Thursday, April 11, 2019

Fuselage Arrival

The Fuselage has arrived!  Van's called me about 9 weeks after ordering saying they have a windshield with a chip in the corner that shouldn't matter.  I didn't like it so told them I'd wait for a new one.  About 2 weeks later the crate showed up.

Here is my list of modifications.  I have the ControlApproach pedals so that was most of the change.  The hinge pieces are for the wingtip attach mod.  People suggested to put the Oil Cooler Mount on now as the firewall is much more accessable.  I'll be using the Andair fuel valve to be compatable with EFI return-style fuel systems.
I did forget to remove the brake master cylinders (already have Grove ones on the rudder pedals) and the flap actuator (there is a nicer one made by PH Aviation).  Will be returning those back to Vans.

Items to add:
2x AN257-P4X6'
2x AN257-P3X6'

Items to remove:
2x  TG-1010 L&R RV-10 Heat boxes
1x: F-8105 BRAKE HOSE 20" 8/10
1x: PT-062x1/4x15' HI PRES BRAKE HOSE

This sucker is LARGE.  I had to put this in my upper garage as the other one has just a 8' door and it was raining outside.

They stuffed a longeron in the box and it popped open the back panel.  No big damage from that though.

Here's the big fiberglass canopy top.  Lots of work to get this bad boy installed.  The cardboard box has most of the metal in it, while the skins are below sandwiched in between layers of the white foam.

There was a bent skin though.  Of course it was the biggest skin in the whole shipment, F-1076.  I told Vans.  Sterling called me and said to put it on my back rivet plate and hammer it down.  Its not structural, and there are two rows of rivets there to "suck" it down.  Plus since its on the bottom nobody will see it.  I'm good with that as long as it doesn't crack.

Flaps get primed tonight, so they are almost done.  Excited to start phase 3!

Sunday, February 24, 2019


Section 21 is complete.  Now that I've done enough of these primary flight surfaces, they are getting fairly routine.  The things about this section that make it unique are:
  • That goddamn stainless counterweight pipe
  • The weird dimple die you use one the end ribs
 About that counterweight ... they want the aileron balanced fore/aft so in the short forward part there is a real heavy stainless steel pipe that acts as a weight.  You have to assemble a few pieces of that forward section, then mark holes on the pipe to drill.  The first set of holes then gets lined up to rib holes, so that you can then mark another set of rib holes.  This second set is real hard to get to, the plans have you wedging a long drill bit in between rib flanges to make the mark.

I thought I had a better idea - cut off a sharpie and use that since the long bit wouldn't be square to the hole anyway:

The problem I had after this was that I made a pretty accurate mark of the hole, but drilling into this stainless with my drill bits just wasn't working for crap.  Tried some boelube and a new bit, NOPE.  Finially went to Theisens and got their best quality 3/32 Dewalt bit and had much better success.  Ended up with 2 sets of holes in each pipe before I got pretty close.  The once nice thing about a pipe is that if you screw up the hole in it, just turn it and start over.

Once I got those holes as good as I could, I could still see a degree or two of twist in the assembly.  I measured it by finding two spots on my bench with the exact same reading on my digital angle finder.  See that little area under the rib?  The other side is flat.

To fix that, i just did some milling of the rib flange holes.  That allowed some wiggle room on where the pipe mounts to the ribs.  I'm not worried about any structural issues, that pipe is still wrapped very tightly by the forward skin and bolted to the ribs.  Here's what the end of the assembly looks like.

The dimple die I was talking about is for the end ribs.  Not that big of a deal.  Oh also be really careful which sides of the little brackets you countersink.  It would be easy to mess them up.  I thought I did for a few minutes, only to realize I had actually done it correctly.

Oh and making these skin stiffeners was a total "shut your brain off" kind of task.  Each one required final-drilling holes, laying out lines, and 3 cuts on the band saw.  Seemed like it took forever, but oddly enough I almost enjoyed it.  I'm a sick individual, folks.

Here is the trailing edge.  This was wierd to me - the extruded trailing edge wedge stick just a TINY bit past the skin, maybe 1/32 or so.  Don't remember that from any of the other surfaces.

