Log Entries

Project Location: TX US

Entry Date Summary Description
Entry Date Summary Description
2008-11-15 Making form blocks for the bulkheads The plans contain full-size drawings of the bulkheads. I bought a 3/4" piece of plywood and some carbon paper. I then traced the outlines for bulkheads A, B & C onto the plywood. The lines showed up very well on the plywood and I didn't have to cut up my plans. I rough-cut the form blocks for bulkheads A & B with a saber saw.

Hours today: 3

Total hours to date: 3
2008-11-16 Making form blocks for the bulkheads Cut out the plywood form blocks for bulkheads C, D & E. All bulkhead form blocks now roughly cut out.

Hours today: 2.8

Total hours to date: 5.8
2008-11-19 Making form blocks for the bulkheads I've ordered a belt sander but I grew impatient and started sanding the form block for bulkhead E (the smallest bulkhead) by hand. Mistake! Just wasted 75 minutes and a lot of energy. Will wait for the belt sander to arrive!

Hours today: 1.3

Total hours to date: 7.1
2008-11-20 Making Bulkhead E Filed & sanded the inside of the bulkhead form blocks to the traced line. Form blocks for bulkheads B, C & D have holes in the centers. Belt sander won't be able to reach inside the bulkhead cut-outs, so I'm doing them by hand. Time consuming!

Note: I use a router with a 1/8" roundover bit on any edges of the form blocks which will have metal bent over them. This is to prevent an excessively sharp bend in the metal - which can cause cracks. The thicker the metal, the bigger the bend radius must be.

Finally started cutting metal! Rough-cut blank for Bulkhead E using saber saw.

Cut out notches between the tabs of bulkhead E. De-burred blank for Bulkhead E. It's ready to bend the tabs now but it's late so I'm going to bed.

Hours today: 8

Total hours to date: 15.1
2008-11-21 Making Bulkhead E (photo) Bent tabs over for Bulkhead "E". I've made my first airplane part!

My belt sander was delivered and I used it to sand the outer edge of the form blocks for bulkheads D & C down to the traced line. Much faster and more accurate than doing it by hand!

Cut bulkhead C blank from .040" aluminum. I cut just outside the line and will later use the belt sander to make it exact.

Hours today: 5

Total hours to date: 20.1

Parts completed: 1
2008-11-22 Making Bulkhead C Sanded bulkhead C down to the line and cut the center out of it.

Drilled the stress relief holes between the tabs and cut the tabs out. De-burred all the tabs. Lots of filing and sanding.

Began attempting to bend the flanges over in the cent of bulkhead C. This is going to be tough. I don't have a box brake so I'll have to figure out how to bend the flanges by hand and still manage to make sharp bends.

Hours today: 6.8

Total hours to date: 26.9

Parts completed: 1
2008-11-23 Making Bulkhead C (photo) Finished bending tabs and flanges for bulkhead C. Another part is done! In the photo below you can see the long flanges on the top and sides of the hole. I had to use a piece of angle iron, a lot of clamps, a hammer and a vise to bend them. Aluminum sheet .040" thick is tough stuff!

Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 28.4

Parts completed: 2
2008-11-24 Making Bulkhead B Cut out the blank for bulkhead B. Drilled the stress relief holes. Cut out the tabs and de-burred them.

Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 31.9

Parts completed: 2
2008-11-28 Making Bulkhead B (photo) Bent tabs and flanges over on bulkhead B which will be the instrument panel. Bulkhead B is now finished. I haven't decided exactly how I want the panel laid out, so I won't be cutting any holes for instruments yet.

Also cut out the blank for bulkhead D (which goes between the seatback and the tail), and sanded it to the line. I don't know what I woould do without the belt sander!

Hours today: 5.3

Total hours to date: 37.2

Parts completed: 3
2008-11-30 Making Bulkhead D Drilled and de-burred the relief holes for the inner flanges and bent the inner flanges of bulkhead D. Cut out the tabs for bulkhead D.

Hours today: 4.8

Total hours to date: 42

Parts completed: 3
2008-12-02 Finished Bulkhead D De-burred tabs and bent them over. Bulkhead D is now finished.

Hours today: 2

Total hours to date: 44

Parts completed: 4
2008-12-04 Centersection mainspar jig I'll work on the wings while I'm waiting for tools or parts for the fuselage to be delivered.

Built the spar jig out of 3/4" plywood so it won't have a tendency to warp. Used Gorilla Glue and wood screws to hold the sides on.

Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 46.5

Parts completed: 4
2008-12-06 Outer Spar Caps of center section Cut off 1 inch of top flange on each end of the two angles. Polished the cuts and the relief radius smooth. Now have 2 spar caps with 1 inch cut off of the horizontal flange at each end.
2008-12-11 Firewall construction Cut out firewall from .020" galvaized steel. De-burred. Bent a few of the tabs over. The builder's manual says you can use either stainless steel or galvanized, but that the galvanized steel is cheaper and easier to work with. I'm sure the galvanized is cheaper, but it's so easy to work with that I can't imagine .020" stainless being any worse than .040" aluminum. If I were to do it over again, I'd probably use stainless. If nothing else, it would look better.



Hours today: 3.3

Total hours to date: 49.8

Parts completed: 4
2008-12-12 Firewall construction (photo) Finished the firewall. All 5 bulkheads are now done!



Hours today: 1.2

Total hours to date: 51

Parts completed: 5
2008-12-21 Reinforcing bulkhead B (photo) To create the flanges around the cutouts in the center of some of the bulkheads, it is necessary to cut notches just as we did between the tabs around the outside of the bulkhead. This allows the bulkheads to flex - a lot! To stiffen the bulkheads, we cut metal strips and rivet them to the flanges. This makes the center of the bulkhead nice and rigid just as the skin will do when it's riveted onto the tabs.



Hours today: 6

Total hours to date: 57

Parts completed: 12
2008-12-24 Reinforcing bulkhead B Painted the flanges and reinforcement strips of Bulkhead B with zinc chromate. It's ready to rivet. Started making flange strips for bulkhead C.



Hours today: 3

Total hours to date: 60

Parts completed: 14
2008-12-25 Reinforcing bulkhead C Finished making the reinforcement strips for Bulkhead C. Deburred the holes, chromated the flanges and strips and clecod them into position.



Hours today: 3

Total hours to date: 63

Parts completed: 16
2008-12-26 Riveting reinforcement strips Riveted reinforcing strips to Bulkhead C (the seatback) and bulkhead B (the instrument panel). My first attempt at riveting! Not bad. Now "C" is ready to mount on the alignment beam (when I get it).



Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 65.5

Parts completed: 16

Rivets driven today: 64

Total rivets in plane: 64
2008-12-29 Riveting reinforcement strips Squared the inner flanges of bulkhead D to 90 degrees and made the 4 reinforcement strips for it. Painted them with zinc chromate and riveted them on.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 69

Parts completed: 20

Rivets driven today: 24

Total rivets in plane: 88
2008-12-31 Making the alignment beam The 4X4 I had originally planned to use as an alignment beam warped almost immediately, so I decided to use metal instead. I bought 2 galvanized steel angles (measuring 1 1/2" X 1 1/2") and bolted them together into an upsidedown "U" shape. I think these angles are usually used for scaffolding. They have holes down the entire length so it should be easy to attach things to the beam when I need to.



Hours today: 2

Total hours to date: 71

Parts completed: 20

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-02 Making the alignment beam Glued 2 1 X 2's together and cut one end to 14.5 degrees. Mounted it to the aft end of my alignment beam.

To draw reference lines down the center of the alignment beam, I had to put masking tape on it. Otherwise the ink from my pen just wiped off.

Mounted bulkhead E to alignment beam.


Hours today: 2.8

Total hours to date: 73.8

Parts completed: 20

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-04 Mounting bulkheads on the alignment beam (photo) Here's a classic example of why it's so important for your family to be excited about (or at least tolerant of) the project. I was going to set up the alignment beam on a large covered patio, but for a week or so it got pretty cold in Dallas so the project moved into the den.

I used a group of 'C' clamps and 1X2 wood strips to mount bulkheads C & D to the alignment beam. By using clamps, the bulkheads can easily be adjusted and no mounting holes have to be drilled in them.

I used a laser level to line up the bulkheads with the alignment beam. The plans show where to draw reference lines on each bulkhead. These lines must all line up with the center lines on the alignment beam and with each other. The laser made this a bit easier, but it was still a pain. Everytime I'd adjust one thing, something else was jiggled out of position!


Hours today: 3.8

Total hours to date: 77.6

Parts completed: 20

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-06 Aligning tabs on bulkheads The tabs around the edges of each bulkhead have to be bent so that they will lie flat underneath the skin when it is riveted in place. Because the skin will be cone shaped when it's installed, none of the tabs will actually be bent at ninety degrees to the bulkhead. I laid an angle across the tabs of the bulkheads and bent them till they were all parallel to the angle. Of course bending the tabs jiggled my bulkheads out of alignment again and I had to use the laser to re-align them. This time I glued them into position so I won't have that problem again. After the glue set I finished aligning the tabs.


Hours today: 5.5

Total hours to date: 83.1

Parts completed: 20

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-08 Preparations for tailcone skin A friend of mine has a sheet metal sheer and a brake. I used them to make the 4 skin stiffeners for the tailcone. They were really easy to make with the professional tools, but it took me 40 minutes to drive to the airport to use them. It must be nice to have a complete shop at home!

Also made the 2 Horizontal Stabilizer Supports. These are made from .040" sheet and are rolled to match the curve of the tailcone at bulkhead E. See my "Tips" section for an inexpensive method of rolling sheet metal. You don't need a pricey sliproll.

Started making the poster board pattern for the tailcone skin.

Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 87.6

Parts completed: 26

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-10 Cutting out left tailcone skin (photo) At this point I should explain that I made a minor deviation from the plans. Early on in the project, I decided to make each side of the tailcone out of a single piece and rivet the two sides together with seams along the top (which will be covered by the turtledeck) and the bottom. The plans say to wrap a single piece around the fuselage between bulkheads D & E, and then another piece between bulkheads C & D. I didn't do this because it creates a vertical seam down bulkhead D. My way puts the only visible seam at the bottom of the fuselage where it doesn't show as badly. The only downside is that you end up dealing with large pieces of skin which can be awkward to work with.

I finished the posterboard pattern for the left side of the tailcone skin and cut the skin out of .020" sheet metal.


Hours today: 3.8

Total hours to date: 91.4

Parts completed: 27

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-11 Cut out right tailcone skin Verified alignment of the bulkheads one more time - still positioned correctly. Cut out the right tailcone skin.

I think it's time for a little explaination about my "parts completed" tally below. It's often hard to say exactly when a part is actually finished. For the purposes of this log, I'm calling a part finished when it has been cut out and bent into shape and all the edges have been deburred. I do not include drilling holes because I consider that part of the installation of the part. That is why the parts count went up by one even though all I did was cut out the piece of skin and smooth its edges. The really time consuming part is fitting it in place and drilling/duburring & dimpling all of those holes. I know it doesn't seem right, but it will all even out in the end as long as I follow this same criteria for the parts count.


Hours today: 1.8

Total hours to date: 93.2

Parts completed: 28

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-12 First fitting of tailcone skin (photo) Today I taped the two pieces of tailcone skin together and put them over the bulkheads. I used cargo straps to bend them around and hold them in place before the tape could start coming loose. It looks like the skins are going to fit!


Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 95.7

Parts completed: 28

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-14 Mounted bulkheads A & B Mounted bulkheads A & B to the alignment beam. This time I glued B to the beam as soon as I had it lined up. Bulkhead A is screwed onto the end of the beam so it can be removed later when it's time to pull the alignment beam out.



Hours today: 2.2

Total hours to date: 97.9

Parts completed: 28

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-23 Making horizontal engine mount supports Made the upper and lower horizontal engine mount supports. These supports are made from 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" X 3/16" 6061-T6 aluminum angles. The upper one will go across the end of the siderails and will be riveted to the back of the firewall. The lower mount be the same except it will go across the lower engine mount supports.

Also made the 6 motor mount supports. These are really just gussets for the horizontal engine mount supports. Two gussets go on each side at the siderails and 1 on each side at the lower engine mount supports. Eight new parts completed. Not a bad day's work!

Update from 2/6/2009: There is a photo of the upper horizontal engine mount clecoed to the siderails in the 2/6/2009 log entry.


Hours today: 4.3

Total hours to date: 102.2

Parts completed: 36

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-25 Tailspring doubler and support plate. Today I only had about 45 minutes to spend on the Hummel, but I cut out the Tailspring Support Doubler and the 3" X 4" Tailspring support plate.

That's the way it goes sometimes. There's not always much time to work on the project, but the important thing is to do something everyday. Even if it's just reading the Hummel Forum on Yahoo or studying the plans, if you do something everyday you stay in the "building mode" and will avoid long periods of inactivity.



Hours today: 0.8

Total hours to date: 103

Parts completed: 38

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-27 Siderails (photo) The 1/8" angles finally arrived so I can start on the siderails. I used the bandsaw to cut the horizontal flange of each siderail from 1 1/2" down to 1" wide. The flange should be 1" wide until the siderail slides between the seatback and the tailcone skin. At that point the flange is cut off entirely. On the right siderail I filed off all of the nicks from the saw blade and shaped it. You would think this would take a long time, but it doesn't if you use the right tool. In this case the right tool is a 14" long curved tooth "Vixen" file. I paid $24.50 for this file at Aircraft Spruce which seems like a lot, but if you value your time at all it will pay for itself on the siderails alone. It removes a lot of metal without gouging and the aluminum chips don't clog up the teeth.

I also filed off the saw nicks on the left siderail, but didn't have time to shape it.



Hours today: 5.5

Total hours to date: 108.5

Parts completed: 38

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-30 Siderails (photo) I clamped the cut flanges of the two siderails together and shaped them to match each other. Removed all the nicks and rounded all the edges.

I checked again that the alignment beam was level and that all the bulkheads lined up. I clamped the siderails to the upper horizontal engine mount on the firewall and made sure they were level. Where the horizontal flages of the siderails touched the instrument panel, I cut notches so the siderails will fit flush under the skin with the panel tabs.

Also cut out the Shoulder Strap Support Doublers.



Hours today: 3.8

Total hours to date: 112.3

Parts completed: 40

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-01-31 Bending the siderails (photo) Bent the left siderail by using my truck and a 2 X 4 with a slot cut in it. I put the horizontal flange (which is actually vertical when it's under the truck) in the slot to prevent the flange from buckling. I drove up onto the 2 X 4 and started driving another 2 X 4 (by pounding it with a hammer) under the aft end of the siderail to raise it. It turned that I had to raise the end of the siderail a little over 8 inches to compensate for the "spring back" when the pressure was released.



Hours today: 2.8

Total hours to date: 115.1

Parts completed: 40

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-02-01 Bending the siderails I noticed a slight downward bend in the left siderail where the bend was. Can't have that so I clamped the siderail to a 2 X 4, put one foot on each side of the 2 X 4 and hopped up and down on it till it straightened out. Gotta have finesse!

I bent the right siderail to match the left one. Both siderails are done!



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 118.1

Parts completed: 42

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-02-02 Bending the Siderails Today I enlarged the slots in the seatback and the instrument panel so the siderails would fit a little better. I made a slight bend in the aft end of the siderail where it passes behind the seatback. This bend is so the tailcone skins will lie flat over the ends of the siderails.

Ok, now the siderails are REALLY finished.



Hours today: 1.0

Total hours to date: 119.1

Parts completed: 42

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-02-03 Attaching siderails to the instrument panel Made 2 brackets which connect the siderails to the sides of the instrument panel. Also started bending tabs along the bottoms of bulkheads B & C to align with each other.



Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 121.6

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-02-05 Attaching siderails to the instrument panel Had to straigten the right siderail a little to fit tabs properly. It was bowing out about 1/8" too much and would have made a bump in the skin. It's easier to deal with it now than later. All the bottom tabs between bulkheads C & D are aligned now. Drilled & clecoed both bulkhead-B-to-siderail brackets.

Once again, the siderails are done. If I keep repeating that, it may come true someday!



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 125.6

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-02-06 Siderails to the upper engine mount (photo) Today I drilled the holes which will connect the upper engine mount angle to the forward ends of the siderails. I didn't have any problems since the siderails had already been leveled and the firewall was already in position. There was really only one place that it could go.



