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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Work Officially begins on the Finish Kit

I started by finishing up the “Hat Section” on the forward deck.  This part shipped with the finish kit and really was the first thing I needed to get out of the kit to continue working.  This section went together pretty quick and is there to support the Canopy Jettison mechanism.   I am not sure if I will create a complete jettison system, but building this in now gives a quick way during the build to get the canopy on and off quickly.  More work will happen on the jettison system later…  For now the next step per the plans is drilling out the canopy frame mounting blocks.  These need to be drilled very carefully and the directions tell you to drill the 2 mounting bolt holes and the ¼ inch canopy pin holes right now.   I chose to wait on the canopy pin hole until I am able to get a better idea of how this all goes together.  Some builders have missed the center of the goosenecks when drilling the canopy through this pin hole down the road.  My goal is to see if there is another way to guarantee that I hit those guys dead center.  If they are off a bit, it’s not the end of the world and the canopy is designed to accept some imperfection here, but my goal is it hit it right.   The problem with drilling the goosenecks is that you install and can’t see them when you are drilling so as you drill them you are drilling blind.  I will probably be drilling them in a couple weeks so stay tuned.  With the mounting holes drilled I assembled everything so that I can drill the internal ribs.  You have to have the top skin on and everything in place to do this.

Here is a quick shot of the canopy frame wedged in between the blocks..   Just a foreshadow of what is to come..  ;-)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Finish Kit Inventory Complete !

Bekah and I took a couple hours to get through the inventory, organize the parts and clean up the garage.  I was really worried about space before the finish kit arrived but it turns out I should be OK without renting a storage facility.  In the end, the inventory went well and there were no missing parts. !   The engine mount was bolted right to the crate.  The canopy is huge and was the most difficult to find a home for.  Bekah was kind enough to donate the guest bed for a couple months.   Hopefully the canopy will be on the plane by mid-summer, so we will see.  The mount and the cowling fit under the fuse fairly nicely..  Hopefully they won’t be in the way there.    

And of course it wouldn’t be a proper RV Finish Kit inventory session without playing around with the wheel pants.. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finish Kit Arrives - Finish Fuel Pump Installation !

What a day..  I was able to finish all the remaining items on the fuse that I planned on finishing before the finish kit arrived and on the same day the finish kit showed up.  Wish I could say I planned it that way..

First off I hate working with 3/8 inch tube.   This stuff is crazy and must be so extremely accurate where the flared ends meet with the connections that you really have to get proficient at it.  The way I see it you can learn how to measure everything out perfectly, or start making attempts at your intended shape and then improving from there.   This was my method.. You use a lot of tube though this way.. Good thing it is cheap..

My Fuel Pump is fully installed and complete.  See the pictures, it turned out great in the end..

About the time I was finishing up, here comes Tony with Fed Ex..   The same guy that has delivered all three of my main kits..  The Finish Kit is Here  ! ! !   What is the finish kit you ask?   Well, it should really be known as the half way done kit..  Because it really  marks about the 1/2 way point in a build..   The finish kit includes the canopy, landing gear, engine mount, cowling, and other odds and ends to finish the airframe..   Now its time for another round of inventory with Bekah.  This kit looks to have fewer parts, but definitely higher dollar parts than the other kits I have received to date...  That canopy is $$$.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Misc Vent and Fuel Pump work

Over the last few days I have been continuing work on the vents and fuel pump.  Basically I now have the pump assembly/mount complete and am going to go back and take another crack at the fuel tubing.  My first batch of tubing didn't work very well and now I am on my replacement order from Vans.  The 3/8 inch tubing work takes some getting used to.

The mount turned out really well, I used angle beneath the pump which worked great and provided much rigidity, but to allow for wiring runs I had to remove some material in the downward facing flange of the angle.  I can now use conduit under the pump assembly to make for easy wiring.  The pump can be removed by taking out the entire section of the tunnel cover that it is mounted on but in general will never have to be removed once it is final mounted.

Updated:   The mounting holes in the EFII pump mount are drilled square but the posts are offset.  This makes some of them close to the posts, so I had to remove material from my bolt head for it to slide in correctly since the hole was too close to the post.  (see pic).   This conflicted with my idea to use nut-plates underneath and allow for the pump to removed via top access only.  I ended up using standard nuts and now to remove the pump from its mount I have to remove the tunnel cover all together.   The designer of the EFII pump indicated I can use allen heads to get access to use nuplates if I want, but I will leave it like this at this point since the benefits would be small.

I also was able to pro-seal my vent ducts in place.  This was simple job but took a few days as I had to let the pro-seal dry between sessions.  Threw in my control column to make sure it functions smoothly..  Had to remove a bit of material where the tunnel push rod connects to the control mechanism, but others have had to do this as well.   My hope is that I can fine tune this assembly without having to remove it again..  Wishful thinking I know..  :-)

Vans just said they Shipped my Finish Kit ! ! !   Wahoo ! !

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vents and Pics from out front

I spent much more time that I wanted to on the vent mounts..  These guys turned into quite a problem, in fact I made them about 3 times before finally getting it right.  I basically  made them out of .040 aluminum sheet and borrowed a bending brake from a co-builder.  First time I bent one, I broke the tab right off.  Lots of little lessons learned like that one.  In the end they went in smooth and tight..  I think the audio jacks are perfect in this location and you can only get them here with the small vents..

After working on the vents, Bekah and I took the plane for a stroll out into the driveway.  My fuse stand is great such that I am able to roll it all around and take the plane or walk.  While it was out we played around with the horizontal stabilizer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

More Boost Pump and Fresh Air Vent work..

This weekend I worked a ton on the boost pump set up.   I am going with my own design here and trying to make it as solid as I can.  Using different types of angle to make the structure as light and rigid as possible.  Its turning out good so far, still have more to do..  Also another order from Vans will be required since I ran out of a couple types of angle.  A few points that I like is the angle I used, the AA3 version fits in perfectly with the bend in the tunnel cover, and allows it to be extended to help support where it has been "cut"..  Note I am using a combination of installs I have seen with the Andair pump and the EFII pump on other folks blogs..   Will post more pics as I get closer to being complete.

Also playing around with the final location of the Fresh air vents.  I got the Small aluminum ones from Stein and think I can put the vent and the audio jacks in one panel.  This is the mock up of Rebekah's vent and may very well end up being the final routing.  See the holes to be enlarged for the audio jacks on the right.  Also notice how smooth the vent fits into the edge of the panel.. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Panel attach points

After much turmoil I was able to get the panel attach points in place.  Not complete yet but definitely over the hump.  This seemed like a straight forward process at the beginning, but turned out to be pretty difficult.  In order to get these drilled correctly I had to mount the panel and entire front deck..  Some of the points I could drill straight away, but others I had to mark on the blue tape, remove the panel and forward side rails to get good access to drilling.  At this point it is all drilled, I need to rivet the attatch points onto the side rails.  For the side attach points my plan is to rivet them first, then attach the nutplates.   Excited to be through this part, now the end of the forward section is in site..   Ready for that Finish Kit..

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