November 2, 2007

New Compressor! Continued work on tank - 9.0 hrs.

Well, I got the bad news on my compressor today, after taking it into the shop for a diagnosis. The motor that runs the thing is completely shot. Worse yet, the cost of replacing it is more than the darn thing is worth. The little motor that ran the pump was obviously undersized and not well made. Truth is, it was a cheap thing. It was very noisy. And to add insult to injury, there was a $70 bill to pay for the diagnosis to find all of this out. That's the bad news.

Here's the good news: I decided it was time to get a new compressor, and I got a great deal on a real good one. In retrospect, my old one was at least 10 years old. I've used it around the shop and the house and the car all these years with no trouble until it died. I added an entire 2nd floor to my home and used it a lot for the remodeling work. And I built my empennage and most of my wings with it. I bought it back in the day from Home Depot. It was a refurbished model with a new factory warranty on it (long since expired) and only some minor cosmetic damage. But it was marked way down in price. I guess, in retrospect, I more than got my moneys worth out of it. So I don't feel so bad. And here's the best news: by buying a new one at the same shop, they applied the cost of my diagnosis ($70.00) to the price of the new one. Here it is:

I wasn't familiar with the Maxus brand name. But apparently they are a division of Campbell Hausfeld. The commercial division. They make serious compressors for contractors and industry, rather than the cheap consumer models sold at the big box stores (I'm not going that route again). While I was there, I noticed the number of contractors and builders coming in to the store. This is where they do business, I thought. That's a good sign. They told me I could run this compressor all day, every day and it should last at least 20 years. It ought to be the last one I ever have to buy. So I brought it home and set it up as you see here. Nice! It's so much quieter. There's no comparison in the quality. I'm hoping to paint my plane myself, so it should pay for itself right there.

Okay... back to work! I started where I left off last night and finished scuffing the inside of the tank's skin. I'm now ready to start with Proseal and rivet it together.

This shows how you start with a pad of scotchbrite, cut into pieces. See how a worn one looks next to the new ones.

Next, I got right into it. I mixed up some Proseal. My first job was to do the stiffeners and the fuel cap flange, as you see above. Below is another shot of the fuel cap flange, showing the clip that will hold the vent line in place.

I also sealed and riveted the drain flange in place. I used the technique on the stiffeners, as you can see, with black electrical tape used as masking tape. The messy sealant was applied, and the tape later pulled off, revealing a nice clean sealed bead of Proseal.

Hours later, all the stiffeners are riveted and sealed, along with the fuel cap flange and the drain flange. Not bad for a first session with this material. I'm ready now to rivet some ribs!

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