|2005-12-01||Unpack crate & inventory||Received tail section crate, Keith helped me unpack & inventory|
|2005-12-02||Started rudder||Attached doublers, rudder horn, and ribs 1-4|
|2005-12-04||Finished rudder skeleton||Finished layout, drilling, debur, and final rivet assembly of rudder skeleton. Using corrosionX as a protectant.
Couldn't get the pneumatic riveter to work; emailed Zenith. Ended up pulling all the rivets by hand.
|2005-12-05||Installed rudder skin||left work early due to a snowstorm; snowed like crazy all afternoon & evening. Spent substantial time pondering the 32mm block. I finally realized it was to compensate for the spar taper & knocked it out. Drilled & cleco'd both sides of the skin, mounted the rib cap.|
|2005-12-06||Fitted nose skin||Stayed home from work due to the snow. Spent the morning disassembling the crate & building a jig to hold the rudder leading-edge up. Once in position, was able to fit the nose skin.|
|2005-12-09||Completed rudder||Disassembled the skins, deburred, CorrosionX'd, reassembled & riveted. Also had to trim the nose skin. Very happy I managed to fix the pneumatic riveter, there are a _lot_ of rivets in these skins.|
|2005-12-12||Started elevator||Laid out parts; fitted, drilled & cleco'd the rear ribs. Ready to start the nose & tip ribs.|
|2005-12-13||Finished Elevator Ribs||Drilled elevator nose ribs, de-burred & riveted ribs in place. Fitted tip ribs, but messed up one side by placing it slightly off-position. Had to order another l-bracket.|
|2005-12-17||Started Skins||Fixed misplaced cross-member; fitted & drilled left elevator nose-skin; riveted lower skin; built the elevator jig. The right-side nose skin has to wait 'till I receive the replacement bracket.|
|2005-12-19||Fitted skins & gussets||Riveted left nose-skin, fitted right nose-skin, fitted gussetts.|
|2005-12-31||Finished skins||Riveted right nose-skin. Fitted, drilled, deburred, and riveted the gussetts. Fitted control horns. Cut out rudder travel area, and filed down the edges of the skin.|
|2006-01-08||Elevator Control Horns||Fitted & drilled the control horns and center hinge piece. Slowed down the pace a good deal, as Zenith is backlogged and won't be able to get the wing kit to me before the end of March.|
|2006-01-09||Started trim tab motor||Finished installation & riveting of control horns, and riveted the rear "L". Drilled mounting holes for the trim motor, cut out the access panel and fitted the motor with clecos.|
|2006-01-14||Installed Trim Tab||Installed trim tab motor & tab. The threaded push-rod appears to be too long, needs to be cut.|
|2006-01-21||Shop cleanup||Cleaned up shop & organized parts for H-Stab|
|2006-01-23||Started H-Stab Spar / Ribs||Positioned, drilled, deburred, CorrosionX'd, and riveted the H-Stab spar doublers; updated old web page.|
|2006-01-28||Finished spar / rib frame||Added ribs to spar; ready for mounting brackets.|
|2006-01-29||Mounting Brackets||Attached forward / rear mount brackets to H-Stab. Made cutouts in skins, started fitting skins, stopped to review manual.|
|2006-01-31||Started Skin||Drilled H-Stab skin bottom; ready to turn it over & build tops.|
|2006-03-02||Skin Top||After several episodes of re-arranging the ratchet straps & 2x4's holding tension on the skin, I finally drilled the top. This effort was spent over several episodes during the prior month. I drilled, disassembled, and started deburring tonight. Alignment came out great.|
|2006-03-04||Riveted Skin||Larry Meier came to visit, this was the last weekend prior to his return to TX. He helped me rivet the skin; deburred & corrosionX'd prior to his arrival. Almost done with the Stab!|
|2006-06-10||Cleaned & Primed||Since moving back to TX I've been storing completed parts in the open (no garage, no room in workshop). After a few weeks, I noticed quite a bit of oxidation & discoloring of the metal. To protect the parts, I soaked them in WD-40 then scrubbed them to get rid of the oxidation. Then I "rinsed" with WD-40 again for long-term storage.
This was all prior to 10 June. Today I cleaned the rudder with Windex (no residue) then MEK (more powerful cleaner, still no residue) to eliminate the WD-40, then primed the part using spray-cans of self-etching primer.
It turned out pretty bad, the primer went on dry & powdery, I'll have to wet-sand it down again & reprime. I've already ordered a quart of epibond & a proper paint gun.
|2006-06-11||Attached center elevator hinge & gusset||Pieces went together with no problem. I postponed installing anything that protruded from the h-stab & elevator prior to the move. I wanted to be able to safely stack the pieces if necessary.
All I have remaining are the end hinges & control horns on the elevator.
|2006-06-25||Finished elevator attach & trim tab||Drilled & riveted side hinges to the h-stab for the elevator. Checked aligment with center mount using a piece of string. Riveted control horns & braces to elevator (they were left off deliberately to ease the move). Wired trim-tab & mounted. white-white, white-black, green-green, red-orange, blue-brown.|
|2006-06-27||Rib prep||Inventoried parts, disassembled the crate, and set up workbench on the trailer.
Drilled & deburred the flaperon attach struts to the main ribs. Notched & bent the L-angle for use on the nose ribs.
|2006-06-28||Slat pickups||Fit L-angle suupports & slat pickups to nose ribs; drilled & deburred. Laid out parts for rear spars.|
|2006-06-29||Spliced rear spar halves||Connected rear spar halves with splice and attached rear strut pickups. Also constructed the wood "stands" to hold the main spar upright on edge.|
|2006-07-04||Fitted & drilled nose ribs||Set up main spars in jigs; fitted & drilled nose ribs to right wing. Started laying out rear ribs.|
|2006-07-05||Attached ribs||Drilled & cleco'd 5 pairs of nose/rear ribs to each main spar. Still have 4 pair to go, then redrill with #20, etc. It's been raining / t-storms for 5 days straight!|
|2006-07-08||Finished riveting ribs & started rear spar attach||Finished riveting nose & rear ribs for both wings. Went back & added the A6 rivets on ribs # 4. Cleaned up workbench, then positioned rear spar on left wing ribs to begin drilling.|
|2006-07-09||Started rear spar attach||Installed root ribs on both wings. Installed rear spar stiffeners; riveted left wing rear spar on. Right wing rear spar is positioned but needs drilled up & riveted.|
|2006-07-11||Completed installing right wing rear spar||Drilled up to #20, deburred, CorrosionX'd, and riveted right wing rear spar. Positioned I/B bottom skins on both wings; clamps only.|
|2006-07-13||Fitted & drilled L/Wing bottom skins||Fitted & drilled #40 both the i/b & o/b bottom skins on the left wing. Filed down the skin edge to clear the rear strut pickup.|
|2006-07-15||Drilled & riveted bottom skins||Bottom skins are on both L & R wings, minus the work needed to install the front strut stiffeners.|
|2006-07-17||Positioned L/E skin on R wing||Positioned & drilled spar cap for inboard l/e skin.|
|2006-07-19||Installed forward strut stiffener, L/E||Fabricated & installed (riveted) the forward strut stiffener for the right wing. This took a great deal of time and care to get right.
With the stiffener in place, the leading edge, both i/b and o/b could be riveted in. Now ready for final installation of strut attach and start on top skins.
|2006-07-22||Installed top skins on r/w; started l/e on left||Drilled & cleco'd the top skins for the right wing. My goal was to get as many skins as possible attached to the wings as quickly as possible, as I don't have "safe" storage for the skins.
With all the skins (except the trailing edge) on the right wing, I moved back to the left to install the leading edge, forward strut stiffener, and top skins.
|2006-08-16||Re-drilled elevator horn angle||I initially mislocated the hinge-hole on the elevator horn angle. When I ordered the slats/flaps kit from Zenith, I had them toss in a new angle.
