Sunday, December 4, 2016

Section: 38
Section: 39
Hours: 5

Today was slightly warmer and the sun came out this afternoon so I got busy and scrubbed, acid washed and primed a bunch of parts. I had finished off my last gallon of EkoPrime the last time I did some priming. I was hoping it would last- I don't have very many more parts to prime, but painting the wing bottom skins cleaned me out. So I ordered another quart from Aircraft Spruce. Today I discovered I ordered the wrong color. I got Smoke Gray instead of the Charcoal Gray. It turns out that the Smoke Gray is much lighter and it will actually be better as an undercoat for the Morning Patrol Gray I'm using for the EkoCrylic top coat in the cockpit.

Last week I purchased a butane heater so I could heat the garage. The directions on the EkoPrime can suggest applying with temps between 70-85 degrees F. Ambient temperature today only got up to 58 so the heater came in handy for getting the parts warm enough to paint.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Section: 39
Hours: 4

Today Woody, Deb and I picked out a Christmas tree. Woody helped me put on the base and drag it into the house.

We put on the star and some new fangled LED multicolor lights and left Deb in charge of the rest of the decorating and retreated to the garage for some more RV-14 building!!!

I cut several hinge strips to size and match drilled to the channels. I also finished up some more prep work on the canopy rails including countersinks and match drilling. I now have another stack of parts ready for scrub, acid wash and priming tomorrow.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Section: 39
Hours: 4

There is a window of slightly warmer weather coming up so I decided I should get as many parts prepped and primed before the next wet cold cycle of weather sets in next week. Today I skipped ahead to chapter 39 and started prepping the seat back parts.

I filed the edges of all the heavy angle pieces and smoothed all the holes in the seat backs with the dremel drum sander attachment. I cut several pieces apart and trimmed to size using the bandsaw.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Section: 38
Hours: 4

It's been cold and I have been lacking motivation to get out in the garage the last couple days. Today I bundled up and put together the aft canopy frame and handle.

Here I am match drilling the handle to the frame halves. You cleco a spacer channel to the bottom of the two frame halves and then you cleco the pilot holes in the handle to hold the frame in position. I also clamped the spacer channel to the table to ensure the frames were flat while drilling.

I was able to use the squeezer to set all these rivets.  I'm now rethinking how I oriented the shop heads in the handle...

Here's the completed rear canopy frame with the spacer channel clecoed in place.

I finished up the day working on forming and match drilling the canopy side skin and rails. Lots of holes and the directions in the manual have you go through lots of steps with no riveting. Alignment is critical on these pieces to ensure a snug canopy fit on the fuselage.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Section: 37
Hours: 5

I reached a point where I needed to have the roll bar assembly riveted in before I could continue with the canopy frame, so today I assembled the roll bar.

First I clecoed the roll bar in place, hit it with a rubber mallet to make sure it was seated on the bases and then match drilled the required holes into the bases. Then I removed the assembly and deburred and cleaned up all the drill chips. Then I assembled it again and did the riveting.

The roll bar is pull riveted to the bases because there is no access to the inside. I used my pneumatic pull riveter for these. By the time I finished riveting the bases I had used all the rivets provided in the kit. They cut the count close- no extra opps rivets in this kit.

Here I've attached the bushing and the doublers with pull rivets.

The roll bar brace gets attached with some hefty pull rivets on the top.

The back of the roll bar brace is riveted to the fuselage using solid rivets. A couple of these were a pain to reach behind the bulkhead...

Flush rivets are used to attach the brace to the top skin.

I finished up today by riveting in the skin diagonal longerons.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Section: 38
Hours: 4

I started assembling the canopy frame. First I riveted together the canopy hinge assemblies. Then I riveted the hinge assemblies to the forward frame. I couldn't get the squeezer to fit so I resorted to using the rivet gun. The straight stick was too short so I had to use the longer bent stick to reach around the hinge.

Here's the completed rivets for the hinge to frame connection.

Then I used pull rivets to attach the forward and rear intercostal parts to the middle frame. Glad they called out pull rivets- too tight to fit either the squeezer or rivet gun in here.

Next I riveted the middle frame to the rear of the hinge assembly that was already attached to the forward frame. I could use the straight stick on these which made it a little easier.

Here's the hinge assembly riveted to the forward and middle frame.

I was then able to use the squeezer to attach the outer rivets to attach the rail base to the forward and middle frames.

Here is the forward part of the canopy frame all clecoed together. I used my pneumatic cleco gun extensively for this exercise. I was really happy to have it today- otherwise it would be carpal tunnel pain tonight - big time!

The plans have you use a digital level to match the angle of the left and right side of the rail base to make sure there isn't any twist. I spent 30-40 minutes twisting and adjusting the assembly to get it equalled out. It isn't a very stable assembly, even with all the clecoes and the cross brace angles.

I finally figured out that I could get the bases to match perfectly with no measurable angle difference just by laying it on a couple spacer boards on my perfectly flat EAA 1000 work table top. As far as I'm concerned, it's a total waste of time trying to adjust out twist using the method recommended in the user manual. The assembly just isn't that stable when it is upside down.

I match drilled the sides and added some more clecos while the assembly sat on the table and then carefully turned it back upside down to complete the remaining hole matching drill operations. When I turned it upside down the bases still measured out with no measurable twist.

The manual has you countersink the bottoms of the aft canopy rails but then shoot button head rivets with the shop side going into the counter sinks. This is a pretty clever trick! I was able to use the squeezer to get the shop heads perfectly flush.