Hours today: 1.2

Total hours to date: 126.8

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-02-07 Drilling the bottom seam of the tailcone Today I drilled the rivet holes for the bottom seam of the tailcone. I turned the alignment beam and bulkheads upside down for convenience. I measured in 3/8" from the edge and lined those marks up with the center lines drawn on the bulkheads. With only one skin in place, it was easy to find the center of the bottom tab of bulkhead D and drill a hole through it and the skin. Then I overlapped the edges of the two pieces of skin by 3/4", clamped them to a 1 X 2 and drew my rivet lines starting with the hole at the center of bulkhead D and working outward toward the ends. This way I knew for sure I have a rivet going through the tab at "D". If I had started at one end, the spacing might have been off enough for me to miss the bulkhead entirely.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 130.3

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-02-08 Drilling the bottom seam of the tailcone I used the holes in the bottom seam of the tailcone as guides to drill the holes in the bottom skin stiffeners. I used clecos to join the two pieces of skin and the stiffeners together and wrapped the skin around the bulkheads to make sure everything still fits. It does!



Hours today: 3.8

Total hours to date: 134.1

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 88
2009-02-17 Riveting tailcone skins (photo) Dimpled, deburred and flush riveted the bottom seam of the tailcone. To do the job alone, I laid the skins out flat on my workbench and put my bucking bar under it, then put the rivet through the hole and drove it downward against the bar. It worked out surprisingly well.



Hours today: 5.3

Total hours to date: 139.4

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-02-18 Fittup of tailcone skins I drilled the holes through the tabs of bulkheads B & C without the skin in place. I laid the skin over the bulkheads and strapped it down with the cargo straps again. When the skin was exactly where I wanted it, I back drilled about 12 holes through the skin and held it in place with clecos. I also started fluting the bottom of the skin at bulkhead C so it will lay flat underneath the C to B skin.



Hours today: 4.8

Total hours to date: 144.2

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-02-19 Fittup of tailcone skins Turned fuselage right side up & drilled some more holes in the tabs at the bottom of bulkheads C & D. Pretty much the same as yesterday except that today I'm able to reach down from the open top of the skin.



Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 148.7

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-02-21 Fittup of tailcone skins Used tiedown straps to close the top of the fuselage skin but noticed it was buckling just forward of bulkhead D, so I tried using tape to pull it down more evenly. It helped some, but not enough. What's the matter with this?



Hours today: 1.8

Total hours to date: 150.5

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-02-22 Fittup of tailcone skins Today I noticed the top of bulkhead C had flexed downward due to the pressure of the skin being wrapped around it. I pulled it back into alignment and added a brace to hold it in position. The buckling of the skin disappeared because it no longer had to curve down to reach the bulkhead C. As it turned out, it was an easy solution to the buckled skin problem.

I also marked the skin where it will have to be trimmed at bulkheads C & E.


Hours today: 2.8

Total hours to date: 153.3

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-02-23 Fittup of tailcone skins Removed the tailcone skin and trimmed both ends for bulkheads C & E. Bent in some of the skin which was under the tabs of bulkhead C so it would line up with B (instrument panel) better.



Hours today: 2.2

Total hours to date: 155.5

Parts completed: 44

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-02-24 Siderail to bulkhead C brackets Remade the "Siderail to bulkhead C" brackets. Due to edge spacing for the rivet holes, the old brackets wouldn't allow the rivets in the siderails (aft of bulkhead C) to be arranged in a staggered pattern as specified in the plans. Drilled the holes in the siderails and the new brackets.

While the skin was off, I rolled it into a tight cone shape. I'm hoping that the skin will retain some curve and be easier to lay over the bulkheads.



Hours today: 3.7

Total hours to date: 159.2

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-02-25 Back drill siderails to skin Temporarily installed the skin and back-drilled the siderail holes through the skin. Couldn't drill them all because some of the holes were too close to bulkhead C and even my angle drill wouldn't fit.



Hours today: 3.2

Total hours to date: 162.4

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-02-26 Back drill siderails to skin Removed the skin (again!), laid it out on my workbench with the siderails clecod to it and back-drilled through the skin. Re-installed the skin. It's now just like it was yesterday except the siderail holes are all drilled. A lot of trouble for just a few holes!



Hours today: 2.7

Total hours to date: 165.1

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-03-02 Rolled tailwheel & shoulder strap doublers I don't have a slip roll machine for curving sheet metal, but I used a simple homemade device (see my "TIPS" section) to curve the tailwheel support doubler and the two shoulder strap doublers. I also marked where the skin should be trimmed along the top seam. Removed the skin from the bulkheads (again!)



Hours today: 3.2

Total hours to date: 168.3

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-03-03 Bulkhead D spacers Somehow the tabs on the sides of bulkhead D were made a little shorter than they should have been. In other words, bulkhead D is a little more oval shaped than bulkheads C & E are. The problem is that the curve of the skin is formed by bulkheads C & E and there was about a 1/8" gap between the skin and the tabs on the sides of bulkhead D. To close this gap, I made spacers from two pieces of .040" sheet to go between the tabs and the skin.

Also trimmed the skin along the top seam.



Hours today: 3.8

Total hours to date: 172.1

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-03-04 Finishing tailcone fitup Put the skin back on for the final fitting and backdrilled the last of the bulkhead tabs through the skin.



Hours today: 2.8

Total hours to date: 174.9

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-03-05 Finishing tailcone fitup Today I laid out the rivet line for the top center seam and drilled those holes. I also drilled the holes for the shoulder strap doublers, trimmed the skin at bulkhead C, removed the skin (again!) and deburred the holes.



Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 179.4

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-03-06 Finishing tailcone fitup I dimpled the rest of the holes which will be flush riveted and countersunk the siderails to provide clearance for the dimpled skin above them. Also applied zinc chromate to all mating surfaces.



Hours today: 3.2

Total hours to date: 182.6

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 142
2009-03-07 Riveting the tailcone (photo) I clecoed the top skin stiffeners into position which completed the tailcone fitup. Then I removed the alignment beam, loaded the fuselage into my truck and took it to my hangar at the airport. I figured with the noise of riveting for two days, a neighbor might invite the police to my door. Airport people are much more open-minded!

Bill (a close friend who shares the hangar with me) and I drove 80 rivets in the tailcone. We suspended the tailcone from the rafters and Bill stood up inside it to buck the rivets. I don't see how he stood it!



Hours today: 6.7

Total hours to date: 189.3

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 222
2009-03-08 Riveting the tailcone Today Bill and I finished riveting the tailcone. 58 more rivets.
Note: The bottom of bulkhead "C" can't be done until the B to C bottom skin is in place.



Hours today: 3.2

Total hours to date: 192.5

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 280
2009-03-11 B to C bottom skin (photo) Made a posterboard pattern of the B to C bottom skin and used it to cut the skin panel from .025" sheet. In the photo below, the tailcone has been riveted and the skin section can be seen behind it.



Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 194.0

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 280
2009-03-12 B to C bottom skin Back drilled the B to C bottom skin using bulkhead C as a guide. Drilled along bulkhead C only. Can't drill through bulkhead B until the A to B skin is in place. When the B to C skin was clecoed in place along bulkhead C, I trimmed the skin off even with bulkhead B.

Because of the way that bulkhead B is shaped, there wasn't room to put a drill to back drill through the tabs. I realized I would have to drill into the tabs from the outside, so I marked the outside of the B to C skin with the beginning and end of each tab. That way when the A to B skin is in place, I can be reasonably sure where the tab is before I drill.


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 195.5

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 280
2009-03-13 A to B bottom skin Made a posterboard pattern for the A to B bottom skin and cut the .025" sheet metal out a little on the large side.



Hours today: 1.0

Total hours to date: 196.5

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 280
2009-03-14 A to B bottom skin I used the marks described on 3/12 and started drilling holes through the "A to B" & "B to C" skins from the outside. All hit the tabs just fine, but it was still pretty scary everytime I started drilling a hole.

Also trimmed the A to B skin a little closer to a proper fit.



Hours today: 1.7

Total hours to date: 198.2

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 280
2009-03-15 A to B bottom skin (photo) Still fitting up the "A to B" and "B to C" bottom skins. They're almost ready.



Hours today: 2.7

Total hours to date: 200.9

Parts completed: 46

Total rivets in plane: 280
2009-03-16 A to B bottom skin Riveted the brackets which mount the instrument panel to the siderails. Drilled most of the holes through the firewall tabs and sandwiched the lower cowling support strips between the skin and the firewall.



Hours today: 4.2

Total hours to date: 205.1

Parts completed: 48

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-03-17 Bottom skins Finished fitting up the A to B and B to C bottom skins. Also made the 5" X 6" tailspring support plate.



Hours today: 3.2

Total hours to date: 208.3

Parts completed: 51

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-03-18 Centersection sparcaps Made both of the outer sparcaps for the centersection spar. This is done by cutting one inch off the horizontal flange at each end of an aluminum angle.

I really like the way my air powered disk sander works for jobs like this. It spins the sanding disk so fast the it removes aluminum very quickly. After sanding the flange down, I follow up with a fiber disk on the sander and the spar cap looks like the flange was never there.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 211.8

Parts completed: 53

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-03-19 Centersection sparcaps (photo) Today I cut off 2 inches of the horizontal flange of each of the inside centersection sparcaps. I smoothed out the flanges so the ends look done, but I can't consider the parts completed until I have removed the outside corner of the angle. The outside of the inner sparcaps must be rounded to match the inside radius of the outer sparcaps.



Hours today: 3.2

Total hours to date: 215.0

Parts completed: 53

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-03-21 Centersection Sparweb Cut the centersection sparweb from a piece of .040" sheet. It fits so tightly between the outer sparcaps that it won't lie flat enough for the inner sparcaps to go over it. Something must be wrong. Just rounding the edges (as the plans suggest) won't make that much of a difference.



Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 216.5

Parts completed: 53

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-03-22 Centersection sparweb I checked the Yahoo Hummel forum about the sparweb dimension. They said to cut the sparweb down to 4 1/32" width (the plans indicate 4 5/16" wide). Apparently there's an error in the plans. I rounded & polished all edges. It fits beautifully between the spar caps now.



Hours today: 1.7

Total hours to date: 218.2

Parts completed: 54

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-03-23 Centersection sparcaps I used my router (with a roundover bit) to round off the outside corner of the top inside centersection sparcap, then filed and sanded it smooth. This is one of the things I like about working with aluminum. It's soft enough that you can use most woodworking tools on it.



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 221.2

Parts completed: 55

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-03-24 Centersection sparcaps Removed the outside corner of the bottom inside centersection sparcap (same as yesterday except a different sparcap). Today it took an hour less time because I didn't have to "invent" the process. Guess that's progress!



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 223.2

Parts completed: 56

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-03-29 Centersection spar rivet layout (photo) Today I clamped all the components of my centersection spar into the plywood spar jig. I determined where the ribs would go and laid out the rivet lines between them.

I setup my drill press and started drilling. Because of the weight of the jig and the spar parts, it's fairly difficult to line up the drill exactly where the hole should go. This is more than made for by the fact that all the holes are perfectly straight and round. Besides that, the power of the drill press just gets the job done faster - remember we're talking about over a 1/4" of metal to drill through. I drilled 82 of 222 holes today.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 226.7

Parts completed: 56

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-03-31 Centersection spar rivet layout (photo) Today I finished drilling the centersection sparcaps. 222 holes in all. I can't imagine driving all those rivets!



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 230.7

Parts completed: 56

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-04-03 Engine mount angles (photo) I ordered the engine mount pre-made from Hummel Aviation. It arrived today and I used it to determine where to drill the bolt holes through the engine mount angles on the back of the firewall. Once I knew where the bolt holes would be, I could tell where the rivet holes would go, so I drilled them too.



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 233.7

Parts completed: 56

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-04-05 Centersection spar filler plates I made the two filler plates for each end of the spar. These filler plates bolt onto the ends of the sparcaps. The bolts which mount the outboard wing panels go through the filler plates and the ends of the sparcaps.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 237.2

Parts completed: 60

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-04-09 Lower engine mount supports The lower engine mount supports as described in the plans make a shelf which runs from the lower engine mount angle on the firewall back to the instrument panel. This shelf is riveted to the skin along its upper edge only. Below the shelf there is a vertical flange, but it doesn't extend all the way down to the skin. To improve the strength and stiffness, I will be riveting the engine mount supports below the shelf too.

I made posterboard patterns of the lower engine mount supports and cut them out of .040" sheet. I used my A & P mechanic's brake to make the bends. Unfortunately, the clamp on his brake is too wide to allow me to make all of the bends. I could use his brake to make the center bend (between the horizontal shelf and the vertical flange), but I'll need to rig up something to bend the two flanges for the rivet lines at home.

I also drilled out 5 rivets from the bottom of the tailcone skin. These holes will be used to rivet the tailspring support doublers into place.



Hours today: 2.3

Total hours to date: 239.5

Parts completed: 60

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-04-12 Tailspring supports Drilled the holes for the Tailspring Support plates. Drilled the hole for the tailspring mounting bolt and clecod its nutplate into position.

Also drilled and dimpled the Tailspring Support Doubler. Dimpling the holes caused the curved metal to flatten out a little, so I had to re-shape it and tap down the edges to make it lie flat.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 243.0

Parts completed: 60

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-05-17 Computer Disaster! Had to reload my operating system (thank you, Bill Gates!) which required reformatting my hard drive. This means I lost all my data since my last backup on 4/13/2009, so I have no details of work done between 4/13 and 5/17. The 8 hours listed for this entry is a wild guess. The bright side in this situation (besides having a fairly recent backup) is that I was sick for a week and then I was out of town for another week, so there wasn't as much work done as there would be during a typical month.

This event is what caused me start looking for a place to store my builder's log online. That's when I found Expercraft.com Not only is it free, but they do backups on a regular basis. You can be sure that I do too.... NOW!!

The following is a list of tasks I remember doing during this time: (1) Finshed the Lower Engine Mount supports. (2) Drilled rivet holes to mount the Horizontal Stabilizer Supports. (3) Deburred and dimpled all holes. (4) Masked all parts for priming.



Hours today: 8

Total hours to date: 251.0

Parts completed: 62

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-05-18 Corrosion control I finally got the computer working well enough that I can get back to the important stuff!

In spite of how much I like polished metal, I plan to paint the interior of the cockpit a light gray. This is to keep the sunlight from reflecting off the interior and blinding me in flight. Today I dipped the Tailspring Support Plate, both Tailspring Doublers, both Horizontal Stabilizer Supports, the Engine Mount Angles and all 6 Engine Mount Support Plates, in Alumiprep No 33 to etch and clean the metal. After thoroughly rinsing these parts, I dipped them in Alodine 1201. This will prevent corrosion. I plan to Alodine pieces of metal which will be riveted together. The epoxy primer (which will be applied later) is really just to help the paint to stick.

I know there has been a lot of debate about whether or not corrosion is enough of a problem with 2024 aluminum to bother with treating parts. My 2 cents (and that may be all that it's worth) is that treating parts with Alodine doesn't add any weight so why not do it? For the same reason (weight), I'll only be using primer for parts I'll actually be painting.



Hours today: 3.2

Total hours to date: 254.2

Parts completed: 62

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-05-19 Corrosion control I applied Alumiprep and Alodine to the seatback, the instrument panel, the siderails and the A-B & B-C bottom skins. Because all of these parts (except the skins) are already installed on the plane, it is impossible to dip them in the chemicals, so I had to wipe them on. This works fairly well but is not as good as dipping the parts. The problem is that the chemicals can't be allowed to dry on the aluminum, so it is necessary to continuously wipe on more chemicals. I think the wiping motion must tend to wipe off the film which is forming on the metal, because it just doesn't ever become as dark as a dipped part will. As I understand it, any coloration of the metal provides corrosion protection so the goal is achieved.

I also had to wipe the chemicals on the skins because I only want them treated on what will be the inside of the cockpit. Since the rivet holes were already drilled, I used a lot of tape to mask where the skin will be polished. In spite of my best efforts, some of the Alodine got on the wrong side. I sure hope that stuff will polish off!



Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 256.7

Parts completed: 62

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-05-20 Corrosion control (photo) I sprayed all of the parts that were alodined yesterday with Akzo two-part epoxy primer.



Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 258.2

Parts completed: 62

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-05-22 Corrosion control (photo) I sanded all the primed parts in the cockpit area and painted them a light gray. Looks good!



