped the upper body of the Gretz pitot tube slightly as needed to fit into the pitot mast, put the nutplates on the mast, and installed it to the wing.  Then, installed the pitot tube to the mast after trimming the pressure line and wires as needed, and wired/plumbed it.  I decided to try using a straight quick-connect union to join the 1/4″ copper line from the pitot tube to the nylon tubing which runs through the wing, since they’re supposed to be OK for all types of tubing.  If it doesn’t work, there’s plenty of room and remaining length on the tubes to do it a different way.  With the pitot installed, I rolled the wing cart over to the fuselage and plugged the left wing in, to verify operation of the heater.  Cooling it off with a cupful of ice water caused the heater to kick on, and the indicators indicated appropriately.  Check.

Drilled attachment holes in the rudder cable fairings, then match-drilled them to the fuselage.  I went with one hole in each corner for a total of three; if this proves not enough, it’ll be easy to add two more holes halfway along the sides.  I plan to attach these with blind rivets; easy, and easy enough to remove with a drill if needed later.  Primed the inside surface of the fairings and left to dry.

When testing the pitot heater, I had all three of the annunciator lights lit up on the panel, and grabbed a couple photos.  I really like how these LED indicators worked out, even though they were a bit pricey.  They may end up being too bright at night, but with the way they’re wired, it would be simple to add a bright/dim switch, or even a dimmer pot.  And, they should be dark in the normal condition, so it may be a non-issue.  (The camera makes them look brighter than they actually are, too; the hotspots in the photo aren’t apparent to the naked eye.)  I’m still very happy with the panel design & layout; putting that together was, as expected, one of the highlights of the project.

Hours: 3.1 | Posted in Accessories & Mods, Aft Fuselage, Canopy & Frame | Comments Off

23rd September 2010

The end of the wing riveting

Finished up the wing skin riveting tonight (excepting the nutplates for the inspection covers).  I’m clearly not as good of a left-handed riveter, as I managed to put an ugly ding in the right wing bottom skin by slipping off the bar.  Sigh.  Smoothed it out a bit and will either leave it alone or use some filler before paint to level it.

Cleaned the shop up and made room for the wing attach, hopefully coming up this weekend.  The rudder & elevators were removed and stored, then the fuselage was turned into the center of the shop and leveled in both axes.  Measurements were taken, and it appears that there is enough room to fit the wings without having to clear the piles of stuff from the side walls.  The canopy was also removed, as it would hit the garage door opener if opened fully, and having it off will give better access for leaning over to reach the spar bolts.

Wing riveting complete Setting up for the wing attach Fuselage levelled Canopy removed for ease of access

Next step: read up on what needs to be done prior to the wing attach (so far: trim rear spar stub, trim fuel/vent lines, and some sort of marking for the root fairing holes…what else?)

Hours: 2.4 | Posted in Skin Panels, Wing & Tail Joins | Comments Off

20th September 2010

Yet more wing riveting

Continued riveting the right wing bottom skins…got through about 2/3 of the outboard skin before calling it a night to avoid annoying the neighbors.

Hours: 1.8 | Posted in Skin Panels | Comments Off

19th September 2010

More wing skin riveting

Finished the left wing bottom outboard skin, and riveted on the right bottom inboard skin.  Clecoed the right outboard in place for the next session.

Left wing riveting complete Pitot mount area

Hours: 4.8 | Posted in Skin Panels | Comments Off

18th September 2010

Wing skin riveting

Started work on riveting the wing bottom skins.  Finished the inboard left, and half of the outboard left, so the left wing is 2/3rds complete.

Shop time has slowed considerably as the beginning-of-the-year crunch hit hard at work; a number of different need-it-now projects for different constituents, and I come home feeling wiped and not really motivated to do anything but nap after dinner.  Hopefully with a concerted effort to head out for at least a bit on most nights, forward motion can be maintained.

Hours: 4.6 | Posted in Skin Panels | Comments Off

9th September 2010

More wing prep

Ran another cable in the right wing conduit for the OAT probes, that had been left out in the previous bundle.  This terminates at the middle inspection panel, as I thought that would be better than placing it at the outer panel with the bellcrank and autopilot servo…keeps the wire away from the controls that way.

Put the nutplates and cable wear blocks on the baggage wall halves and set them aside.

Clecoed the inner bottom wing skins to the rear spar.  I need to look up and see what pattern others have found works for riveting the bottom skins.

Hours: 1.3 | Posted in Electrical, Skin Panels | Comments Off

6th September 2010

Wing skins ready

Worked against the weather today to get the wing skins primed.  While the spray gear was set up, the baggage wall pieces were primed and painted, as well.  Thinning the Rustoleum paint has been hit-and-miss, and today’s batch was a miss…I think it was thinned out too far, and the panels ended up with very heavy coats to get the coverage needed without pinholes…they have a different look than the rest of the interior; for now, we’ll let it go, since there are other inconsistencies, and these panels can easily be pulled out, stripped, and repainted later if it becomes bothersome.

