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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Roll Bar, New Fuel Pump and Fuel Valve !

As work continues on the Roll Bar, I received some goodies in the mail the other day.  My EFII Boost Pump is here as well as my Andair fuel valve.  These items are looking good and I will talk more about them below..  For the roll bar, I finished the priming and am starting final assembly.  Pulling out my back rivet set I was able to clamp it down to the bench and begin riveting the two halves together for front and back.  Also, I mounted the upper support angles to the rear section of the roll bar..  The straps are ready to be inserted for final riveting.   I am trying to be very careful and keep the width of the roll bar very precise..  I should know by this weekend if things are looking good or not.

So the biggest topic of the day is my new EFII pump.  Here is a pic of what comes in the box.   Looks pretty good and I am excited to start figuring out how to mount this.   This thing is brand new to the market so not many people have explored how to mount this in a 7..  I had a few ideas but really needed to see the size and shape to come to my intended plan..  So for now it is starting to come together in my mind, and in fact I was able to bend and flare my first piece of tubing.  My borrowed tube bender just happends to bend the 180 degree bend at the exact correct diameter to connect the filter ontop of the pump, so it looks like I will be able to keep this unit tight and compact and leverage the Vans Fuel Pump Cover to come up with a straight forward install..  Time will tell..  ;-) 

Also, my Andair Fuel Valve is looking good.  The original plate was quite pitted so Andair sent me a new one..  They are very upper end and highly priced, but do stand behind their products quite nicely.   

Monday, March 28, 2011

Roll Bar (Cabin Frame Cont.)

Continuing on the roll bar, I finished the drilling of the top plates just like the bottom ones using cut wood spacers to ensure proper thickness of the rollbar.  Then countersunk every hole (there are a lot of them)..   You have to kind of guess at the countersinking because the bend in the roll bar makes it impossible to use the countersink guide.  Also, I did the countersinking with the strap in place so that the countersink cutter had an appropriate guide to keep the countersink centered..    I then drilled the angles that are used to attach it to the overhead support going back to the F=706 bulkhead.   I also created a cover for the support going back to F-706 with some scrap.  This creates sort of an overhead console that I will use for lighting options down the road.   I am thinking a 8 dollar mini LED dome light and a rotational eyeball light both located in the console and connected to the same switch.  That way both lights be used for night ops, and if a map light is needed I will have that option during flight.   Not sure if this will be my final decision yet, but its sounding good right now.

I test fit the roll bar assembly and was surprised at what I found..  The inside edge of the roll bar currently is interfering with the outside edge of my seat backs..  There are some tight tolerances here and I will need to figure out the best way to resolve the issue.  It won’t be a problem and can be used as is, but I definitely want to make sure the final solution is robust and permanent. 

I have prepped the aluminum for the Roll Bar assembly and will prime it at the next available time then start final assembly.

No Pics as the camera was otherwise engaged..  But I will have some down the road to post.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Roll Bar Continued

Continuing slowly on the Roll Bar..  Tonight I was able to drill the upper flange and center strap..  Starting on the center strap, no matter how you do it, there is a lot of metal that needs to be removed on these to get them to fit appropriately..   I used an actual grinder which was loud and probably a bit dangerous, but it got the job done, then buffed the metal with the scotchbrite week when finished.  Then I laid it in the track of the role bar and started drilling using my pre-drilled holes as guides.  Not sure if I mentioned it, but earlier I used tape marked appropriately to pre-drill these holes at 3/32..  At this point I opened them up to 1/8 and pushed the hole through the strap using a #30 12 inch bit per the photo below.  This top portion really wanted to bend upward off the table..  So I used clamps for every hole and think I was able to keep it in check. 

I was also able to drill the rear angle that holes the roll bar support using the inner plate as a drill guide.  This probably doesn't make sense to most of you, but I think builders will know what I am talking about.  You have to back drill the angle at some point, so I decided to get it over with now..

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Continued Roll Bar (AKA Cabin Frame)

This part is unusually complex when it comes down to it.  No pre-punched holes so everything needs to be measured and drilled, also, there are so many pressures/torques that you need to deal with when the metal pieces come together that many builders end up with the Roll Bar doing funny things when it is finally riveted.  Mainly either shrinking or expanding in width.  This is the critical piece because the roll bar and end attachment angles need to be exactly the width of the fuse when finished.   So I am taking it slow..  Last night was able to drill the lower attachment flange into the rear half of the roll bar.  It went well, but again I won't know if I am completely on target until the whole thing comes together..  The next step is the upper flange..  To get the flanges to fit you really need to take a lot of metal off them so that they fit into the "bend" of the roll bar channel flange.   I will get more detailed pics of this as I go.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Roll Bar

I started work on the Roll Bar today with all the fabrication of the various mounting angles.  These guys were pretty tricky to cut and there are a lot of them.  Here is a picture of all the finished pieces and all the shavings from the mitre-saw.  BTW, I have been using a standard multi tooth wood blade in my mitre-saw to cut almost all the metal angles that have needed to be cut.  It works great if you go slow, and doesn't dull the blade at all.  Also I deburred all the roll bar bends..

After that the Roll Bar gets tricky and I am going to do some research since it is such a critical part.   I was able to lay out the measurements of the fuse on my workbench and accounting for the attachment angles (per the lines drawn on my table) I drilled the first piece where the doubler attaches the two pieces at the top.  I drilled this with 3/32nd straight into the table.  These will get drilled to 1/8 down the road, but I am waiting to make sure I am on target.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fuel Tank Vents

In the RV, the fuel tank vents come inside the cabin, are routed up to the side rail level, then back down out the floor by the firewall to angled pick ups that allow for positive pressure during flight.  This routing eliminates the risk of siphoning fuel out of the tank, but provides positive pressure in flight and the ability to vent tanks normally when on the ground.

