Started the Right Flap

December 29, 2011

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So I’m writing this a few days in the future, so bear with me if I can’t recall everything in detail.

Today, Joe came over to assist in some airplane building, and I figured it would be a good time to start in on the right flap.

First, though, I spent a little time with the aileron bellcrank and pushrod. I adjusted the rod ends to equal length on the screw ends, then turned each a turn at a time until I got the aileron perfectly aligned with my “alignment stick.” (BTW, “alignment stick” reminds me of a disciplinary tool used by catholic school nuns…shudder.)

Here's the large view.

And a closeup. Can't get much better than that.

Oh, and with the rearrangement of the exercise room and guest room upstairs, I’ve been…”strongly encouraged” to get the airplane parts out of the living spaces.

Notice she waited until after I put a ring on it to tell me to get my airplane crap out into the garage. Just kidding, she’s wonderful, and I’ve been meaning to get things hung up in the garage for awhile.

Here’s the horizontal stabilizer hung (very securely) with some red hooks through the pegboard and into some 2x4s.

That's the largest piece that was upstairs.

Joe showed up, so we started gathering the left flap parts. Here are the skins, the spar, and some of the ribs.

We pulled the blue vinyl off everything instead of worrying about doing lines with the soldering iron. I think I've given up on that for good.

We followed the directions carefully (except for the part where they want you to edge finish first. I like to do it before final prep) and started clecoing parts together and matchdrilling.

Here's an action shot of Joe working the cleco pliers. (I'll need a second pair if he's going to come over and help a lot.)

When we started working on the interior ribs, all hell broke loose. I had been carefully explaining that we’re building the right flap, so everything is reversed from the plans. All of the flanges on the left flap pointed left, so we assumed the all the flanges on the right side faced right. Well, the holes weren’t lining up correctly. We sat for a few minutes and finally figured out that maybe I built the left flap with the right flap’s interior ribs, and that I could probably swap them here, too. I made a mental note to confirm this with Van’s support after the holidays when Joe noticed this note RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLAP DRAWING.

Whew. That explains it. Glad I didn’t mess this up, too. We flipped the flanges over (so they faced the left) and all the holes magically lined up again. Build on!

A big note, right under my nose.

After matchdrilling the ribs and skins to the spar, we moved on to the hinge.

Picture below is the same procedure I used on the left flap, carefully constraining the flap to make sure there was perfect alignment.

I used the four clamps in between each hole to maintain perfect alignment. After a few holes, we'd remove the clamps and verify we had good hinge movement.

As we progressed down the flap, we got a little braver, and stopped using the sideclamps. I had C clamps about every 10 holes, and drilled a hole next to the previously drilled and clecoed hole. We maintained perfect alignment the whole time, and it saved a ton of time not having to remove 4 clamps, check movement, add 4 clamps, drill 4 holes, cleco 4 holes, and then remove the 4 clamps.

In no time, we had the right hinge drilled.

We're moving right along.

Finally, we stuck the top skin on and Joe got busy matchdrilling.

Nice shiny top skin.

While he was busy doing that, I started fabrication on the flap angles (I forgot the part numbers, sorry).

I didn't make the final cut on the angle yet, I'll do that later.

After a little marking and bending…

Marked and bent. (Aiming for 6.3° is silly. It's much easier to bend it a little, then check fit against the flap.)

The first try, I overbent it a little.

See the wedge-shaped gap there?

After a few more tweaks, it was perfect, so we started matchdrilling the angles to the ribs/spar.

I don't remember the significance of this picture. Must be the matchdrilling...

Then, we positioned and drilled the holes for the K1000-4 nutplate.

Nicely done, Joe.

Then, we disassembled everything and THOUGHT about started preparation for priming.

Want to start the tedious prep work?

No way, it’s lunchtime, and Joe had to go meet his better half.

3.0 hours with Joe today. Since we really didn’t work simultaneously on anything, I’m going to count it as straight time. I’ll count his time as double when we aren’t watching each other work. See you guys next year!

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Some More Left Flap Work

October 23, 2011

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Yes.

That’s the answer to the question “Hey Andrew, are you building an airplane, or what?

Yes, yes. Of course I am. But, I am taking my time. Not out of “choice”, but out of “holy crap, there are eighteen thousand other things I have to do today”…which was the theme of the day for the last two weeks…

But, I can’t complain too much. Last weekend, I was in Chicago for Zanetoberfest, and just yesterday, the girlfriend and I headed up to Virginia to a winery.

