November 26, 2008

Finished F-711 drilling, tie-down block, fitting work - 7.0 Hrs.

The first thing tonight was to finish the drilling of the bars on the F-711. Then I cut the tie-down block to the proper length and drilled it to the F-712. With the bulkheads basically finished, I spent some time on fitting them to the bottom skin piece. I've read about how many builders have trouble with this area, and I want to make things fit as good as possible before proceeding. I'm hoping it will make it easier to get the aft fuselage together.

Here's the tie-down block clamped to the F-712. Then it gets match-drilled to it. Note how the flanges on one side of the F-712 have pre-punched rivet holes but the flanges on the other side do not. The skin, however, has all holes pre-punched.

Here's the tie-down block after I finished drilling it to the bulkhead pair.

Next, I pulled out the thick lower aft tail skin to see how well these bulkheads fit into it. It's not easy to get these parts clecoed together. Judicious use of an ice pick or an awl helps line up the holes so you can get a cleco into place. The flanges on the bulkheads are obviously not at 90-degree angles here. They need to be bent to match the angle and curve of the skin. I spent quite a bit of time here bending the flange tabs, clecoing and un-clecoing over and over until I got them as close to perfect as I can. I think this will be time well spent. I'm not drilling them to the skin yet, however. I'm not sure when I'm supposed to do that. So I'll wait until I'm sure.

By the time I finished for the night, I felt like I had these parts fitting fairly well. It would have been nice if the skin had a bit more curve to it.

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