I drilled the new angle and attached it. I also positioned the trim tab cover plate, drilled its rivet holes, and rounded the corners so they wouldn't be as sharp.
|2006-08-21||Fixed incorrect rivets||I'd initially place A4 rivets along the main elevator spar, should've been A5's. Drilled out the old & replaced. Also rinsed out & washed elevator & h-stab in preparation of priming.|
|2006-08-23||Forward strut attach, l/w||Re-attached leading edge to left wing, marked & made the cutout for the forward strut attach. Made the hole-xfer template for laying out the holes on the strut attach doubler.|
|2006-08-24||Continued work on fwd strut doubler||Transferred rivet holes from template to doubler, positioned & drilled coupler, primed both parts for installation. Need to finish drilling the l/e spar line & do final riveting.|
|2006-08-26||Finished bottom side of l/w leading edge||Positioned & drilled both i/b & o/b leading edge pieces. The l/w is now caught up to the r/w afa progress.|
|2006-08-27||o/b tip prep||Trimmed upper & lower skins for both wings o/b ends. Also attached the l-angle to outer end of main spars.|
|2006-08-30||Wrapped r/w leading edge skin||Moved back to the r/w after working on the l/w for a while. The l/e was already riveted along the bottom, waiting to be wrapped & fitted to the top. As I replaced the top skins, I discovered I hadn't completed drilling the o/b top skin. Did so, then proceeded with wrapping the leading edge.
The wrapping was uneventful, used 6 ratchet straps & some pieces of trim wood to protect the edge of the skin. It was well past dark when fitted, so I left off the drilling for daylight.
This was the first evening I worked past sunset using my new halogen worklights.
|2006-09-01||Drilled r/w l/e to main spar & nose ribs||Tooka a vacation day to make it a 4-day weekend. Drilled le/ to top of main spar & nose ribs. Slightly screwed up the o/b piece as it became cockeyed prior to drilling main spar.
After I finished the l/e I wet-sanded the h-stab and elevator in prep for priming.
|2006-09-02||Primed h-stab and elevator||Primed bare metal on h-stab and elevator with epi-bond. Went on OK, just a few sags.|
|2006-09-03||Painted empennage||Wet-sanded rudder (where I'd used rattle-can primer and it went on like sawdust) and the few sags in the epi-bond. Waited a few hours & taped off the ends & applied the almond-white coat of enamel. Played NWN with Keith for 4 hours, then taped off & applied the forest green.
Lookin' pretty snappy, the neighbors came over to admire.
|2006-09-13||Attached l/w fwd strut stiffener, bott l/e||After almost a week of delays due to rain, I was able to get back to work on the wings. I'd primed the inside of the l/w LE while painting the tail, so it was ready to attach. The fwd strut stiffener was also fully laid out, drilled, & primed.
Unfortunately, I screwed it up. The long break had me anxious to accomplish something, so I jumped in w/o reviewing the guide. I positioned the l/e the same way I'd always done; UNDER the bottom edge skin (check the photo). I'd pulled about 30 rivets before I caught it.
Teaching point- never, ever, attack a big job w/o reviewing the blueprints & guide.
|2006-09-20||misc. work||Riveted the l/w fwd strut stiffener pieces together, positioned & bolted the fwd strut attach, primed & riveted the r/w slat attach brackets to the nose ribs.
Started pulling the r/w le back around for storage. Need to make room for the fuselage arrival.
|2006-09-22||Re-wrapped r/w le & hung in storage||Needed to make room for fuselage arrival, so decided to store the r/w. Hung it under the eave of the shop on nylon web straps.
Repositioned the l/w to facilitate installation of pitot mount & fuel tanks.
|2006-09-25||wrapped l/w LE||wrapped, rewrapped, and re-rewrapped L/W leading edge. Finally got a good fit & drilled & cleco'd. Also primed & riveted in slat attach points and flaperon attaches.|
|2006-09-25||Received crate & started unpacking||Received the quick-build fuselage late in the afternoon. The fuse came pretty much assembled, which means the crate was 20 ft long by 4.5 by 4.5 ft. Unloading & moving the monster to the shop was a challenge, then I started disassembling the crate.
My neighbors stopped over to see the fuse, they've been keeping up with my progress.
|2006-09-26||finished unpacking crate & inventory.||Spent this morning disassemling the crate, stacking the lumber, and reorganizing the shop for additional storage space.|
|2006-09-26||Built a jig to hold wing upright, installed l/w trailing edge||After spending the morning unpacking the fuselage, I got back to working on the l/w.
The next step was installing the trailing edge, which required it be sitting aft-up in a jig. I made a quick jig by clamping cutouts to the rails of the workbench/trailer.
Zenith's directions in the photo-guide have a big issue here. They directed me to joing the two trailing edge pieces prior to placing them in the wing. When those two pieces are joined, they become very prone to folding in half, which is what happened to me, with the resulting kinks.
Instead of joining them first, you should position them on the trailing edge separately. This makes it easier to remove them / re-install them as you drill & deburr. Only when you're ready for final riveting do you rivet them together.
|2006-09-29||Built pilot's seat||Took a break from the wings to build the pilot's seat; this way I can sit in the fuselage and make engine noises!|
|2006-09-30||built co-pilot's seat||needed the copilots seat so Keith could sit in there with me & make engine noises.|
|2006-10-01||Primed & painted fuselage||Prep'd, primed, & painted fuselage.|
|2006-10-01||Finished l/w TE & started fuel systems||Removed wing from jigs, positioned & drilled top holes on rear spar / trailing edge.
Started positioning all the fuel system keeper / retainer pieces inside the wing.
|2006-10-03||Finished installing tank "retaining" hardware, started cutting foam||Finished putting in the various L-angles and other pieces that hold the tanks in position (l/w for now).
With those in place, I was able to start cutting honeycomb and foam to size to make the plug. About half done.
|2006-10-07||Started glassing I/B tank (L/W)||After cutting foam panels & attempting to arrange them into a smooth plug (and keep them in position), I've changed methods.
No more foam. I'm simply cutting the NidaCore panels into the correct size/shapes for the surfaces of the tank and glassing them together. So far I've finished glassing in the inside of the bottom, sides, and back of the I/B tank on the left wing.
I also used the pieces of the I/B tank "blanks" as templates to cut out nidacore for the R/W tank.
Since I'm fitting the top of the tank right up to the top skin, I had to do something about clearance for the top of the fuel sender unit. What I've decided to do is inset the fuel sender 15mm into the tank. I did this by resining together concentric circles of nidacore where the sender attaches. I'll cut a tapering hole to the bottom, and reinforce glass there.
|2006-10-08||Wet-sanded rudder||For some reason when I painted the rudder, it attracted every love-bug in the county. There were more of them stuck in the paint than I could count.
I decided that rather than trying to point-fix each bug mark, I'd just wet-sand the whole rudder down smooth & try again.
|2006-10-20||glassed in panel on l/w i/b tank||progressively glassing in sides to the fuel tank. I doubt I actually use this first tank, it's getting heavy. On the next one I'm going to make lightening cutouts everywhere.|
|2006-10-25||Destroyed l/w o/b tank||Learning is a process of trying new things, and discovering what doesn't work. Well, cutting lightening holes in Nidacore doesn't work. The structure becomes too flimsy to stand up to squeegee'ing glass into place, and the glass catches on all the edges left on the holes.
I tried to glass in the tank structure, and ended up wasting a square meter of glass, a cupful of resin, and the entire tank structure I'd carefully measured, cut out, lightened, and glued together with flox resin fillets. Several hours of work spread over a week down the tube.
Looks like I go back to solid Nidacore panels, regardless of the weight. I'll finish one tank up (still have the i/b tank mostly done) and weigh it.
|2006-10-28||Added top panel to fuel tank||Went back with my original fuel tank, the solid-panel prototype (no lightening cutouts). Installed half of the top panel.|
|2006-10-28||Installed l/w root end skin||Started & finished installation of root skin. This included positioning a splice, cutting & wrapping the skin (very difficult) and making a rivet-hole transfer template for the root rib.
This turned into a very difficult job to get right, I wrapped & rewrapped the thing so many times I lost count. It was tough getting just the right slope & curves into the skin. Eventually I ended up with a product I'm very satisfied with.
|2006-11-22||Finished o/b l/w tip||Finished cutting & fitting o/b tip. The fiberglass tip has a large gap that will need to be filled with micro slurry.|
|2006-11-24||Cleaned & prep'd struts||The steel strut rods & jury struts were showing some corrosion. I sanded them down, cleaned & primed them. Did the same for the steel seat back frames for the pilot & copilot seats.|
|2006-11-26||Plug for fuel tanks||I gave up on the current "panel-based" fuel tank design. (panels of honeycomb sandwiched between fiberglass layers). It was too heavy & difficult to get sealed.
I've gone back to the original plan of making a plug to fit in the tank recess. I used several pieces of foam sheet to fill in the center of the recess, then used expanding spray-in foam around the sides & top. This appears to have worked quite well, but is still drying so I havent removed it yet.
|2006-12-07||Fit r/w trailing edge skin||Fit & trimmed trailing edge skin. Ready to drill it.|
|2006-12-07||Working on plug||Removed plug from wing, trimmed excess expanding foam from all sides. This required a series of test fits to verify sizing.