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 260.2

Parts completed: 62

Total rivets in plane: 288
2009-05-26 Riveting tail support doublers (photo) My good friend Bill (who keeps his plane in the same hangar as I do) and I drove all of the rivets for the Horizontal Stabilizer Supports, the Tailspring Support Doubler and the Tailspring Support Plates.



Hours today: 2.8

Total hours to date: 263.0

Parts completed: 62

Total rivets in plane: 371
2009-05-29 Riveting forward bottom skins (photo) Bill and I riveted the "B to C" bottom skin to bulkhead C but we left it clecod to the bulkhead B. Then we attached the "A to B" bottom skin so it overlapped the "B to C" skin at bulkhead B. The trailing edge of the "A to B" skin must be bent inward a little so it will fit flush with the "B to C" skin. This is because the siderails bend inward at bulkhead B. We riveted the "A to B" skin to bulkhead B but not to the firewall. This was so we could remove the firewall to gain access to the engine mount angles.

We also installed nutplates to the bottom of the engine mount supports. Normally just a bolt and nut would be used to attach the Lower Engine Mount Angle to the Engine Mount Supports, but since my Engine Mount Supports will be riveted at the bottom in addition to the top, there will be no way to reach a nut once the Engine Mount Support is riveted in. After the nutplates were installed, we riveted the gussets between the Engine Mount Supports and the Lower Engine Mount Angle. Then we riveted the Engine Mount Supports to the "A to B" skin.



Hours today: 6.5

Total hours to date: 269.5

Parts completed: 62

Total rivets in plane: 540
2009-06-07 Curving the bottom stringer (photo) Started bending the Forward Fuselage Bottom Stringer around a 1" diameter pipe. I used the pipe to press the .040" sheet metal down into the jaws of my Black & Decker Workmate, then clamped it into place. I started turning the screws to tighten the jaws and I was amazed that it managed to bend the metal around the pipe without stripping any threads. Eventually the metal was bent double. Unfortunately when the metal was removed from the vise, it sprung back to form a 30 degree angle. I tried a variety of techniques but nothing bent it enough to counter the spring-back effect. Finally I laid a 2 X 4 over the metal (with the pipe clamped inside the bend) and drove my truck up it. When I backed the truck off, the metal sides were parallel with a nice 1" curve between them. Finally!

Also cut out the firewall cover and the firewall nutplate strip.


Hours today: 4

Total hours to date: 273.5

Parts completed: 62

Total rivets in plane: 540
2009-06-10 Bottom stringer (photo) I clamped the Bottom Stringer between two 2 X 4's and bent the rivet flanges downward. Since the 2 X 4's were cut at a 90 degree angle, I couldn't bend the flanges all the way down. Instead I bent them as far as I could, removed the clamps and bent the flanges the rest of the way with a crescent wrench. It took a while, but I eventually managed to get the flanges of the Bottom Stringer to fit the bottom skin properly. Then I drilled and dimpled all of the holes to rivet the Bottom Stringer to the bottom skin.



Hours today: 5.5

Total hours to date: 279

Parts completed: 63

Total rivets in plane: 540
2009-06-11 Firewall cover (photo) I drilled the holes to mount the firewall cover and nutplate strip to the firewall. Lining it up with the tabs on the top of the instrument panel was tough. If I got the top lined up the sides didn't align, once the sides lined up the top didn't anymore. Anyway it took a while, but it looks real good!



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 283

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 540
2009-06-15 Form blocks for ribs Made form blocks for the nose & rear ribs. Started tracing some of the ribs onto sheet metal.



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 285

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 540
2009-06-18 Rear spar inserted through fuselage (photo) Today I cut the holes in the fuselage skin for the rear centersection spar. Another scary job that turned out to be pretty easy!

Here's how I determined where to cut the holes. First I clamped a carpenter's square to the siderails with one leg of it parallel to the fuselage centerline string. Then I set an adjustible square on the carpenter's square and extended the ruler down to where I wanted the top of the rear spar to be (see photo 1). Next I moved the adjustible square to the end of the carpenter's square so it extends down on the outside of the skin. The end of the ruler indicates the height of the spar (see photo 2). Finally I used a level to draw a line on the skin where the hole for the spar should be (photo 3). I used the line on the skin to drill a small hole which I looked through to see if I was in the right area. Turned out I was within a quarter inch! The fairings will easily cover that.



Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 287.5

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 540
2009-06-22 Cutting out wing ribs (photo) Today I cut out the blanks for 12 rear ribs and 14 front ribs. The really nice thing about cutting out ribs is that I can do it inside where it's air conditioned. It was around 100 degrees in Dallas today.



Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 292

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 540
2009-06-23 Still cutting out wing ribs I cut out the blanks for another 14 rear ribs. All the rear ribs have now been cut out. My hand is sore!

Also drilled the rear row of rivet holes in the firewall cover.



Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 297

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 540
2009-06-28 Corrosion control Deburred holes in Firewall Cover and Bottom Stringer. Applied Alumiprep and Alodine to these parts.



Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 298.5

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 540
2009-06-29 Bottom stringer Painted the Bottom Stringer. When it was dry, I installed 4 nutplates in it. These will be used to mount the heel brake pedals someday.



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 300.5

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 548
2009-06-30 Rudder bar mounts Drilled the 1/4" mounting holes in the center of the engine mount angles for the rudder bar. Also drilled out 11 bad rivets from our riveting weekend of May 26.



Hours today: 1.8

Total hours to date: 302.3

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 548
2009-06-30 Shaping of rib blanks Clamped the blanks for my ribs together and ran them over the belt sander until they all matched. I know this isn't necessary. Who will know if my rib blanks weren't exactly the same before I started bending the rivet flanges? Just me. So I made them all match - just for me.

I also deburred the edges of 6 of the blanks. THAT's the part I wish I could avoid - deburring all those ribs!


Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 304.3

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 548
2009-07-02 Bending ribs! (photo) Bent and fluted the rivet flanges on rear ribs 1L (left), 1R (right), 4L & 4R. I'll be able to use these to accurately determine where to cut the holes in the fuselage for the centersection wing spar.


Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 307.3

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 548
2009-07-03 Inserting the main spar through the fuselage (photo) Today I cut the holes through the fuselage for the main spar. Although this was terrifying to think about, the way it's explained in the plans actually makes it fairly simple.

Here's how you do it: Make sure the siderails are level. The rear spar should already be in position, but check it to make sure it's still aligned properly. The bottom of the rear spar and the bottom of the main spar should be the same distance down from the siderails. Since the main spar is thicker than the rear spar, this automatically sets the angle of incidence. Set the main spar on a table or saw horses next to the fuselage at the correct distance from the siderails. Make sure it's level. Clamp the rear flange of the ribs to the rear spar. The front of the ribs touching the sparweb of the main spar determines how far forward the main spar will be. The main spar is now positioned fore & aft and vertically. Trace the spar where it touches the skin and start cutting. I used a thin cutting disk on a Dremel tool, so you don't need anything fancy.


Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 311.3

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 548
2009-07-06 Corrosion control I treated the centersection main spar components (shear web and 4 sparcaps) with Alumiprep and Alodine.


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 312.8

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 548
2009-07-07 Riveting main spar Started riveting the centersection main spar. Drove 180 rivets. I've got at least 40 more to go, but I'm tired and sore!


Hours today: 6.5

Total hours to date: 319.3

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 728
2009-07-08 Riveting main spar (photo) Drove the remaining 42 rivets in the centersection spar. There are around 8 rivets which need to be replaced, but I'm going to put that off until tomorrow.


Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 321.3

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 770
2009-07-09 Fixing main spar rivets There were a total of 10 bad rivets in the main spar. I drilled them out and replaced them. It would take a lot less time to drive them right in the first place. I'm working on it.


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 322.8

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 770
2009-07-12 Riveting the firewall I took the fuselage to the hangar and Bill and I riveted the bottom stringer to the skin between the instrument panel and the firewall. Also riveted the engine mount angles to the rear of the firewall and the A to B skin to the lower half of the firewall.


Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 326.3

Parts completed: 65

Total rivets in plane: 873
2009-07-13 Making the rear spar I made the rear centersection spar. This is a very simple process as the rear spar is just an angle with one inch of the horizontal flange cut off at each end.


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 327.8

Parts completed: 66

Total rivets in plane: 873
2009-07-17 Sparcap flanges Cut the vertical and horizontal flanges off the top and bottom sparcaps of the left wing. The plans say to taper the flanges from 1 1/2" down to 5/8" at the wingtips. DON'T DO THIS! A width of 5/8 of an inch doesn't allow enough edge clearance for a 1/8" rivet. I've heard of people using 3/16" rivets at the wingtips, but I prefer to make the flanges a little wider and to use 1/8" rivets with 2.5 times the rivet diameter for edge spacing. For this reason, the vertical flange of my spar caps will be 15/16" wide and the horizontal flange will be 11/16" wide. The vertical flange has to be a little wider because you have to allow for the proper rivet spacing from the edge of the shear web.


Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 330.8

Parts completed: 66

Total rivets in plane: 873
2009-07-20 Spar cap flanges I clamped the flanges of the two left wing sparcaps together and filed them both down to the proper dimension so they'd match exactly. It's not really necessary that they match exactly, but why not? Also rounded and smoothed the edges of the cut flanges. Both sparcaps of the left wing are finished now!


Hours today: 5.5

Total hours to date: 336.3

Parts completed: 68

Total rivets in plane: 873
2009-07-21 Spar cap stiffeners & shearweb Made the two sparcap stiffeners (1 for the top and 1 on the bottom) for the left wing spar. These were pretty easy. I just traced the taper of the sparcap onto 1 1/2" X 1/8" aluminum bar stock and cut along the line with the bandsaw. Also made the shearweb from .040" sheet metal. Also easy.

3 new parts - very little effort. A rare day!


Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 339.3

Parts completed: 71

Total rivets in plane: 873
2009-07-24 Preparing to rivet the spar. Put all the parts of the left wing spar (sparcaps, shearweb & sparcap stiffeners) in the jig, laid out the rivet lines and drilled all 192 holes. At times like this, you really appreciate a drill press.


Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 343.3

Parts completed: 71

Total rivets in plane: 873
2009-07-25 Sanding rib blanks Building an airplane is not always about getting to use cool and noisy tools. A lot of time is spent just making sure there are no nicks along any edges of your parts. Vibrations can cause small nicks to turn into large cracks.

Today I sanded the edges of all my centersection ribs until they were smooth as glass. Not an exciting job, but an important one!


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 344.8

Parts completed: 71

Total rivets in plane: 873
2009-07-26 Preparing parts of left wing spar Deburred all of the rivet holes in all of the parts of the left wing spar. There are a lot of them!

Also treated the left wing spar parts with Alumiprep and Alodine for corrosion protection.


Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 347.3

Parts completed: 71

Total rivets in plane: 873
2009-07-27 Sparcap for right wing Today I made the Top Sparcap for the right wing. This involved cutting and smoothing both the horizontal and vertical flanges. My new (and bigger) bandsaw made this job much faster.


Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 351.3

Parts completed: 72

Total rivets in plane: 873
2009-07-28 Riveting the left wing spar I drove 152 rivets into the left wing spar. Toward the end I messed up a couple of rivets and had to admit I was getting tired, so I cut both the flanges off the bottom sparcap of the right wing spar. Sometimes it's a good idea to switch to a different job if the first one gets repetitive - and believe me, 152 rivets is very repetitive!


Hours today: 8.5

Total hours to date: 359.8

Parts completed: 72

Total rivets in plane: 1,025
2009-07-29 Riveting the left wing spar Today I drove the remaining 40 rivets in the left wing Spar. I had to drill and replace 6 out of the 192 total in the spar. It's not good to get tired while riveting!

I also filed and sanded the flanges of the bottom sparcap for the right wing. It's now finished.


Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 362.8

Parts completed: 73

Total rivets in plane: 1,065
2009-07-31 Right wing sparweb Cut out the sparweb for the right wing and polished its edges.


Hours today: 1.0

Total hours to date: 363.8

Parts completed: 74

Total rivets in plane: 1,065
2009-08-01 Right wing spar stiffeners Made the 2 right wing sparcap stiffeners. Laid out the rivet lines along the lower sparcap and drilled all the holes (96 of them!) on that side.


Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 368.8

Parts completed: 76

Total rivets in plane: 1,065
2009-08-03 Prep right wing spar for riveting Drilled the rest of the rivet holes in the right wing spar. Deburred all holes in the spar. Cleaned the components of the right wing spar with Alumiprep and then applied Alodine to them.


Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 373.8

Parts completed: 76

Total rivets in plane: 1,065
2009-08-04 Riveting main spar Drove 50 rivets into the right wing spar.


Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 375.8

Parts completed: 76

Total rivets in plane: 1,115
2009-08-05 Still riveting main spar Today I drove the remaining 142 rivets into the right main spar. Five of them will have to be replaced.

I rubbed a blister on the palm of my hand. Just one of the sacrifices we make for our flying obsessions! I'm tired and my hands hurt, but I wouldn't trade places with anyone. Some people would spend the day watching television or surfing the internet. I finished riveting the spar for my right wing. That's quite an accomplishment. In spite of how sore I am, I feel great!


Hours today: 7.0

Total hours to date: 382.8

Parts completed: 76

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-06 Replacing bad rivets I drilled out and replaced the 5 bad rivets from yesterday. Wish I had driven them correctly in the first place. It would be so much easier!


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 384.3

Parts completed: 76

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-08 Making wing attach brackets Made 8 steel Wing Attach Brackets and the 4 aluminum Filler Plates which go under them. Each wing attach bracket is made from steel 1/8" thick and has 4 holes drilled in it. I wore out a brand new drill in no time.

My 82 year old father is starting to show more of an interest in this airplane building stuff. I think he's enjoying the challenge of it as much as I am. Maybe it will help keep us both mentally sharp!


Hours today: 7.0

Total hours to date: 391.3

Parts completed: 88

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-10 Making reinforcement angles Made the 4 angles which go on the back of the centersection spar. Also drilled the mounting bolt holes through the brackets and the spar. These bolts will attach the spar to the Front Spar Cover.


Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 394.3

Parts completed: 92

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-11 Making spar web spacers Made the centersection spar web spacers. All 34 of them! These little spacers are 1/8" thick and 3/4" wide. They are pressed tightly between the flanges of the top and bottom spar caps. Not only do they provide a flat surface to mount the ribs to, they also make the spar web much stiffer.


Hours today: 8.0

Total hours to date: 402.3

Parts completed: 126

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-15 Rib mount brackets & lightening hole attempts Made the 10 short brackets and 2 long brackets for mounting the rear ribs to the centersection spar. Drilled the rivet holes for mounting them and clecoed them into place.

I tried cutting some lightening holes today, but it didn't work out very well. To save money I bought a "quick change" mandrel. As it turns out the quick change mandrel allows the hole saw to wobble and it makes a very rough hole. I didn't ruin anything (yet), but I'm afraid that it's just a matter of time. Speaking of time, it took a lot of it to sand the holes smooth.

Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 407.3

Parts completed: 138

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-17 Bending rib flanges Today I bent the top and bottom flanges of the 8 remaining centersection ribs.


Hours today: 6.0

Total hours to date: 413.3

Parts completed: 138

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-18 Cutting lightening holes (photo) Cut all of the lightening holes in the centersection rear ribs. As it turns out, lightening holes are quick and easy to cut if you use a drill press and good quality hole saws. To make my "quick change" mandrel hold the hole saw securely, I ended up wrapping thin wire between the mandrel and the hole saw. That stopped the wobble and my holes began cutting quickly and smoothly. It's really disgusting to have to fix a new tool because it was designed poorly. I wonder sometimes if the manufacturers every actually use their products.


Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 415.8

Parts completed: 138

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-19 Made Flanging & Beading dies (photo) Today I went over to a friend's wood working shop and he used his lathe to make two sets of flanging dies for the lightening holes in the ribs. It was really nice to see a purpose-built shop since I've been building my plane in the back of my pickup and on the patio. What a difference! One of these days I intend to have something similar for building airplanes. The flanging dies were made from pieces of oak because they will take quite a beating. There are two sizes: one for a 2" hole and one for a 1 1/2" hole.

Later (back in my own garage) I made a couple of dies to make the beads which will go beween the lightening holes. The male side of the dies consisted of a couple of pieces of oak dowell which were split down the middle and glued to a 2 X 4. The female side was made by cutting a slot in a piece of aluminum 1/8" thick. I used my router to round the edges of the slot and then put tape along the edges to help protect the metal around the bead. I used a few pieces of piano wire to make guide pins to align the two sides of the dies because it's difficult to tell if the two halves are lined up when there's a rib between them. Like the lightening hole flange dies, I had to make 2 different sizes of beading dies since the rib becomes narrower toward the rear.


