Joined up the back and the front!

Dimpled the bulkheads and riveted the nut plates to them.

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Joined up the front and back and clecoed together. Starting to look very airplane-like.

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I neglected to chamfer the top aft edges of the seatbelt lugs when I did the fabrication. So did that and Machine countersunk them. Then shot them with some rattle can primer and stuck them in the vise to dry.

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Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 131.0
Total Time (hours): 585.5

Started riveting the side skins to the fuselage

Back riveted the side ribs, center section, and forward stiffener to the side skins.

 

Clecoed the side skin and longerons to the fuselage and bolted the upper drag link in place. I ran a bead of fuel tank sealant between the firewall and the skin and the upper longeron and the skin. Unfortunately it wasn’t until after I put the sealant in place that I realized that I hadn’t dimpled the flanges of the firewall.  In my defense, I can’t find where it says to do so in the instructions. What a fucking mess!  Thanks, Vans!

 

Riveted the canopy latch bracket and bulkhead side channel to the left skin.

 

Got about halfway through the riveting on the left side. Slow going. I was hoping to make more progress than I did today.

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Ran into one frigging rivet that necessitated removal of the landing gear bracket. This was a huge pain in the ass with the skin in place. There’s not enough room to get a drift in front of the main bulkhead to knock the outboard bolt out. Ended up using the short end of an allen wrench and hitting it with the long bucking bar that I have. There wasn’t room for a hammer. Once I got it started with this arrangement, I was then able to get a drift into the space and use the bucking bar to knock the bolt out. Would have saved a bunch of time had I removed the bracket before the skins went on. Burned over an hour on this.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 10.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 115.0
Total Time (hours): 569.5

Dimpling, Countersinking, and Assembly continues

Constructed a support leg from scrap wood and bolted to the bulkheads. Then turned the fuselage assembly up on its side to rivet the bottom.

 

 

Put clecos in all holes to be riveted. The final drilled and blind riveted the bottom skins to the drag links. This is as far as I could get without a riveting partner.

 

 

Sealed the muffler ramp to the bottom skins with fuel tank sealant.

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Dimpled and countersunk all of the parts except the skins.

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Riveted the roll bar angles to the intercostal ribs.

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Fabricated the seat adjustment guides and assembled the seat adjustment stuff to the cross brace.

 

 

 

Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 94.0
Total Time (hours): 548.5

Primed all the mid fuse side structure parts and began assembly

Primed all the mid fuse side structure parts.

 

Clecoed the mid fuselage to the forward fuselage section. Removed the bulkhead bars. Installed the angle fitting for the brake line into the landing gear brace with some thread sealant.  Bolted the lower drag fittings and gear braces to the fuselage structure. Bolted the upper drag fittings in place. Clecoed the center section side plates in place. Clamped the side plates to the upper drag fitting in preparation for drilling.

 

Mating up the forward and mid fuselage sections was pretty satisfying. Starting to look like something.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 87.0
Total Time (hours): 541.5

Completed most of the fabrication steps

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve settled into a strategy for most sections of the build… First I pick, inspect, and peel all the parts for the section. The I take a first pass through the instructions and perform all of the steps that require cutting, grinding, bending, etc. Then I deburr, scuff, and dimple all the parts. Then I prime everything. Finally I assemble and rivet everything. I’ve found this approach is much quicker then going step by step in the order of the instructions. I can set up the shop and tools for each operation and reorganize after each operation. I kind of get into a groove with each of the operations and avoid frequent tool changes. I also only need to set up for paint, which is a major operation, once per section.

Today I was focused on fabrication steps… I started with the upper longerons. I cut and trimmed according to the plans. The fabricated a couple of clamping blocks that allowed me to secure each longeron in the bench vise and clamp a lever to the end in order to bend a 10 degree twist into them. Finally I clamped and clecoed the upper engine mount brackets to the forward end of the longerons and match drilled them.

 

Drilled and cut the lower longerons and match drilled them to the lower engine mount brackets and longeron doublers.

 

Fabricated the hinges that will attach the cowling to the firewall.

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Separated a whole bunch of parts. Unfortunately my bandsaw blade gave up the ghost early on and I didn’t have a spare. So I used the snips for the thinner aluminum and the Dremel with a cutoff wheel for the thicker parts. A little bit slower but not too bad.

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I managed to lose a part somehow. I turned the shop upside down and couldn’t find the F-01422 Fuselage Side Ribs. I checked it off on the inventory. No idea what happened to it. Ordered a new one from Van’s.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 80.0
Total Time (hours): 534.5

 

Continued assembling the firewall

Riveted the angles and lower gusset to the right firewall side. Used tank sealant to Seal the top of the firewall to the sides and clecoed in place along with the top firewall angle and riveted them together. Clecoed the tunnel sides to the firewall assembly. Sealed the firewall center to the sides and top and clecoed in place. Clecoed the upper top angle and gussets in place. Final drilled the nose gear brackets.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 61.5
Total Time (hours): 516.0