Bending the 1/4 inch tube was a bit challenging at first, but not that bad overall.  I was able to use a combination of hand pressure and a tube bending tool that I borrowed from a fellow builder.  Also, there is the flaring that needs to happen where the tube connects to the fittings.  No pictures of the flaring, I will try to get some later.

There were two difficult parts of this piece of work..  First the bend where the tube needs to flex around where the rudder cable goes through.  I found that securing the fitting like seen in the first picture, then bending by hand works really well here, since it is such a tight fit and you have to have the sleeve in place anyway.

The next difficult place was that the bend near the side rails needs to be bent far enough to allow for the sub-panel flange to be in place.  My first attempt shown below interfered with the sub-panel, so after all my work, more bending needed to take place once I test fit the panel.  all in all it turned out great..  Now onto the  Roll Bar...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Forward Elevator Push-rod

There are two elevator push-rods that connect in series from the control column all the way to the back of the plane at the elevator.  They attach and pivot on an arm just aft of the cabin.  I test fit the forward push-rod and all went well.  Its funny though, because everything that has been put in must be taken out to allow for this this thing to be inserted into position.  Also, there is only ONE way that you can get it into place and its an awkward back and forth motion through the holes in F-705 and F-706..  Once it is in, it fit really well, the motion was very smooth..   Some builders have trouble with the rod rubbing on F-705 and the aft wing spar support bar, but luckily mine flowed smoothly.  It was close though, so I may remove some material as others have done, but just enough so that during turbulence it doesn't make contact.  Also, I need to remove it so that I can drill a hole in the pivot arm just aft of the cabin for the autopilot servo..  Forgot to do that earlier, but other than that I think this will be able to stay in for the rest of the build.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Elevator push-rods

The highly technical process of using heater vents to help dry out the prime job inside the tubes of both the elevator push-rods..     (Don't tell Bekah)..   ;-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Forward fuse covers and pushrods

Continuing on, I am now working on the front covers in the forward fuselage. I can't go too far on these since I don't have my fuel pump yet.  Since I am getting the EFII pump, I will need to get creative with the center cover.   I will probably start it before the pump gets here, at least where it connects to the firewall, but for tonight I just finished the forward F705 cover-plate supports.   These are on the outside and support the cover plates on the -7 models where they cover the fuel lines and electrical.  You can see I used pulled rivets into the gear web as directed, however, I used shorter ones that specified.  Since the gear web butts right up against the outside skin, the LP4-3's were too long.  I am not showing how I drilled the holes in the gear web, since I did these long ago when the fuse was upside down.  For the nutplates, I used pulled rivets, since squeezing here would have been impossible due to hole position per plans..  Anyway, finished there and also cut and drilled the elevator push-rods.  These guys were harder than expected since the fit of the aluminum cone was not perfect with the tube..  Lots of sanding had to occur.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just sittin around "IN THE PLANE"

Tonight Bekah and I got all prepped for the big ordeal of sitting in the plane..   She got in first, then I jumped in next to her.  It took a while to get in because of the way the plane is perched up and there is no wing walk to climb on to jump in, but we were able to make it happen.  Got some great pics, drank some great wine and enjoyed our imaginary flight date..

I also was able to then remove the seats and install/drill the flap mechanism side panels.  These went on fairly straight forward..

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seat Floors Riveted

I made tons of progress last night and finally was able to rivet down the seat pans for good.  I went with the traditional pulled rivet installation route since I had conduit under the seats for wiring purposes.   Even so, it wasn't that easy as each rivet needed to be finessed into the holes through the seats and into the ribs.  I installed the rivets in every other hole throughout the entire seat before pulling any of them to make sure I was able to get them in smoothly.   After that it went pretty fast.

I also was able to mount the center internal flap console components and arm rests and baggage side panels and even seat belts to get a feel for how this is going to look.   It is coming together quite nice and I do love the internal color now and the contrast with the black in the seats..  Big milestone down..   I already asked Bekah for a date sitting in the airplane and drinking a bit of wine on Friday night.  ;-)  Wahoo !

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Seat Backs - (small confession to make)

So, my seatbacks are complete and ready for business.  Now how did these come about with no construction photos?  Well..   Small confession..  They came to me free, built and painted from a fellow RV Builder..  He did a great job on them and I might just use them instead of building my own.  I don't know if I can get over the thought of having something built by someone else in my plane, but these look great and the black color goes well with my interior..  I will use them for now and most likely build my own, but that will be much later down the road.  Anyway, here are some pics of them with the back support (Which I did build) in place..

Monday, March 7, 2011

Seat Pan Hinges and Top Coat

Over the weekend I made lots of progress by first priming all the completed pieces that I have been working on.  After that I final assembled components of the internal flap assembly that needed to be riveted before final paint, as well as the seat pan hinges..  Then I top coated it all..  Tons of progress, once this stuff dries I will be able to really put together much of the interior structure for good.  I didn't get many pictures of the process itself, but here are a few pics of everything drying out and waiting for final assembly.

The Seat Pan hinges were a hassle..  The solid rivets were very difficult to rivet without warping the seat pans as many other builders have found out.   I was able to use a combination of solid rivets and LP4-3 rivets to get the job done.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Back at it.. - Gear Web Gussets

I was in Phoenix last weekend so haven't worked on the project in over a week..  Visited a Phoenix who lives on an airpark, so was able to still get my fix of RV.  Here is a pic of his neighbor's RV-7.  Quite a nice RV by all accounts..

So while I wait for a weekend to prime and paint my seats, I was able to still do odds and ends in the fuse..  I used some bolts to allign them, then drilled out the gear web gussets.  It was difficult to make sure they were level, wasn't sure exactly how to do that, but they came out OK in the end.

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