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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fuse Odds and Ends

I ordered my fuel pump and my fuel selector..  I went with the new boost pump from EFII, and the Andair Fuel selector.  Very excited for these items to arrive.   (If you click on these links, use your back button to return to this page)

The EFII pump is brand new and should be a real winner, plus it is made in America..  (just like the rest of my airplane)..   I am a bit nervous because there is no previous install examples to choose from..  So this is truly going to be experimental, but that is why I am here I guess.   I look forward to the challenge.   I will go into some good detail on how I do it and hopefully it will be useful for others down the road.  Most likely I will be leveraging what others have done with various fuel pump installations.  Not completely unknown territory.

After these orders I started working on some of the fuel selector panel and other front panels.   My  next big step is a major priming/painting section, then get moving on the seats and flaps etc..  Looking forward to sitting in the plane..

Also, after taking longer than I thought I was able to cut and tap the Flap push-rods..  Sometimes steps take much longer than they should..  This was one of them...  But I am past it now..  The blue tape is to keep the lock washer in place since they won't be connected to the flaps for many moons..

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Flap Mechanism

I am working a bit out of order and should really get those seats riveted in before going too much further.  I am hesitating because I think I might go with a two tone interior color.  I am thinking about putting in a lighter color in the seat area including F705 and F704 supports that go up the sides of the fuse.   Once I figure this out I will take care of the seats..  In the meantime I focused on the flap mechanism that needs to be done anyway.  Its kind of exciting because I get to work with some parts other than just sheet metal..

First off the plans have you fabricate a bunch of parts then test fit the white flap tube (weldment).  I don't have pics of everything, but are showing the main pieces involved.  The electric flap motor sits in a channel that sits right between the two seats and moves the flap extension up and down which moves the end extensions that connect to push rods through the bottom of the fuse and attach to the flaps.

A few points to note is that you should make sure to check the bag that has the flap motor in it first because it contains parts that are further along than you might think.   I missed this step and fabricated many of the parts from raw scrap metals.  They all turned out great but would have been easier to use some of the precut ones.

Also,  it takes a lot of finesse to get things to fit great in this section.  Looking forward through the entire flap mechanism is important because the plans have you drill and install items early on that could impact things later in the build process.  I think I got lucky in a few spots and it turned out great..  For example the middle UMHC block.  I chose to center the holes on the baggage ribs...  It let the block hang over a bit, but turns out it fits very smoothly against the support where I have noticed other planes have gaps between the two.

So all in all it went together well, even though it will need to be taken apart to get the seats down for good.

There was one big boo-boo that I made..   I grabbed the #12 bit vs the #19 bit when I drilled the top of the rear vertical support.   You can see the two alternate color cleco's below..  The gold one is in the larger hole that I drilled by error..  To fix this and keep symmetry I will probably drill both them to the larger hole and use a AN3 bolt and an associated nutplate here.  No harm no foul, will just be stronger.  (and a bit heavier.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tunnel Cover

I don't want to say this tunnel cover came out perfect... but.. its pretty darn good.   I am getting much better at the fine details of working with this aluminum stuff.  Drilling exact located holes without the bit wandering, using various tools to cut complex angles etc..  I know this cover is not perfect, but I am happy how it turned out so far.   Of course there is lots more to do with this little piece of metal that could get screwed up before I can call it completely finished..

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seat Back Supports and trying to understand the tunnel cover.

I am not working in exact order per the plans, but need to do some priming and top coat of the seats before I can rivet them into place.  So to keep progress moving along I worked on the seat back supports.  These guys go behind and adjust the angle of the seat backs depending on which hinge you have the seat back secured to.  It sounds confusing, but is really quite ingenious..  I used the fly cutter to cut the lightening holes, and standard drilling techniques to affix the hinge have to the seat back support..  Came out well..

Then I started troubleshooting the angles that support the tunnel cover.  These guys are Z type angles like used on the tank supports, but as you can see from the blue hashed lines, they need very complex cuts during the fabrication process.  I haven't figured out how I am going to do this, probably a combo of die grinder and band-saw...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arm rests and seat floors

Tonight I went through and reinforced the arm rests.  Many people have issues with these bending over time under weight as people adjust themselves in the seats.  While passengers will always be told these aren't designed to support body weight, I still am taking the extra time to reinforce them.  I had some left over floor support angles that I mis-drilled..  These babies worked perfect under the armrest for some additional strength.    The photos are a bit over exposed but hopefully you get the picture.