The foam was impossible to sand. After trimming it 4-6 mills undersize, I started adding layers of plaster to fill in the voids & level the surfaces out.
|2006-12-12||Added more plaster to plug||Sanded the first layer of plaster down & added another layer to build up low spots.
This should be about it, the plug's looking good now.
|2006-12-21||Cast first tank||Wrapped plug in plastic, glassed it in.|
|2006-12-22||Re-cast first tank||The first attempt at wrapping glass around the plug was almost, but not quite, a success. I'd allowed too much slack in the plastic layer protecting the plug from the glass. This slack bunched up during vacuum-bagging, creating significant wrinkles in the top & bottom surfaces of the shell.
I decided to start over, using much more care in fitting the plastic. This second attempt came out great.
|2006-12-23||Installed Pitot mast & hangars for vacuum lines & wiring||Finishing up odds & ends on the left wing. I intend to use Dynon's AOA pitot tube, so I installed the required mast. I also need hangars to hold the wingtip light wiring & pressure lines for the pitot.|
|2007-01-02||Continued development of tank #1||At this point my first tank is simply a single-ply shell. Starting with that, I added nidacore honeycomb panels cut into narrow strips as re-enforcement. Each panel was covered with a single-ply tape.
3 addition plys were added to areas where fittings & the inlet nozzle will connect, making a total of 4. Cab-o-sil was mixed in to the resin to make a thick paste, which was then used to build up points where the fittings can be drilled & tapped.
|2007-01-03||Added fuel cap to tank #1||The fuel inlet was marked off on the o/b top corner of the tank, then the opening was drilled & dremel'd out. Rivet holes were spaced evenly around the flange then drilled in.
Since the fit between the tank & the flange wasn't perfect, more cab-o-sil paste was mixed up & beaded around the flange opening. The flange was seated & cleco'd, excess paste was wiped off, then the flange riveted in place.
|2007-01-14||Started port O/B fuel tank||What took weeks to do the first time I accomplished in two afternoons the second... yes! Re-using the plug, I plastic-wrapped it, glassed the tank skin, added the honeycomb beams and hardware fittings all in one weekend.
I also drilled & tapped the hardware ports on the I/B tank.
Remaining work on both tanks now is to add the vent tubes, slosh, and reattach the halves.
|2007-01-15||Fitted position/strobe light||Very cold outside, so I brought the fiberglass wingtip into my office & fitted the position/strobe light. It required drilling the 3 mounting holes for the screws, as well as a large relief hole for the position light bell housing.
I also ordered the parts necessary to finish the fuel tanks.
|2007-01-27||Added insets for fuel senders||Initially I was going to install the fuel senders on the side of the tank(s). After reviewing many comments from other builders, I went with the convential top-mount location. This is to make the senders accessible through an inspection port on top of the wing. (the only way to replace a side-mounted sender is to peel the skin and remove the tank...)
Since the top of the senders have a stud and other hardware requiring a half inch or so of clearance, the sender has to be inset into the tank. To accomplish this, I cut an oversized hole into the tank surface; cut a piece of foam to match the hole on top and the diameter of the sender on the bottom; and used that foam as a plug for a couple layers of glass.
For the r/w tanks, I'll just cut the inset into the tank plug.
|2007-03-03||Glassed top of sender insets||The "inside" of the fuel sender insets were in place from the last step, so I trimmed the tank shell to match the slope of the inner wall, then added two layers of glass to the top of the inset, sandwhiching in the shell.
I also patched various places I'd sanded through the shell.
|2007-03-03||Disassembled elevator||After moving to TX from VA, while setting up everything in my new shop, I noticed the elevator "rocked" when laid across my bench. Sure enough, I'd messed up and built it twisted.
I drilled out all the rib rivets on both surfaces, then drilled out the spar line on the bottom. I also removed the control horn. This allowed me to straighten the twist.
It appears the twist was introduced after the ribs/skins were drilled, while the leading edge was fitted. The rib holes continued to be aligned after straightening, but the spar cap holes are not.
|2007-03-04||Continued elevator fix.||After removing all the rib rivets, I took the opportunity to sand the paint off from the rivet lines. This took a while...
With the paint stripped, I re-riveted the top of the elevator. I need to re-drill offset holes in the spar rivet line, re-fit the leading edge, and reassemble everything.
|2007-03-06||Drilled new spar cap holes||After carefully aligning the elevator with no twist, the rib holes matched perfectly with the skin, so I re-riveted them.
The spar cap holes were substantially off. I drilled new pilot holes halfway between the existing bunk holes, which gives me a legal 2cm spacing between holes.
Next step is to wrap the leading edges under the skin, push the new pilot holes into the leading edge, then re-wrap over the skin, drill out, and rivet.
|2007-03-17||Re-wrapped LE skins & riveted||Finished the fix for my twisted elevator. I re-wrapped the LE skins overlapping the rear skin, drilled up to #20, and riveted. Everything looks tight & square now.|
|2007-03-17||Stripped paint from elevator||Spent the remainder of Saturday stripping peeling paint from the elevator. This was aided by the paint's desire to peel away from the rivet heads; I just had to sand the open areas.|
|2007-03-17||cut sender holes & started bonding halves together||Cut & fitted the fuel senders, no problem.
Started bonding the top & bottom half of the inboard tank together. I'm using a 4 inch tape & just doing one side at a time.
|2007-03-18||Re-painted elevator||Got up Sunday morning, skipped church, finished detail-sanding the elevator & washed / rinsed it.
After giving it time to dry, I primed with PPG 3-part primer. I put the ele on a pair of sawhorses, priming one side, letting it dry, then flipping & priming the other.
After the second side dried, I re-painted with a small 'detail' air gun. This produced a much nicer finish than the crappy HVLP gun I used the first time.
I did both the almond & green tips, it's drying now.
|2007-03-24||Stripped H-Stab||Was forced to strip the paint/primer from all of one side of the h-stab, and small sections of the other. It came off by spraying with a garden hose, just like the elevator.
One difference is that the top side appears to have a good bond. My theory is that when I performed the MEK wipe it cooled the skin down enough to condense in the high humidity. One side of the h-stab was facing the sun, so by the time I painted it, that side had dried.
The elevator was sitting in the shade, so both sides still had condensation when I painted that.
I did not do an MEK wipe on the rudder, so even though I used cheaper primer, there is no peeling.
|2007-03-25||Painted & tested tank||The inboard left-wing tank is done, painted & tested it this weekend. I also made a retainer for the fuel cap out of some chain and scrap.|
|2007-04-21||Started new fuel tank||I'm not satisfied with the upper/lower bonding with the two current fuel tanks. (shoulda waited before starting the second one...) The mating edges didn't line up, and I've been applying patch after patch to try to get a seal.
I also discovered I should be using vinyl-ester resin for the tanks, not just epoxy.
So I've started on a new tank. I've added a inner seam of L-angle at the top/bottom juncture, using both rivets & caboseal to join the halves. I've already fab'd the shell & added the L-angle, and am much happier with the fit.
|2007-04-22||Split shell, added L-angles||Split the shell & removed from plug. This was complicated by the fact that vinyl-ester resin dissolves duct tape, which I'd used as a release agent. All the duct tape turned into a sticky mass of goo.
After the shell was split, I added reinforcing plys to areas where connections are made, and the nidacore honeycomb stiffening panels to the top & bottom.
The fast-dry time of the VE resin was nice, I was able to complete a bunch of steps that used to take days with the epoxy.
After the glass was done, I added L-angle to the bottom half.
|2007-04-28||Joined tank halves||Fitted the tank halves together & sized them in the wing nacelle. It was a little tall, so trimmed some height off from the top.
With the correct size, I made a paste of epoxy (not vinyl-ester) resin & cabosil, then applied the paste to the L-angle splice surfaces.
With the paste in place I rejoined the halves, then riveted the top half to the splice. I then used a spreader to even out the excess paste & fill in all the gaps.
With the gaps completedly filled by paste, I applied a 5 inch tape around the tank at the joint, applying resin genorously.
After the resin hardened, I filled the tank with water through the fuel sender fitting hole. (no other holes have been drilled or cut) One corner leaked where I'd dremel'd off an ugly joint, and the few areas on the top & bottom with only one ply of 'glass appear to 'seep' water through.
I'm going to add another ply of glass to the top & bottom to address the seeping, and fix the top-right corner leak.