Hours today: 5.8

Total hours to date: 421.6

Parts completed: 138

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-20 Flanging & beading ribs (photo) Flanged all the lightening holes and the beads in the centersection rear ribs. Before using the dies (particularly the beading dies), it's a very good idea to practice on scrap pieces first. If you hit the die too hard, it can cause the metal around it to buckle.


Hours today: 4.2

Total hours to date: 425.8

Parts completed: 150

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-22 Positioning rear ribs on spar (photo) The forward ends of the ribs are attached to a bracket which is riveted to the spar. I leveled the door across the bed of my truck and laid the front and rear spars on it. Using a carpenters square I made sure each rib was perpendicular to the spar, then I drilled the rivet holes through the rib and the bracket. I also drilled a hole so I could cleco the rear of the rib to the rear spar. This will later be replaced with a bolt.

After all the ribs were clecoed in place and I had taken a few pictures of my centersection, I took it all apart and alodined everything.


Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 430.8

Parts completed: 150

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-25 Started (& ruined) my first nose rib Today I learned something. 2024-T3 sheet aluminum will only compress so far before it work-hardens and cracks. I'm sure it can be worked more if it's been annealed, but we're not supposed to have to do any of that to build the Hummel Bird.

What went wrong? The plans show the flange around the tip of the nose rib to be 1/10" wider than the edge of the form block. I cut mine to about 2/10" wide with the intent of filing it down to the correct size - but I didn't file it down. Maybe a flange 1/10" wide will form around the form block very nicely, but 2/10" causes cracks. Another part for the OOOPS pile!

I cut out a new blank for the nose rib and made sure the flanges around the nose of all my other nose rib blanks were exactly 1/10". Live and learn!


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 432.3

Parts completed: 150

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-26 Successfully made nose ribs (photo) Made the left and right version of nose ribs 3, 4, 5 & 6. A 1/10" flange bends beautifully around the nose of the rib with no cracks. I also made 4 short brackets for mounting the the nose ribs to the spar.

I've included a couple of photos which show how I setup the dies for making my lightening holes and beads. It's very important that the lightening hole dies be centered in the hole, otherwise the flange won't be even all the way around the hole. Since the die is cone-shaped, all I had to do was make sure the dies were level. It's a good idea to use a rubber mallet rather than a steel hammer so the dies don't splinter. In the photo of the beading die setup, the bar clamps are just to hold everything in place while I line up the rib in the dies. Three moderate taps were usually all it took to make the beads.


Hours today: 5.5

Total hours to date: 437.8

Parts completed: 162

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-28 Spar web spacers for outer wings Made 24 sparweb spacers for the outer wing panels. These are similar to the spacers made for the centersection spar on 8/11.

I cut the 1/8" X 3/4" bar stock to the correct length and smoothed the ends on the belt sander. Then my Dad filed them to exactly the right size. Most of the spacers had to be "popped" into position between the sparcaps which helps to strengthen the spar. We made a total of 24 spacers today. My Dad was a big help!

Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 442.8

Parts completed: 186

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-29 Spar Spacers finally finished Dad and I made the last 12 spacers for the spars. The spacers for all three spar sections are now done and I'm ready to move on to something more interesting!

Hours today: 2.2

Total hours to date: 445

Parts completed: 198

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-30 Setting the wing dihedral (photo) Today I set the dihedral on both outer wing panels. I set up my drill press on the drive way and stretched a string across it. I laid the centersection spar parallel to the string and slid the outer wing panel mounts over the end of it. I positioned the wingtip-end of the outer spar 3 3/4" away from the string. According to the plans, this gives a dihedral angle of 3 degrees. After clamping everything into position and making sure that nothing had moved, I drilled the wing mount holes to 1/4". The wingmount holes will later be enlarged to 1/2" diameter.

A very nerve-wracking day. If the dihedral was messed up, the plane would fly and look very strange.

Hours today: 4.3

Total hours to date: 449.3

Parts completed: 198

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-08-31 Alodoning spar components I alodined all of the shear web spacers and rib brackets for each of the three spar sections.

Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 451.8

Parts completed: 198

Total rivets in plane: 1,257
2009-09-05 Riveting the shear web spacers (photo) I saw some suggestions on the web about using an arbor press to drive rivets, so I bought a 1 ton press. I was going to use it to rivet the shear web spacers to the centersection spar, but first I had to make some adaptor plates so I could mount the flush rivet sets from my rivet squeezer to the press. The lower plate was just a 1/8" piece of steel with a 3/16" hole drilled in it for the flush rivet set. The upper adaptor is a stack of three 1/8" aluminum plates which were riveted together and drilled to receive the rivet set. I drilled the hole near the side so I could reach confined areas better. The press worked beautifully. It takes a little longer than a rivet gun because you have to line it up carefully, but there is no need to drill out bad rivets - there aren't any!

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 454.8

Parts completed: 198

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-07 Priming the main spar. Today I primed the assembled main spar with with Akzo two-part epoxy primer. I primed the spar as a unit rather than the individual components because I didn't want the thickness of the paint to cause the already-drilled rivet holes to be mis-aligned. Since the sparcaps are made up of two angles (one inside the other), a coat of paint would cause the inside angle to move over slightly which would shift the rivet holes slightly. By priming the completed spar, I'm hoping the spar components will be sealed enough to keep moisture from getting between them. Of course all the components of the spar were alodined before any asssembly took place, so I'm not expecting any problems with corrosion even if some moisture does get past the primer.

Hours today: 1.0

Total hours to date: 455.8

Parts completed: 198

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-10 Making the spar braces. There are two "Spar Braces" which mount to the front of the centersection spar. These braces are made of 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" X 1/8" angles and will be bolted to similar braces which will be riveted to the sides of the fuselage. Today I made the two spar braces.

Hours today: 2.2

Total hours to date: 458

Parts completed: 200

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-11 Drilling out round-head rivets. When I riveted the spar together I used flush rivets where the spar will bolt to the front spar cover. For some reason I didn't think about the fact that the spar braces would also have to be bolted to the front of the spar and I used the universal (round) rivets in this area. Thanks to this brilliant example of planning, today I got a chance to drill out 14 perfectly good rivets and replace them with flush rivets. The plans don't mention using flush rivets where other components will be mounted over them, so I will. I suggest using flush rivets on any part of the spar from about 2 inches outside of ribs 2L & 2R inward. In other words, use flush rivets from the center of the spar until you're two inches beyond rib #2 on each side. You may use flush rivets in a few places where you don't actually need to, but they are as strong as the round rivets so it doesn't hurt to use too many of them.

Hours today: 3.8

Total hours to date: 461.8

Parts completed: 200

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-13 Spar brace B (fuselage side). (photo) Made the spar braces (left & right) which go on the fuselage side. These are the other half of the braces made on 9/10. See photo below. The bolt in the photo goes through a tab of the instrument panel bulkhead, the rest of the brace is just riveted to the fuselage skin.

Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 463.8

Parts completed: 202

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-14 Front spar cover. Made the front spar cover form block from 3/4" plywood, then made the front spar cover.

Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 468.8

Parts completed: 203

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-20 Front spar cover and spar support. (photo) I bolted the spar brace halves together and checked that the spar was properly aligned. Then I bolted the front spar cover to the front of the spar. This held the front spar cover firmly in position so I could drill the rivet holes through the front spar cover tabs and the bottom fuselage skin.

I also made the Spar Support and drilled its mounting rivet holes.

Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 472.3

Parts completed: 204

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-23 Front spar cover (again). I noticed a descrepancy between the plans and Bill Springs' build video. In the video he says the Spar Cover should be made out of .040" sheet. In the plans it says to make it out of .032" sheet. I made mine out of .032" and then I noticed that the video said .040". Which is right? I posted the question on the Forum and it turned out the video was right. It makes sense to use the thicker material to mount the spar, but it really bugged me to have to throw away the .032" Spar Cover. It was beautiful! Anyway, today I cut the blank for the new cover out of .040" sheet, bent up the tabs and the flange, and threw my original spar cover on the "oops" pile.

Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 474.3

Parts completed: 204

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-24 Front spar cover (again). Today I checked the alignment of the spar again. I used the bolt holes in the spar as drill guides to drill the holes through the face of the front spar cover and bolted it to the spar. Now that the cover was held in place, I used the holes in the bottom fuselage skin to backdrill through the tabs on the new front spar cover. Now the new .040" cover fits just like the original .032" cover did.

Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 477.8

Parts completed: 204

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-26 Main Spar Shim (photo) I made the shim to go between the spar and the Spar Support out of 1/8" X 2" aluminum flat bar stock. It took 4 of them stacked up to be the right thickness. I had to file down one of the flat sides to make the shim slightly wedge shaped because the fuselage bottom slopes downward toward the rear.

I bolted the Spar Braces to the spar and the fuselage (through the tabs of bulkhead B). I had to put a .025" spacer under the 2 fuselage Spar Braces to compensate for the .025" A to B skin.

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 480.8

Parts completed: 210

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-09-28 Centersection Nose Ribs Made Nose Ribs 1 & 2, left & right. These ribs weren't made earlier because they would need to have slots cut in them to make room for the Spar Braces. I couldn't make the ribs correctly until the Spar Braces were made and in place.

Hours today: 6.0

Total hours to date: 486.8

Parts completed: 214

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-10-01 Spar Attach Fittings (photo) Made the 4 Spar Attach Fittings. These are the "dog ears" which bolt to the spar and extend up the sides of the fuselage to the siderails, thus transfering the load of the spar to the siderails. These Spar Attach Fittings were difficult to make correctly because the flange of one Fitting has to go inside that of the other Fitting so it has to be made slightly smaller.

Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 491.8

Parts completed: 218

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-10-07 Rear Spar Cover Today I made the rear spar cover but I won't install it until I have the control stick and the aileron and elevator pushrods installed. I want to make sure that these components will have enough room to move freely.

Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 493.8

Parts completed: 219

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-10-09 Corrosion control (alodining) Alodined a total of 30 parts: 6 nose ribs, 4 spar braces, 2 spar brace shims, front & rear spar covers, 4 spar attach fittings, etc. Basically I alodined everything that I've made in the last few weeks.

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 496.8

Parts completed: 219

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-10-10 Installing nose ribs in centersection I removed the main spar and put it on a flat (unwarped) door which I'm using as a workbench. I clamped the spar to the door, checked one more time to make sure it was level, and attached the rear ribs and rear spar to it with clecos. I drilled the holes to bolt nose ribs 3 & 4 to the spar. These nose ribs have bent-over flanges instead of separate brackets to mount them to the front of the spar. Since there is no way to adjust the alignment of ribs 3 & 4, I'll align all the other ribs to match them.

I see I just hit 500 hours of construction time. I think the company said the plane can be built in 1,000 hours. I don't think that's going to happen! Aw well, quality craftsmanship takes more time. That's my excuse anyway!

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 499.8

Parts completed: 219

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-10-13 Nose rib brackets (photo) Made 5 nose rib mount brackets. These were for ribs 1 and 2 (left & right) which had to made with cutouts to go around the spar braces. The nose rib bracket for rib 1L is actually 2 brackets - one for the top (above the spar brace) and one at the bottom of the rib. I made 1 large bracket for rib 1R because the cutout for the spar brace was longer on this rib and needed a bigger bracket to reinforce it.

Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 502.3

Parts completed: 224

Total rivets in plane: 1,289
2009-10-18 Mounted nose ribs (photo) I clamped all the centersection nose ribs to the brackets and passed a tight string through the 1/4" alignment holes. I adjusted the rib positions on the brackets until the string was centered in each hole, then I drilled the rivet holes between the nose ribs and the brackets. After that, I alodined the nose ribs and riveted nutplates to the flanges of the rib mounting brackets. The nutplates will make it possible to install the skinned leading edge as a unit.

My plan is that after the top skin of the centersection has been drilled, I'll remove the nose ribs from the spar and use solid rivets to join the leading edge skin to the ribs. Since the spar won't be in the way, I'll be able to get a bucking onto the backs of the rivets. Once the nose ribs are all riveted to the leading edge skin, I'll bolt them to the spar using the nutplates. The plans say to rivet the nose rib brackets to the spar but (although the plans don't actually say this) there would be no way to attach the leading edge skin without using pop rivets. Using solid rivets and nutplates is my own design, so we'll see how it works out. It's a lot more trouble, but I'm trying to minimize the use of blind rivets.

Hours today: 6.0

Total hours to date: 508.3

Parts completed: 224

Total rivets in plane: 1,337
2009-10-26 Riveting nose ribs Now that all the nose ribs are properly aligned and the nutplates are riveted on, I riveted each nose rib to its mounting bracket.

Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 512.3

Parts completed: 224

Total rivets in plane: 1,384
2009-10-31 Centersection bottom skins I bent the trailing edge of the centersection bottom skins. I laid the bottom skins on my workbench, laid the assembled centersection spars and ribs over it, and carefully squared them up. I clamped the trailing edge of the skin to the rear spar and drilled holes at the ends of each rib down through the flange, the bottom skin and into the workbench. By drilling into the workbench, I could put a cleco into each hole (that's one advantage of using a hollow door) to keep everything in alignment. Once I had a hole at each end of each rib, I turned the centersection over and used these holes to position the ends of my rivet fan. This made drilling the other holes (168 of them!) much faster.

Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 516.8

Parts completed: 226

Total rivets in plane: 1,384
2009-10-31
2009-11-03 Spar permanently installed! (photo) Today Bill and I used our trusty rivet gun and bucking bar to make the spar a permanent part of the airplane. The first thing we did was rivet rear ribs 1L and 1R to the spar. This had to be done while we could still slide the spar a little to the left and right so we could get the bucking bar between the ribs and the fuselage skin. Next we clecoed the front spar cover, the spar support and the spar braces into position. We also bolted the spar to the front spar cover and the spar braces before any more riveting was done. I didn't want to give anything a chance to shift out of position when the riveting started - and nothing did! The actual riveting was accomplished pretty easily. Next we riveted the rear ribs to the main spar. We're not going to rivet the rear of the ribs to the rear spar until it's time to rivet the skin on. This way we can still flex the ribs over to one side if we need a little more room to work.

Good friends working together on good projects. Life is sweet!

Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 520.8

Parts completed: 226

Total rivets in plane: 1,488
2009-11-07 Centersection bottom skins (photo) I trimmed the centersection bottom skins where they will join the bottom of the fuselage. Also bent the flange for the rivets. It took a lot of tiny little adjustments, but the flanges now lie flat along the fuselage bottom skin.

Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 523.3

Parts completed: 226

Total rivets in plane: 1,488
2009-11-10 Rib stiffeners Made the 4 stiffening angles for ribs 6L & 6R. These are just strips of .040" sheet bent lengthwise to form angles which are then fluted to match the curve of the rib. The aileron bellcrank mounts will be riveted to these angles.

Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 526.8

Parts completed: 230

Total rivets in plane: 1,488
2009-11-14 Rib stiffeners (photo) Alodined the 4 rib stiffening angles and riveted them to ribs 6L & 6R. Also made & alodined the reinforcement bracket for bulkhead C. This bracket joins the flange at the bottom of bulkhead C to those going up its sides. This will stiffen the mount for the rear spar when it is bolted to bulkhead C.

Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 530.8

Parts completed: 231

Total rivets in plane: 1,527
2009-11-16 Aligning the rear spar I used my laser level to align the rear spar with the main spar. I had to add shims on the right side between the bulkhead C flange and the top of the rear spar. This lowered the rear spar on the right.

I also cut out the angles for the seat belt brackets. These brackets are made from 3/16" X 1 1/2" angle. Since the angle between the fuselage skin and the rear spar is less than 90 degrees, I had to squeeze the angle down to about 86 degrees so the seatbelt brackets would fit flushly.

Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 534.3

Parts completed: 234

Total rivets in plane: 1,527
2009-11-18 Making the aileron bellcranks (photo) Made both aileron bellcranks and I don't mind saying that they look great! Each bellcrank consists of two side pieces separated by a 1/2" spacer. I bolted the pieces together and then ran them over my belt sander until all the edges were exactlty the same. I know nobody else will see these once the wing skins are riveted on, but I really enjoy building a part I can be proud of. It's a great feeling to make something with my own hands and have it turn out really well - maybe even pretty.

Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 538.8

Parts completed: 240

Total rivets in plane: 1,533
2009-11-25 Bulkhead C reinforcement strip (photo) Today I installed the Bulkhead C reinforcement strip. This just involved drilling the 4 bolt holes through the bulkhead C flange, the shims and the rear spar. Then I used my squeezer to rivet the tabs to the side flanges.

Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 540.3

Parts completed: 240

Total rivets in plane: 1,541
2009-11-28 Bottom skin to fuselage joint (photo) Drilled the rivet holes to join the centersection bottom skins to the bottom of the fuselage. There's really not much to say about this. The rivet fan makes it very easy to lay out a perfectly spaced and straight rivet line. A rivet fan may seem expensive at first, but it's well worth the money!

Hours today: 1.0

Total hours to date: 541.3

Parts completed: 240

Total rivets in plane: 1,541
2009-11-30 Front canopy bow (photo) Bent some 1/2" square aluminum tubing to create the front canopy bow. This actually turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would. The tubing bends easily, so it's just a matter of going slowly and comparing the part to the full-sized template in the plans.

Now that I know just how easily the square tubing bends, I'm thinking about using something stronger for the rear canopy bow (the one which will go under the turtle deck) to give me some rollover protection. Due to weight considerations, I'll probably make something out of carbon fiber and bolt it to the backside of bulkhead C.

Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 542.8

Parts completed: 241

Total rivets in plane: 1,541
2009-12-08 Centersection top skin (photo) Cut the metal for the centersection top skin (right side only), and bent it to shape the leading edge. I'm going to use a single piece of metal to go from the bottom of the main spar, up around the nose ribs, over the main spar and back to the rear spar. This will eliminate any seams on the top of the wing which will make it look better and may eliminate a little bit of drag. To make sure the leading edge bend is straight, I clamped a square to each side of the skin. As I started the bend, I just ran the edge of the skin down the squares (see photo 1). The reason for the pipe is to keep me from accidentally crimping the metal. Later, when the job required more muscle than I had to offer, I used a bar clamp to push the skin all the way down.

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 545.8

Parts completed: 242

Total rivets in plane: 1,541
2009-12-11 Centersection top skin (photo) Today I drilled the rivet holes for the right centersection top skin. First I used my rivet fan to drill holes through the top flange of the ribs from above. Then I removed the bottom skin and clecoed the bottom flanges of the ribs to some 1 X 2's. This held the ribs in exactly the same position that the bottom skin would hold them, but it still gave me access to the top flanges of the ribs from below. I laid the top skin over the ribs and used nylon straps to cinch it down tightly around the nose ribs. After that, it was pretty easy to run a 12 inch drill bit up through the holes in the rib flanges to drill through the top skin.

Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 547.8

Parts completed: 242

Total rivets in plane: 1,541
2009-12-20 Seatbelt brackets (photo) Installed nutplates on each of the seatbelt brackets because there will be no way to get to a regular nut after the centersection skins are riveted on. The brackets not only mount the seatbelt, they also bolt the rear spar to the fuselage.

Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 549.3

Parts completed: 244

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2009-12-27 Making bulkhead E (a new one) (photo) Made a new Bulkhead E. Once the horizontal stabilizer doublers were installed, the old bulkhead E didn't fit very well. Besides that, I've never been very happy with the way the original turned out. The original Bulkhead E was the first part I made for the entire plane. At that time I didn't really know what I was doing yet so the quality was so-so. This bulkhead is a critical component in that it holds the tail on. I wanted it to be right! This new one is made better and the tabs are wider to provide more room for rivets. More rivets means more strength so the tail is more likely to stay attached - and that's a good thing!

In the photo below, you can see that the top tab of the old bulkhead (on the left) will have to be cut out to make room for the vertical stabilizer spar. If you're building a tailwheel plane (as I am) you'll also have to remove half of each of the bottom tabs to make room for the tailspring support. When I made my new bulkhead, I took the space on each side that wasn't taken up by the spar, and divided it into 5 equal parts. This way my tabs are all the same size and each is wide enough to fit 3 AN4 rivets instead of just two (which is what the plans call for). All in all, I think my design is better than what is in the plans. Is that just my ego? You decide.

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 552.3

Parts completed: 244

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-01-12 Making the Vertical Stabilizer spar (photo) Made the Vertical Stabilizer spar. My A&P (Mark Ardizzone) has been very helpful to this project by giving me free access to his sheet metal brake and shear. I used Mark's brake to make the U-channels for the spar. One U-channel fits inside the other and they taper because the stabilizer will be wider at the base than at the tip. As you can imagine, this makes bending the spars pretty nerve wracking! I always bend a few test strips before bending an actual part on the brake, but that wouldn't be accurate enough in this situation. To get the inner channel to fit snuggly inside the outer channel, I cut each of them about a foot too long and bent them as accurately as I could. Since the sides of each channel tapared inward, I just slid the inner channel into the outer one as far as it would go, then I cut each of them to the correct length. It worked out beautifully!

Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 554.8

Parts completed: 246

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-01-14 Horizontal stabilizer spars Bent the U-channels which will make up the outer portions of the Horizontal Stabilizer Spar. These two U-channels will be spliced together with 1/8" and 3/16" angles - which I haven't made yet. Compared to the vertical stabilizer spar, these channels were easy. That don't taper and neither of them have to fit inside the other, so it's just a matter of making them both exactly the same. It takes a little care, but it's definitely manageable.

I also made the reinforcing plate which will be riveted to the forward side of bulkhead E. This is an aluminum (6061-T6) plate 1/8" thick. It was easy to cut out on the band saw and then smooth on the belt sander.

Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 556.8

Parts completed: 249

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-01-20 Vertical stabilizer Bottom Cap (photo) Made the Vertical Stabilizer Bottom Cap and the plywood form block to shape it. The bottom cap will be bolted to the top of the fuselage and the bottom edge of the stabilizer's skin will be riveted to it.

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 559.8

Parts completed: 250 (a milestone!)

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-01-22 Horizontal stabilizer spars (photo) Made the two inner angles which will splice the two horizontal stabilizer spars together. The flanges of these angles (one is 1/8" thick by 24" long and the other is 3/16" X 11") must be trimmed to make them narrow enough to fit inside the U-Channels of the stabilizer spars.

Four hours may seem like a long time just to cut a couple of angles, but since the inside corners of the U-Channels are rounded, the outside corner of the angle (and the edge of one flange) must also be rounded. It just takes an awful lot of filing.

Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 563.8

Parts completed: 252

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-01-25 Front Horizontal stabilizer spars (photo) Made the front spars for the Horizontal Stabilizer. These were just a couple of pieces of .020" sheet bent into "U" channels. These 1.5" X 1.5" X 1.5" channels are easy to make, but I had to use Mark's brake to bend them. It took longer to make the round trip drive to the airport than it did to make the spars.


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 565.3

Parts completed: 254

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-01-28 Vertical spar to bulkhead fitup (photo) Layed out and drilled the rivet holes to join the Vertical Stabilizer spar to bulkhead E and its reinforcing plate. This assembly makes up the "banjo" (see the photos - what else would you call it?) which will be inserted into the tailcone.


Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 567.3

Parts completed: 254

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-01-30 Horizontal stabilizer mounting brackets (photo) Made the Horizontal Stabilizer Mounting Brackets and the mounting bracket splice for each side. The splices are the inside angles and will be riveted to the mount bracket at one end and bolted to the rear spar at the other. Photo 2 shows them positioned on the rear spar.


Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 569.3

Parts completed: 258

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-02-05 Drilled horizontal stabilizer mount holes (photo) Drilled the 1/4" Horizontal Stabilizer mounting holes through the tailcone. Bolts will go through these holes to mount the forward portion of the horizontal stabilizer so it is critical that the holes are level, otherwise the stabilizer won't be even with the wing. I rigged up a special device to get the holes aligned properly, and yes I actually did spend 3 hours measuring and checking that everything was square. Bill Spring's building video does a good job of explaining the rig I used (see the first photo) except that he says to drill the holes 1/4" below the centerline of the fuselage. Don't do this! Drill the holes at the centerline, otherwise the mounting brackets will slant down slightly because the tailcone below the centerline is curving inward at that point. It doesn't seem like it would make much of a difference until you hold the rear spar up to it and realize that the mounting brackets don't line up with it. If the holes are drilled on the centerline, the bolts and the mounting brackets will be level.

The first photo shows that the hole in the vertical angle is 1/4" below the centerline (the green line on the tailcone). In the second photo, I've slid a long drill bit through the holes so you can see that the holes are level with the wing spar in the background, but you can also see that the sides of the tailcone are slanting inward slightly. There's not enough room to drill different holes at this point, so I think I'm going to make some wedge-shaped spacers to go between the tailcone and the mounting brackets. The bolts will continue to slant, but at least the mounting brackets will be straight.

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 572.3

Parts completed: 258

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-02-15 Horizontal stabilizer Endcaps (photo) Made two Endcaps for the horizontal stabilizer. Notice the flat "tails" toward the rear of the endcaps. These are actually called for in the plans and are intended to extend back over the endcaps of the elevators to help cover the hinges. This design leaves the tip of the stabilizer flat and leaves some of the relief holes between the tabs visible. I wasn't too crazy about the appearance and eventually cut off the "tails" so I could make a more rounded tip for the stabilizers and wing tips.

Hours today: 4.3

Total hours to date: 576.6

Parts completed: 260

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-03-25 Wedge-shaped spacers to mount horiz stab (photo) The bolts which will mount the forward portion of the horizontal stabilizer to the tailcone are angled down slightly (see the February 5,2010 log entry for an explanation of how this happened) which will cause the stabilizer mounting brackets to be angled down also. To prevent this 'droop', I made some wedge shaped spacers to go between the tailcone and the stabilizer mounting brackets. These wedges will allow the mounting brackets to be level even though the bolts they are mounted on are at an angle. The angles of the wedges are exaggerated in the diagram below.

Hours today: 3.3

Total hours to date: 579.9

Parts completed: 264

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-04-05 Hinge stiffener & gusset combo (photo) The plans indicate that a gusset should go across the corner where the Horizontal Stabilizer spar joins the Horizontal Stabilizer Mount Bracket. There is also supposed to be a stiffener which extends aft from the spar to where the elevator hinges will be mounted. Finally, a filler strip is supposed to go along the top of the mount bracket between the front and rear stabilizer spars so the skin can be riveted to a flat surface. I combined all three of these parts into one. On the photo below, I've outlined in red where the three separate parts would go. Combining all three parts into one is stronger, simpler, and it eliminates some rivet edge spacing problems.

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 582.9

Parts completed: 266

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-04-06 Hinge stiffeners & filler strips (photo) Made 2 stiffeners where the outside elevator hinges will mount to the rear stabilizer spar.

The endcaps and elevator stiffeners are all made of material which is .040" thick and they overlap the spars. As you can imagine, an uneven surface below the sheet metal skin will cause it to have bumps in it, so I made filler strips of .040" aluminum to go between the endcaps and the hinge stiffeners on the top of the main spar. Bill Spring's build video suggested doing this, but the filler strips are not in the plans. Rather than running a .040" strip all the way along the front spar, I made a transition filler strip of .020" material to smooth out the step down from the .040" endcap.

Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 584.9

Parts completed: 274

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-04-07 Drilled holes to rivet framework (photo) I drilled all the holes for the rivets which will hold the spars, endcaps and mounting brackets together. Most of the rivets which will go in these holes will be covered over by the skin. I wanted to have the framework secured so nothing can shift out of place when I'm putting the skin on.

Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 588.9

Parts completed: 274

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-07-18 Horizontal stabilizer skins (photo) I've been building a steel gate for the last few months to teach myself how to weld, so I haven't done much on the plane lately. It sure is good to get back to it! See the "Training" page of my build log if you want to see the gate and read about how I learned to weld.

Today I Cut the skins for the horizontal stabilizer. I used a brake to bend the trailing edge of the bottom skin up to meet the elevator hinge at the top skin. Viewing the stabilizer from the tip, you can see that the top and bottom skins form a triangle between the rear spar and the elevator hinges. This will make it very rigid and strong.

In the first photo I've started bending the curve for the leading edge, and I'm "trying it on" to see how it fits the endcaps. I suggest that you cut the skin extra long from root to tip. That way you'll have the option of sliding the skin toward the stabilizer root (where the chord is longer) if the leading edge bend isn't exactly where it should be. Guess how I know that can happen?

In the second and third photos I'm making sure there is no twist in the stabilizer. Place a board on top of the skin to hold it flat and draw lines (at the root and the tip) where the bend protrudes the most. Measure the distance from each line to the table. If the measurement is not the same, slide the trailing edges of the top and bottom skins (where they meet at the hinges) lengthwise. This will raise the line on one end and lower the line on the other. Once both lines are the same height above the table, clamp the trailing edges together. Draw reference lines at the trailing edge from the top skin to the bottom one (photo 3) so you can re-establish their relative positions later on.

Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 593.9

Parts completed: 276

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-07-20 Horizontal stabilizer test mount (photo) Mounted the horizontal stabilizer spars on the tailcone. This was just done temporarily so I could verify the alignment of the trailing edges of the stabilizer skins. Once the alignment was confirmed, I trimmed the root end of the skin to match the angle of the tailcone and drilled the rivet holes through the trailing edge. From this point on the skin will prevent any twisting of the stabilizer.

Note: at this point the spars and endcaps are only held together by tape and undriven rivets (which are held in the holes by tape). I did this because clecos would make it impossible to lay the skin down flat on the spars. Later when everything (including the skin) is lined up and drilled, I'll rivet the endcaps to the spars using flush rivets under the skin. This way there will be more rivets holding the stabilizer together than just those which hold the skin on.

Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 596.4

Parts completed: 276

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-08-04 Horizontal stabilizer skin (photo) Drilled rivet holes to join the skin to the spars and endcaps of both the right and left horizontal stabilizers. The time consuming part here is making sure that I don't drill any holes too close to an edge. Had to use a homemade strap duplicator to make sure the holes in the skin lined up with the rivets in the endcaps.

The holes in the top skin are #40's for solid 3/32" rivets. The holes in the bottom are #30's because I'll be using 1/8" pull rivets to hold the bottom skin on.

Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 599.9

Parts completed: 276

Total rivets in plane: 1,549
2010-08-20 Inspection panels (photo) Made the inspection ports in the bottom of the right and left stabilizers. This includes making the backing plate, installing nutplates on it, cutting the hole in the skin and making the inspection panel cover. The 24 rivets were for installing the six nutplates on each of the backing plates. At this time the backing plates haven't been riveted to the skin. The backing plates extend to the edge of the skin and will serve as a spacer between the endcap and the skin. This is because the front and rear spars both overlay the endcap, so the spacer gives the skin an even surface to rivet to.

Hours today: 7.0

Total hours to date: 606.9

Parts completed: 280

Total rivets in plane: 1,573
2010-09-09 Elevator hinges & inspection panels (photo) Riveted the inspection panel backing plates to the skins of each stabilizer.

Cut the elevator hinges to the correct length and drilled the rivet holes to mount them. There are two hinges on each stabilizer. Four rivet holes go through the top skins (where they will be visible), through the stiffener and through the hinges. Between these rivets I've also drilled 4 holes which go through the stiffener, hinge and bottom skin. This gives the hinge extra strength but it doesn't change the appearance of the rivet spacing on the top skin of the stabilizer.

I also deburred all of the holes and dimpled or countersunk them.

Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 611.9

Parts completed: 284

Total rivets in plane: 1,600
2010-09-15 Riveted the main spar (photo) Riveted the sections of the main spar for the horizontal stabilizer together. These sections consist of 2 "U" channels which are joined together by a splice made of two angles. The splice consists of a 1/8" angle bolted (and riveted) to a 3/16" angle. Although the "U" channels (which were made from .040" sheet) fit snugly against the inner spar angles when the parts were held together with clecos, they did not fit as tightly after they were riveted to the spar angles. The process of riveting forced the angles tightly against the inner corners of the "U" channel which caused its flanges to pull away from the angles slightly. This resulted in a 1/16" gap between the "U" channel and the inner spar angles. To close this gap I "tacked" the flange of the channel down onto the angles by using 10 rivets along the top and bottom of the channel. This was not entirely necessary since the rivets holding the skin to the spar would hold the flanges down, but I wanted to make sure the the skin-to-spar rivets weren't under a tension load. Another benefit is that the skins will be easier to install!

