September 12, 2010

Rearranging the Shop - Fuel Tank Bracket, Drilling Center Section Skin - 7.0 Hrs.

Big changes are underway around here, now that the wings have been mated and the rear wing spars drilled to the fuselage. I still have a number of tasks to complete with the wings on, as I mentioned the other day, but it's very impractical to do all that stuff outside. A while back, I measured carefully and figured out that I can arrange my shop with the fuselage placed laterally across the front of the garage, right inside the door, and have enough room inside to put one wing on at a time. The wing sticks straight into the shop, but allows plenty of room to walk around and work around it and I can still get the door shut. This will allow me to take my sweet time for the remaining tasks and not feel rushed, or to have to haul everything outside, put it together, then take it apart and haul it all back in at the end of every work session. That would be an impossible scenario. And I don't need to have both wings on at once.

So I spent quite a bit of time today cleaning and rearranging the shop. It turned out to be a total rearrangement of almost everything inside. But I'm very happy with the results.

My EAA workbench is now back against the wall where the wings stood for the last two years. This is like dejavue because it was located here all throughout the construction of my empennage and the wings. It feels great to have my overhead lights in service again, and the wall clips to hang my drawing from. And as you can see, the right wing is on for now, with plenty of room to walk around it and work. My daughter Sarah actually came out and helped me put the wing back on. This is the first time she's had a hand in helping me with the plane, and that marks another significant milestone, as far as I'm concerned. Now, all four of my kids have had a hand at one time or another helping me build this airplane. Neat! I like that.

I moved the wing cradle over to approximately where the fuselage sat for the last year or so. There's still plenty of room to walk around the other side of it and get to everything in here. So this is working out just fine. When I'm through with all the remaining tasks on the right wing, I'll take it off and put it back in the wing cradle, flip the fuselage around to point the other direction, and then put the left wing on to repeat everything. This is going to be fun. When I'm all through with all the tasks for both wings, I'll put both wings back in the cradle and probably rearrange the shop again back to the way it was before, and put the fuselage in a good position for all the work on the canopy.

Okay, so with the right wing back on, it was time to actually do some work. Not that the order of things matters much, but I decided to start with the fuel tank bracket. I had actually fitted them and installed all the parts to the fuselage back on May 9, 2009 when I was doing the forward fuselage stuff, and I'm glad I did. Now it was a simple task to cleco it on and go from there.

All I had to do was a slight bending of the flange on the bracket so it would sit flat against the side of the fuselage, and it fit perfectly. Then I drilled the hole for the bolt centered in the notch of the bracket and enlarged it to 1/4" final size. Edge distance is important here. I held my inspection mirror in there for the above picture, so you can see both sides at once. The hole is right where it should be.

Then I took the bracket off and deburred everything, and installed the nutplate. My squeezer worked just fine on the outer rivet, but the inner one required bucking and shooting. Turned out just great. Then, I put the bracket back on to make sure the bolt fits and goes smoothly into the nutplate. Done!

Then, I got started on the task of drilling the holes up through the bottom center belly skin through the wing root. I had previously marked lines on the wings from each open rivet hole, with a mark at 3" from the rivet hole, to help in locating where to drill these holes. Here's a shot from underneath looking up at the belly, after drilling all the holes out to full size, and clecoed in place:

It was at this point that I looked again at the drawing, and realized I had more holes than shown in the drawing. I finally figured out that I had left every other hole open, rather than every third rivet hole as shown in the plans. I don't know what I was thinking back when I put the rivets in the wings. I didn't study that carefully enough. Oh well, the bottom line is I will have 11 nutplates under here instead of the 8 called for in the plans. As I see it, my wing will be bolted on just that much more sturdier with 3 more nutplates than required. I don't see any harm in that. So... I'll build on.

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