A point of interest is the previous 'epoxy' resin was water-tight at a thickness of one-ply. The vinly-ester resin is not and requires a minimum of two plys.
|2007-04-30||Setup for second tank||Measured & cut glass cloth panels for the second tank; covered the plug with fresh plastic wrap.
Put another layer on top of the first tank, need to add a layer to the bottom of it & retest.
|2007-05-20||Nose gear strut & bearings||Installed the lower nose gear support & bearings. Also installed the bungee pin & strut.
Need to attach the gear fork to the strut & assemble axle / wheel.
|2007-05-21||Fitted nosegear fork||Drilled pilot holes for axle in fork; opened up to 7/16ths. Need to buy a 5/8 drill bit & finish opening it up.
Drilled 4 pilot holes in nose strut flange, started to fit the fork to the strut. I decided it would be easier to align if the fuselage were turned over, so we (wife & I) rotated the fuse so it's sitting on its top. At that point I was distracted cleaning the fuse & work area, so didn't get the fork on.
|2007-05-23||Aligned & attached nose gear fork||With the axle holes drilled, I used a 5/8'ths dowel to help align the fork to the fuse. I centered the dowel, positioned the fork on the strut, then ran a piece of string to a centerpoint on the belly. The fork was aligned when both ends of the dowel were at the same distance from the centerpoint.
With it aligned, I clamped & drilled 4 holes. I'll drill the remaining 4 when the fuse is re-righted.
|2007-05-26||Wet sanded fuselage||The belly of the fuse is bare metal; it was sitting on the belly when I primed / painted the rest of it. Since it's now upside-down while I'm installing the landing gear, it's a good time to paint the belly.
Unfortunately, the rest of the tail & sides have to be wet-sanded before they take another coat. The HVLP gun I used left an orange peel from hell. So..., I spent most of Memorial day weekend wet-sanding the fuse.
I now have RMI in both wrists :)
|2007-05-28||Cleaned, primed, & painted steel parts||Many of the parts sitting in boxes in my shop have started to show surface oxidation. Since it was a rainy day & I couldn't work outside, I spent a couple hours sanding, priming, and painting these parts. These included the seat supports & latches, some control rods, rudder pedals & linkages, etc.|
|2007-05-28||Continued notching & fitted axles||Continued notching the main gear spring to fit in the mounts. Since I was in the business of trimming the main gear, I went ahead & fitted the axles, marked outlines, and started rounding the corners.
I also disassembled one of the wheel assemblies to see what it will take to install them. Doesn't look to bad.
|2007-05-30||Trimmed main spring for axle||Spent some time filing the main gear spring to match the axle contour. Almost done with one side.
Also did some wet-sanding of the fuselage.
|2007-06-07||Assembled wheel / tire||Unboxed & assembled a wheel / tube / tire assembly just to see how they go together. My dad's visiting, so he showed me how to wire-wrap using the disc brake pad retaining bolts as an example.
I now have one aired-up, functional tire... just need the rest of the airplane!
|2007-06-09||Notched main gear spring||Made a trip to the hardware store to buy a reamer for the electric drill. This made notching the main gear spring much faster, but still took quite a while.
Also spent quite a bit of time wet-sanding, and assembled the remaining two tires.
Also safety-wired the nosewheel lower bearing mounting bolts.
|2007-06-11||Finished contouring & installed axle||The main gear spring's 'ends' are unfinished block cuts. They need to be rounded to match the curve of the axle back plate to provide clearance for the brake assembly. I'd already done some rough cuts to remove material, so I just had to spend some time with a file to clean everything up.
With one side of the spring countoured, I drilled the 4 mounting holes and bolted on the axle & brake assembly.
Now to do the other side.
|2007-06-13||Both axles are now on||I went from the stock spring end to an installed axle in an hour and a half, simply by using a hack-saw.
I traced the axle back plate contour onto the spring end, then used a hack saw to cut orthagonally to the apex of the curves. 20 minutes work with a file cleaned up the rest.
I then used the drilling guide to punch the holes & bolted it on! I'm ready to install the wheels to the axles, then test fit everything to the fuse.
|2007-06-16||Installed wheels / tires||Put the wheels on the axles. The main gear spring assembly is now complete, even has air in the tires.
I also sanded & primed the main gear attach plates as they were looking rusty.
Last, I drilled & test fit the rubber cushions & main gear retention angles. Everythings ready to install the main gear, I just need some good weather to prime / paint the belly.
|2007-06-16||Wet-sanded fuselage||Preparing to prime/paint the currently unpainted belly of the fuse, I need to clean up the bottom of the tail that was painted previously. I wet-sanded the existing coat, and went down the sides about halfway.
I'll finish wetsanding the sides when I'm prep'ing for the fuse top.
|2007-06-24||Attached main gear spring to fuse||An assistant helped me lift the spring / axle assembly into position on the upside-down fuse, then simply slid all the hardware on & torqued the nuts.|
|2007-06-25||Rounded up parts for doors & canopy||I want to get the cabin closed in to keep the bugs out, so I'm starting on the doors / windows. These parts had sunk to the bottom of the bins, so I spent some time getting them together & layed out in sequence.|
|2007-06-25||Installed upper door thresholds||Took some careful trimming around the cage to fit them properly. Also spent some time killing banana spiders in the shop.|
|2007-06-30||Installed top window (sunroof)||Trimmed, drilled, and riveted the upper window support channels.
Trimmed the lexan to fit the opening with 2cm overhang in the rear. Drilled & opened the side screw-holes to take the bushings, but only installed 1/3 screws, as the lexan will have to be removed later for painting. Drilled & clecoed front & rear.
|2007-07-01||Made template for port door||Outlined & drimmed a piece of plywood to use as the port door construction template.|
|2007-07-03||Fabricated port door||This was one of the most detail-oriented bits to construct yet. After building a door, in retrospect the wings look easy.
It's been raining like crazy for 3 days, so I did this bit in the house (AC, no mosquito's, no fire ants, ...)
Basically, just follow the directions, and measure everything twice. Rough cut, then do a final precision cut.
|2007-07-08||80% of left door||I can't find the outside lower skin! Everything else is riveted & ready to attach to the plane, but it looks like I'm going to have to joggle some Al sheet to make a new skin.
Other than that, no problems.
|2007-07-08||Stripped H-Stab||The H-stab is now mostly recovered from the original botched batch of primer. Most of the paint just peeled off with the water hose & stiff rubber squegee; some had to be sanded. I left it on in a few spots, as it was adhering quite well.
I need to wet-sand those spots with remaining paint & wait till the humidity outside drops b4 I attempt again.
|2007-08-11||Fit forward controls||I spent the morning cleaning the shop & workbench. Due to vacations & drill, I hadn't touched the plane in a month, so things were messy.
I started by collecting all the pieces & simply fitting them. I immediately noticed I would have to undo some of the assembly done in the QB fuse. All 4 rear seat bottom support channels had been installed, making it impossible to install the flap mixer. Also, all longeron rivets along both sides had been pulled, requiring me to drill out the ones that align with the bearing boxes.
I also had to cut the belly slot to position the elevator control rod. The rod's too long to get in any other way with the firewall riveted in. With the slot cut, you can simply slide it in from rear forward.
After I'd fit all the pieces, I removed them & started priming. I coated all inside surfaces with CorrosionX.
|2007-08-12||Flap mixer bearing boxes||Assembled the left / right flap mixer bearing boxes. The first one was easy, the second one a disaster.
For some reason, I wobbled out the holes in the second bearing so bad 2 of the A6 rivets pulled through the backing. I replaced them with bolts.
I also continued to paint & prime parts, and torque landing gear stirrup bolts.
|2007-08-13||Flap mixer bearing boxes (cont)||The JB Weld set overnight & did a great job of filling in the bad countersink. I filed the excess off & called it good. I also replaced another A6 rivet with a bolt, as it looked like it was barely gripping the box through the bearing.
Positioned both boxes with the mixer rod installed, dimensions were spot-on!. Drilled through top & bottom of boxes, and fitted the mounting 'L' angles to the fuse sides. Managed to completely finish drilling the left-side box before it got too dark.
Now to finish the right-side.
|2007-08-14||Finishing flap mixer||Put the final touches on both bearing boxes, deburred the holes in the fuse & riveted the boxes in. The fit is great, measurements are spot-on, and there is a little over 3mm clearance between the elevator control rod & top of the mixer rod.
I should mention it's been 102 degrees F this week and I've been sweating like crazy. It's so bad I can't use markers on metal 'cause sweat is dripping on them so bad. My safety glasses fog the instant I put them on. My dog won't even come outside.
|2007-08-25||Sanded topcoat off fuse||The cheap HVLP gun I purchased last summer had a splatter instead of a spray. The paint finish looked like it had been deliberately textured, like a latex.