Also riveted together the pieces which make up the brackets to mount the stabilizers to the tailcone. These form the endcap at the root of the stabilizer.

Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 614.9

Parts completed: 284

Total rivets in plane: 1,676
2010-09-21 Riveted the framework together (photo) Riveted the endcaps, spar assemblies, mounting brackets, stiffeners and hinges of both stabilizers together. The horizontal stabilizers are now essentially assembled except for the skins.

Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 619.9

Parts completed: 284

Total rivets in plane: 1,742
2010-09-25 Made the vert. stab. top endcap (photo) Used 3/4" plywood to make the formblock for the Vertical Stabilizer Endcap, then made the Endcap from it.


Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 621.9

Parts completed: 285

Total rivets in plane: 1,742
2010-09-26 Riveting skins Riveted the top skins of the Horizontal Stabilizer on. Used solid rivets exclusively. Bill bucked them all and didn't complain. It pays to have a friend who's as crazy as you are!

I want to mention something now which might save you a few bucks. I bought a special bucking bar to get into tight corners from Aircraft Spruce. The part # is 12-01311 and it's worthless! One of the problems is that it's just too light (1 1/4 lbs). The other problem is that the long arm (which you need to reach rivets back in corners) acts like a lever and creates more force than a human being can counter with such a light-weight bar. I even tried putting the handle in a vise and then driving the rivet and the bar actually slides between the jaws of the vise. It might be usable if you can weld a heavy weight to the end of the arm, but the weight would take so much space that you wouldn't be able to reach into the corners anymore. We eventually got all the rivets bucked by using other bars, but it was a struggle.


Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 627.4

Parts completed: 285

Total rivets in plane: 1,834
2010-09-28 Spacers beside elevator hinges The top and bottom skins of the horizontal stabilizer will be riveted together at the trailing edge. The elevator hinge is about .040" thick. The hinge is riveted to a stiffener which is also made of .040" aluminum. Together these two pieces add up to .080" and have to be sandwiched between the top and bottom skins. The doesn't cause a problem in most places along the trailing edge, but there were two spots where the rivet spacing required that I put a rivet near to the edge of the hinge/stiffener. This would cause a big enough gap between the two skins to allow the rivet shank to expand between them when the rivet is driven. A rivet is only strong when the pieces it joins are flush with no gaps between them, so I had to make two spacers to help transition the skin down from the hinges. These were just pieces of aluminum .040" thick and a couple of inches long. They were placed next to hinges which needed to have rivets driven right next to them.


Hours today: 0.8

Total hours to date: 628.2

Parts completed: 287

Total rivets in plane: 1,834
2010-09-30 Rivetin' on the ol' banjo (photo) Riveted the "banjo" together. The "banjo" is the vertical stabilzer spar, bulkhead "E" and the bulkhead E reinforcement plate. When they are all assembled, it looks kind of like a banjo.

The photos below were taken before I added a row of seven rivets from just below the top of bulkhead "E" down each flange of the spar. These rivets weren't mentioned in the plans, but I believe they will stiffen the lower part of the spar to support the tailwheel spring better. The flanges above bulkhead "E" will be riveted when the skin is riveted on.


Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 632.2

Parts completed: 287

Total rivets in plane: 1,894
2010-10-03 Aligning the vertical spar (photo) Positioned Bulkhead E (now "The Banjo") so that the spar for the Vertical Stabilizer is perpendicular to the main spar of the center section of the wing and is sweptback 14.5 degrees aft. This took a lot of measuring even with an electronic angle indicator. Once the banjo was positioned, I drilled 3/32" holes through the skin and the tabs of bulkhead E to lock it in position. These holes will later be enlarged with a #30 drill to accomodate 1/8" rivets. Because I made a new bulkhead E which had wider tabs than the original, I will be able to fit 3 rivets per tab into bulkhead E without violating any minimum rivet/edge spacing rules.


Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 637.2

Parts completed: 287

Total rivets in plane: 1,894
2010-10-04 Riveting bottom skins on Used blind rivets (AVEX MS 1682-0412) to rivet the bottom skins of the horizontal stabilizer on. These are the first blind rivets I've used in the plane. They were very easy (and quick) to install. The only problem was that I had to take breaks occasionally to give my hands a rest.


Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 640.2

Parts completed: 287

Total rivets in plane: 1,989
2010-10-05 Riveting trailing edge of skins (photo) Riveted the top and bottom skins along the trailing edge of the horizontal stabilizers. The horizontal stabilizers are now finished (finally)! Actually I still need to make the "wingtips" for it and there's a little trimming to do, but I can't do those things until the elevators are made. There always something else to do!

I've also hit another milestone of sorts. There are now over 2,000 rivets in the airplane!


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 641.7

Parts completed: 287

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-10-08 Cutting holes for pushrods Used a hole saw to cut the 1 1/2" holes (for the pushrods) at the top of Bulkhead E. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier (before the vertical spar was riveted on), it would have been much easier. I guess I thought I'd have to position the holes to match the elevator control horn, but there's only room to put the hole in one place on bulkhead E - in the center of the top right (or left) quadrant of the bulkhead. The elevator control horn will be made to align with this hole, not the other way around.


Hours today: 1.0

Total hours to date: 642.7

Parts completed: 287

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-10-11 Elevator endcaps and U channels (photo) Made all four of the endcaps for the elevators. Since all the bends for these pieces were straight lines, I made them on a sheet metal brake rather than using a form block. It saved a lot of time. I also made two "U" channels to close the forward ends of the elevators.

I'm using a "U" channel to close the front portion of the elevator the same way that Bruce King did his. This will allow me to mount the hinges to the top skin of the elevators (so the rivets will be under a shear load), and make it possible to use fewer pop rivets. Any rivet under a tension load is a very bad idea because the head can be pulled through the hole more easily than the rivet can be sheared in half. A pop rivet in tension is even weaker because it's hollow. This is the only situation I've seen so far where I totally disagree with the plans.


Hours today: 4.8

Total hours to date: 647.5

Parts completed: 293

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-10-14 Elevator control horn (photo) Made the two steel plates which will form the ends of the elevator control horn. This wouldn't be hard if I had a band saw which was capable of cutting steel, but I don't so I got some exercise. These plates will be riveted onto the Inside Elevator Endcaps.

Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 649.5

Parts completed: 295

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-10-18 Elevator control horn Cut two pieces of steel tubing and welded one to each of the elevator control horn plates. My first welded parts. Another milestone and they actually look good!


Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 652.5

Parts completed: 297

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-10-22 Elevator control horn Drilled 10 holes in each of the steel elevator control horn plates. I know this doesn't seem like it should take this long, but I had to go slowly so the drill bit wouldn't get too hot which would dull it. I put a drop or two of undilluted antifreeze in each hole. This cools the bit but doesn't provide any lubrication so the drill cuts easily (when the drill is sharp).

"when the drill is sharp" five words which make a huge difference. If you're interested in sharpening your own bits, there's a good video about it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqn2VPGYA9c The guy is a real slow talker but the information he presents is good and very easy to understand. Who knows, it may save you a few bucks on new drill bits.


Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 654.5

Parts completed: 297

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-10-24 Elevator skins Made the skins for both elevators. You would think this would be easy, just cut out a couple of pieces of metal and bend them over. The difficulty comes in when you try to put a nice, tight curve at the trailing edge without actually creasing it. A brake would make a crease which wouldn't be as strong as a curve, so I bent it over with a board by hand. It's tricky to apply that much force without damaging anything because the ends tend to bend more easily than the middle does. As careful as I was, I still got a little imperfection on each elevator. Luckily they both happened to be on the bottom skin so they won't show. Can't use bondo and paint on a polished plane!



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 656.5

Parts completed: 299

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-10-25 Left elevator fitup (photo) Drilled all of the rivet holes to assemble the parts for the left elevator. It's the first moving part of my plane! This was actually pretty easy to put together. It's much easier to use a "U" channel to close the front of the elevator than the double-folded method shown in the plans. Put the piano wire back into the elevator hinges and then slide the elevator side of the hinge between the elevator's top skin and the "U" channel. This way the hinges self-align as you line up the elevator with the stabilizer.

Another thing which makes my elevators easy to build is that I'm not going to make a trim tab on either of them. I'm going to have springs on the elevator pushrod and adjust the tension on the springs to make the elevator ride higher or lower. This is how Morry Hummel originally designed it and I believe it is simpler, lighter and certainly easier to build than a trim tab on the elevator.



Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 661.0

Parts completed: 299

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-11-06 Right elevator fitup (photo) Fitup the parts for the right elevator. When I started this, I noticed that the inboard hinge of the left elevator stuck out a tiny bit more than the outboard hinge. It was barely enough to see, but it skewed the angle of the right elevator enough that its hinges wouldn't line up. I heated and slightly bent the tube between the two elevator control horn plates to bring the right elevator back into alignment. It fits fine now and the elevator horn looks like it was never touched.

My advice is to line up all the parts of both elevators (including the control horn clecoed to the inboard endcaps) with the horizontal stabilizer and have the piano wire in all the hinges before drilling any holes. If the control horn is off even a fraction of a degree it will cause alignment problems for the other elevator.


Hours today: 4.8

Total hours to date: 665.8

Parts completed: 299

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-11-08 Control stick Cut all of the steel pieces which will make up the control stick. This is not hard, it's just time consuming because I had to cut everything with a hacksaw. Earlier I tried to use a large cutting disk in a Skil saw to speed up the process, but it made a very jagged cut and it was difficult to cut in a straight line. I spent almost as much time using the bench grinder to clean up the cut as I would if I had just used a hacksaw in the first place.



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 668.8

Parts completed: 312

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-11-11 Control stick welded (photo) Busy day today. First I heated the end of the control stick support and bent it around a tube until it was "U" shaped. Then I clamped the open ends of the "U" around a tube, heated them to cherry red and used pliers to bend the glowing metal down to the tube. It took several cycles of heating and bending, but it eventually fit the control stick support well enough to weld it.

I welded the control attach brackets together and then bent them down below where they will mount to the spar. I did this so that the top of the spar cover will be slanted so my legs will be a little more comfortable lying across it.

The elevator pushrod drive is made by welding a steel plate to the end of a 7/8" tube. That part is easy, but the other half of the drive is a little more difficult. To make it I had to cut a 7/8" hole and slide the tube through it. I was surprised to find that a hole saw cut through the steel pretty quickly. Then it was just a matter of welding the plate to the tube.

The aileron pushrod drives are just a couple of steel plates welded onto the control stick. Since flat plates don't touch a round tube in very many places, I'm also going to have a bolt going through the plates and the tube just in case a weld cracks.

I put a temporary coat of primer on everything and then realized that the clearances between the control attach brackets and the control stick support didn't allow room for a coat of primer. When I strip off all this hardware store primer and replace it with epoxy primer, I'll use a spray-on dry lubricant wherever two pieces of metal will be rubbing. I'm hoping to avoid having to use oil or grease because I don't want it to gum up and give my controls a heavier feel.

So that's how you make a control stick for a Hummelbird. It was a pretty nice way to spend the day. I'm really starting to enjoy welding!



Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 673.8

Parts completed: 312

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2010-11-12 Landing gear brackets (photo) Made both of the landing gear brackets. These are steel plates (1/8" thick and 6" long) with a 1.5" hole in one end. The landing gear goes through the hole and the other end of the plate is bolted to the bottom of the spar. Since the top of the gear leg is bolted to the top of the spar, the six inch length of the bracket will position the main wheels a little forward of the wing.

Most of the time spent on this little project was spent sawing. Do you have any idea how long it takes to saw through a piece of 1/8" steel that's a foot long? To be honest I don't either. I'd saw till my arms wore out, then take a break for 30 minutes or so and start sawing again. That's how I spent the better part of my day. You don't need a gym membership if you're building an airplane! Maybe I should have built a power hacksaw first. I probably will when I start on my next plane (yes there will be another plane!) but for this one, the worst of the sawing is now about done.

Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 677.8

Parts completed: 314

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2011-01-24 Vertical stabilizer skin (photo) Made the vertical stabilizer skin. Since the vertical stabilizer only has one spar and it's at the rear of the stabilizer, I was careful to bend the skin as close to the leading edge as possible. Otherwise the skin would have a tendency to bow out between the leading edge and the spar. I used clamps to bend the metal over, but kept them mostly toward the middle of the bend because the metal bends much more easily near the edges.



Hours today: 2.3

Total hours to date: 680.1

Parts completed: 315

Total rivets in plane: 2,030
2011-01-26 Stabilizer spacer & backing plate (photo) Made a backing plate for the vertical stabilizer and a spacer. The backing plate will go inside the tailcone and the bolts which mount the vertical stabilizer endcap will go through it instead of using washers. The spacer will go between the tailcone skin and the stabilizer endcap. This will raise the endcap off the tailcone enough to prevent the leading edge of the stabilizer from possibly sliding above the end of the endcap.



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 682.1

Parts completed: 317

Total rivets in plane: 2,036
2011-01-31 Vertical stabilizer endcap installed (photo) Today I installed the lower endcap for the vertical stabilizer. I made a few modifications here to increase the strength. The plans said to use 2 bolts and I used 3. The plans said to use large washers under both the head and nuts of the bolts. I used AN970-3 washers (they have a larger diameter) under the bolt heads but instead of nuts, I used the backing plate (which was detailed on the January 26th entry of this log) and nutplates. This will spread the load over a wider area than washers would, plus with the stiffener running along the top of the tailcone there wasn't enough room for the washers anyway.

When I first installed the vertical stabilizer spar, it became obvious that the rivets that go down the top of the tailcone are about a 1/2" to the left of center. This doesn't matter structurally, but it does mean that I had to put my mounting bolts on the left side of the endcap. If the bolts were installed on the centerline they would go through the edge of the stiffener or miss it entirely.


Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 683.6

Parts completed: 317

Total rivets in plane: 2,040
2011-02-14 Preparing to skin the stabilizer Trimmed the bottom edge of the vertical stabilizer skin to fit tightly against the skin of the tailcone. Drilled holes to rivet the bottom of the skin to the bottom endcap. Also drove 10 rivets down the center of the stabilizer spar. These rivets join the webs of the inner and outer spar channels. The flanges of the channels will be riveted together when the skin goes on.



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 686.6

Parts completed: 317

Total rivets in plane: 2,050
2011-02-15 Drilling rivet holes for the skin (photo) Drilled and de-burred all the rivet holes to attach the skin to the vertical stabilizer spar. Before drilling any of the skin-to-spar rivet holes I had to make sure the stabilizer wasn't twisted. To line up the top of the stabilizer with the centerline of the fuselage (and hold it there), I clamped a couple of aluminum angles to either side of the stabilizer. Then all I had to do was put the angles on the center of the fuselage and start drilling the holes. I will probably put the angles back on when I start riveting, just to be sure the stab stays straight.



Hours today: 2.2

Total hours to date: 688.8

Parts completed: 317

Total rivets in plane: 2,050
2011-02-16 Rudder hinges and doublers (photo) Made and installed the two rudder hinges which are bolted to the rear of the vertical stabilizer spar. Also made the doubler for the top rudder hinge. I put nutplates on the doubler and the tab at the rear of the bottom endcap which is bent up against the spar. These nutplates are what the rudder hinges will be mounted to.



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 692.8

Parts completed: 320

Total rivets in plane: 2,054
2011-02-17 Upper endcap fitup (photo) Drilled the rivet holes to install the top endcap of the vertical stabilizer. I turned mine over so the tabs are pointing up instead of down. This way I'll be able to use solid, countersunk rivets to mount the endcap instead of pop rivets. I'm going to try to form the wing tips and stabilizer tips out of aluminum (or fiberglass if that doesn't work out), and then slide the tips over the end of the stabilizer, where they will be pop riveted on. That way the structural portion (the endcap) is attached with solid rivets and the cosmetic portion is attached with pop rivets. The vertical stabilizer is now finished except for some final trimming of the skin.



