Archive for the ‘Bulkheads’ Category

Still prepping fuse parts

August 29, 2011


For your viewing pleasure here’s the boys enjoying the Blues over Lake Washington earlier this month. As for the project, i’ve been working on it I swear. It’s really just a 1000 little tasks without much visual payoff so I’ll spare you the pics of pretty countersunk holes in a neat little row.

I’m still slowly working through all the final steps before starting the riveting on the main fuse. I’m excited to see if I got a the puzzle pieces made correctly! All the deburring, dimpling, and countersinking including the longerons is done on the internal structures. I’ve primed about 2/3 of these parts. The left forward fuse pieces still need to be etched and primed. The skins still need to be prepped but that should be kinda fun as imam trying to “eat my vegetables”‘first. Also, I have to go back and find a solution for one hole I doubled drilled on a bulkhead. After that I’ll be reassembling the canoe! Work is going to take over this week so hopefully I can hit it hard next weekend. I’m aiming to flip the canoe this fall and order finish kit before the end of the year.


Hello 2010

January 2, 2010

To welcome in the new year I’ve completed all the bulkhead riveting! Here’s a pick of most of the bulkheads sitting on the workshop floor. I’m glad I had them on the rubber mat too. We had a heck of a rain storm last night and the wind blew some water into the garage. No biggie. Just threw some towels down and moved on.

All the bulkhead rivets were squeezed. One challenge on all these is that most of the rivets are bringing together two or sometimes three thin layers of metal. I learned quickly that you had to be careful not to distort the thin layer abutting the shop head side of the rivet. Securing the work to the bench or the vise very well was the most important factor. However, my most recent trick gathered from the Vans Airforce Forums was to use faucet washers to hold the work down as you squeezed the rivet. This would prevent unwanted distortions in that thin layer of aluminum as the shop head is formed. See pics below for details. Lastly, squeezing the rivets in 2 steps instead of one helped avoid bent or footed shop heads. Now on to the longerons…

My RV resolution for 2010 will be to spend at least 15 minutes a day on the RV project. I’d love to flip the canoe this year, but I’ll need to get better disciplined about finding time to get out to the shop.

Yours truly using the rubber washer trick on F-711

Picked these up at Home Depot. Thanks VAF forums!

After squeezing the rivet just enough to set it, I then put a washer on the half squeezed rivet and finished it off with a final squeeze.

Clich√© Confirmed: 1 Step Forward is 2 Steps Back

December 29, 2009

It’s 10:30pm and the kids are in bed, I got some house chores done, and did a little homework to boot. Now it’s time for a few minutes in the garage. On deck tonight was to get the 10 rivets done on the 706 bulkhead only leaving the need to drill out the four holes up top on 706 before moving down the line tomorrow night. Ok. Ready. Tools out. Part clamped. GO! First 5 rivets go quickly. Not the best set but serviceable. Start on #6… Wait a sec… WTF? Oh ****. AARRGGHHH…..

Take a look at the picture above. Any guesses? Well the bottom part is supposed to go IN FRONT of the side part. I got going too fast last night when I cleco’d everything together. So out comes the drill. Luckily they are only 470 4-4 rivets. 4 out of 5 come out easy. Had to dig out the fifth but the holes don’t look too bad. Touched up the primer and will let dry tonight so I can try it all over tomorrow.

So it’s not a banner evening. At least no parts were injured other than the offending rivets. One more story in the lessons learned pile.

Aft Fuselage Getting Closer to Reality

December 27, 2009

It was a beautiful day in Seattle today. I was able to get a mile run in and spend quality time with the family outside in the rare sunshine. There is lots to update on the project as well. After my run, I bolted and torqued the seatbelt anchors onto F-705 as well as drilled out the plastic flap bearing blocks that will be bolted sometime later.

Later this evening I attacked F-706. I got all the riveting done where F-706 joins with the bellcrank ribs. All the rivets were easily reached with the squeezer. I need to drill some holes at the top of the 706 bulkhead and set about 10 more rivets on the outrigger joints on the three piece 706 bulkhead before moving onto 707, 708, 710, 711, and 712. All those look pretty straight forward. I should be able to knock them out in an evening.