I tried wet-sanding by hand, but the texture was so deep it was taking forever. My B-i-L, the professional auto paint & body guy, recommended I purchase a DA sander & just take it all off; so I did.
I kept the primer, as it's sticking quite well, and costs $300/gallon.
|2007-09-15||Sanded / repainted fuse||Spent most of August prep'ing to repaint the fuse. A good friend who does professional auto painting introduced me to a tool called a "DA sander", which knocked the existing horrid paint right off.
Some quick wet-sanding to smooth out the primer (which I left on), re-shot primer onto a number of spots where I unintentionally sanded through to metal, and then reshot the paint. Looks good now!
|2007-10-30||Drilled cotter hole||Yay, finally back to work on yardart! I've spent several hours this week getting the shop unpacked & organized, but tonight was the first night I actually did "real work". Each of the 4 main gear mounting bolts requires a hole be drilled for a cotter key to keep the castle nut.
You can't drill the hole until you've test-fit the gear, so you can see where to drill the hole. When I moved the plane up here, I marked the locations for each hole just prior to removing the main gear. I drilled one of the holes tonight; takes a while, those bolts are thick, hard steel.
|2007-10-31||Drilled 2 more cotter holes||3 down, one to go. Still trying to find some way to mount my rotary to my engine stand.|
|2007-11-03||Installed horizontal rods & bell cranks||The flap mixer had been installed in Texas, but I had postponed starting anything new until I had the plane moved.
After much unpacking, rearrangin, and finding of parts, I was able to start where I'd left off, with the aileron flight controls.
I sanded, primed, and painted the horizontal and vertical control rods. Positioned & drilled up the bell cranks, fitted everything together, and bolted down.
|2007-11-06||Started on flap actuator||Started reviewing & fitting together parts for the flap motor, control rod, bearings, etc.
Some parts came pre-assembled with the quick-build fuse, so it was a little difficult to visualize it.
The steel side brace lacked the pilot hole it required, so I drilled that in, drilled it up to size, and used a grinder to contour the edge facing the flap motor.
After that I spent some time fitting things together, which never seemed to work out, so I went home. It was freezing cold anyway.
|2007-11-07||Installed flap actualtor||Come to find out the layout performed with the quick-build was way off. The steel side support was about a cm out of position. I had to work backwards from the position of the flap control tube, fit on the motor, and position from there.
The Al side channel had also been installed, and I had to drill that off to do the fitting.
Everything went together eventually, but this was the worst documented / layed out assembly so far.
The rivet holes for the steel side had been predrilled, and they no longer line up. I'm going to have to find a way to drill back into the diaphram; which probably means disassembling yet another part installed with the QB.
|2007-11-10||Finished flap motor, completed elev pushrod, rear fairlead||Good weather for KS today, high in the mid 60's. I'd left the flap motor cleco'd, so I disassembled, deburred, painted, reassembled, and riveted it today. The flap motor / pushrod is a done deal.
As I'm working on controls, front to back, my next to-do was the elevetor connecting rod. It connects from the joystick, all the way to a bell crank behind the rear seat. I'd installed the bellcrank a couple days ago, so today was spent on getting everything aligned & filing down edges of thru-holes to keep the rod from rubbing anything. Great clearance around all other controls. I did have to trim off a bit more fuse skin where the bell crank descends through; the rod was striking the skin.
With that bit painted and installed, I installed the rear fairlead support. Took maybe an hour.
From there I cleaned up the fuse a bit, and started assembling the rudder pedals. Collected all parts, painted the pedals, trial fit, drilled out some rivets where bolts are supposed to go, then called it a day.
|2007-11-11||Installed pedals, started brakes||Completed installation of the rudder pedals. The nose gear connecting rods are too short; they don't fit between the pedal attach point and nose gear, even with the pedals completely forward. I'm just going to make my own.
I was able to sit in the pilot's seat and manipulate both the joystick & pedals for the first time; a very good feeling. There's a lot of leg / head room.
Started attaching the toe pedal hinges and gouged a major gash in my hand. The drill bit broke & the shaft/drill veered into the back of my left hand. It would probably be worth quite a few stitches if I went to the emergency room, but the 100mph tape is holding it together nicely. I took the rest of the day off; needed new drill bits anyway.
|2007-11-15||Continued installing toe brakes||The stainless steel toe brake hinges are eating drill bits like candy. I completed the left toe brake, it's cleco'd together. Started the right toe pedal and my last 5/32'nds just wasn't up to the task. Time to go buy more bits.
Received my ELT, power panel, grips, & misc switches and wiring yesterday. I'm now almost set to finish the plane; just need a prop and to make the cowl.
|2007-11-25||Installed master cylinders and brake lines||Finished installing the second toe brake, including final riveting.
With the master cylinders positioned, I ran the brake lines through the cab to the main gear. Dorking with the grommets took some time.
|2007-11-30||Trimmed & fit fuel line covers||There are 6 pieces of fuel trim cover (per side) for the 801. Installing the fuel lines & trim is actually a big deal.
I spent a couple hours after work trimming & positioning the passenger side rear fuel line trim. Took it as far as it would go w/o cutting fuel line.
|2007-12-02||Finished R/S rear fuel line trim||Finished trimming positioning the 3 pieces of trim around the top/rear/bottom of the door and along the back of the seat. Also cut out the large rectangular "foot opening" in the back of the copilots bench. This was necessary to allow passage of the fuel lines.
also cut & positioned both I/B and O/B lines all the way from the wing to the under-seat drains. I need to finish trimming them and wire wrap all the hose clamps.
I positioned the fuel drain under the copilot seat, but haven't done the pilot's side yet. I'm going to chase the copilot side line all the way to the switch before starting on the pilot side.
I had to drill out quite a few rivets along the inside of the doors to position the trim.
|2007-12-04||Started forward trim||Trimmed & positioned the starboard forward fuel line trim. This required positioning the fuel line, which required positioning the strobe controller & battery supply cables.|
|2007-12-06||Assembled Ray Allen Grips||Soldered & assembled left/right grips.|
|2008-03-18||Started stripping renesis block||Finally, first loggable time since 6 December. With the Renesis mounted to a stand in my garage, I spent the evening stripping it down to the block. Pulled off the manifolds, tubing, hoses, injectors, and wiring. All that's left on it are the waterpump and the oil injection system.|
|2008-03-23||Continued stripping block||Drained oil, pulled peripherals from spark-plug side of engine. Started pulling the oil pan.|
|2008-03-29||cut down intake manifold & removed oil pan||Moved the block from my upstairs garage to the downstairs shop (where the plane will be shortly).
Cut the intake manifold off below the throttle assembly. This allows me to retain the portion that mates to the engine block & fuel injector seats. I'll attach 4 aluminum tubes to the base & run them over the engine.
I also removed the oil pan in preparation of building a new one thats higher capacity (7qts vs 5) and is integrated with the engine mount.
|2008-04-05||Cut out oil plan blank||Received metal stock from ASP, traced around the stock oil pan onto the Al blank to form a template, cut it out with sabresaw. Referred to the ACRE schematics to lay out sides and bottom.|
|2008-04-19||Welded oil pan||Welded 3 sides to the rim blank. Learning how to use the hts-2000 rods took some time, but once you get the hang of it they're quite usable.
In addition, using plaster I made a mold of the top of the intake manifold. I need to fabricate a composite adapter to mate the manifold to the circular Al risers.
Dave (coworker) found an all-Al intake manifold & plenum at a garage sale for $2. Brand-new, looks like from a ford tractor. It looks like just the right part to use as an intake plenum, it already has a throttle body mount plate on the front.
I've got some bids riding on ebay right now for a throttle body & Al 'racing' radiator.
|2008-04-26||Cleaned up previous welds & added another panel||the 4 sides are attached to the flange; still need to add the two bottom pieces.|
|2008-06-28||made alternator mount||I redesigned my alternator mount to use a 'submount' and 'upper mount'. I also went to a heavier gauge steel.
The 'submount' change is to allow easier alignment of the pulley with the e-shaft drive pulley. I bolted the submount on, then assembled the upper mount to the alternator. The upper mount easily slides back & forth on the lower, allowing me to align more precisely.
When the alignment looks right, just vise-grip the two together, remove & weld.
|2008-07-06||Organized shop & attached pilot seat rails||Spent a good 2-3 hours unpacking boxes from the move. I've had the fuse & all my parts in a storage unit for 6 months, waiting to get my basement shop cleaned out & ready; finally got stuff moved in last week.