Hours today: 1.0

Total hours to date: 693.8

Parts completed: 320

Total rivets in plane: 2,054
2011-04-01 Cutting holes for the elevator pushrod (photo) I finally worked up the nerve to drill the holes for the elevator pushrod. Like most of the scary parts of this project, it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I leveled the fuselage and tied a string to a clamp on the spar so the string would be at about the same level as the bottom of the elevator pushrod driver. Then I taped the other end of the string near the top of the hole in bulkhead E. I offset both ends of the string the same amount towards the center line of the fuselage, so that the string almost touched the openings in bulkheads C & D. Using a level, I drew a horizontal line from the string across bulkheads C & D. This indicated how high the holes would have to be. Then I just measured along this line the distance that the ends of the string were offset toward the fuselage center line and drew a vertical line. I drilled a small hole at the intersection of the lines in bulkhead D. Then I fed the string through the holes in bulkhead E and D to determine where the hole in bulkhead C would have to be. I had to drill three holes in bulkhead D and two in bulkhead C before I ended up with holes which lined up perfectly. I used these aligned holes as centers for the hole saw which I used to cut 1/2" holes in the bulkheads. I used a drum sander on my Dremel tool to enlarge the holes enough for the pushrod to easily slide through them.

After the holes were made, I slid the pushrod through until it hit the skin on the side of the fuselage. At that point I drilled a 1/2" hole and started cutting off anything that the pushrod hit until it easily slid into the wing root. This created a slot in the side of the fuselage for the pushrod. Finally, I bent the pushrod slightly to make it run parallel to the wing's root rib. I won't be able to connect the ends of the pushrod until the control stick and the elevator horn are installed. When they are, I'm sure I'll have to enlarge the holes and the slot to make sure the pushrod doesn't rub on anything.

All in all, the pushrod installation turned out much better than I thought it would. Bring on the next challenge!



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 696.8

Parts completed: 320

Total rivets in plane: 2,054
2011-04-05 Making the elevator control horn (photo) Now that I can tell where the elevator pushrod will go, I've made the elevator control horn from a pattern I cut from cardboard. The control horn curves forward so the pushrod will connect to it right over the hinge line for the elevator. The plans show one bolt joining the control horn to the elevator coupling, but I added an additional one to prevent the elevator control horn from rotating around the bolt if the nut should become loose.




Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 700.8

Parts completed: 322

Total rivets in plane: 2,054
2011-05-06 Assembling the control stick (photo) I drilled the holes to connect the elevator pushrod driver to the control stick support. The plans show only one bolt to connect the pushrod driver, but I'm using two for redundancy. I also welded the two Elevator Coupling tubes together because using a bolt allowed some movement between the elevators and I don't want any looseness in my controls. I cleaned off all of the hardware store primer from the control stick and elevator control horn, and repainted all the components with epoxy primer.



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 704.8

Parts completed: 322

Total rivets in plane: 2,054
2011-05-10 Finishing the control stick (photo) I used Dry Graphite Formula (DGF) to paint the part of the control stick support which will pivot inside the Control Attach Brackets. Then I assembled all the parts of the control stick and the elevator control horn and painted them gloss black. After the paint dried, I riveted the elevator pushrod nut plate to the pushrod driver.



Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 707.3

Parts completed: 322

Total rivets in plane: 2,056
2011-05-19 Riveting left elevator (photo) Today I riveted the left elevator together. I drilled a hole in a 1/4" thick piece of steel and mounted a flush rivet set from my squeezer in it. The plan was that I'd be able to use it to buck the rivets on the endcaps inside the elevator. I still had to use blind rivets on the furthest aft portions of the top and bottom skins because the elevator is so thin at that point. There was just no way to buck a solid rivet there.

I've changed the design of the forward part of the elevator. Instead of bending the sheet metal skins over and using blind rivets to hold them together, I'm using a "U" channel to close the forward part of the elevator. Using the "U" channel allows me to use solid rivets to close the elevator. It also mounts the hinges under shear loads along the top surface of the elevator skin instead of using pop rivets under tension loads.



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 710.3

Parts completed: 322

Total rivets in plane: 2,127
2011-05-22 Riveting right elevator (photo) Today I riveted the right elevator. It was done in the same way that the left one (see 5/19 entry) was except that it was much more inconvenient. This is because I had already welded the two halves of the elevator coupling together so I had to deal with supporting the left elevator while I riveted the right one.

Even though it was inconvenient today, I'm glad I welded the elevator coupling instead of just bolting it. Any looseness from the bolt would have increased over time. Now the elevators are essentially one unit and feel very solid. Note! If you do decide to weld your coupling together, make sure the piano wire is in the elevator hinges when you tack the coupling together - it can't be adjusted later!



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 713.3

Parts completed: 322

Total rivets in plane: 2,200
2011-05-28 Pushrod inserts for rodends (photo) I'm using 1/2" aluminum tube for my elevator pushrod and I needed to make some solid inserts to screw the rodends into. The closest size solid aluminum rod I could find was 7/16" in diameter. This was way too big to fit into the ends of my tubing. Fortunately a friend of mine has a lathe (and a mill, and a CNC mill - I can't wait to play with those!). He showed me how to set up the lathe and turn the rods down to the correct diameter. After each rod was machined, we chucked a #3 drill bit into the tailstock and drilled the hole right down the center. Lathes are so cool! It's hard to believe we were able to machine the rods to within a thousandth of an inch. They fit into the tubes without being forced, but they weren't loose either. Just right.

My only regret for the day was that I didn't think to take my camera with me. After I got home I tapped the holes so the rodends could be screwed in. I took pictures of the completed inserts, but not the machining which was done on them. I'll have to take pictures of the machining next time.

All in all, it was a great day. Thanks for your help Eric!



Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 715.8

Parts completed: 322

Total rivets in plane: 2,200
2011-06-04 Elevator pushrod assembly (photo) Before finishing up the elevator pushrod, the angle of incidence of the horizontal stabilizer must be set. This is done by laying a straight edge (I used 2 angles clamped together) along the upper surface of the stabilizer to the top of the main spar of the wing. The angle is maintained by putting shims between the stabilizer support and the stabilizer spar. When I did this I was surprised to find that I needed shims that were at least half an inch thick or more. Obviously, I'm going to have to make taller stabilizer supports. A couple more bad parts to throw on the "Ooops pile"!

I riveted the rod end inserts into the ends of my elevator pushrod. Since my pushrod is going to be made of two sections, I'm using a splice rod to join the two sections together. At this time, I'm only going to rivet half of the splice in case I have to remove the pushrod later. When the plane is finished, I'll finish riveting the splice together. Until then it will be clecoed.

I put a countersunk rivet between the vertical sides of the elevator horn and clamped it in place. This rivet goes through the bolt hole in the rod end and should simulate a bolt when I'm checking the elevator travel distances. I can reposition the rivet by loosening the clamp and sliding the rivet to a different location. Kind of like a movable hole. Once I find the "sweet spot" where the travel of the stick and the elevator are just right, I'll drill a real hole for the pushrod bolt.



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 717.8

Parts completed: 327

Total rivets in plane: 2,206
2011-06-06 Setting elevator travel (photo) Made scales out of cardboard to measure the fore and aft travel of the control stick and vertical travel of the elevator. Adjusted the location where the pushrod bolt will go through the elevator control horn by loosening the clamp and sliding the rivet around in the elevator control horn. (See the June 4th entry for a photo of this setup.) This changed the amount of elevator travel. When the travel for the stick and the elevator were right, I marked the location of the rivet and drilled the hole for the pushrod mounting bolt. I checked the travel again with the pushrod bolted in place.

When I initially made the elevator control horn, I made the vertical sides of it wider than they had to be. This allowed me to bolt the pushrod anywhere I needed to so I could get the elevator travel right. Once the hole for the pushrod was drilled, I ground off the excess elevator control horn and repainted it. I know it probably only saved an ounce or two, but ounces add up to pounds. Besides, the elevator horn looks better now.



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 721.8

Parts completed: 327

Total rivets in plane: 2,206
2011-06-12 Remaking Horizontal Stabilizer Support Brackets (photo) The Horizontal Stabilizer Support Brackets raise the rear of the horizontal stabilizer to set the stabilizer's angle of incidence. As I mentioned in the June 4th, 2011 log entry, my original Horizontal Stabilizer Support Brackets were too short and would require over 1/2" of shims. When the original supports are that far off, it's better to just scrap them and start over.



Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 726.3

Parts completed: 329

Total rivets in plane: 2,206
2011-06-28 Making the Turtle Deck Bow (photo) Today I made the Turtle Deck Bow out of 1/2" square tubing. I followed the full-size template in the plans but it still needed a little tweaking to match my plane exactly. Once I had it fitting the plane pretty well, I traced one half of it onto a piece of paper. Then I made small adjustments in the other half to match the outline. That way I could be sure that both sides of the bow were symetrical.



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 729.3

Parts completed: 330

Total rivets in plane: 2,206
2011-07-04 Bearings for elevator pushrod (photo) Made teflon pushrod bearings to prevent the elevator pushrod from rubbing bulkheads C & D. The bearings are just 2" squares of 1/8" thick teflon with a 9/16" hole in the center. I made a backing plate out of .020" sheet to go behind the teflon. This way the teflon is sandwiched between two pieces of aluminum so the heads of the rivets are against aluminum instead of the teflon. The elevator now moves very quietly and smoothly!

I was having trouble finding a source to buy small amounts of teflon. Believe it or not, I finally found some on Amazon.com. Apparently they sell everything now.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 732.8

Parts completed: 334

Total rivets in plane: 2,214
2011-07-06 Positioned windshield bow (photo) Figured out where the top and bottom of my windshield bow should be. This was a little difficult because my seatback is reclined more than the plans call for. The plan is that by angling the seatback more toward the rear and not increasing the height of the turtledeck bow, I could have a slightly lower profile for my canopy. The only problem is that the location of the top of the windshield bow is determined by measuring 29" from the top of the turtledeck bow. Since my turtledeck bow will be angled back a little, the distance between the bows on my plane will be 31.5". Once the distance between the tops of the turtle deck and windshield bows was determined, I put a couple of nails in each end of a 1X2 to make it easy to position the windshield bow in the future.

I also started cutting the Instrument panel cover. I'm making it out of one piece of .032" so I won't have to splice the two sides together. So far all I've done is cut out the center of it. The sides, front and rear ends still need to be trimmed. The good news is that at least the piece of metal is big enough. If you are using the templates on the plans remember to add at least one inch to each side. The template was drawn before the fuselage was widened and it was not changed to accomodate the wider fuselage. See the "Errors I've found in the plans" section of my "Tips and Tricks" page.



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 734.8

Parts completed: 334

Total rivets in plane: 2,214
2011-07-14 Instrument panel cover fitup (photo) Finished fitting up the Instrument Panel Cover. It took a while to get it lined up with the firewall cover but it was worth the effort because now the top of the fuselage should be a nice straight line from the instrument panel to the firewall. Also made the nutplate strip which goes between the instrument panel cover and the top of the instrument panel. The aft edge of the fuel tank cover will be screwed to this strip.

The two lowest tabs on the right of the instrument panel did not extend out far enough to reach the panel cover. (I'm not sure how I managed that - sometimes things just go wrong.) If I had tried to rivet the panel cover to the tabs there would have been a gap between them, so I made a .040" shim to go between those two tabs and the panel cover.



Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 739.8

Parts completed: 337

Total rivets in plane: 2,214
2011-07-16 Bought salvaged wheels and brakes (photo) I went to Air Salvage of Dallas and found the wheels and brakes for my main gear. They are 5" Grove wheels with hydraulic disk brakes and 1.25" axles. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to use the axles since they are designed to be bolted onto a Cessna-style spring gear and the Hummel gear is made from tubing. The whole thing cost me $250. Buying the same items (minus the axles) new from Grove would cost about $750. After I got them home I spent about an hour cleaning off the rust on the disks.



Hours today: 1.0

Total hours to date: 740.8

Parts completed: 337

Total rivets in plane: 2,214
2011-07-20 Starting on the gas tank cover (photo) Started on the gas tank cover. I made a pattern out of poster board, traced it onto a piece of .032" metal and cut it just along the outside edge of the line. Then I used the old "slip it under a pipe to roll it" technique (see my "Tips and Tricks" page) to roll it.

Since the tank cover tapers from the panel to the firewal, I put a series of equally-spaced marks along the rear and another set of marks along the front. When I drew lines between the marks I had a set of lines which followed the taper of the cover. When I slid the piece of metal into my "budget slip roll machine" I just positioned it so that the lines and the pipe aligned. When I lifted the free edge of the metal to flex it around the pipe, the taper was automatically built in.

This part was easy, but I know that filing the edges to fit between the instrument panel cover and the firewall cover will be another story!



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 742.8

Parts completed: 337

Total rivets in plane: 2,214
2011-07-25 Filing the gas tank cover to fit (photo) Filed the forward and aft edges of the gas tank cover until they exactly matched the edges of the instrument panel cover and the firewall cover. This was a very long process which involved strapping the cover into position and marking the areas of it which touched the panel (or firewall) cover. The marks indicated what needed to be filed off so that the gaps between the two pieces would eventually be closed. It took a long time (the 8.0 hour time is a very rough estimate) because I wanted to be sure I didn't take off too much and have to scrap the whole tank cover.

In the first picture you can see the gap between the tank cover and the panel cover (above the blue line). The blue arrow indicates the area which needs to be filed off to close that gap. The second photo shows an area where the two edges meet after all of the filing is done. In most places I couldn't fit a fingernail between the two edges. Even though it turned out well, this is one job I wouldn't want to do again!



Hours today: 8.0

Total hours to date: 750.8

Parts completed: 338

Total rivets in plane: 2,214
2011-08-16 Installing tank cover nutplates (photo) Drilled 3/32" holes (with 2" spacing) along all four sides of the gas tank cover. I started with 3/32" holes so I could use clecos to hold the tank cover in position, then I enlarged every other hole with a #27 drill to accommodate the 6-32 screws. I installed nutplates (24 of them) for these holes. Later I used the screws to hold the tank cover in place while I enlarged the remaining holes for the screws and installed the remaining nutplates. With 48 screws holding it on, the gas tank cover shouldn't be going anywhere!



Hours today: 8.5

Total hours to date: 759.3

Parts completed: 338

Total rivets in plane: 2,310
2011-08-26 Installing nutplates in the windshield bow (photo) The plans and the build video tell us to slide the nutplates inside the windshield bow and then use pop rivets to hold them in place. I didn't do this because I haven't been able to find any aircraft quality 3/32" pop rivets and drilling the nutplates out to accomodate 1/8" rivets wouldn't leave much metal around the rivet. As an alternative, I made narrow strips of .040" aluminum and used solid 3/32" rivets to attach the nutplates to them. At the ends of each strip I drilled a single 1/8" hole so a pop rivet could be used to keep the nutplate strip in the windshield bow.



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 763.3

Parts completed: 340

Total rivets in plane: 2,330
2011-09-20 Steel turtledeck bow (photo) Recently I've been thinking about those rare occasions when an airplane ends up on its back. The more I thought about it, the weaker the aluminum turtledeck bow started to look. Finally I decided to make another bow out of steel which would serve a dual purpose as a turtledeck bow and a roll bar. It was a lot harder to bend the steel tube into the correct shape, but I only had to use heat in a couple of places. If the steel bow is harder to bend, it will provide more crash protection, so the difficulty is a good sign. The original aluminum bow will be "adjusted" a little so it can be used as the rear canopy bow.

The plans indicate that the turtledeck bow should be riveted to bulkhead C. Since the bow is hollow tubing, the only way that I could see to do this would be to use pop rivets. Not a very strong way to install a rollbar! My steel bow is attached to bulkhead C with 3 bolts on each side. Later, I'll weld on a brace which will go from the top of the turtledeck bow down to the shoulder strap mount bolt.



Hours today: 5.5

Total hours to date: 768.8

Parts completed: 341

Total rivets in plane: 2,330
2011-10-06 Turtledeck bow brace (photo) Made a "third leg" for the turtledeck bow. This is a brace which runs from the top of the bow down to the shoulder strap mounting bolt. This brace will keep the turtledeck bow from collapsing rearward if the plane should ever end up on its back. I welded a piece of 1/2" steel tubing to a steel plate .065" thick. The plate is drilled for the shoulder strap bolt. The other end of the brace is welded to the top of the turtledeck bow.

I left a small gap between the Turtledeck bow brace and the top of the tailcone. The shoulder strap mount will slip in between the tailcone and the bow brace.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 772.3

Parts completed: 343

Total rivets in plane: 2,330
2011-12-02 Determining shape of turtle deck (photo) Today I drew a line along the fuselage from the front of the windshield (at least where it will be) to where the rear of the turtle deck will be. The bottom of the windshield, canopy and turtle deck should all line up so there were a lot of variables to consider. I flexed pieces of welding rod to get a natural curve, taped them in place and then traced them onto the fuselage. The blue line in the first photo shows where the turtle deck will meet the tailcone. The red line is where the edge of the rivet flange will be.

