Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Tail cone final assembly

Started working on the final construction of the tail cone this afternoon, what was supposed to be a few minutes in the workshop turned into two and a half hours!!

The plans call for you to construct the tail cone on two saw horse that are 38 inches high but I didn't want to build anything special to do this stage as space is limited so I gave my work benches a boost using the pop rivet boxes and pleased to report they worked a treat.

My skin bends for the lap joints seem OK, I've only had to rework a couple to make them better and I guess its easier to put more of a bend in than take it out. One thing I have had to do is prime some additional tail cone metal using a paint brush where skins overlap and I also used some of the JC5 jointing compound on one of the joints as I wanted to be sure it was a good joint between the panels.

I am hoping to fly tomorrow and if I don't I'll be in the workshop with rivet gun in hand. I've also noticed most of the skin holes will need a drill running through them as the primer has made the holes a little smaller than when it was bare metal and once again each rivet will be dipped into JC5 before setting - Overkill some might say but I feel it's a worthwhile step if a little messy thing to do.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Squeeze Me

Sunday is always a busy day for me but I managed to spend 4 and a half hours in the workshop starting to rivet the tail cone parts up and as you can see I've done a fair bit today creating the F-1211 Assembly (basically a rear bulkhead). 6 different types of rivets go to make up this section and most of them are hand squeezed and task that is still tough to do but I think my speed and results are improving.

Once minor issues inserting plastic bushes into some attach brackets I managed to split two of them but as the kit came with 5 I'm hoping that Vans over supplied this item and as my next two kits arrive in just over 2 weeks I'll probably hold off ordering replacements until I've checked out the contents of the next two kits.

Time on the build so far 83 hours and 10 minutes.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Big Build Friday - Prime Time

Very productive five hours in the workshop today. I started by finishing the final two tail cone skins which took about an hour to debur and prepare for paint.

So on to paint and I started with the internal parts and did the smaller parts as before in my cardboard box spray booth!! Whilst the small parts were drying I started spraying the inside of the tail cone skins and reckon I mixed close to two litres of of primer this afternoon to do the job and I'm really happy with the results. Next stage of the build is to put the tail cone together which I hope to do over the next week or so.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Building a box of bits

Another three and a half hours in the workshop this afternoon working on metal preparation for the tail cone and tonight I only have 2 skins to prepare then I can prime the metal ready for assembly.

One thing I did today that has been an issue before was countersinking and I'm happy with the results having taken my time and made sure surfaces were level so this time around no mistakes which has to be a good thing as the bulkhead looks like an expensive part.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A productive 3 hours in the workshop today working on finishing the metal prep on the two remain fuselage frames. A fair amount of work to get a nice finish on the metal before it's primed and to think that once they are covered in the skins they shouldn't need to be seen again unless something goes wrong..... Hope not!

Also prepared the F1211G Tail Skid pictured above and again something that looked quite simple actually took an hour or so to finish. Preparing this part used a template for hole drilling, files and for the first time a drill tap, something I haven't done since I was at school many years ago in metal work.

Next work to be done is prep of various brackets, bulk heads and stiffeners. I'm happy to be back on the build and I'm still managing to fly as well, yesterday took advantage of UK Airspace being closed and flew my group Cessna 172 in Manchester International Airport a rare opportunity that just had to be done and I've posted some pictures and a video here we also got to look around Ocean Sky who do private jets for the great and the good of the world but still use wooden wheeled build tables like us RV builders do.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Back to the build - Big Build Thursday

After a few days off from the build enjoying myself flying and sorting out plenty of overdue jobs I got back into the workshop today and spent 5 hours preparing some of the skins for the tail cone. It was odd to be in the workshop today with no aircraft flying over the house as I'm only a few miles from Manchester International Airport as all UK airspace was closed today due to Volcanic Ash read more here.

I needed to track down a tool from Avery's Tools UK supplier to prepare some of the tail cone skin edges for lap joints, a whole new experience for me but I think it went well.... Guess I'll find out when I start to rivet things together! I've been surprised by how much work is involved in deburring the tail cone skins as it a manual job with a file and scotch brite pads. I've stripped the blue plastic from the Fuselage Frames and match drilled a couple of holes as well today and know they are also going to take some work to prepare.

My work benches are working a treat and I hope to be able to complete the tail cone on them as I have about 8ft/9ft of length to work with. I've also recycled the empennage packing case into a raised planting bed for my garden which looks great.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Problem - The Solution - Moving On

It's been a busy few days and an interesting few days dealing with a problem of my own making. I was putting together the HS and adding brackets and bolting them in to a nutplate using my torque wrench for the first time........ And Snap!! I'd gone to far I should have stopped at the impulse but I was waiting for a click and got a loud snap B.gger!!

So I made a call to Nigel who suggested a screw extractor before drilling out 30+ rivets.... It didn't work so I drilled the rivets out and replaced the nutplate and reconstructed the parts I'd taken apart, all in all about 2 hours work although I need to wait for some additional CS4-4 rivets to arrive then all will be good.

Easter Sunday I spent 3 hours working on the HS Skin and now have a quarter of it done and will do the other quarter tomorrow before inviting Nigel my LAA inspector over to take a look at a fair few finished parts and then it's a major rivet job sealing them all up for good although I will fit and torque the bolts on the brackets on the VS before sealing it up.

Good news from Vans recently my next two kits the fuselage and wings ship from Seattle on April 10th arriving in London May 6th and then dropped off at mine on May 11th so I'd better get the empennage finished before then as I need the space.

I also decided to take my 'posh' digital slr into the garage today and are happy with the results. Total build time 61 hours to date more photos online