Sunday, November 18, 2018

Finished Tapes on Practice Parts

Ed and I finished the 3" edge tapes on our practice parts.  We again had to work with curved corners that take a lot of time to get the tapes to lay down nicely.  Once the tapes were worked with the irons to fit correctly a 2:1 Superflite U500 adhesive mixture was added to the tapes to secure them.  Hours: 1.5

Two Practice parts complete with edge tapes

Saturday, November 17, 2018

More Fabric Practice

We continued our work on the practice pieces we are covering.  We are now adding the finishing tapes to the center members and we started work on the perimeter tapes.  We are learning a lot,  especially on the curved corners. Hours: 2

Adding perimeter tapes

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fabric covering the practice frames

Today we began covering the practice frames with fabric to get ready for the next stage of our airplane project.  Adhesive was first painted around the edges of the steel frames, and fabric is then applied (glued) to the tubular frames.  We intentionally made the frames with curves on 2 corners because that is a challenge to cover cleanly.  Yeah, we made some mistakes (but hey, that's why these are practice fames), but overall I think they came out pretty nice.  Once the fabric was glued in place, we shrunk it in stages at 250, 300, and then 350 degrees with irons that we calibrated yesterday.   Hours: 5
Two practice frames covered with fabric

Monday, November 12, 2018

Practice Fabric Covering Started

We've been doing a lot of cleaning and straightening of the garage in preparation of doing fabric.   We setup two "covering" tables for the process.  We bought a new wheeled rack for storing chemicals and tools.    And we've had to buy a few things, brushes, strainers, zahn cup (for checking viscosity).  Finally we started working on the practice parts.  We mixed up the U-500 adhesive (1 part glue/2 parts Acetone) and applied 2 coats to the trailing edge of the practice part.  Hours: 2

Glue added to one side of the practice pieces

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Painting Practice Parts

The two frames that Ed welded up earlier were sanded to remove the galvanized coating.  The parts were wiped down with Acetone and then hung on the painting rack.  The painting rack was nothing more than a board between two ladders and the parts were suspended with safety wire.

Once the parts were hung, Michael mixed up some epoxy primer paint (4:1, epoxy paint to catalyst ratio).  Three good coats were applied to the parts and allowed to dry before moving them into the garage for a complete cure of the paint.  Hours: 1.5

Painting the Practice Frames

Monday, October 29, 2018

Fuselage moved to hangar

Today we towed the fuselage to Cox Airport. The modified trailer (with the new upper deck) worked great.  We had to drive down a long winding road to access the hangar, and there were several trees with low-hanging limbs in the way.  Michael drove slowly while I moved the branches out of the way with a large push broom so that they wouldn't catch on any part of the fuselage.  But we made it to the hangar just fine.

Michael had added an electric winch at the front end of the trailer, and this made loading and unloading the fuselage a piece of cake.   After  backing the fuselage down the ramps, we wheeled it into the hangar.  We then covered the fuselage with thin plastic sheets to help keep the dust off.   Forgot to take pictures, but we had a few visitors (including a hangar mate and also the airport owner) that were pleasant distractions.  Hours: 3.0

Loading Fuselage for Transport

We spent the day building and attaching ramps to the flatbed trailer.   The fuselage was then wheeled out of the garage and a winch was used to slowly get the fuselage onto the trailer.  Then the whole fuselage was strapped down and a few blocks were attached to make sure the fuselage doesn't move during the transport to Cox Airport.  Hours: 3

Ramps in place awaiting Fuselage
Fuselage extracted from garage and dollies removed from mail wheels
Strapping down the airplane
Strapping down the airplane II
Covered for the night, ready to head to Cox Airport

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Removing Horizontal Stabilizer

We continued our work on getting the fuselage ready to transport to the hangar at Cox Airport.  Today we removed the flying guy wires supporting the horizontal stabilizer and placed all the hardware into labeled bags.  The two attach pins were removed, labeled and bagged as well.  The two, now free, horizontal stabilizers were set aside and will  be one of the first items to be covered with fabric.  Hours: 0.5

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Wings removed and stored

We are going to start the next phase of the airplane construction soon (fabric covering).  But in order to do this, we need more room in the garage, so we removed the wings this past weekend, and moved them to the shed.  We stored them by hoisting them up in the rafters (same way we had stored them earlier).  We also removed the struts and hung those on the walls in the shed to get them out of the way.  We still need to transport the fuselage to a hangar to get more space in the garage, but that is a task for another day.  Originally, we planned on storing the wings in the hangar, but figured they would be safer in the shed since hangar space it currently tight with 2 other airplanes sharing the space.   Hours: 3.0

Wings stored near roof;  lift struts attached to sides of shed

Monday, October 15, 2018

Transport Trailer Work

We are getting close to the point of adding fabric to our project.  In order to do this, we need more room in our garage.  We plan on taking the fuselage and wings to Cox Aerodrome where Michael has a hangar.

