July 31, 2007

Putting it all together - 4.0 hrs.

Today was an exciting time. After all the work over the last several weeks preparing the ribs, I finally get to see some progress!

One by one, the ribs are clecoed to the main spar. You have to follow the plans carefully... not all the ribs are the same. There are actually 3 different rib types here, and they don't all face the same direction. Some face left; some right. And you don't want the wing built upside down! So I carefully followed the plans and clecoed each rib in place.

Wow, this is really big, and it really looks like something! This is the left wing skeleton, complete with the rear spar clecoed on.

Another shot from a different angle. Beautiful!

You may have seen a similar shot of this before... looking down through the wings' lightening holes. Cool!

Here are the nose ribs attached to the right wing spar. All the ribs are now match-drilled to the spars. Isn't this looking like a wing? Wow!

Another shot from another angle. It was very exciting to see this come together, and match-drill them. If you're wondering where the rest of the nose ribs are, good question. The rest of the leading edge of the wing is the fuel tank, and it will be built separately and attached in a different manner than these simple clecos. So you don't see those ribs on here at this point.

Here's how I drilled the holes for the wiring conduit. I made this template from some thin cardboard. You can see a #30 hole in the upper left corner, and the cutouts to match the holes in the rib. I got this idea from Brad Olivers website. Thanks, Brad!

See how this perfectly nests in the rib? You can't miss. Then drill a #30 hole using the template as a drill guide. For the opposite-facing wing ribs, this template is simply flipped over. You can't go wrong because if you don't have it flipped the right way, the lightening holes don't line up and the angle on the bottom won't be right.

Then you enlarge the #30 hole to 3/4" size, using a unibit. I simply used my battery-operated hand drill. Worked great! This big unibit won't fit in my little air drill. You can see that I drilled into a block of scrap wood. You can use a drill press, but this worked fast and easy.

In this shot, you can see the 3/4" hole in the upper left. I also enlarged the tooling hole with my smaller unibit to match the 7/16" one already provided. Now I should have plenty of room for wiring, pitot tube, etc.

The conduit holes all lined up perfectly when mounted on the spar, as expected. After match-drilling, I marked each rib to it's exact location on the spar, then dismantled the whole thing for deburring the holes. These ribs are now ready for cleaning, etching, and priming. That will be another big operation.

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