Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Making Good Progress

Spent 3 hours in the work shop today working on the Stabiliator Skeleton Assembly and as you can see from the picture above its taking shape quite nicely, most of the work to date on this part has been preparation deburring, filing, drilling, sawing and priming and I'm very pleased with the results on this section of the build.

Still one of the hardest challenges is setting solid rivets properly and of the 24 AN470AF4-5's I set for the counter balance brackets I drilled 6 out as I wasn't happy with how they were sitting. One positive is I used the right rivet tool and as a result haven't flattened the heads of the rivets this time.

I would imagine I'll have the HS ready for Nigel's inspection by the end of the Bank Holiday weekend, plus I have 4 other half skinned parts that need signing off so the rivet gun will see some action over the next week or so. If all the work is approved I'll move on to the last bit of the Empennage Kit the tail cone which is timely as I paid for the next two kits yesterday and the fuselage and wings will be shipping from Vans soon and should arrive end of April or early May.

I've also downloaded the wood cutting plan for the wing stands so once everything is finished I'll be building that and I'll also have some more room in the workshop when the weather improves as some of the over wintering plants will be able to live outside.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Building The Stabilator

Been a busy week with one thing and another going on but managed a fair bit of time working on metal prep for the horizontal stabilator.

Monday 22nd - 2 hours metal prep
Wednesday 24th - 1 hour and 30 minutes metal prep
Friday 26th - 4 hours metal prep
Sunday 28th - 6 hours priming the preparing metal and then starting to squeeze mainly solid rivets on the stabilator

Total time on the build so far 52 hours in just over a month so making nice progress and currently have 4 parts that are half riveted and awaiting final inspection by Nigel before I seal them up for good. I will invited him over once I've finished the horizontal stabilator frame and then its onto the tailcone and I aim to have the Empennage / Tailcone kits finished but the time the Fuselage and Wings arrive probably late April or early May...... That's the plan at least!!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Big Build Friday - The 1st of many I guess?

Real productive day finally managed to finish the VS frame and attach the skin...... How many clecos and had to do make some minor adjustments as per the plans to get a good fit but all the effort paid off in the end and I now have a rudder, vertical stabilizer and two anti-servo tabs that are waiting inspection by Nigel and hopefully he'll sign them off and I'll have 4 finished parts from the Empennage Kit...... Amazing to think I started building less than a month ago and I have this much done although I suspect things will slow down as the next bits are no doubt going to be harder to build.

I've had to order a new hinge from Vans as I measured one of them wrong and cut in the wrong place but hey these things are going to happen and all the time I'm learning more and more.

Hopefully I'll be able to find time over the weekend to pull the parts for the Stabilator and start the deburring process and as before I will prepare all the metal, then prime and then rivet together.

Loads of fresh photos online

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Been working on preparing and priming the parts for the Anti-Servo Tabs this week and today tackled the countersinking of the holes on the control horns. I set my countersink tool on some scrap and off I went no issues on the first horn then onto the second one and on the first hole the sink is too deep for an AN426AD3-3.5 rivet but a 'bigger/fatter' AN426AD4-4 fits a treat and is flush to the surface - Just checking its OK to do this.

No idea why the tool over sunk the hole but will proceed with extreme caution when using the sink again.

Some good news this week the replacement rib from Vans has arrived and is prepared and primed and ready to be fitted when dry so I am going to half skin the VS before putting the Anti-Servo Tabs together.

Tonight did some priming with the spray gun and am happier with the results than my first attempt and made a lot less mess as well. Also my rivet gauges and Scotch-Brite wheel arrived from America and that is now fitted to my grinder and works much quicker than a file on suitable parts, an expensive part but a great time saving one.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Rudder Rivet

Only spent an hour or so in the garage today using the rivet gun to attach half the skin to the Rudder Frame after Nigel signed it off yesterday. It's amazing to think that I won't see the work under the skin again.

I've decided to use JC5A (jointing compound) on all the external rivets and was warned its messy to use and they were right!! Cleaned the panel with gun wash after finishing the job and that got most of the excess off whilst inside the JC5A remains which I guess is the idea?

Having time off from the build this weekend as I'm going to see a mate in Kent so will pick up again next week and the aim is to get the Anti Servo Tabs completed across the week.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

An Inspector Calls

Nigel my LAA Inspector came round and signed off the first two completed stages of the build the VS frame and Rudder frame so now I can half attach the skins and start on the next stage of the build 'The Anti-Servo Tab'.