Also finished wiring the internal parts of the wings, trimming the wires to length and crimping on the connectors for the landing lights and the D-sub for the autopilot servo, and terminating the leads to the pitot heat control board.  I later realized that I have not yet run cable for the OAT sensors which will be installed in the right wing to feed the EFIS boxes.  I also epoxied some zip-tie bases to the underside of the seatback bulkhead for holding the headset jack wires, and installed the baggage light strip under there as well, using it’s built-in adhesive strip.

Pitot heat controller wired Landing light connectors Autopilot servo connector

Neighbor Jeff stopped by to check on the progress; it’s been awhile since he’s seen the project.  People who see it now say it looks like an airplane.

Hours: 5.2 | Posted in Electrical, Skin Panels | Comments Off

29th August 2010

Back to the wings

A collection of things happening in the shop today.  First thing up, finish the canopy sealing.  The excess Sikaflex was rubbed off the exterior of the top skin and the inside of the rear window and canopy (from gluing the spacer gaps), followed by removal of the rear window spacers and insertion of sealant into those gaps.  Smoothed those over with tongue depressors and all looks good.  Some canopy work remains, of course, but the plexi is in place (which was the big summer goal).

Final sealant applied to roll bar Canopy is nearly finished

Before the gear can be put on the fuselage, the wings need to be fit, which was skipped earlier in order to get the canopy done in the warmth of summer.  In order to do that , the wings will need to be finished (bottom skins riveted on, which means that they must be wired and plumbed).  Out came bottom wing skins, which needed edge deburring and a few dimples made.  After those were done, the skins were etched for priming along with the rear baggage wall; unfortunately it was too windy to prime until after dark, so that’ll have to wait for another day.

Cleaned up the inside of the wings, which had naturally collected a layer of shop dust and spiderwebs, and set about running the various wires and tubes for the in-wing systems (pitot heat, lights, strobes, AOA, and autopilot).  Everything except the pitot tube was run inside the corrugated conduit which was installed during the wing build.  A hole was drilled in the conduit near the aileron bellcranks, to permit wires to emerge for autopilot and pitot heat; once these wires are in position, some RTV can be used there to prevent any chafing on the conduit edge.  The control module for the heated pitot was installed on the rib near the bellcrank inspection hole, which should allow access to hook up the pitot wires later on.  The pitot tube was secured underneath the aileron bellcrank with an adel clamp to prevent interference or chafing.  All the wiring and tube will terminate at the wing root in connectors, to allow the wings and fuselage to be fully wired in the shop, and easily joined at the airport later on.

Inboard end left wing Wing wiring/plumbing outboard end Pitot control module installed Pitot line secured under bellcrank

Hours: 5.2 | Posted in Canopy & Frame, Electrical, Skin Panels | Comments Off

7th November 2009

Perfect day for priming

An unexpected warm weekend provided the perfect opportunity to prime the parts I had ready — essentially, the firewall and center section components, plus the aileron pushrods left from the wings.  The air was right for priming, warm and dry, and things moved quickly, though I did have to etch & dry the parts first.  After priming the parts, I let them dry for awhile, then sprayed the visible side of the firewall parts with Rustoleum Hammered from a rattle can.  We picked out the Dark Bronze color the other day at Menards, and I think it looks nice.  I was impressed with the pictures I saw from some other builders who used this paint, and though it may not be as durable as something like JetFlex (nor come in as many color options), I appreciate the fact that it can be easily touched up by buying another can from any hardware store.  Word on the street is that it reaches its max hardness after a week or two of curing.

While I had the primer out, I poured some into the aileron pushrods to coat the insides, and pop-riveted the ends on.  (Hint: don’t prime the mating surfaces of the pushrod and the end piece, rather, install them “wet,” as the thickness of two coats of primer makes an already tight fit an impossible one.)  Later in the evening, I squeezed the nutplates onto the center section pieces, and riveted the web stiffeners to the forward bulkhead, as well as dug up and installed the snap bushings.

Bulkhead components primed Painting firewall components

Hours: 5.5 | Posted in Bulkheads, Wings | Comments Off

28th September 2009

Aileron wrapup

Some odds and ends on the ailerons…put torque-seal on the bracket bolts, short pushrod ends, and put the ailerons back on the wings for safe-keeping.  Spent some time tidying the shop as well.  Still haven’t primed the long pushrod parts, as it’s been an insanely busy week.

Bellcrank installed in wing

Hours: 1.0 | Posted in Ailerons | Comments Off