Once the bulkheads are complete, I can setup and bend the longerons. Then we get to have some fun and put together the aft fuse! This will mean I can pull down some of the big skin pieces from the rafters and the fuselage will finally start to take shape.

The 706 Bulkhead with most of the riveting complete.

A detail of the intersection of the 706 bulkhead and the bellcrank ribs.

Detail showing shop heads on the 706 and 729 joint.

Drilling out the flap bearing block holes with #10 bit.

The the block and bolts fit perfectly with the 705 bulkhead after drilling.

On tomorrow's to-do list... Rivet F-711

A Part is Born!

December 24, 2009

Well hello there. Sorry for the ugly mug shot. Per the regs, I am getting my occasional self portrait in the mix to prove its actually me making this airplane. Today, we take a break from the endless posts about drilling or deburring or general parts prep to report that an ACTUAL part was made today. The part in question is the F-705 bulkhead. It went together really quick considering the pieces have been sitting for about a year waiting to be primed. The biggest drama was taking the time to make sure lower section parts fit together properly before squeezing the rivets. When I primed them the other day, I forgot to mark their orientation. In the end it all came out pretty good. Biggest issue now is where to store it. Oh yeah, I need to mount the seatbelt anchors and the drill the flap blocks tomorrow before entering the Christmas blackout period. Next up will be the remaining bulkheads and perhaps a little longeron bending before the new year.

Here's F-705 secured as I get ready to rivet the midsection.

The tape reminds me not to rivet those holes yet.

It’s My Primer Party

December 21, 2009

With some time off this week from work I committed myself over the weekend to getting this pile of parts primed so I can actually assemble some small things that can then be made into bigger things. The biggest hurdle has been that bitch Mother Nature. She’s been my spray booth ever since I discovered that DIY spray booths in the basement can be grounds for divorce (and brain damage). I finally found my answer at a local state run institution of higher learning that happens to have a number of spray rooms in their art building. Climate controlled and the fumes are vented out the roof. PERFECT! Sunday I was able to wash, clean, etch my entire collection of parts at home. Then I primed until I ran our of primer. Ugh! So today I finished up the last few parts at the school and have them laid out and drying in the garage. Now it’s time for the squeezer to come out!

F-707 and 708 bulkheads ready to be riveted

Bellcrank Rib Prep

October 5, 2009

I drilled the F729 and F728 angles and ribs. First 1/4 hole I drilled so slightly off. The second time I used the drill press and it came out perfect. I cleco’d everything back together on the F706 buldhead so I can do final drilling tomorrow.


September 9, 2009


The last 3 nights I’ve been fabricating, matching drilling, prepping and ¬†the parts for the bellcrank rib substructure that attaches to the 706 bulkhead. I’ve had to pay close attention to drawing #26 for this structure as there are many intersecting parts; virtually each one with it’s own special way to attach to the other. Also after cursing Van’s for some apparently misaligned predrilled holes in F730, I discovered that the holes are actually asymmetrical in their layout and yours truly had cleco’d it on backwards. The holes aligned perfectly now. A little more drilling tonight and this bad boy gets thrown into the ever growing “To Be Primed” pile. I swear I am gonna spray paint this weekend. Sorry for the crappy photos. I only had the iphone with me this morning.

Notice the missing hole on the upper right of 730.

Notice the missing hole on the upper right of 730.

Here's the backside of the F730 intersections

Here's the backside of the F730 intersections

Bulkhead Madness!

August 27, 2009


I’m almost ready to have the parts forest primer party. One more section of the 706 bulkhead to drill and prep, then soap and water/solvent treatment for what seems like a hundred pieces big and small. With some luck I can get that all done by Friday and prime over the weekend. I’m out of town on a shoot next week so it would be great to look forward to some actual assembly when I get back.

As for the bulkheads, some of the parts were done over a year ago, so I’ll need test assemble before priming to make sure I remember how it all goes together. Also there’s quit a few spots that you don’t rivet yet, so I need to mark those before starting to rivet.

Parts of 706, 707, 708 bulkheads

F-711 clecoed together


Example of the various pass-thru holes you have to drill.

F-711 Bulkhead

December 26, 2008

I snuck into the workshop for about an hour to fit and drill the bars for the 711 bulkhead.