What a hard life I lead!

Anyway, I promised myself (and my girlfriend…no more middle-seat once the airplane’s done, I promise!) that I would get a little bit done today.

So, I headed out to the garage, dusted off two weeks of non-activity, and got to work.

Last thing I had done was to (very successfully) drill the flap hinge to the left flap. It’s still a little long, though, so I need to trim it up a bit.

I know I’m going to use the “secure-in-the-middle” technique, so I used some snips (with a wide berth) to snip the soft hinge, but left the pin intact. Once I can get the wing flipped over, I can figure out which middle eyelet to remove and trim down this pin, but for now, it’s going back on the shelf as a whole until I can get it figured out.

Here's the hinge just after snipping. Notice the intact pin.

Then, We cleco on the top skin and start matchdrilling.

Sweet.

I had to do a little maneuvering to get the spacer lined up (the sandwiched thin spacer below), but I ended up getting it matchdrilled okay, too.

The shadows make these parts all look distorted, but I assure you, they are not.

I also found the AA6x125x1.5x2x10 (whoa, that’s a hell of a part number) and started marking some holes and lines for trimming.

I drew both up before trimming.

I didn't trim the shorter flange down yet. It's 1.5" now, and it needs to come down to 0.75", but I want to wait and see how everything lines up first.

After matchdrilling the three right-most (in the picture) holes from the spar, I flipped it over and drilled the five left-most holes from the angle. I had previously drilled those from markings to #40, so it was easy to drill everything up to #30 all at once.

Aluminum shavings. I've been missing you in my life.

The other portion of this support is delivered from Van’s as a straight piece. Due to the wing-to-fuselage geometry, the spar-to-rib angle is 6.3° or something. Really?

They show you where the bend line should be, so I marked it, then clecoed the only matched hole to the rib, just to make sure the line would be in the right place.

Sanity check complete, let's bend!

Of course, I didn’t take any pictures of my bending, but it worked just like everyone else; one side in a vice, the other side sandwiched between two pieces of wood. Then, some big-a55 pliers…a little finesse…Perfect. 6.3°? On the dot.

OMG, THOSE PARTS NEED DEBURRING!

Then, some more match-drilling…

I haven't been building in a few weeks, but I think this is where I'm supposed to say "TADAAAAAA!"

1.5 hours. I hope this is the start of a string of building days. We’ll see.

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Started Matchdrilling Right Wing

February 8, 2011

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Well, after 50% clecoing the right wing yesterday, I finally broke out the plumb bobs and measured my wing twist again. It was within a millimeter (sorry, I could only find my metric rule tonight).

After a quick celebration dance (I must have misplaced the video of the dance, sorry), I fired up the air compressor and put a drillstop on my #40 bit.

First, I matchdrilled every other hole on the top side of the right wing, then moved all of the clecos over one hole and matchdrilled the remaining holes. Keep in mind that I have about 600 clecoes, 500 of which are in the right wing right now. That’s a lot of drilling and cleco-moving.

I then moved to the bottom side and drilled all of the open holes, then started moving clecos, and got tired. Later this week, I have to finish moving clecoes on the bottom side of the right wing and matchdrill the remaining holes.

To help you understand how tedious it is to move all of these clecos, I’ll leave you with the following pictures.

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1.0 hours.

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Right Wing Top Skins Clecoed to Skeleton

January 23, 2011

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Alright, I was having a bad day with the rear spar, so after I got most of it riveted on, I moved on to the skins.

I jumped the gun a little and clecoed on the top outboard skin (jumped the gun because the spar wasn’t re-leveled and the inboard skin outboard edge actually underlaps the outboard top skin.

Anyway, with just two clecos in the skin, I was able to thread some string around a cleco on either end of the spar to jack up the center of the rear spar.

The string is supposed to line up with the top of the smaller holes on the right.

After some jacking, the spar is now perfectly straight.

Nice and straight.

Next,  I pulled out the top outboard skin. This is the right version (they are actually the same from Van’s, but I had pulled off the vinyl on the side I intended to be the interior side for the wing walk doubler.

The devinyled part in the foreground is where the wingwalk doubler will sit.

Many builders before me have complained that Van’s wants you to trim the provided doubler from 10″ to 9 3/8″.

Many builders have left it at 10″, then matchdrilled to the skin, then found out there is a matchdrilled hole that violates edge distance.

