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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Arizona is cool at Christmas !

OK, so I didn't get to work on my plane this week, but Arizona has been feeding my RV addiction plenty.   I posted out on VAF asking if anybody out there wanted to have an RV project visit, and someone (Call sign Kettle Korn) from the boards responded.  Boy did it lead to some fun times.   He lives on Stellar airpark and has an RV-7 completed and one in process, all his neighbors are building RVs.  I saw 4 under construction and learned tons.  Also, went back after Christmas for some fun flying with another friend of his (Call sign T-Rex) and we did some formation flying of two and three.  Ate lunch at Eloy and watched Skydive Arizona go off for about an hour, then headed home working through some unusual attitude (Extreme unusual attitudes;-)) flying around Phoenix area, then cutting paths through the mountains at about 100 feet off the deck.  Also flew a high speed pass over Steller as a finale on the way back in.   Here are some pics/vids..  This has fed my building appetite for the next year I think.  ;-) 

AFTER watching these Vids, CLICK THE BACK BUTTON in your Internet Explorer to get to this page.

Check out this link of a Flight of Two Take off:  Flight of Two; Taking off Eloy
Another Video of T-Rex passing Kettle Korn:   Air to Air; Overtaking RV
Another Video of Air To Air RV formation:  Air to Air; Flight of Three RV's

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No Work for a week !

Lets see if I can make it.  I am in Phoenix for Christmas at my sister's and since I couldn't bring the project with me I might go through a few withdrawls, but it might be good for me to disconnect for a while.  I know it sill stil be there when I get home.  While here in Phoenix, where the weather is like summer in Seattle, I can try to connect with some flying RV's or other projects so to keep the dream alive.  At least I have the online communities to keep in touch with..

The left Tank is complete and will be dried and ready for pressure testing when I get home ..

Merry Christmas everyone !

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Left Tank Baffle

Last night was a dousy..  Just like everything else, I underestimated the task..  Who would have thought it would take 4 hours to install the baffle..  With some troubles including pop rivets not going in the holes easily to swapping out the squeezer for the rivet gun and bucking bar in some spots, I think I  used all my tools, got them all mucky, and was under pressure of the black death starting to set up.  For some reason this was probably the highest stress point of the project thus far.  Those stress points keep seeming to get worse as more money and time go into the project..   And I have a long way to go..  Ut oh..    Rebekah came out and saved me though; on the final step of squeezing the skin rivets we burned through that pretty fast.  But oh boy what a learning experience.  End of the day we got the job done and I am pretty happy with it.   On the root Z-bracket I needed to use the gun vs. the squeezer and I might need to re-look at the rivets on that one, but I can take my time to re-do anything there if necessary.  For the most part the baffle is in and looking good.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Left Tank - Getting Close

This weekend I was able to put both end ribs into the left tank.  At this point all that is left now is closing it out with the rear baffle and then bolting on the access cover.  I may take the tank to the EAA meeting on Tuesday of this week and see what the guys have to say.  Also, I will start working on the right tank since the left tank has gotten so far ahead.  I want to keep the wings as close together as possible as I build this.  Also, Vans is going to raise pricing on kits starting Feb 1st..   So I am going to order my Fuse on Jan 29th to get current pricing.  Hopefully with the rush, delivery times will be huge..   I expect to be ready for the fuselage April ish.   So I might have it sitting in the garage for a few weeks while I finish some odds and ends on the wings, but at the same time this deadline gives me motivation....  here are some pics of the vent line and the end ribs on the left tank.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Capacitive Senders Install - Left Tank

I knew there must be a reason why everyone doesn't use Capacitive Senders.  They are quite difficult to install.  About 2 hours last night and I was able to get them in and get the signal wire wrapped around the vent tube.  Also confirmed with the multi-meter that there is no resistance in line between senders and between the BNC signal, also that the sender assembly is not grounded to the tank in any way.

It turned out OK, but Required more torqing on the wire terminals than I would have liked.  I still need to dab a bit of sealant on the wire as it twists around the vent tube, and a few more final checks before closure, then hopefully this will last several years as I don't want to be opening up these tanks again soon... 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Left Tank Proseal - It is as bad as they say..

There are two camps, the ones who complain about pro-seal and the ones who say its not that bad..   I am confident that the people who complain about the sealant are correct.  The ones who say it isn't that bad must have had a lot of time go by since their last time they used it on the tanks.  It must seem better as you look back over time because right now its not fun..   I am progressing though on the left tank, and almost ready to final install the capacitive senders and close it up.  I am sure you get better with the stuff and I am, but still, its not the most fun part of the project.

I spent all weekend riveting with Rebekah, and then as well filleting the joints of the ribs and the skin stiffeners.  I can't believe how slow going this is..

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Left Tank Fay Sealing

Today I fay sealed the tank ribs into the tank skin.  Basically mix up sealant and put it onto the ribs about 1/16th inch thick, smooth it out and cleco the ribs into the skin in every hole.  I left the tank about 8 hours in the garage like this until Rebekah was able to help with riveting.  We then shot the rivets wet by adding some sealant to the dimple prior to inserting.  I used plastic post it pads over the rivets to keep the gun clean and allow for me to push the rivets into place firm with my finger keeping my glove clean.   I didn't get all the pictures here so will try to get some when I do the right tank.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Leading Edge / Tank Fastener strip

I was able to prime and place nutplates on the strips that attach the leading edge to the tank.  You can see in the first shot it is installed and the tank screws into the nutplates, although in this picture I don't have the end rib in place, but you get the idea.  The other pic is the leading edge strip showing the nutplates.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Left Top Skin Prep

Still working on the plane, just not on the tank.  Can't do the center ribs on the tank until Bekah is available so waiting until this weekend for that.  Since I have the time and want to continue to make progress I have worked the left top skin.  Removed the vinyl over the top surface rivet lines (using a soldering iron and a straight edge), deburred and dimpled the entire surface.  Also, I scotchrighted the edges with my die grinder and the tiny scotchbright wheel to deburr them.
I am waiting for the Cleaveland edge roller before dimpling the leading edge of the top skin, and the top edge where the two skins overlap.  I really want to have nice edges..  Now I wish I had waited on the leading edges for the tool, but oh well, it will still look nice and you live and learn right ? 

