Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fuselage Complete

Complete might be a bit of an exaggeration. The side skins are on, finally, and all the sheet metal work is complete. I'm calling it complete though because this is as far as I want to go before starting in the wings. The next steps involve attaching the tail which would make storing the parts difficult as the aircraft would instantly grow to 19 feet or so. For now it's "complete".

I haven't posted in a while since I have been very busy with the airplane and getting ready for the baby. I even refinished a rocker for her room upholstery and all. Also, the steps I completed each day seemed so small: deburr, dimple, rivet, repeat. So instead of boring everyone with a tiny post of riveting a row here, wrestling with the landing gear there, I decided to wait until I had some real progress to write about.

So here is the catching up:
I pro sealed between the skins and firewall. Riveting the skins felt like it took forever. Every night I would knock out a couple more rows. Some of the rivets were very difficult to get access to requiring a new bucking bar to be made. At one point 5 rivets took about 3hrs, frustrating. Over the Thanksgiving holiday my in-laws visited and my father-in-law was great help with the rivets I couldn't buck by myself. I installed soundproofing in the cockpit floor and then the floor panels get installed permanently with blind rivets. The soundproofing is 1/2" thick rubbery feeling foam and cuts best with just scissors. I ordered it from aircraft spruce in an 8ft roll. The landing gear was then installed with a lot of grunting and a little cussing. Some of the bolts were persuaded with a hammer but then they all agreed to be installed. I had to use some child labor from the 10 year old boy across the street to reach with his skinny arms in-between the fuselage bulkheads to start the nuts on some of the bolts. I then rigged up a new tool to reach the nuts. It's just a 3/8" ratcheting wrench with a piece of aluminum riveted to it to extend the handle. After it was all finished up I put a board across the front of the fuselage and the wife and I lifted the tailcone to rest on top of the fuselage. So the whole thing can now be rolled out of the way for the wings.

Date Time
13 1.5 riveted skin, difficult rivets
16 2.5 deburr, dimple skins
17 6.0 finish dimpling, start riveting
19 2.0 riveting skins
20 2.5 Proseal, rivet skins
24 2.5 riveted side skins with father in law
25 4.5 riveted side skins with father in law
27 1.75 riveted side skins
28 1.5 riveted skins
29 2.0 riveted skins
30 6.0 riveted skins, installed LH floor panel with soundproofing
1 3.0 installed landing gear bracket LH, floor panel RH
2 3.75 installed landing gear bracket RH, finished a few other steps

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