There is plenty of shelf space in the shop, but it was disorganized from our household move. I got all the gardening, woodworking, home repair, etc. all consolidated & opened a big shelf unit for airplane supplies, then unpacked my kit boxes.
After that, I aligned & installed the pilot seat rails. I need to have the pilot seat in position to verify the rudder pedals aren't too close, and I need to resolve that before I run the rudder cables. Weird how this stuff is all interdependent; I can't attach the rudder until the pilot seat is in :/)
Anyhow, got the seat rails on, sat in the plane for a bit & made airplane noises, and decided the rudder pedals are in fact too close. I'm going to back them up a couple inches.
|2008-07-09||Moved brake master cylinders, started copilot seat, misc||The manual shows the brake master cylinders with the brake line on the firewall side. Since I finished the pilot seat this week, I've been working on proper rudder pedal position and travel; I discovered the line fitting interferes with the floor channel. I turned the master cylinders around to face the pilot, they now have full travel.
I also started on the rails for the copilot seat, cut & prep'd the nose gear / pedal linkages to weld extensions on, and vacuumed the plane out. It was filling up with metal shavings & drilled out rivet heads.
|2008-08-23||Ran rudder cables||Installed rudder bulkhead pulleys, ran cables through the fuse, cut the exit slots by the rudder control horn.
Also ground down the nylon bearings for the elevator control rod where it was dragging.
Also made a replacement brake pedal with a longer throw arm to improve clearance to the rudder pedal.
|2008-08-24||Installed nicopress fittings on rudder cables & started wiring||In my previous session I ran the rudder cables cut slightly longish. Today I applied my first two nicopress fittings to the cables, attaching them to the rudder pedals. I deliberately chose a 'highly visible' installation point for these first two attempts at nicopressing. Fact is, it's fairly straightforward.
Since I've been running cables through the entire fuse, I also ran the elevator trim cable and ELT test cable. I'm considering mounting my electronic compass aft of the rear cabin bulkhead, so I started looking at that cable as well.
|2008-09-06||Initial fit of engine mount||Received engine mount from fabricator & started installation. It's mostly a 'bolt-on' task except for attaching the custom center mount bracket to the firewall. Doing so requires removing the nose gear, trimming down some stiffiners, and fitting & drilling the brackets. I took it very slow, as I was cutting on parts that would be very difficult to replace if damaged.|
|2008-09-07||Continued fitting engine mount||Center mount brackets fit OK, no interference with the nose gear or bungee. The 'primary' bracket does interfere with the nose gear strut support shelf, so I'll have to add spacers to move it out.|
|2008-09-16||Prep'd firewall and cut spacers||Primed the firewall in preparation of applying the fire-blocking paint I bought for it. I also repainted part of the nose gear strut, and cut spacers for the engine mount between coats.
The mount needs to be 'stood off' about 3/8" to provide clearance over the nose gear strut shelf.
|2008-09-29||Drilled & tapped mounting holes for lower center mount bracket||The lower mount brackets consist of a left & right side, each mounted to the side of the nose gear strut channel by a dozen or so #10 screws. Some of the screws reuse rivet holes, but most of them required new holes to be drilled in the strut channel and firewall.
After drilling them, the bracket holes had to be tapped. I also had to cut out slots in the brackets to provide clearance for the nose gear strut steering rods.
Everything's primed & painted, I'm going to do one more trial fit, moving the nose gear strut up & down to check rod clearances, then mount everything for the final time.
|2008-10-01||Slotted center mount brackets for steering rods||The flange on the mount brackets covered the firewall slot for the nosegear steering rods. I fitted the mounts, traced the slots, then cut them out.|
|2008-10-03||Installed brake pedal support channel||I'm getting to the point where there aren't many pieces of Al in my unused parts bin. I was sorting & rearranging what was in there, when I discovered the brake support channel. It should have been installed by Zenith when they did the quick-build, but they just tossed it into the parts bin.
To install, I had to drill out 40 rivets to lift the forward fuse channel; the brake support goes underneath it. (Probably why they didn't install it after they realized it had been forgotten...)
So I drilled out the overlaying channel, fitted the brake support, drilled the holes through, and riveted it all back together.
In the process I turned the brake cylinders around so the hose fitting's are pointed sideways instead of back to the firewall. Some of the other 801 builders had it that way and it made the brake line layout neater.
|2008-10-08||Center bracket for engine mount finally installed!||After several combinations of installing the nose gear, bungee, and brackets, I finally hit on a combination that works entirely by accident.
The problem is the bracket screws enter from the inside of the strut channel, so you can't access the heads with the strut / bungee installed. But, there's not enough clearance to install the strut / bungee with the brackets installed- catch-22.
My wife gave me the solution. (credit where credit is due) First, instead of using 'screws', I used 10-24 x 0.5" 'cap screws' with nurled caps and a hex socket. This let me set the screws finger-tight, then tighten them from either the top or the side, depending on the individual screw location relative to the strut / bungee.
Second, with the strut / bungee off, I attached the brackets, placing all the screws but only tightening them enough to retain them. This allowed the brackets to move around / spread enough for the strut & bungee to be installed (wife's suggestion).
Then I installed the strut & bungee. Since the hard part of installing the screws was done (getting them started), I only had to go around with an allen wrench and tighten them up. I added blue loctite prior to final tightening.
|2008-10-12||Trimmed & welded center mount arm||The center mount arm connects the center mount bracket on the firewall / nose strut channel to a mount point welded into the new oil pan.
The arm resembles a turnbuckle, but with shock-absorbing tie-rod-end's that attach to 0.5" steel mounts. Since Jerry wasn't sure how long to fabricate the 'turnbuckle' shaft, he provided the two ends with a lot of excess, so I could trim & weld them to fit.
With the center mount ready, I can proceed to finish prep'ing the engine for mounting.
|2008-10-12||Finished alt. bracket, replaced friction plate, prep'd for mounting||Since I had the welding rig set up from the engine mount center arm, I went ahead and welded the alternator mount bracket.
I had made the lower bracket in two parts; a 'base' that bolts the the A/C mounting point, and a 'upper' that has the swivel the alt. attaches to. Doing it this way made aligning the pulleys much easier; I vise-grip'd the upper to the base, checked alignment, adjusted, repeated.
When I finally had a good alignment, I detached the alternator, then with the upper still vise-grip'd to the base, I unbolted the base from the engine and welded the two together. After welding, I reassembled & remounted to the engine, installed the fan-belt, and confirmed the alignment.
With that done, I dusted off the come-along and moved the engine over next to the mount on the firewall. Unfortunately, the low shop ceiling & I-beam I have the come along hanging from doesn't give me the height I need to get the engine above the mount. I'll have to put the engine on outside using a shackle from my upstairs deck.
I also exchanged the stock flex plate for one from an '86 RX7, as that's a requirement for the RWS redrive.
|2008-10-13||Moved engine, attempted to remove e-shaft bolt||I ran by Lowe's & picked up a bolt to attach my home made flex plate 'lock' and tried to get the e-shaft bolt off; no luck. I weigh 250lbs, and stood on the end of the breaker bar. The bolt did not move.
I'm going to go back upstairs & watch the rotary engine tear-down video again to see what I missed.
|2008-10-14||Positioned paper cutouts, installed dynon & comp design switches||I swept the shelves for everything that's going in the panel, then put it in a box with the image I generated on epanelbuilder.com.
I then measured everything and made paper cutouts of the total surface area, not the cutout area. With this, I was able to verify spacing between instruments.
With that done, I added square reference lines to the panel, laid out the dynon & composite design switch panel, and cut them out.
I went ahead & riveted in the dynon 'shelf', as after cutting out two big holes the panel became very flimsy.
|2008-10-25||Replaced thermal pellet||After weeks of struggling with the right tools to remove the e-shaft bolt, I finally got the thing out & the thermal pellet replaced.
I started out by breaking my craftsman 19mm 1/2" drive socket. After ordering a 3/4"drive 19mm, I bent the 1.5" angle iron holding my flex plate like a pretzel.
I was having real difficulty holding the engine stationary on the shop floor with the amount of torque I was generating, so after I bent the angle steel, I decided to try chaining the flex plate to a support column in my shop. That did the trick; once the bolt broke free, I could remove it with my fingers. There was no trace of loctite on it.
|2008-10-25||Installed oil pan||After replacing the pellet, I was able to get the engine off the floor and back onto the workbench. I installed the extended-depth oil pickup tube and the deep oil pan provided with the engine mount from Jerry Hey. Everything went together smoothly.|
|2008-11-01||Pulled wing wires & installed ELT||I've had all the parts ready to wire the wings for months, just needed an excuse to do it. I drilled some 5/8" grommet holes through the cover channels, installed grommets, and pulled cable.