In order to transport the fuselage with gear attached, we needed to create a platform on top of Michael's utility trailer.  Holes were drilled in the railing at uniform spacing.  These holes were later used to up-drill into the 5/8" plywood deck.  A 2x6 backbone/joist was placed down the middle with 4x4 posts.  1/4" carriage bolts were placed in the holes going through the plywood and aluminum railing.  A nice 45 degree corner cut was done for looks.  Hours: 5

Center Joist being constructed

Ed cutting the plywood deck

Decking cut to shape, rear view

Decking cut to shape, front view

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Vent line work

We made good progress after finally coming up with a good plan (probably the 10th plan after the first 9 "good plans" didn't work out).  We had planned on using 1/2" rubber fuel hose to connect the vent line to the header tank, but after a test run, we found that it was not flexible enough and was getting crimps (which closed up the tubing) when we tried to snake it from the wing tank vent to the fuselage.

So instead, we decided to use a flexible fuel line with PTFE lining. The brand we used was Earl's UltraPro hose.  Of course, it's more expensive, but it's really the right material for the job.  It is super flexible, smaller outer diameter, lighter, and (reportedly) lasts longer.  The connectors also swivel which makes installation much simpler. Below is a picture of the hose with a 120 degree connector attached on one end.
Flexible fuel line (Earl's Ultrapro Hose)

We sistered a brace (manufactured by Mike) to the root rib in order to strengthen it because we needed to make some cuts in the rib to make room for the vent line.  The brace is epoxied in place, and a few rivets were added to keep it in place.  This brace may not have even been required since the fuel tank provides a lot of support at the root of the wing; but we figured it's better to be safe than sorry, so we added it.
Brace sistered to root rib

Next we epoxied (and screwed in) the aluminum vent fitting to the fiberglass tank.  This is a relatively large fitting, but it allows us to install a larger finger-strainer, and still accomodate 1/2" tubing which is recommended for venting the header tank to the wings when using a  Rotax 912is engine.  We used Hysol 9460 epoxy which is fuel resistant. Hours: 4.0

Vent line fitting (finally) installed

Friday, September 21, 2018

Practice frames completed

I finished welding up a couple of frames to practice fabric covering before we cover real plane parts.  The frames were made from electrical conduit, and welded up with the TIG machine.  The galvanized coating on this cheap conduit causes issues with TIG welding (sparking and sputtering), so we used a buffing wheel to remove the coating before welding them up.  Hours: 3.0

Two completed frames

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Tool fabrication

I had previously made a special wrench when we were going to use a Sonex connector for the vent line in the wing tanks.  But then we later realized that this connector woudn't work so we changed to an alternate aluminum fitting.  Unfortunately, this alternate fitting was a different size, and required me to make a new special "thin" wrench that will allow us to install it easily.  But it wasn't too hard since I had practice. I traced the shape out on paper, transfered it to a sheet of steel, cut it out, and buffed it smooth.  The final part came out nice and fits the new connector well.  Hours: 2.0
Paper template and fabricated wrench

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

More Welding

We continued to work on our practice frames.  Ed welded up the first frame while Michael started working on the second practice frame.  Since these are practice frames we're using all available pieces of conduit.  Ed is going to have to weld two pieces together in order for us to get the needed pieces.  Hours: 1
Ed welding

Monday, September 17, 2018

Fabric Covering

Ed and I decided that we'd do some practice covering before starting the covering job on the actual airplane.  We decided to to build some 18" x 18" panels with curves.  We bought some 1/2" electrical conduit from the local home improvement store.  Using a conduit bender we bent two pieces of conduit.  Then the ends were cut at 45 degrees.  A supporting brace was cut to go down the middle and the ends of it were shaped to give a nice tight fit.  Ed tack welded all the joints using his TIG welder.  All the joints were completely welded on one side.
Practice Frame being welded
We started working on the second panel.  The design is going to be a little different but the same 18"x18".  Rather than the bends being on opposite sides, they'll be on adjacent corners.  The bends were made on one piece of conduit.  More work on be done later.  Hours: 1
Conduit bent to shape