Sanded and attached horizontal stabilizer tips

Sanded and fit the HS tip to fit. Before I paint the airplane, these will need to be filled and finish sanded.

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Final drilled #30, dimpled the skins, and machine countersunk the tip.

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I picked up a pneumatic rivet puller at Harbor Freight yesterday. I used it to set the rivets and attach the tips.  So much nicer the the manual puller!

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This completes the work on the horizontal stabilizer and elevators. So I’ve moved them to a safe place until I’m ready to final attach them at the end of the build.

Today’s Time (hours): 1.5
Empennage Time (hours): 205.0
Total Time (hours): 205.0

 

Attached right elevator tip

Same drill as as the left tip… Final drilled #30, remove counterweights, dimple reinstall and torque counterweights, countersink tip, cleco, and pop rivet.

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Tada

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I used this bit on the Dremel to cut some fiberglass and phone out of the middle of the HS tip to correct the fitting issue I mentioned yesterday. Not a precision instrument. At least not in my hands. But it got the job done.

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I added a temporary foam block to hold the correct width.

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I used some masking tape to compress to the correct width. And adjusted to an interference fit with the HS skin.

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Cut some cloth to fit the inside of the tip.

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Added epoxy and set aside to cure. Once it’s hard, I’ll remove the temporary foam spacer and backfill the gap I cut with micro at the same time I fill the front side.

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Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Empennage Time (hours): 203.0
Total Time (hours): 203.0

 

Attached left elevator tip

I final drilled #30 the elevator skin to the tip. Then I removed the tip and countersunk the holes.

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I dimpled the holes in the elevator.

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I had to remove the counterweight to dimple the forward two holes. Then reinstalled and re-torqued the nuts.

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Installed the tip with CS4 pop rivets. I’m thinking I might replace my pop rivet tool. I’m getting a burr on the top of all of the rivets and I’ve had several break off in the tool. I’m careful to keep the tool perpendicular to the work but this keeps happening. A while back, a mandrel got jammed in the tool. I disassembled it to remove the mandrel and reassembled it. But I think the jaws are not grabbing properly now.

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In other news, you can see that after trimming and sanding the left HS tip, it fits nicely. The right tip is another story. I think I neglected to final fit it after I sanded the foam or perhaps I seated the foam too deeply. In any event, it spread the tip about an eighth too far and now the tip wont fit between the top and bottom skins at the spar. I’ll noodle on how I might salvage the part for a while and If I can’t I’ll order a new one. My best thought at this point is to take a 1/8″ wedge out of the middle of the foam/fiberglass with a saw and then put  another layer of glass over it.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 1.0
Empennage Time (hours): 201.0
Total Time (hours): 201.0

 

Fiberglass work on HS tips

Jared came by with all of his fiberglass stuff and showed me how to close out the horizontal stabilizer tips. I am so grateful to have someone who built the same plane as well as a couple of others that’s willing to help me out as I am learning to build my first plane. Thank you Jared!

We started by attaching the elevators to the hs on the bench. I drilled and clecoed the elevator tips that I had trimmed and fit yesterday to the elevators. Then we trimmed and fit the HS tips to the horizontal stabilizer. We drilled and clecoed them in place and trimmed the trailing edge to match the profile of the leading edge of the elevator tip with a 1/8″ gap.

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Then we trimmed and fit the HS tips to the horizontal stabilizer. We drilled and clecoed them in place and trimmed the trailing edge to match the profile of the leading edge of the elevator tip with a 1/8″ gap. We removed the tips and cut out a foam backer and sanded it to fit into the HS tip.

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I traced the inboard edge of the tip on some glass cloth and cut it out with shears.

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We used West Systems epoxy with the fast hardener. First we mixed up a batch of epoxy and incorporated glass micro bubbles into the resin to make a thick paste that we used to glue the foam in place.

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Then we mixed up another batch of epoxy and laid the glass cloth over the foam. I used a brush to impregnate the cloth with resin and set it into place. It’s rare that I get a picture of me actually building my plane! Photo credit to jared. I had the mask on to work with the micro bubbles. it’s powder fine and super light so it disperses into the air easily and probably isn’t very good to breath.

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And here are the HS tips setting up. Once they’ve cured I’ll fill them with micro and sand them to match the profile of the leading edge of the elevator.

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Today’s Time (hours): 4.0
Empennage Time (hours): 200.0
Total Time (hours): 200.0

 

Finished attaching elevators. Started attaching horizontal stabilizer

Fabricated a spacer block to act as a drill guide and clamped it between the horns. Double checked that the elevators were still clamped in the trailing position. Match drilled the left horn to the right horn.

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Checked to make sure everything was aligned and nothing was binding. All was good. Nice and smooth through the whole range.

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Positioned the horizontal stabilizer on the aft fuselage and bolted the forward spar to the attach bars. I clecoed the middle holes on the aft spar to the aft attach bars. I drilled the two top holes and installed bolts.

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Unfortunately I could not get the drill squared up to the spar for the lower holes because of interference with the aft bulkhead. I’ll have to head off to home depot to get a long 1/4″ drill.

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Today’s Time (hours): 1.5
Empennage Time (hours): 190.5
Total Time (hours): 190.5

 

Started attachment of elevators to horizontal stabilizer

Screwed the rod end bearings into the elevator forward spar.

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Fitting the right side was very tight. I’m sure theres a proper tool to do this but I ended up using a cresent wrench to twist the bearings. There was no way I could do it by hand.

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On the left side I couldn’t even get the threads to engage. On close inspection I discovered that the nut plates were a hair off center from the hole in the spar and reinforcement plate.  I enlarged the hole by a 16th being careful not to damage the nut plate. Then I  was able to get them screwed in with the cresent wrench. I screwed them in to the measurement called out in the plans.

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I temporarily attached the left elevator to the horizontal stabilizer. I checked the clearance of the forward edge at the maximal up and down deflections. I used a digital level to fin the maximal deflection points. I had remove the elevator and backed the rod end bearings out three turns to get the necessary clearance.

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I used a clamp to lightly hold the elevator in the trailing position to locate the pivot hole in the elevator horn.

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I made a spacing block as called for in the plans and clamped it in place. I then honed down the drill bushing to get a snug fit in the bearing and used it to drill a #30 hole in the elevator.

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I enlarged the hole hole to 1/4″ with a step drill and deburred the hole. Then repeated this whole process on the right elevator.

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I reattached both elevators to the horizontal stabilizer. I used the appropriate hardware to make up the center hinge. It was extremely challenging getting the washers between the horns and the edges of the bearing. I ended up taping the washers to a small piece of scrap aluminum and using it to shoehorn the washers in place. Then I lightly clamped both elevators into the trailing position.

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I measured and marked the location for the control attach hole on the right elevator and drilled a #40 hole and final drilled it to #12.

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Tomorrow I’ll make a guide block and match drill the hole to the other horn.

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 189.0
Total Time (hours): 189.0