Completed Forward Fuselage Lower Structure (Section 28)

Applied a bead of tank sealant to the bottom flanges of the muffler shroud sides and riveted them to the forward skins. Riveted the muffler shroud ramp to the sides and added a fillet of sealant to the bottom of each seam.

 

 

 

Positioned the firewall assembly on the forward skins and muffler shroud. Added sealant between the skins and firewall and around the curved area where the muffler shroud connects to the firewall and clecoed everything together. Riveted the cover bases to the skin. Riveted the curved part of the firewall to the muffler shroud sides and ramp.

 

 

 

Riveted the firewall angle to the firewall and skins. Dimpled the cowl places and shims and riveted them in place.

 

 

 

Riveted the tunnel sides to the skins and muffler shroud.

 

 

Riveted the routing bracket and fuel selector bracket in place.

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Riveted and bolted to forward center section bulkhead to the tunnel side. Riveted the skins to the cover ribs.

 

 

Sealed and screwed the firewall penetration fittings to the firewall.

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Fabricated and assembled the cabin heat vent assemblies. Then riveted them in place on the firewall along with their control cable brackets.

 

Machine countersunk the battery box attach holes and riveted it to the firewall.

 

Dimpled the cover panel and riveted it to the forward flanges of the cover ribs along with a gazillion nut plates.

 

Forward Fuselage Lower Structure… Done! On to the side structures!

 

 

Today’s Time (hours): 8.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 73.0
Total Time (hours): 527.5

 

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

 

Completed assembling left tank

Same drill as the right tank yesterday…

 

Both tanks are now fully assembled. I’ll give them a few days and then pressure test them to find and seal any leaks. Then I can attach them to the wings and move on to the bottom wing skins and aileron actuation.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Wing Time (hours): 229.0
Total Time (hours): 381.0

 

Finished assembling right tank.

Added a bead of tank sealant for the baffle. Clecoed the baffle in place. Riveted the baffle to the ribs and then riveted the z-brackets in place. Then riveted the baffle to the skin.

 

Installed the fuel drain, the fuel sender, AN fittings, and the fuel cap.

 

Machine countersunk the holes in the tank attach bracket for #8 screws.

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The right tank is now complete and once the sealant has cured, I can pressure test it. Hoping to get the left tank to the same state tomorrow.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Wing Time (hours): 226.0
Total Time (hours): 378.0

 

Added nutplates

Short build session tonight… Got all the nutplates riveted on to the inboard edge of the tank skins.

The sealant is curing up nicely.

 

I also temporarily installed the fuel senders in order to tweak the float rods to ensure the proper clearances. I’l permanently install them with sealant after I’ve riveted the baffles in place.

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Today’s Time (hours): 1.0
Wing Time (hours): 223.0
Total Time (hours): 375.0

 

Recommenced fuel tank assembly

Jared came by again today to help out. Thanks, man. You’re the best!

We got the fuel drains, fuel filer and stiffeners re-installed.

 

 

Installed the ribs in the right tank.

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Made up installed the vent line for the right tank. Added installed the right tank attach bracket and aft inboard rib and filleted everything with sealer. Both tanks are now ready to be closed out with the rear baffle.

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I cannot over state what a sticky, smelly, messy process this is. My shop looks like a sealant bomb went off.  Every tool I own has some sealant on it now.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 10.0
Wing Time (hours): 222.0
Total Time (hours): 374.0

 

Fuel Tanks: the struggle is real.

Fuel tanks are absolutely kicking my ass. I got back from Toronto last night and checked to see if the sealant had cured. The stuff I had applied Monday had hardened up nicely. The first batch from from Sunday was still gooey. Not cool. They came from the same can. So I must have made a mistake in mixing that batch.

I talked to Jared and Van’s. Consensus was that it may cure eventually but Van’s recommended that I re-seal these parts with properly mixed sealant. Unfortunately this meant removing 22 stiffeners, 2 fuel fillers, and 2 fuel drains. I had to drill out a couple hundred rivets and was left with a sticky mess. Thankfully the sealant on all of the ribs we had just riveted into the left skin was fine.

When the sealant is first applied, it wipes off easily with some lacquer thinner. Once it has started to cure, not so much. I’m headed to Aircraft Spruce tomorrow to pick up some PolyGone. It is specifically designed to remove polysulfide fuel tank sealant.

 

It was essential to my sanity that I make at least some modicum of forward progress today. So I bent up the rods for the fuel sender floats per the plans. Since the ribs were installed in the left tank, I was even able to fine tune the left sender to the proper clearances.

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Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Wing Time (hours): 208.0
Total Time (hours): 360.0