I also finished drilling the hinges to the seats that hold the seat backs..  These were quite a challenge and I wouldn't recommend using the Van's provided measurements.   The holes, if measured exact conflict with the flanges of the seat floor ribs.  Others have had problems on the aft hinge where the holes are to close to the seat rib rivet.  Take your time on this step, and look at it from all angles.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Front Baggage Side cover.. Tie down Storage

I didn't spend much time in the shop tonight, just enough to prep the front baggage side covers..   I also followed the recommendation in the plans and tapped an aluminum block to rivet in and hold the tie down rings when not in use.  It turned out pretty nice and will be a great spot to hold these guys while I am flying.  These will be primed and painted next time I have enough parts ready.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baggage floors and F-706 bulkhead (3 posts in one ! )

I got through tons of work on the plane this weekend and really should have posted a few times..  I was much more excited about continuing to move forward than to put together some posts on this blog, so I will put it all down here and hopefully not miss anything..   As you can tell from the pictures I was able to finish the baggage floors and 706 corrugated bulkhead.  This really brought the rear cabin in to shape and it looks great..

The biggest issue I had to deal with was that my rear baggage side panels weren't drilled correctly.  The holes along the top were off by about 1/4 hole..  So to keep moving forward I just enlarged the holes and used larger rivets that I already had.  It doesn't look bad at all and since they were cherry-max rivets, it is definitely structurally sound, even stronger than the plans ask for.

There was so much work I don't even know where to start..  I trimmed the top of the rear baggage bulkhead so that it would fit, then I was able to measure out a 1 inch gap to the top skin..  This is different than what the plans say to do, but it makes it turn out very nice with a smooth contour that follows the skin nicely.  Also on the bulkhead I created the seat belt wear blocks that allow the cable to slip through the bulkhead.  These required lots of measuring and a bit of metal work.  I need to finish the metal prep before I can rivet these wear blocks for good.

I also was able to initially install the static system in the rear fuse..  No pics of this for now since the bulkhead is in place, but I will have some future pictures where it is visible.

Finally, the rear baggage seats are final riveted.  It really  makes the plane look bigger and "finished" with these in place..  I also place the peddles in temporarily to see how cool they looked..   ;-)  I can't wait to get to the seats and then for the first time sit in the plane with Bekah..  That should be in a couple weeks..  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Priming, Panting, and starting on seat pans..

I needed to get a lot of peripheral stuff done before I move onto the rear baggage bulkhead.  I have been working fairly consistently over the last few days but not posting.  First, as I looked forward to the baggage compartment I made sure that all parts were drilled and prepped, then primed all the rear top skins and baggage compartment parts.  After that I final top coated the baggage floor and side walls, as well as the appropriate visible piece of the forward top skin.  This turned out fairly well.  While that was all drying, I started mapping out the hinge components on the seat pans.  The seats in an RV-7 are adjustable, but only on the ground.  There is a hinging system that allows the bottom of the seat backs (where they touch the seat pans) to be in 3 different fore and aft locations.  Pretty slick, but this take a lot of time and patience to lay out and drill..

Monday, February 7, 2011

Static Ports

I wanted to get my static system in before putting the rear skin back on, but didn't have any pro seal to do the job..  This is a bummer because such a small amount is needed I didn't want to buy a whole new tub.  Luckily, I was able to borrow some from a fellow builder just down the road which was just perfect for my situation..  Basically for the install,  I cleaned away the primer around the 1/4 inch hole, scuffed up the surface of the skin and the surface of the static port.  Then using a thin layer of pro seal I mounted both ports on each side of the fuse.  I drilled a hole in a small block of wood so that the port was unobstructed, then used a clamp on both sides to ensure pressure while it sets up.  Looks good and will have a definite seal since I drilled some holes in the port to ensure the pro seal got a good grip...   I am concerned though because as I screw on the 90 degree fitting for the static tubing, it needs to set vertical for my plumbing run.  I just attached the ports with no concern of where that 90 degree fitting would end up when it is finally screwed in.  I hope there is some wiggle room tomorrow when I test it out..