There were quite a few pop rivets to do.  I discovered something I wish I had thought of before - using chunks of extruded trailing edge to build up the area around a pop rivet so you can get to it.  This allowed me to use my awesome $20 Harbor Freight puller on all the aileron pop rivets.

Here the top skins are going on.  You Clamp a board on to the trailing edge so you don't lock in a wavy shape to the skin.

Some of the rivets on the ends were buggers.  Had to use the double offset for the ones between brackets.  This guy got some real careful hits, no room for a full mushroom set in that little corner.

This pop rivet stem broke in the wrong place.  I emailed Vans and they said if its set, just cut it off and grind down.  So thats what I did.

Waa-laa - done!  Probably had 50 hours in these.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Wing Cradle

Now that the leading edges are on I can't lay them flat any more, so I built the wing cradle.  I reused some huge 2x6s that were part of our old ceiling, recycled 2x4s, and the casters were in a shop drawer that was Carrie's grandpa's.  They look 50 years old.

I'm duplicating instructions from Mouser here because he abandoned his build and I want them saved for posterity.  Full credit to Mouser for these, although I think he credits them to someone else also.

When you go to the lumber store, you need:
  • 2x 10' 2x6
  • 3x 10' 2x4
  • 1 8' 2x4
  • Carpet 16"x8'
  • Casters
Here's how you cut the 2x4s:

The carpet should be 16" by at least 8'.

TIP: Don't try to staple the carpet to the wood before putting the wings in.  I did and it was a little crooked and the carpet side hung too low.  I measured just 1.8 degrees of downslope, but it looks like a lot more.

Instead, staple the middle of the carpet to the middle support.  Put your wing in there, and with another person holding the outboard edge, get it level.  Then pull the carpet tight and fasten.  I should have done it that way the first time .

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Wing Leading Edges

The outboard wing leading edge assemblies are done and permanantly riveted to the main wing spars.  These would have been a really simple chapter if it weren't for my "quick-build" fuel tanks.  I bought my tanks from someone who had flown them hundreds of hours.  He built 4 new ones for an extreme extended range mission.  More on that in a bit...

Here's my handy tool for marking the centerline of J-channel.  Notice the notch just big enough to rest the fine tip sharpie into.

As usual the rib deburring takes a long time.  Then things initially go together pretty quickly.

Now back to the splice strip.

The problem with not having the uncut tank skins is that there is a "splice strip" attached to the tank skins which you normally cut off and attach to the leading edge.  This has nutplates in it lined up perfectly so that the fuel tank can be screwed to it also.  This bonds the outboard leading edge and tanks together so they are lined up properly and rigid with respect to each other.  Vans does not make that part alone, they would have to send me a whole tank skin or have me pay for a tank skin and cut that little piece off for me.  No thanks!  Not having the splice strip meant I had to fabricate my own.

I acquired a chunk of leading edge skin from the same RV-10 flyer and cut them to the right shape.  Attached them as tight as I could to the leading edge and match-drilled.

Then I put the whole leading edge on the wing spar with a bunch of clecos.  Then put the tanks on.  Using a fine tip sharpie the tank screw holes were traced onto the splice strip.


Getting the drill bit perfectly in the center even with my drill press wasn't easy.  Pre-punching the hole helps.  Here is the finished splice strip half riveted on.  The tanks aren't on yet, so hopefully soon I'll know if this worked.

Primed and ready to rivet.

Riveting these was no big deal, except for the front 3 or 4 which I maybe could have done by myself but instead summonsed a helper.  On the easy ones I did get some help from my mini builders:

I let him sign it.  Hopefully both these guys will enjoy flying it someday.


Before attaching to the main spar I wanted to fill the hole used for the stall warning vane.  I'll have an AoA sensor so no need for it.  I used a glob of proseal for now, hoping that will make a good backer to put in some filler later to sand out and make smooth.

Riveting these on the main spars was mostly easy, especially the bottom skin.  However the top skin required help.  I've seen where people online come up with contraptions to help them do it themself, to me it wasn't worth it.  So much easier grabbing a friend for 20 minutes.  I also got help with the most inboard rib to spar rivets.  They are big AD470-4 rivets and required a double-offset set.  With two people they came out perfect.

Here is the wing mounted to a bench with the outboard end hanging WAY over so you can rivet these things on.