I was a little concerned about some of the rivets as I'd used a flat head in the squeezer on about 30 solid rivets but Nigel OK'd these and said from now on use the concave head for all AN470 type rivets. His only suggestion was to give some of the rivets a little more squeezing which I've done tonight and am ready for some rivet and JC5A action tomorrow morning.

Really pleased with getting this far in the build.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Team T-Shirt

T-Shirt above was a treat for me and two friends Jo and Tim from my folks and I shall wear it with pride when the right moment arrives..... The LAA Rally and maybe Aero Expo as well?

No building today as I'm waiting for my LAA Inspector Nigel to come over and look at my work, I have a slight concern over some solid rivets as I used a flat head in the squeezer instead of a concave one..... Depending on what Nigel says tomorrow I'll either be happy or drilling out around 40 rivets.

I think tomorrow I might do some basic metal prep on the next bit of the build the 'Anti-Servo Tab' although I won't be riveting anything until my initial work is up to standard.

Monday, 8 March 2010

VS & Rudder frames finished

Finished the VS frame today (apart from replacement rib) and also got the Rudder frame finished as well ready for my inspector to call and check my riveting and metal prep.

Fair amount of solid rivets to pull today and I find them quite hard to do if I'm honest. I also used the hand pop rivet tool as well for 2 tricky rivets.. All I'll say is I'm glad I have the air tool for most of the work.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Solid and Blind Rivets

Spent around 6 hours working today started by touching up some of the stuff I primed yesterday and then I couldn't put it off any longer time to rivet and safe to safe I love the pneumatic blind rivet tool works a treat and I imagine quite quickly on large surfaces. I started using the JC5A jointing compound today and it's messy stuff already have a yellow mark on my jumper...... Wonder if it'll wash out?

I also squeezed a number of solid rivets and managed to screw up my first one on a nut plate so had to drill that out and replace it. Scary when your drilling a finished piece of metal you really don't want to mess up the whole thing. I decided after that to take my time and think I've done a good job with them it'll be interesting to see what my inspector says?

I also made two rudder attachments brackets complete with bearing in them so a fruitful day and more lessons learnt the biggest being it's easier to squeeze solid rivets when the surface is dimpled like it is on the VS Skin. I manged to do 18 nutplates in half an hour......... Is that good? I think so.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully start and finish the rudder riveting as I've done as much as I can on the VS until the replacement rib arrives from Vans and my inspector has been to look at what I've done so far.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Prime Time

6th March - Had a very productive 4+ hours in the garage this afternoon and finished all the metal prep for the rudder. Scary when the plans ask you to cut the end off one of the ribs but I took my time and made a good job of it.

Decided it was time to prime some metal as I can't rivet anything until that's done and another first for me in the build as I've never used a spray gun before and it seemed to go OK although I have noticed a couple of runs on some of the parts but as these are going to be hidden internally I'm not to worried.

I will stop off at Halfords tomorrow and buy a can of acid etch primer to make good in a couple of areas I've not covered totally. I guess like all the RV skills my spraying will improve as I do more of it. Tomorrow I'll use the rivet gun for the first time and the squeezer as well.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

New month and first build issue

2nd March - Spring has arrived and its warming up a little. I spent 5 enjoyable hours working in the garage today and achieved a lot building a drill press that now sits on top of the tumble drier I also had my first build issue but I'm not alone according to the Vans Air Force forum.

Basically my Vertical Stabilizer has a dodgy rib (VS1208 for those that have plans) its pre drill holes do not line up so I took some photos and emailed them to Vans who replied really quickly and are shipping a replacement to me so that means I can't prime the prepared metal until it arrives but at least when it does I'll be able to do the prep on it and see some serious progress quite quickly. I've posted more photos online

So far I've done around 13 and a half hours on the project and am getting more comfortable using the tools and working with the material. Whilst I await the new rib I will start work on the next step which is the rudder.

5th March - Spent a sneaky hour and a half in the garage working on metal prep for the rubber assembly and that's all done now so it's ready for drilling and preparing tomorrow. I really believe you can build the rudder in a weekend if you put your mind to it and that's my plan although I will probably hold off priming until the faulty rib is replaced..... Unless I decide to learn a new skill over the weekend?