Since I have the panel fitted I'm able to trim all wires to exact length.
Since I was pulling wires, I also installed the ELT (4 rivets) and rerouted the fuel lines for the new tanks (no L/R I/O mixers- straight lines like a two tank system)
|2008-11-02||Installed fuel selector switch & routed panel lines||After running the fuel lines in from the wings on Saturday, I proceeded to install the fuel selector panel, center fuel line channel, and configure the selector itself. This required installing the supplemental fuel line support behind the panel support.|
|2008-11-02||Finished boot installation over steering rods||I only had the left boot partially installed, enough to see it would fit. I proceeded to install the left boot, torque all the center mount channel screws, and install the steering connecting rods themselves.
I also vacuumed out the fuse as it was getting full of metal shavings.
|2008-11-30||Summary entry for center channel||I've been lazy making entries this month, so this entry sums up several evenings work putting together the channel 'box' around the controls between the front and rear seats. It's amazing how time-consuming it can be to make a simple box 'square'.|
|2008-11-30||Summary for hanging the engine||Lazy this month with the log updates. I did succeed in hanging the engine with help from my father-in-law.
The trick to removing the thermal pellet bolt (e shaft bolt) was to completely immobilize the engine. You can't exert enough force on it if it's moving around. I used a short length of chain bolted to the flex plate, wrapped around a support column in my shop. When the slack was twisted out of the chain, the bolt broke free.
With that done, I ordered the 'real' AN hardware to bolt the mount to the FW. My father-in-law was visiting from SC, so with his help (and a come along), we got the engine up on the mount. No problem with alignment or torquing the s-beam oil pan bolts; the whole process took less than an hour.
Since then, I've installed the RWS redrive and started serious work on the wiring. I'm still trying for an engine start over the Christmas break, so I need to get all the wiring / plumbing done.
|2009-01-31||Summary for panel work||Summary entry for the work performed in Jan on the panel. This included all the cutouts, wiring the flap switch / indicator, D180, Composite switch panel, and misc controls.
Still need to install the xpondr
|2009-03-31||Summary entry for wiring||Got lazy doing my data entry; December was spent wiring the fuse in preparation of installing the panel, which is a prerequisite to starting the engine|
|2009-05-03||Mounted h-stab to fuse||Attached a cord to one end of the h-stab, wrapped around a cleco centered on the fuse up by the Z-channel, back to the other end of the h-stab. This allowed me to verify the 'yaw squareness'. Another piece of string on from the starboard wing rear mount point to the forward h-stab mount marked the fuse level line; I used levels to verify the 'pitch level' against that string. Then I used one level to verify roll level on the main wing mount tube and then across the h-stab.
After verifying level/square on all three axis I clamped & drilled.
With bolts in place, I fitted the elevator and started measuring for the elevator control cable.
|2009-05-04||Trimmed & installed starboard lower door skin||My kit arrived with only one lower door skin, so one of the doors was incomplete. I picked up a replacement skin (no charge) from Zenith when I visited the plant, and its just been waiting to be installed & the doors finished.
Pursuing my never-ending goal of finishing up half-finished tasks, I layed out, trimmed, and drilled the skin to the door.
|2009-05-05||Cut & Installed door windows||My dad gave me a new air compressor for my birthday that can drive my pneumatic rotary cutter. With this tool in place, I'm in a position to cut lexan (plexiglass).
With both doors ready for windows, I pulled out the sheet of lexan and cut windows for both doors, no problems.
To finish the doors now I need to install the hinge on one, fit to the fuse, install the handles, install the bubble vents, and paint.
|2009-05-16||Trimmed rudder fin front / back||A couple of the parts in the diminishing pile of leftovers on my shop shelf were the front/back halves of the dorsal fin. Their installation was dependent on the h-stab being installed, which I recently completed.
With that prerequisite met, I dusted off the fin skins, scrounged up the ribs, and fit everything together. a few rivets into the ribs, and a rough cut on the front skin, and voila! Instant fin.
It's not riveted down yet; that's next.
|2009-05-18||Installed elevator control cables||4 cable sections are required; two short pieces from the bellcrank to the turnbuckles, then two long sections from the turnbuckles to the elevator control horns.
I cut all 4 sections to size, installed the nicopress ends, and installed them on the plane. I still need to attach them to the elevator control horns.
|2009-07-26||Cleaned & organized shop, started elevator stops||title says it all|
|2009-07-27||Finished elevator control stops||Prior to installing the control stops I had installed one cable; it ended up a half inch too short.
For unrelated reasons I had cleco'd in the rear seat back, which is directly in front of the elevator bell crank. After installing the lower stop, and with the seat back installed, I discovered the bell crank was striking the seat back before the elevator hit the stop; the cable was too long.
Replacing the cable with a shorter one fixed the problem; luckily, the 'short cable' was long enough to use for the opposite run, even after cutting the end off.
|2009-07-28||Finished elevator cables||Cables are in, stops are in, control stick is adjusted.|
|2009-07-29||Installed starboard h-stab tip||fitted the fiberglass tip to the h-stab, drilled in pilot holes. Fitted the tip backing rib, drilled pilot holes; assembled everything & drilled final holes.
I'll wait to rivet the tips on until it's required, as you can't access the end hinge pivots with them on.
|2009-08-02||Installed dorsal fin (rudder fin)||Rolled the plane out of the shop to provide enough headroom to mount the rudder, then positioned both the rudder and h-stab/elevator. With those on, I was able to fit & trim the two components to the fin. Took a long time, as the marking guidance from the kit was way off.|
|2009-08-08||'Bedlinered' the cabin floorboards||Up to this point, the cabin floorboard has just been primered. To protect the floor skins I decided to apply a coat of truck bedliner as opposed to carpet.
Bedliner can be applied like paint, but is thicker and 'rubbery'. It provides some protection, but is lighter than carpet and much easier to clean; it also doesn't hold water (weight) if it gets wet.
I taped off various components and brushed two coats on, doesn't look too bad.
|2009-08-09||Continuing with interior side skins||The interior side panels are in various degrees of completion. I finished trimming & painting some of them, and installed tinnerman nuts on the wing root covers.
Finished final-riveting of the starboard rear vertical doorpost front & back covers, and drilled in the starboard forward doorpost cover. Since it traps the wiring bundle to the panel I'll postpone riveting it until after the panel is completely wired.
|2009-08-22||Fabricated center seat belt mount||The front-seat shoulder seat belt mount points are positioned laterally in the cabin (away from the centerline). There is not 'stock' center mount point. This is a problem as I intend to use a 4-point harness.
To support the 4-point harness, I decided to fab a center-mount point attached to the z-channel. Since I was making it anyway, I made it big / strong enough to move the copilot's shoulder mount to the center too, and not use the stock mount. The reason for this is to move the straps out of the path of the rear-seat to the door.
In an emergency, when the copilot unstraps and evacuates, in the stock location the shoulder harness will be directly between the rear seat and the door. In smoke / dark / underwater / other distraction this can cause entaglement.
By moving it to the center, with a CF retractable mount, this problem is avoided.
|2009-08-29||Brought wings home from storage unit||My wings have been hanging in a rental unit since I moved to KS over a year ago. I'm at the point where I need to fit & drill them, so I brought them to the house.
I disassembled my last crate & used the lumber to make a frame for the bed of my truck; the wing was supported across the cab in front and the frame in the back. Generous application of foam everywhere to minimize damage to the wings (and truck!)
|2009-08-30||Trim tab working||Wired the RAC joystick buttons to the elevator trim servo, it works!|
|2009-09-05||Fit wings to fuse||Given Labor day weekend, I decided to fit the wings to the fuse with the extra day & forecast for great weather. My shop is too small to fit the wings indoors, so I had to roll it into the back yard. The instructions specify aligning the wings as a set, so you need enough space to put them both on at once.
I spent Saturday prep'ing the back yard, rolling out and leveling the fuselage, and installing the wing support 'beams'. One was attached to the deck stair railing and the other was clamped to the ever-versatile utility trailer.
Almost all day Saturday was spent fitting / removing / trimming the wings. The lower skins and rear spar were still roughed in from assembly and were too long.
|2009-09-06||Finished wing fitting & located flaperon pivot holes||I finished Saturday with pilot holes / keeper bolts in the main spar / attaches and the skins trimmed.