It would probably be okay, but why include that extra 5/8″ strip of 26″ long aluminum if you don’t have to?

IT’S WEIGHT SAVINGS!!!

Anyway, my snips do a great job with this aluminum, so I got to it and started edge finishing.

”]Then, you line up the forward edge of the doubler 9/16″ from the forward edge of the top skin.

 

See my little sharpie mark?

Then, tape that bad boy up, assuring that the inboard edges are flush.

Taped!

Then, you flip the skin over and start matchdrilling. I used clecos every so often to hold everything together nicely.

About halfway through, I lifted up the assembly to check on progress.

Looking good.

After more drilling…

Done!

I pulled apart the skins to clean everything up. Lot’s of aluminum shavings everywhere.

Sorry for the blurry picture.

Then, I spent a few minutes getting the top skins clecoed on.

Wuhoo! it's starting to look like a wing!

This is the less exciting under side.

This was a nice positive finish to counteract my riveting blunders earlier. I’ll talk to Van’s about the rear spar.

I hope I don’t have to replace it.

0.5 hours of clecoing fun.

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Countersunk Left Main Spar, Drilled Left Rear Spar

November 13, 2010

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Well, I managed to motivate myself out into the garage a little this weekend.

I only have a few more steps on the left main spar, and the the left rear spar, before I really need to get my butt in gear with the rib deburring and finally build a wing stand.

Today, I focused on countersinking the screw holes for the tank attachment.

Reading back over my own old post (in which I reference some other builders), I found this table. I’ll copy it here, too.

Countersink Widths for Numbered Screws
Screw Size Width [in]
#6 <0.3125
#8 0.365-0.375

So, I broke out my trusty digital calipers, zeroed them out, and dialed in .312.”

Sorry for the blurry picture.

So, with microstop countersink cage on the front of my drill, I got to work. Here are the smaller countersinks for the #6 inspection plate attach screws on the bottom flange of the left spar.

Pretty countersinks.

Then, I moved up to the 0.370″ countersinks for the larger #8 tank attach holes.

Looking good.

Somewhere in here I flipped the spar over and finished all the countersinking on the upper flange of the left spar.

Sweet.

After the countersinking, I scrounged up the left rear spar and corresponding doubler plates.

Left Rear Spar, reinforcement fork, and doublers.

Per the plans, I grabbed the W-707E and aligned it 50 3/4″ from the outboard edge of the rear spar.

I promise it is right at 50 3/4". I think the paralax make it look off.

W-707F is laterally aligned with the outboard edge of the rear spar channel.

W-707F is clamped and ready to matchdrill.

Here’s W-707E, ready to drill.

After drilling one #30 hole.

All done.

Then, I moved outboard to W-707F.

Before matchdrilling.

All done.

I call this the forest of clecos.

I moved inboard and matchdrilled all of the reinforcement fork holes.

A lot of drilling.

I pulled the doubler plates and reinforcement fork off and set them aside.

I still need to drill out the aileron pushtube bracket hole.

Reinforcement fork pulled off.

Next up, deburr all parts, along with finishing any last minute tasks like dimpling where I can’t reach later, then prep for priming, prime, and rivet the rear spar together.

1.5 hours.

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More Right Tiedown Work, Started Right Rear Spar

September 5, 2010

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Whoa, it’s been awhile since I actually got any work done on the airplane. I’m going to blame my exploding lawnmower (long story), business trips, and the wood floors project.

Anyway, I managed to find a good bi-metal hole saw from the aviation department at Lowe’s, so I chucked that thing up in the drill press and started in on the spacer lightening holes.

Under all that mess is a spacer with a freshly cut hole in it.

I am not really a fan of cutting those things this way, but I don’t have a fly cutter (apparently the one from Harbor Freight sucks), so this was the best I could do.

They actually turned out really nicely.

Two spacers, that go against the spar web.

Like many other builders, I taped them down before putting the tiedown bracket in place, flipping the spar over, and matchdrilling the remaining 7 holes.

After everything has been matchdrilled, I pulled it apart. Looking good so far.

Then, I skipped a couple pictures, but basically You bolt the tiedown bracket, spacers, and nutplates in place and use the nutplates to backdrill the attach holes (small ones on either side of the bigger holes). They all turned out great, except for the upper left set, which for some reason are a little crooked. It doesn’t matter what the nutplate ear orientation is, I was just annoyed they didn’t turn out perfectly aligned.

