Archive for January, 2011

Aft Fuselage Finished!

January 30, 2011

Paul came over on Sunday and we whipped out the final rivets in about three hours. Other than Paul walking into the corner of the center section skin (guess who won that battle), we finished up unscathed.

Here’s a new view from above. The 706 Bulkhead is not riveted until we marry the aft fuse and center sections. Now back to the center section.


The Great Debur Fest

January 24, 2011

This weekend I was able to finish drilling all the holes on the center section, countersank the four holes in the front 704 bulkhead, and make the attach straps for the F-623 ribs. Now the 776 skin is off. Once the rest of the parts are disassembled, then it all gets deburred, dimpled and primed. That last part is gong to require some better weather than we’ve been getting.

The Heart of the Beast

January 18, 2011

Happy MLK Day! The family granted me some quality time in the garage this weekend so I was able to get most everything assembled and drilled on┬áthe center section. I had KEXP rockin’ on my little portable radio and the weather was finally mild enough that I didn’t have to wear my bulky winter coat in the garage. On to the build:

The center section is a simple enough set of parts: A couple of bulkheads, 16 ribs and the center skin. However, this is the heart of the fuselage with some very important intersections. The gold piece in the photo above is one-half of the 704 bulkhead. This is where the main wing spar attaches to the fuselage. The gray bulkhead in the back is the 705. It’s where the rear spar of the wing attaches and the seat backs lean on.

All the control systems and most of the airplane wiring route through this section. This means there’s lots of holes to be drilled and formed between parts. It all adds of up an endless list of little steps. If you look close above you can see a spacer between the flange of the rib and the bulkhead. When I first clecoed everything together I forgot to insert these four spacers. There’s no way to slide them in after the fact so I had to take everything apart and reassemble. Oh well, it helped me figure out a riveting strategy for this section.

Here’s 2 out of 8 half circles divots I had to take out of the middle row of ribs. These allow for wire to be routed aft for lights, autopilot, GPS, and ELT or whatever electronic gizmos I’ll want in 5 years.

The F-715 ribs on the outside don’t get drilled until later. So they are just clamped in place for now.

This is actually the topside of the center section. Because I need to drill out the skin, it’s much easier the build this part upside down.

I tried to take a panorama of the workshop tonight but the pics came out blurry. I’ll try again tomorrow and give my version of the state of the union for the RV-7 build. Right now you’ll just have to settle for this picture of the three main sub chunks of the RV sitting in the garage. To the right is one of the wings in the wing cradle. In the back is the center section and in the mid ground is the aft fuse patiently waiting to be finished.

Next up is to finish the drilling, disassemble, debur and dimple everything. Then I have to figure out just where to prime these parts as the weather is so iffy this time of year. See you in a few days.

Aft Fuse Riveting Part 2

January 12, 2011

Here’s the project progress from the last couple of weeks. I’m including a lot of pics as these are some of the more interesting sections of the fuse to put together. My friend Paul came over for round two of riveting the aft fuse. We got all the rivets at the far aft end done. We had to drill out 3 or 4 along the way. There’s just a few left on the 707 and 708 bulkheads and J-channel. Another couple of hours should do it.

Next up, I’ve started the initial assembly of the center section after prepping all the ribs (did I mention how tedious that is?). It’s quite the Rubik’s cube to get everything in the right spot. The 776 skin and right side baggage space ribs were just not going together. After silently cussing out Van’s CNC machines for a few hours, I discovered I had the 725R and 726R swapped. WHOOPS. Now everything is clecoed together waiting to be drilled, deburred and dimpled.

One thing I overlooked in my excitment to get the aft fuse together was prepping the rudder cable exit. That little hole to the left of the pass through hole above is for the screw mount. It should be drilled for a #8 screw and dimpled BEFORE the skin is assembled with rest of aft parts. Now I need to get clever about how to dimple the hole.

All the ribs except the 2 outside 715 L and R ribs cleco in place. After everything gets put together, I will need to come back and drill out the front of the 715 ribs using the 704 bulkhead as a guide.

This is the outside intersection of the F-715R rib and the F-705 bulkhead. The bottom flange gets drilled out for a bolt.

Here are the 716/715 ribs and the aft part of the F-704 bulkhead. These will be a mixture of -4 sized rivets and bolts. I’ll need to be ginger while drilling this stuff.

Finally here’s a close up of the last couple of bulkheads in the aft fuse after riveting. The seams on the skins are all tight and I am really happy how it all turned out. The only cosmetic issue is a slight smile on one of the rivets that sits under the HS. I actually think its awesome. I see it as a signature that no other kit will have. However, one signature is enough! Onward…