Oh, and from Mike Nipp's site on my home page, I leared this great little trick for removing vinyl from large skins.  Roll it off with a dowel, then slice it off the dowel with a utility nife..

Monday, November 30, 2009

Left Tank Sealant

Today I continued working on the initial parts of sealing the tank.  I finished the filleting of the stiffeners and was able to get the end rib vent tube and fuel senders attached torqued and sealed.  They turned out pretty well.

I also worked on the fuel caps and was really excited for this part since they are so cool.  It turned out to be fine, but I am not super happy with the finish.  After a paint job, it will look perfect, but until the paint job, you can see minor scratches where the thin nose squeezer yoke was on the rivets.   I should have shot all of these instead of squeezing the ones close to the edge..  Rebekah's tank cap will look much better.  ;-)

I also decided to take the skin off the skeleton and work on deburring, countersinking and dimpling of the skeleton in preparation for the wings.  Typically this is done after the tanks but I had time and wanted to work on something else and it enabled me to get the skeleton all cleaned up.  Dimples in the ribs and countersinks in the spar.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sealing Left Tank stiffeners

Today was my first day using the sealant.  Went fairly well, but it takes a long time.   I sure hope I get more efficient with this.   Here I am getting ready to go !  and a view of my sealing set up..

I was able to mix 2 batches of 33 grams each.  (30g of sealant and 3g of catalyst)  The first batch was used to insert the rivets "wet" by filling the dimple with the sealant, then buttering up the stiffeners and lowering them over the rivet heads and back riviting the stiffeners.

The second batch was used to encapsulate each rivet head and start putting fillets down the sides of the stiffeners.   I was able to get the flat side of the stiffener with the wood sticks I had, but the flange side will need to wait for a better solution.  The sealant was getting to thick for my taste with the size sticks I was using.

I also worked on closing up some of the tooling holes on end rubs, added the nose stiffener to the outboard end rib and attached the fuel drain.  Will finish working on the inboard end rib and attaching fittings tomorrow.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Left Tank Deburred, Dimpled, Scuffed

Today I spent about 3 hours taking the left tank apart and deburring each hole on each side of the skin and the ribs, then dimpling, and scuffing in preparation for the Pro-Seal.

I also cleaned the parts and got ready to proseal.  Leveraging other sites and forums I think I am ready to begin the Pro-Seal.  MEK, Gloves, Syringes, Popsicle sticks, Tape, Scale...   Here goes..

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tanks Continued

Since family is in town, I am not able to move to fast on the plane this week.  I was able to get a bit of soldering practice in on the capacitive sender BNC jacks.  Haven't soldered much, but think with the bit of practice first the final result turned out satisfactory.  I also fitted the vent tube in the tank.  I don't have a flaring tool, so will hopefully be able to borrow one when the time is right.

I also got a surprise from Bekah..  The Bob Archer wingtip antenna.  This guy goes in the fiberglass wingtip and can be used for VOR, ILS and Localizer.  Mounting is critical with this antenna, some people have good results, some marginal, but they work great in RV's.  I am going to have HID lighting in the wing tips as well, so will need to see if there is any noise that interrupts the Nav signal with the lights on.  Landing lights will only be on a fraction of the time when I would be depending on the Nav signal.  (IFR Night Approach)..  If there is any interference, then the right landing light will remain off until airport is in sight.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Capacitive Senders

I was able to test fit the Capacitive Senders for both tanks.  These guys are the way to go if you want a flop tube since there is no float to get in the way in the fuel pick up bay in the wing.  Those who use flop tubes need to relocate their float into the second bay where it needs to come in from the rear through the baffle if that makes sense. 

The capacitive senders are separated from the aluminum tank with UMAH washers that allow the electrical single to be measured through the gasoline.  More gas more signal, so the fuel guages are pretty accurate with this method.  Of course they have their own challenges upon install.   Per the instructions I cut back where they interfered with the bottom skin stiffeners on the outer bay ( you can see this in the right pic).  Sorry the pics are so bright, that is some reflective aluminum with the flash.  There are two capacitive plates in each tank, and everything is test fit in both tanks.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tank End Ribs and Trap Door

I had mistakenly primed the nutplates that go inside the tank in the beginning of my work with the wings.  Not realizing at the time that the nutplates are internal to the tank.  You can't have anything inside the tank primed because it may flake off or interact in some way with the fuel.  So my order of extra nutplates arrived and I was able to rivet the end ribs attachment plates on.  Also I installed the right wing trap door into the second rib from the root of the wing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Right Leading Edge Final Assembly

Rebekah and I spent a couple hours in the shop today putting together the right leading edge for the last time.  Turned out pretty well.   Now there is nothing standing in the way of the tanks.  After Thanksgiving, focus will be on the tanks until complete..

I also torqued both fuel pickups and safety tied the flob tube..

Places we have been in our RV-7 ! (Blue 2013, Yellow 2014, Green 2015, Purple 2016, Red 2017)