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Conduit, under the seats.. Well that was tougher than I thought..

Not that it was too tough, but it just took a bit longer than I expected.  ( However, it didn't interfere with Bekah and I watching the Superbowl..    :-)   ) 

In general, I intend on following the plans and rivet the seat bottoms and baggage floors into place.  Some people choose to screw these down, but my thoughts are more along the lines of simplicity and strength..  I think riveting is a better more secure solution.  However, it makes it difficult to access under the floors for wiring etc..  So I decided to run some conduit..  Lots of people do this in lots of different ways, but I chose to pop rivet some conduit standoffs between F705 and 706.  This will allow for running wire under the seats..  Looking forward to the wiring part now that this is done..  Should be much easier with the conduit in place.

Also....   Just a quick side note to the astute viewer..  In the pictures above, and who knows how many other historical pictures, you might have noticed something I forgot to do, or sort of a mistake..  If you notice closely on the baggage compartment vertical bulkhead I forgot to open up (drill out) the rudder cable pass through..  Well, I have since now done this and corrected the issue.  Access wasn't easy, but it was overall a simple fix.  I blame this on the plans, because even though they do mention it; in the picture they don't show the hole opened which is an inconsistency from other areas.  No problem though, issue fixed and moving on.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Top Skin Rib

Today I fabricated and drilled the small angle that attaches the center top skin rib to F707..  This wasn't easy, but by lifting the skins and using the long #30 bit I was able to get in between the skin and the J Channel to drill the hole.  Difficult to see, but is shown in the first picture.  To drill through the F707 itself, I had to raise the rear skin and come in from the aft.  You can see in a lower picture that I had to go into both sides and basically remove almost all the clecos from the skins..  So while the skins were up I went ahead and drilled the bulkhead gussets to the longeron and riveted them.   I had used a clamp to hold them after aligning them when the top skins were on.  Also,  now that the skins were almost all the way off.  I thought why not bite the bullet and take them off for all the prep work that is necessary..  So I was able to debur, dimple and soon will prime the skins before they go back on.  Getting the boring stuff out of the way now so I can move faster later.  ;-)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Top Skins Drilled

Tonight I put on the forward top skin and finished drilling both of them along with the Top J Channels..  I can't believe how much this changes the look of things.  It looks really cool and I am very excited to be at this point in the build.  The only concern is that it will look similar to this for quite a long time..  Lots of work goes on inside the plane for the next few months.  There is still a small attach angle that I need to drill to the top skin rib, and F706 under the forward skin, which is supposed to be fairly difficult, I will wait to do that over the weekend.  Just enjoyed staring at this thing for a while tonight..

Also, I was able to work on some conduit attach angles that I will mount below the seats and baggage floor to support conduit runs.  This will come together probably over the weekend.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rear Top Skin

Some odds and ends complete and lots of progress on the rear top skin today.  First I finished the second J channel and thought of a pretty good way to keep it centered for drilling.  Basically I drilled the first hole centered on the rear most point on the J channel where it would overlap F-708 bulkhead.  Then I used those two points to start the clecoing of the rear skin.   The first couple pics show this..  Once I was finished clecoing, sure enough, the center lines drawn on the stringers lined up perfectly and will be drilled soon enough.

After I installed the skin, I worked on completing the Bell Crank support rib and finished riveting it to F-706.  Also, I worked on some tabs that will support the conduit runs under the seats and baggage compartment.

Ordered Finishing Kit.

I might be a bit premature on this order, but Van's pricing goes up every Feb 1st.   I wanted to get my Finish Kit order in before the prices went up, and during this time Van's is usually backlogged anyway.   I wrote "no rush" on my order as I did last year with the Fuse Kit and it took about 3.5 months for delivery.   If it takes that amount of time this year for the Finish Kit I will be good.

Also, They say the Finish Kit is the 1/2 way point in the build..  So at this pace, I can say it looks like I have a couple years left before this thing can get off the ground..  !

Looking forward to this Kit because it includes the Canopy, Engine Mount, Cowling, Landing Gear, and lots of other non aluminum goodies..   ;-)

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