Began Work on Upper Forward Fuselage (Section 35)

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Picked, inspected, and peeled all the parts.

 

I separated all the parts that required parting and began fabrication. I made the canopy release pins by shortening and chamfering the ends of a couple of eye bolts. I made the canopy release push tubes from some aluminum tubing.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 176.0
Total Time (hours): 630.5

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

 

Assembly continues

Fluted the outboard seat and baggage ribs to mach the curve of the bottom skin. Riveted nut plates to the seat ribs.

 

Bolted and riveted the seat ribs to the bulkhead assembly.

 

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Riveted the seatbelt lugs and routing angles to the baggage ribs.

 

Riveted the aft bulkhead to the seat rib assembly. Drilled and riveted the doubler to the bulkhead. Fabricated and riveted together the idler bearing assembly and riveted to the bulkhead.

 

Clecoed the bottom skins together and match drilled some holes. Cut the landing gear leg openings in the forward skins. Machine countersunk the doublers and dimpled the skin stiffeners. Drilled the 9/16″ hole in the skin with a step drill. This hole will be used to mount the transponder antenna.

 

 

Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 31.0
Total Time (hours): 485.5

 

Began work on mid fuselage lower structure

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Picked and inspected all the parts. There are a lot of them.

 

Cut all the parts that needed to parted using hacksaw, bandsaw, and Dremel. Pro tip: peel the parts BEFORE you cut them. Otherwise there are a lot more of them to peel. Duh!

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Peeled all the parts.

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Ready for edge deburring.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 16.0
Total Time (hours): 470.5

 

Completed left wingtip–Almost

All the things I did to the right wing yesterday, I did to the left wing today.

 

 

Thought I was finally at th end of the wings… but ran into another snag. When I was countersinking the screw holes in the tip, I hit a thin spot in the fiberglass and the countersink caught and made a giant hole. So I made a fiberglass patch. I’ll fill in the other side with some micro once the patch sets up. Then I can install the final nut plate and be done with the wings!

 

 

Traveling this week. So I will begin work on the fuselage next weekend.

Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Wing Time (hours): 298.0
Total Time (hours): 450.0

 

Completed Right Wingtip

Laid out the cut the left and right wing tips. I made over-ran on of the cuts by an inch or so on the left wing. So I did a little patch and fill with some fiberglass and micro and set it aside to cure. Then continued work on the right wingtip.

 

Cut and installed the nav light lens.

 

Installed the nav/strobe light. Used the template from the plans to drill the wingtip. Terminated the wires with Molex .062 pins. Unfortunately Vans provided a 4-pin molex housing instead of the 5-pin one that matches the wiring harness in the wing. <sigh> Now I get to pay $10 in shipping for two $1 moles housings. Mounted the bracket and installed the light. Tested it out with a 9-volt. That sucker is bright!

 

Fit the wingtip to the wing and set it in place with a ratchet strap. Match drilled the holes from the wing skins to the wingtip. Final drilled and dimpled the holes in the wing for #6 screws. Final drilled the screw holes in the wing tip and then used a nut plate, a screw, and a cleco as a drill jig to drill the nut plate attach holes. Machine countersunk the screw and rivet holes and riveted the nut plates in place.

 

Fit the wing tip rib to the wingtip. Laid out and match drilled rivet holes. Riveted the rib in place.

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Bam! Right wingtip done.

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Today’s Time (hours): 8.0
Wing Time (hours): 293.0
Total Time (hours): 445.0