Sunday I started aligning the wings square to the fuse. This was a 4 step process.
Step 1: Run a string from the port wingtip main spar rivet hole to a cleco at rib station #1 on the starboard wing. I then moved the port wingtip aft/forward until the string ran perfectly down the main spar rivet line.
Step 2: Repeat step 1 for the starboard wing. Each wing should be relatively square to the fuse now.
Step 3: Re-run the string from wingtip to wingtip down the main spar, and verify it's centered on the rivet line down both wings. The wings are now square to each other and the fuse, but verify in step 4.
Step 4: Run a new string from the rudder upper hinge point to each wingtip and verify the distances are identical. Mine were within 1mm on the first attempt after completing steps 1-3.
With the wings square, I clamped & drilled the rear spar attach bolt holes to 1/4" and put a keeper bolt in place.
I then duct-taped some Al angles to rib stations # 1 marked at 14.8 cm, and adjusted the wing dihedral. You have to keep re-tensioning your wingtip string as you move the wingtips up, or it sags in the middle and you get a bad reading.
After positioning for the correct dihedral, I positioned the forward struts as a sanity test and found they fit exactly... that's a good sign. I did not drill the strut holes, because the ground was not level and I was unable to verify the wingtip to ground distance was the same for both wings.
|2009-09-06||Located flaperon axle holes in fuselage||The point of fitting the wings this weekend was to locate the flaperon axle holes in the side of the fuse. These holes are essential to finishing the cabin, as you need the located prior to cutting the flaperon control rod slots, rear windows, etc.
They're located by sighting through the flaperon attach pivot points with the wing mounted and properly positioned. Then need to be as close to perfectly in line with the flaperon pivot points as they can be, to avoid binding when rotating.
After spending the last 1.5 days getting the wings in position, I was ready to locate the holes. I have a laser-level used for home improvement projects; it seemed well suited to the task.
I Initially started at the flaperon mount farthest to the wingtip, but discovered it was impossible to get the laser aligned through all the holes, so I moved up one. Then I was able to (very carefully) align the laser through the remaining mounts. I had an assistant standing by the fuse with a sharpy to mark the dot when it appeared, worked like a champ.
|2009-09-07||Positioned flaperon control rod covers and cut rear windows||Previous two days spent fitting wings and locating the flaperon axle holes in the fuse sides. With those holes located I was able to cut in the control rod slots and rear windows, as well as fitting the control rod cover.
I got all the holes in today, and rough-cut the lexan for the rear windows, but ran out of steam before they were drilled in. It's been a long weekend.
|2009-10-10||catch-up entry for rear windows & painting||Finished drilling in & final riveting of rear windows. Also did final drilling of the control rod covers, but left them removable for access. Drilled 1.5 inch access panel cutouts into the covers to allow access to the flaperon control horn bolt heads.
Since I'm finishing up the cabin area, I needed to finish painting of the steel cabin structure. I used a drop cloth to cover the cabin, sanded, primed, painted, and clear-coated the steel pieces.
I had previously primed them, thinking that would be sufficient, but some surface rust was starting to show through the primer, convincing me to apply a topcoat for better protection.
|2010-02-06||Finished top mount||Fabricated a new firewall bracket for the top-center engine mount point, fabricated an engine mount bracket to the center section, cut & welded the arm, fabricated pins & bushings.|
|2010-06-27||Roll-up for work since Feb||Been very busy, but not updating my log. Quite a bit of progress on the engine install.|
|2010-08-01||Roll up for July||10 hours is probably an underestimate. Spent a bunch of time and money buying / installing oil lines, fittings, and adapters. Fab'd a new mount for the coil packs & installed, and started wiring various sensors.
I'm also making headway on the exhaust manifold.
|2010-10-18||Roll up for Aug/Sept||Installed / wired the EC3, installed / wired the ignition coils, installed oil lines.|
|2010-10-18||Installed heater core & fab'd shroud||Fitted the heater core onto the firewall shelf; drilled firewall holes for the coolant lines. Installed cork liner for the core to rest on. Used foam to make a plug for a fiberglass heater box.|
|2010-10-21||Continued Cabin Heater Box||Received the blower fan and SCAT ducting, from FEDEx, so I was able to finish the heater box.|
|2011-07-18||Catch-up entry||Been piddlin' around the shop all spring & summer, but haven't been making log entries. Time has been spent investigating alternative oil line routing, radiator line routing, etc.
Finished the oil lines this past weekend, put oil in it, bought a new Optima yellow-top, and cranked it over. All is well, no oil leaks. Need a couple parts to finish the cooling system now.
|2011-07-25||Installed battery box||Created a battery box out of aluminum L-angle and some .025 sheet.|
|2011-07-27||Installed control tunnel||I had previously cut / drilled / fitted / painted the sides and top of the control tunnel that crosses the rear seat passenger floorboard. I was unable to install it at the time because it had to go on after the front bench top, which was waiting on the battery box.
With the battery box in place, I cut out the toe hole under the pilots seat, riveted on the bench cover, and riveted in the control box. As this box has no inspection ports and is relatively difficult to peer into, I took photos prior to sealing it up.
|2014-06-03||Installed windshield, panel cover, buttoned up for travel||Prep'd fuselage for trailoring to hangar; installed instrument panel cover, windshield, windshield trim, top window, doors, buttoned up all loose wiring / hoses / brackets in engine bay.|
|2014-10-16||Installed Propeller||Installed Ivoprop magnum adapter and prop. Torqued all fasteners but one, leaving off to allow for a safety wire tie off point.|
|2014-10-20||Added connectors to replacement thermostat housing||The custom housing arrived as a 'blank', requiring me to cut 1.25" Al connector to size, bead the ends, etc.
It was precision machined, allowing me to "press fit" the tubes by heating the housing and freezing the tubes. After an hour in the toaster oven and freezer, they slid in and locked.
|2015-09-27||Assembled flaperon hinge mounts||Drilled / riveted flaperon hinge mounts & nose ribs to all 4 sections.|
|2015-09-27||Welding fuel tanks||blanket entry to cover a lot of welding activity over months.|
|2016-10-22||Port wing o/b wing tip||Start to finish on o/b tip. cut & trimmed panel, trimmed in wing skins, installed L's. Did not rivet, must be done after tanks.|
|2016-10-24||Removed port wing topskins & fit tanks||Wing skins had been temporarily riveted (1:10 rivets) to stabilize for transportation to new home. Removed the rivets & skins, cleaned out squirrel debris, cleaned thoroughly and started fitting tanks.|
|2016-10-24||Installed port wing trailing edge||trimmed in & drilled lower rivet line for trailing edge|
|2016-10-24||Installed I/B tank braces||installed braces / spacers, glued in cork|
|2016-11-05||Fuel lines and wiring||Finished drilling fuel line holes, installed grommets lines, and hose clamps.|
|2017-05-15||Mounted port wing, moved to ramp||Mounted the port wing. I lost my "borrowed" hangar, so had to move the plane out to the ramp which also required me to weatherproof the fuse and engine (still no cowling).|
|2017-06-04||Riveted Port wing tip||With the plane out on the ramp I have to close all openings to prevent wildlife and weather intrusion. The wingtip components had been cut / drilled / fitted, but not installed. I proceeded to install the covers.
Additionally, I finished the aft strut "tops" by rounding the corners so they did not interfere with the wing skin, then drilled the upper bolt holes, and installed all hardware. The wing struts are now installed with properly torqued fasteners, all around.
|2017-10-01||Mounted wings||My number finally came up on the waiting list and I moved off the ramp to the hangar, enabling me to make real progress again. Wings are mounted with permanent hardware, and jury strut is on starboard wing.|
|2017-11-13||Slat construction||Slats are my last component left to build. Working on starboard wing i/b & o/b.|
|2018-01-15||Attached slats||Drilled mounting tabs, endcaps, and joined the halves together. Final bolting in place is deferred until the weather warms up enough to paint.|
|2018-01-26||Trimmed & rough-mounted flaperons||Trimmed the I/B ends to fit fuselage, trimmed O/B ends to length at wing tips, and installed the starboard side I/B endcap and control horn. Also pilot drilled the mounting arms so that the segments can be cleco'd into hinge mounts.|
|2018-02-03||Replaced bent compression fitting, filled brakes with fluid||Summary says it all|
|2018-02-03||Finished Starboard flaperons, polished undersurface||Drilled both holes in the control horn, drilled final holes in flaperon attachments, got the first two bushing / bolt assemblies installed. Also connected control rod and successfully tested both control stick and flap actuator.|