Sunday, 1 November 2015

Steady progress

No big visible changes this week, but lots of preparation of parts which will hopefully lead to a sudden blitz of riveting!

I finished preparing the rear fuselage frames and painting them on one side. 

I also filled pinholes in the fin and rudder fibreglass caps and painted them as well, so these can now be installed.

All parts for the rear fuselage bulkhead have been prepared.  Plenty of trimming and polishing, countersinking for anchor nuts (which support the fin), plus match drilling and deburring all holes.   I trial-assembled the whole thing including the horizontal stabiliser hinge bearings (but unfortunately didn't take a picture).  All parts have been scuffed with red Scotchbrite prior to painting. 

I also completed the tail tie-down bracket which is riveted through both bulkhead sections. This meant cutting the 45 degree chamfer (good use for the bench sander to get the finished surface flat and square), plus notching the side, drilling and tapping the hole at the opposite end where the tie-down ring will be inserted, radiusing all corners and match-drilling all rivet holes to the bulkhead. My metalwork skills are definitely improving (shame about the state of my hands from sharp edges)!

The final task this week was to trial-fit the horizontal stabiliser skins.  All holes (several hundred) need match drilling to the finished size (the delivered punched holes are slightly under-size and won't take the 1/8th rivets) and then it's taken apart again for deburring and for all rough edges to be finished. Then the whole thing is finally cleco'd back together. Everything lined up perfectly.  The accuracy of the kit continues to amaze me!

The plain anti-servo-tab hinge halves fixed to the stabiliser needed to be drilled-off using the guide supplied by Vans.  I messed up the first hinge section by putting the drill guide on upside down (it's the reverse way round from that used on the servo-tabs themselves and identified by some small notches on one edge), resulting in two holes being too close the the hinge pin before I realised my mistake.  I had to get a replacement section of blank hinge and re-do this step.  This time I marked the drill guide with red and green on opposing sides so I didn't repeat the error.  I need the HS semi-assembled so that the rear bulkhead hinge alignment can be checked.  The skin riveting won't happen until Jerry has inspected the skeleton (which means taking it all apart again).

If things go to plan, I'll have the rear bulkhead, three fuselage frames and three lower skins fully painted and maybe even assembled by my next post!

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