Also in the first photo, I've temporarily clamped on a square tube and a 1X2. The tube was used to support the poster board pattern I made for the turtle deck skin. The 1X2 was just because I wanted to see how the line of the dorsal fin will look. I'm going to increase the height of my fin from 7" to 8" because the nose of my fuselage has been lengthened and the higher fin will give me more directional stability.

Using the posterboard pattern, I cut the skin for the turtle deck from a piece of 2024-T3 aluminum .016" thick.



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 775.3

Parts completed: 343

Total rivets in plane: 2,330
2011-12-31 Shaping the turtle deck (photo) I cut out a piece of .016" sheet to make my turtle deck. I tried to curve the top of it using my method of flexing the metal under a pipe (see my "Tips and Tricks" section) except that I had to use a 2X4 because my pipe wasn't as long as the turtle deck was. Normally this technique works very well, but this time wasn't normal. I don't know if the problem was that the metal is thinner than I've used in the past, or if it's because I was using a 2X4 instead of a round pipe, but when I got the skin out into the sunlight I could see shallow creases in it. I tried to straighten them out (even though I knew it wouldn't work), then I tossed it on the "OOPS" pile and started over.

On the second piece of metal I used my A&P mechanic's slip roll machine. It worked pretty well. The only problem was that the turtle deck skin is wedge shaped and the rollers were cylindrical so there was no way to get the metal to feed faster on one end than the other. I was able to adjust the machine so that it bent a tighter curve near the aft end than it did at the front. The main thing is that it didn't cause any creases in the metal. Once the turtle deck's top was curved, all I had to do was bend the flange for the rivets along its bottom edge.



Hours today: 2.5

Total hours to date: 777.8

Parts completed: 343

Total rivets in plane: 2,330
2012-01-03 Drilling the turtle deck rivet flange (photo) I drilled the holes for the rivets which will join the turtle deck to the tailcone. Since the edge of the skin curves slightly I wasn't able to use my rivet fan to get the rivet spacing right. Laying out the rivet line the old fashioned way really made me appreciate my rivet fan!



Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 779.3

Parts completed: 343

Total rivets in plane: 2,330
2012-01-08 Creating skin-to-bow tabs (photo) I cut slots in the skin which overlapped the turtle deck bow to makes tabs which were 1" wide. These tabs were bent over the turtle deck bow and were then cut into roughly a trapazoid shape. I drilled a hole in the center of each tab so it can be riveted to the turtle deck bow. I still have to smooth all the edges and debur all the holes, which will probably take a while!

In the second photo you'll notice a red line down the center of the turtle deck bow. When the tabs were bent over, I used the lines on the bow to draw a line down the center of the tab so the rivet would be centered in the bow. Note! Don't try to paint over the line. Sand it off and then repaint it, otherwise the ink will bleed through the paint. Guess how I know that?



Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 784.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,331
2012-01-12 Cracks between turtle deck tabs! (photo) I enlarged all of the rivet holes from 3/32" to 1/8" because I plan to use #4 rivets. Deburred all of the holes and sanded all of the edges smooth. While deburing everything I noticed small cracks in two of the notches between the tabs over the turtle deck bow. After I cussed for a while, I stop drilled them then extended the notch back to the hole. This removed the crack entirely.

The reason the cracks happened is that I tried to shrink 2024-T3 aluminum more than it wanted to be shrunk. Originally I planned to have the bottom of the notches extending 1/8" beyond the turtle deck bow. When I started bending the tabs over, I realized that 1/8" was too much so I deepened the notches till they hardly extend past the bow at all. Better for the notches to show a little than to cause cracks. Safety before beauty!



Hours today: 2.0

Total hours to date: 786.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,331
2012-01-27 Riveting turtle deck to bow (photo) While I was preparing to rivet the turtle deck tabs to the turtle deck bow, I noticed that the edges of the tabs didn't fit very tightly against the bow. The small gap between the tab and bow would be the perfect thing to catch on clothes or baggage and bend the tabs back up. Besides, the gap just didn't look very good. I slipped a piece of sheet metal under each tab and used it as a small formblock to tap the edges of the tab down. After removing the sheet metal formblock, each tab had a nicely curved edge. This took a while but it made the tabs look a lot more "finished".

I used AVEX blind rivets to "pop" rivet the front of the turtledeck to the turtledeck bow because there was no way to buck solid rivets inside the square tubing.



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 790.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-03-06 Stabilizer & Elevator wingtips (photo) I've become interested in metal shaping and I'm attempting to make metal wingtips for the horizontal stabilizer and elevator. Each stabilizer tip will consist of an upper and lower half. The two halves will then be welded together. That should be interesting!

I made a formblock by gluing two pieces of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) together. Then I used an angle grinder and orbital sander to carve the MDF into the shape I wanted. The formblock was shaped as if the tips of the stabilizer and those of the elevator were a single piece. I used a shrinker to get the metal to curve toward the edge of the wingtip. I then clamped the metal to the formblock and used a rubber mallet to finish the shape. Using various dollies (some of them homemade), I managed to smooth all the dents out and made the tips match the leading and trailing edges of my stabilizer and elevator. Later the pieces will be cut apart to make the elevator and stabilizer tips two separate parts.

I have no idea how much time I've actually put into these wingtips, but I'm sure it's a lot more than the 10 hours I'm showing below. In this case it really doesn't matter to me how much time it takes. The important thing is that I'm learning how to do something new and that's what it's all about!



Hours today: 10.0

Total hours to date: 800.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-04-29 Wingroot mockup (photo) I'm going to try to make wingroot fairings in the Hot Rod class (See my "Training" page) I'm taking. To do this I'll frequently have to compare my fairings to the wingroot and fuselage of my plane to get them to fit correctly. Since it would be a major hassle to haul my plane to the College's shop, I decided to make a fiberglass mockup of the wingroot-to-fuselage junction.

Obviously I didn't want the resin to stick to my aluminum skin, so I put wax paper over the metal skins. I had to use masking tape to bridge some of the gaps between the wing and the fuselage. I layed up three layers of fiberglass and really layed on the resin to get some stiffiness. I wasn't concerned about removing air bubbles or being pretty about it - I just wanted a mold of the basic shape of the leading edge and the side of the fuselage.



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 803.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-06-27 Rear rib blanks (photo) Cut out blanks for the rear ribs of the outer wing panels. There are 14 rear ribs and all the edges had to be deburred, so this took a while. I'm making the ribs sooner than I will actually need them because I want to use some of the special tools from my metal shaping class to form the lightening holes and beads. The ribs of the outer panels should have a more professional look than those of the center section.



Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 808.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-06-29 Bending flanges of rear ribs (photo) Bent up the rivet flanges for all of the rear ribs for the outer wing panels. There are 14 of them. It doesn't take long to bend the flanges over, but bringing them up to 90 degrees and getting the flutes just right so the rib will be straight, is a pretty tedious process.



Hours today: 6.0

Total hours to date: 814.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-07-02 Forward rib blanks (photo) Cut out the forward rib blanks for the outer wing panels. I'm afraid there's really not much to say about this. Just cut them out with tin snips and debur the edges.



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 818.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-08-05 Shaping forward ribs Bent the rib flanges for the forward ribs of the outer wing panels, then added flutes as necessary to straighten the ribs. All of the ribs are now shaped like ribs. Guess I won't need the rib formblocks anymore. Next step: lightening holes...



Hours today: 4.5

Total hours to date: 822.8

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-09-10 Lightening holes in all ribs (photo) The metal shaping class I've been attending (see the "Training" section of this log) has a set of hole punch/flanging dies. They are supposed to make it possible to punch the hole and form a flange around it all in one operation. That may work on steel, but on aluminum the punching process leaves a small nick on each side of the hole and this causes a crack when the flanging die is pressed in. Luckily I tried it on a scrap piece before I messed up a rib. It works fine if you punch the hole, then file out the nicks and debur the edges of the hole, then press the flange in. Even though it's not all done in one operation, it's still much faster than using a hole saw and homemade flanging dies. Once this procedure was established, I punched a total of 84 holes in the outer wing panel ribs (2 holes per front rib, 4 holes per rear) in one class period.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 826.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-09-16 Deburring lightening holes (photo) Believe it or not, it looks like I spent 11 hours deburring lightening holes. Even though the punch makes a much cleaner hole than a hole saw does, it still takes about 8 minutes to debur each hole. 84 holes at 8 minutes apiece comes to 11 hours. Guess that's what happens when ya do the math.

Building a plane isn't all glitz and glammer, there's also a lot of drudgery involved. But it's worth it!



Hours today: 11.0

Total hours to date: 837.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-09-19 Flanging lightening holes Used the lightening hole punches (see entry on 9/10/2012) again, but this time I cranked them down to the point where they make a flange around the hole. I experimented with a scrap piece of 2024 and found that 2 1/4 turns of the tightening bolt makes a good flange without distorting the shape of the rib.

WARNING! Do not attempt to make the flanges until you have thoroughly deburred the lightening holes. If there is a nick along the edge of the hole, a crack will form during the flanging process.



Hours today: 4.0

Total hours to date: 841.3

Parts completed: 344

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-09-22 Landing gear standoffs (photo) Made the two Landing Gear Standoffs. These will be welded to the top of the landing gear legs and will allow the gear to be bolted to the upper spar caps. I cut the tubing longer than it needs to be so I won't have to worry about melting the end of the tube when I weld it to the gear leg. After the welding is done, the tube will be cut to the correct length. The base of the standoffs were made oversize for the same reason. In fact, they were still square when I welded them.

After the bases were welded on and roughly ground to shape, I put the tubes in the chuck of my drill press and held a file up against the edges until the bases were round. I used the same method to make sure the base was flat and square with the tube. A poor man's lathe. Once the weld distortion was removed from the base, I ran a drill bit through the tube to make the hole in the base. If you drill the hole first, you'll be welding right on the edge of the hole and it's almost certain to melt it.


Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 846.3

Parts completed: 346

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-09-25 Machining the axles Used a friend's lathe (thanks Eric!) to remove a few thousands of an inch from the outside diameter of a 1 1/4" tube. This tube will be the axle for my landing gear but it was slightly too big around for the wheel bearings to slide over it. Earlier I had noticed that I would have to remove some metal from the axles, so I'm using a tube with a wall thickness of .095". I wouldn't want to remove any material from a tube which already had a thin wall. The wall of this axle is thick enough to survive even MY landings!



Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 847.8

Parts completed: 348

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-09-26 Stiffening beads in ribs (photo) Used the Pullmax at school (See "Finally learning metal shaping" in my Training section) to make the vertical beads in my ribs. I was going to use the bead roller, but the top and bottom flanges of my ribs were already bent over, so the ribs wouldn't fit between the parallel arms which hold the rollers. The nice thing about the Pullmax is that the distance of the stroke is preset and doesn't vary, so the result of every blow is exactly like the one next to it. The dies I was using for my beads were only about a 1/4" long. By moving the metal slowly, what would have been a series of dents merged together to form perfect beads. A word of advice: Make sure you practice on scrap first! If you go too fast, you will get that series of dents.

It was a great experience to get to use a machine like that. It made crisp, professional-looking beads, and I didn't have to buy the machine!



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 851.3

Parts completed: 376

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-10-01 Main Landing Gear Jig (photo) Made a jig to hold the components of my main landing gear in position. The plan is to use one jig to make both the right and left gear legs at the same time. When it is time to weld the axles to the gear legs, the axles for both legs will still be a single tube. This should ensure proper alignment. After the gear leg components are all welded, I'll cut the axle tube in half to separate the gear legs. At least that's the plan!

At the top of the jig are two crosspieces. The top crosspiece has holes where the landing gear standoffs will be bolted. This represents the forward side of the top sparcap. Below that is an angle. The landing gear bracket will be bolted to the bottom of this angle. In the wing, this angle will be the bottom sparcap. I haven't decided how the axles will be secured to the bottom of the jig yet, but working out little details like that are all part of the fun!



Hours today: 1.5

Total hours to date: 852.8

Parts completed: 376

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-10-03 Landing gear standoffs tacked (photo) Cut the tubing for the landing gear legs and clamped them into position on the jig. Then I clamped the jig to a drill press and drilled pilot holes for the landing gear standoffs. I used progressively larger drill bits to enlarge the holes to 1/2 inch which is the outside diameter of the gear standoffs. It would have been nice to have a mill for this job, but we can't have (and by that I mean "afford") everything. Having the gear in the jig ensured that the holes were drilled at the correct angle. Tack welded the gear standoffs to the upper end of the gear legs.



Hours today: 3.0

Total hours to date: 855.8

Parts completed: 378

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-11-25 Gear legs fish mouthed for axles (photo) The plans assume the builder will be using either a 5/8" or 3/4" axle. This means you can drill a relatively small hole through the 1 & 3/8" gear legs and slide the axle through it. This is a nice design in that it allows you to weld all the way around the axle. The wheels I'm using need 1.25" axles, so I can't drill a hole in the 1.375" gear legs. Because my axle is so big, I have to cut fish mouth notches for it in the ends of the gear legs. Using fish mouths instead of holes, my axles can only be welded half way around. To make up for the lost strength, I plan to bend a strip of steel around the axle and then weld the ends of the strip to the gear legs.

At this time my "axles" are a single piece of tubing. I put both of my gear legs in the jig and will not cut the axles apart until the axle tube is tacked to the gear legs. Since the axles were a single piece when the gear was welded up, they should continue to be aligned when they are cut apart.



Hours today: 5.0

Total hours to date: 860.8

Parts completed: 380

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-11-26 Cutting the axles & gear fit up (photo) Today I cut my axle tube in half to separate the two landing gear legs. I also temporarily mounted the wheel, tire and brakes on the axle just to see how everything fits. I'm starting to think this is going to work.



Hours today: 1.0

Total hours to date: 861.8

Parts completed: 380

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2012-12-07 Designing wheel pants (photo) I spent the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor starting on something which ought to slow this project down a lot. I've decided to try to make aluminum wheel pants for my plane. Do I like a challenge or what? See "Finally learning metal shaping!" in my "Training" section. I guess it's time to see what I've learned.

The first step is to figure out what the profile of the wheelpants should be. I temporarily mounted the left landing gear on my spar. I ran a string from the bottom of the tire up to where I think the bottom of the tailwheel will be. The string represents where the ground will be when the plane is sitting on the ground, so the aft part of my wheelpants should be parallel to the string. Once I had decided where the ground would be, I started cutting out cardboard shapes. Because the plane is so small, long wheelpants looked ridiculous on it. I finally settled on a shape which was long enough to keep from looking stubby, but also didn't look like a pontoon. The last step was to cut the shape out of 1/4" plywood. This will be the spine of the buck, and the buck will be used to form the wheelpants.



Hours today: 3.5

Total hours to date: 865.3

Parts completed: 380

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2013-02-22 Making the wheel pants buck (photo) I think I've finished making the buck for the wheel pants. Since the landing gear leg and brake calliper are located on the fuselage side of each wheel, the wheel pants will have to be asymetrical. There will be more of a curve around the gear leg side of the pants than the other, so the wheel pants must be mirror images. Since the wheel pants must look the same but be reversed, I used brackets to hold the buck together instead of glue. This way I can disassemble the buck and reverse it. Making the buck involved a lot of time bending welding rods and tracing the curves onto the plywood stations or ribs. After the stations were cut to shape and assembled, they needed to be sanded so the welding rod forms an even curve from one end to the other. In the photos below, the buck is setup to make the wheel pant for the left gear.



Hours today: 7.0

Total hours to date: 872.3

Parts completed: 380

Total rivets in plane: 2,368
2013-02-22 Making the wheel pants buck (photo) I think I've finished making the buck for the wheel pants. Since the landing gear leg and brake calliper are located on the fuselage side of each wheel, the wheel pants will have to be asymetrical. There will be more of a curve around the gear leg side of the pants than the other, so the wheel pants must be mirror images. Since the wheel pants must look the same but be reversed, I used brackets to hold the buck together instead of glue. This way I can disassemble the buck and reverse it. Making the buck involved a lot of time bending welding rods and tracing the curves onto the plywood stations or ribs. After the stations were cut to shape and assembled, they needed to be sanded so the welding rod forms an even curve from one end to the other. In the photos below, the buck is setup to make the wheel pant for the left gear.



Hours today: 7.0

Total hours to date: 872.3

Parts completed: 380

Total rivets in plane: 2,368