Here's the manufactured head side. You end up with nice button heads on the inside and flush heads on the other.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Section: 38
Hours: 5

The sun was out, it warmed up to the low 60's and I painted this afternoon. I'm almost to the bottom of my 4th gallon of primer with more parts yet to prime. Looks like I will need at least another quart to finish the seat backs and assorted other parts yet to be assembled, but the end is in sight!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Section: 38
Hours: 5

Today I washed and acid scrubbed a big pile of parts. It looks like tomorrow will be the last sunny warm day for the foreseeable future so I wanted to get everything ready for painting. Make hay while the sun shines!

This is most of the parts for putting together the canopy frame. I left out a few that have to be match drilled and counter sunk further into the assembly process.

Big day today- my brand new Lycoming IO-390 210 horse power engine arrived!!! The garage is feeling very tight on space now…

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Section: 28
Hours: 4

I found some more parts to prep. I filed down the edges of the rear canopy bulkhead and the canopy latch handle parts. The pile is getting pretty big...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Section: 38
Hours: 5

I was hoping to get the next batch of parts for the canopy ready for painting tomorrow but I underestimated the amount of prep work yet to be done.

I started out fabricating the canopy handles from angle stock.

I counter sank some holes in the aft canopy rail flange and then moved on to adjusting the flanges of the canopy frames. The flanges required light fluting and a lot of adjustment to get them to lie flat against the canopy skin. I clecoed the frames to the skin and noted where adjustments were needed and then used my wood flange bending tool to square up everything. Some of the flange tabs needed some more curvature to fit smoothly into the curve of the skin.

I clecoed / unclecoed / adjusted multiple times before getting a fit I thought was close enough. I figure this part of the airplane will be (literally) in front of my face when flying so I better get it right. I don't want to be fixating on poorly seated rivets when I should be enjoying watching the sky.

I still have some counter sinking to do tomorrow, but here's my stack of parts mostly ready for wash, acid etch and prime.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Section: 38
Hours: 4

I continued working on prepping the canopy parts. Lots of parts…

I did a trial fit to see how the parts assemble together. It's rather clever how the side rails lock into the forward bulkheads.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Section: 38
Hours: 4

More filing, deburring, polishing, fluting, etc. getting parts prepped for the canopy frame. I had my first power tool casualty of the project- my faithful Craftsman 4" disc / belt sander died today. The plastic bearing wheel in one of the idler drums disintegrated into a gazillion parts. I replaced it with a new Porter-Cable 6" disc / belt sander from Lowe's. I lucked out- it was on sale $20 off today. The disc / belt sander has been one of my more heavily used tool for this project. I use the belt sander to smooth the rough water cut edges of the heavier aluminum pieces and the disc sander is great for squaring edges and rounding corners of smaller parts, angle stock and tubing.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Section: 37
Hours: 5

The weather was good today and the paint had cured enough on the roll bar parts so I decided to work on fixing the streaks and drips from painting earlier in the week. I sanded down the roll bar and support pieces with 320 grit sand paper, used dry. Then I scrubbed with maroon scotch brite pads and wiped everything down with lint free rags lightly soaked with 90 proof rubbing alcohol. I catalyzed 3 oz. of EkoCrylic and shot on another 2 fog coats and a final wet coat. I didn't get any runs today and the paint covered without streaks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Section: 36
Hours: 1

I fitted and drilled holes in the rod ends for the 3rd elevator push rod.

Section: 38
Hours: 3

I moved on to working on the canopy structure. Lots of parts in this section to file, polish, debur etc.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Section: 37
Hours: 4

Today I did some more top coat painting on the roll over structure. I spent a couple hours prepping and cleaning and then suited up in my paint overalls, catalyzed 4 oz. of EkoCrylic Dawn Patrol Gray and began applying the fog coats to the parts. Halfway through the 2nd fog coat it started raining which caused a bunch of runs in the water based EkoCrylic. What a disaster. I moved everything into the garage and dabbed down the runs with rags. I decided to try to salvage the paint and moved everything back to the paint booth and applied a heavy wet coat to finish up. Unfortunately, the paint streaked and ran. I guess I will have to do it over after it cures. Ugh!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Section: 36
Hours: 5

I inserted the bearings in the ends of the push rods and set the lengths as specified in the manual. I found it was easiest to draw dimensions on the work table and lay the push rods over the drawing to make the length adjustments.

An easy riveting job for a change- here's the bell crank assembly.

The bell crank is attached to the base using screws and nut plates. Should make it easy for maintenance later on.

I inserted the forward elevator push rod - you have to start it back in the tail cone and work it forward through the tunnel until it reaches the control column in front of the seats. Then I inserted the bearing end of the push rod in the control column elevator arm and pushed the bolt and washers in place. At that point I discovered I could not tighten the nut because it was impossible to reach with the socket wrench. I tried getting at it from several access points but my hands and the wrench were just too big. I went to lunch break to think it over...

At lunch I remembered I had various extensions that I could add to the wrench to reach difficult nuts and bolts. Here's the solution I came up with. I used two extensions and several end adaptors.

Here's the push rod bearing bolted to the elevator arm!

Then I assembled the mid elevator push rod and bell crank assembly and inserted it in the tail cone.

Then I bolted the forward and mid push rods to the idler arm under the baggage floor.

Here's the forward push rod running from the control column back to the idler arm.

And here's the mid push rod running from the idler arm back to the bell crank assembly in the tail cone.

The push rods move very smoothly with little or no friction or play and do not rub on any of the structure. This is going to be a really nice control system! I think Van's has done an amazing job with the engineering design. It feels as smooth as the systems in the Germain high performance gliders I've flown.