Saturday, June 27, 2009

Built painting/drying screen

It's time to prime. I spent some time tonight getting my garage ready for priming. I built what's essentially an oversized cooling rack - the kind of thing you'd put cookies on to cool. It's approx. a 4x8 frame with chicken wire attached. Nothing fancy, but it will be very handy when I'm prepping and priming parts. It can be used for drying parts after alumiprep and alodine, and it can be used to hold parts while spraying AZKO. The hardest part was finding the darn box of screws I purchased for this.

Time spent: 2 hours (76 total)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Trim tab

I took the plunge and bent the trim tab. I've read that some people have trouble bending the trailing edge, and most people have trouble with the bends in the inboard and outboard edges, so I've been putting this off for a while.

I built the trailing edge "bending brake" out of 2x6's and door hinges. I took my time and gradually finished the bend in the trailing edge. Came out great.

Then I built bending blocks to bend the tabs in the inboard and outboard edges. I decided to make my blocks out of an oak stair tread. I've heard it's best to use a hard wood for bending blocks, and a stair tread was a cheap way to get a piece of oak. I cut the blocks at the proper angle, used a roll-on glue to keep the blocks from sliding, and clamped the trim tab in place on the edge of my work bench.

I started with the inboard tabs. First the bottom, then the top. I really took my time working it with a rubber mallet and a piece of pine to soften the blow. Once I bent the tab as far as it would go, I used the mushroom set on the rivet gun to finish the bend. I set the pressure as low as it would go (just before it stopped hammering) and worked the seam back and forth. I am happy with the results.

Once I was done bending, I clamped the elevator hinge to the spar and drilled it in place. I trimmed the hinge on the trim tab side according to the plans. I clamped the control horn in place and drilled that to the trim tab. Final drilled all holes, deburred, dimpled, and countersunk as directed, and called it a night.

Time spent: 4 hours (74 total)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dimpled and countersunk left elevator

Dimpled and countersunk the understructure according to the manual. Finished small tasks such as countersinking the counterweight and counterbalance skin, and adding bevels to the counterbalance skin. This time I believe I did the bevel correctly. It was supposed to go on the edge of the skin, not in the middle of the skin where the elevator skin overlaps it. I will probably have to order a new counterbalance skin as I probably created an unnecessary stress riser in the right counterbalance skin.

After finishing the understructure, I deburred and dimpled the holes in the left elevator skin.

Time spent: 3 hours (70 total)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Deburred edges of left elevator understructure

Short day in the workshop, but good to get something done. I deburred the edges of the left elevator understructure.

Time spent: 1 hour (67 total)

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Deburred all holes in the left elevator understructure and stiffeners.

Time spent: 1 hour (66 total)

Trim servo

Worked on installing the trim servo. Read the manual that came with the servo. Clecoed the reinforcement plate to the elevator skin. Lined up the servo mounting brackets on the inspection plate according to the diagram. I placed the brackets 3/8" from the forward side of the inspection plate as instructed, but the assembly had to be moved slightly inboard of where the plans call for to get it lined up properly. I've read that other builders have had to do the same thing. I marked the holes, drilled, and clecoed the servo in place.

Here's the servo installed on the elevator:

The alignment looks pretty good:

I drilled the reinforcement plate to the elevator skin, and then disassembled the entire elevator for deburring, dimpling, and countersinking. Getting very close to "prime time".

Time spent: 2 hours (65 total)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Right elevator work, skin is NOT defective

I heard back from Joe at Van's, and he said the offset hole is intentional. I tried once again to fit the ribs to the counterbalance skin and voila, it fit. It took a little bit of work to get the holes to line up, but they did. Doh! Next time I'll have to try harder before I assume a defective part.

I drilled the counterweight. It was much easier this time since I lubricated the drill and I stopped every few seconds to clean the lead shavings out of the drill bit.

I clecoed together the understructure, trimmed a few of the stiffeners a bit more (some need to be trimmed slightly shorter on this elevator), clecoed on the stiffeners, and clecoed the understructure to the elevator skin. Like the right elevator, I did not put the bend in the trailing edge yet, so I just clecoed the skin to the understructure one side at a time for drilling.

Final drilled the skins, the control horn, and any outstanding understructure holes.

At this point I decided to look at the trim servo assembly. The instructions are pretty vague on this topic - the only instructions in the manual are to "install the system according to your configuration" and "now would be a good time while there is sufficient access". Thare are some notes on the diagram, but not much. I read ahead in the empennage manual for any more instruction and did not find any. I'm going to assume that now is the time to install the reinforcement plate, the inspection plate, and the servo.

Here's where the servo goes on the underside of the right elevator:

Here is how it attaches to the inspection plate:

And here is how the unit will look once installed:

Time spent: 3.5 hours (63 total)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Elevators, found another defect

I got a shipment from Avery Tools that included a handy little dimple die set that uses a finish nail and a pull riveter to make dimples in really tight places. I used it to dimple some of the holes in the really tight spots on the inboard and outboard ribs. It still takes a bit of doing to get this tool in place - the nail has to be able to make the angle to go through the hole. I ground down one nail to make it easier.

I finished deburring, dimpling, and countersinking the right elevator.

I started work on the right elevators. Before too long I discovered another mispunched hole, this time on a counterbalance skin:

The corresponding hole on the other side was off as well:

I sent an email to Joe at Van's to see if they'll replace this skin. The last time this happened I simply put the rudder on hold and moved on to the next assembly. Tomorrow I'll see if I can move on to the trim tab. If not I may be stuck until the replacement arrives.

Time spent: 1.5 hours (59.5 total)