Somehow that upper left one's alignment got away from me.

Then, you have to countersink the nutplate attach holes (this side of the spacers must sit flush against the spar web).

These rivets aren't set (I still have to prime all these pieces), but I just put them in there to see how my countersinks were. (The lower left one is a little deep, but this is thick spacer, so it shouldn't be a big deal.)

I don’t have any primer, so I decided to move forward (“aft”?…ha…airplane coordinate system joke) to the rear spar. After getting out the W-707A rear spar channel (make sure to grab the correct one, there’s a left and a right) and the W-707E and W-707F doubler plates, I took the blue plastic off of everything and started getting things clamped in place.

The W-707F is laterally aligned with the outboard edge of the rear spar channel.

The W-707E gets laterally aligned by measuring; the outboard edge of the doubler plate should be 50 3/4" from the outboard edge of the rear spar channel. Easy enough.

Then, I fired up the air drill for some matchdrilling.

{air drill noises} Whose finger prints are those?

{more air drill noises} Also, I traced out the aileron pushrod hole onto the doubler plate.

After some though about how to do this, I decided to forego the step drill (Unibit) trick (I don’t have a Unibit…how’s that for a trick!) and just drill some holes and then get the dremel out.

It turns out that all the little fancy metal saw and milling tools aren’t really as easy to use as the 1/2″ sanding drum . Save yourself some time and just get the sanding drum out. Very easy to control.

Looks pretty good to me. (This crazy little torture device that looks like a saw got away from me and cause that scratch. I'll have to buff that out.)

After clecoing back to the spar turns out the thickness of my line made my initial pass a little small. (Better small than big.)

More sanding, anyone?

Much better (still needs some edge finishing).

I totally forgot. Even though I don’t have primer to finish up the tiedown bracket, I can still tap the tiedown hole.

Here's the 3/16" x 16 tap.

After having a hell of a time getting started, they turned out really nicely.

1 full turn in, 1/2 turn out. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I managed to get both brackets done, even though I really haven’t started on the left wing yet.

I'll need to deburr the edge, but this should work just fine.

I ended up going to 1 1/4″, even though the directions tell you to only go 1″. Some other builders had to go deeper once they actually got their eye bolts, I figured it would be easier to do now than to wait until the brackets are in the wings.

2 productive hours today.

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Drilled E-701 (Left Elevator Skin) to Skeleton

June 17, 2010

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Wow, it’s been a week since I’ve worked on the airplane.

I have an excuse, though. I’ve been installing wood floors. Here’s the living room, almost done.

Anyway, if you remember from the last post, I had the left elevator skin clecoed to the skeleton. I went ahead and match-drilled the skin to the skeleton. Instead of using my cordless drill (because it’s quieter), I broke out the air drill and went to town. I love the way that thing sounds.

Forgot to charge the camera battery, so it charged while I drilled.

After matchdrilling both sides, this picture is me in the middle of removing all of the clecos.

Then, because I felt like I would be short-changing you if I didn’t have two pictures for you, here’s another one.

After disassembly.

Here’s the catch, though. I have a lot of thinking and pondering to do about some things.

First of all, I am planning on cutting off the elevator tab (and elevator) bent ears and just making a rib out of them. Jason Beaver did it pretty successfully here and here, so I’m basically going to copy him.

The question is whether to prep and rivet the left elevator now, the cut off the “ears” after riveting, then try to fabricate a rib, matchdrill, dimple, prep again, etc., or should I re-cleco everything together and do all of that fabrication now.

Many people use blind rivets for the extra tab fabrication, but I think I am going to try to use solid rivets. I have had some success in the past with solid rivets in tight spaces using a special bucking bar (namely, the end of a BFS (“big-freakin-screwdriver”). The question will be about dimpling.

Also, I can probably cut the ears off, but leave a little extra material. I need to make sure I line up the cuts on the elevator and tab to minimize the gab between the two, and I don’t want to cut to much off of either side. Maybe I’ll mock them up, cut one side to where I think it should be, and make sure the other side can be cut more precisely to match the first cut.

Also, many people use blind rivets for the four trim spar rivets on both sides (per the plans), but I think I can assemble in an order that allows me to use solid rivets, especially since I’m going to cut the elevator bent tab ears off; I should be able to reach in there with a bucking bar.

See how much thinking I have to do?

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