[79FT]: Building Things
...live long, and prosper!
|On:||Nov 21, 2018|
Great weather today. A bit cold, but sunny, calm, and overall very promising.
I rolled out the Cheetah out of her hangar for the last time.
This was a weird feeling.
When you have an airplane sitting in the hangar 20 minutes away from your house, you tend to sometimes put flying off.
It typically goes along these lines.
Hey, it's Saturday coming up. I gotta go bounce around! check the weather Hmm...looks a bit iffy. Maybe I should do this-other-thing-around-the-house-shop-or-whatever-I-hadn't-gotten-around-to. Maybe, I'll go flying after that...
Evening rolls in, you're tired and not up for flying anymore.. Meanwhile, weather was perfect the whole day!
"Next week", you think. And you go out next week, but this time it's something else that pops up and you have to get to it later in the day, and instead of spending half a day bouncing around, you buzz around the pattern for half an hour and go back to your daily messes and stuff to do around the house.
Not every Saturday was like that since I got back to having time to do plane stuff... but often, it did.
But this time, today. It was weird. The knowing that I am flying her for the last time, that I am listening to GTU ATIS on her radios for the last time, the last VOR to be tuned in, last turn direct to the destination, last approach guy handing you over to your destination's Tower...
"Field in sight"...
On a day like today...
Sunny, silky smooth, a touch of clouds, with all the gauges' needles frozen in place...
You remember all the good times you had together, and think... I'll miss you, Cheetah!
I guess, in the Spirit of Thanksgiving..?
Thank you for all the wingovers, low passes over lakes, and river runs.
Thank you for all the kids we've flown as Young Eagles.
Thank you for getting my ass out of that fog along the coast of Madagorda Island (that one was the "bag of luck" to "bag of experience" type thing for sure!)
Thank you for all the fun I had messing with you.
Thank you for that unique kind of smell that your inside smelled with (and my tiger LeRoy who lived in the plane still smells like you!)
Thank you for being a good plane and not giving me any trouble.
I hope I'll see you again sometime! And maybe then, we'll go bounce around together again. Just like the good old times.
The main thing is to take care of the main thing.
... out of heavy machinery
|On:||Oct 12, 2018|
|In:||[Dream Shop] Tooling|
As we have established before, Fall for Russians is all about pickling things.
Last time it was an O-360. This time, it's tools for the new shop.
My current shop is all packed up and in storage, waiting for the actual shop to be built. Well, actually for the building to be gutted.
When I have built the new house, I have kept the old house. That's what's about to become my Dream Shop. Meanwhile, all my tools are nicely set up in my storage shed, waiting for their time.
I have sold most of my Chinese Grizzly crap I bought before knowing any better, and was hunting good, old, American-made machines for a while.
Okay, I settled for a Chinese-made Powermatic drill press, arguing with myself that it was in mint shape, dialed in with no obvious runout / shake, and would be my wood-only press anyway.
But two most important things wood-wise I still didn't have: a jointer and a table saw. Few had come up on Craigslist, and I would go over to check them out with all my dial gauges and a U-Haul trailer in tow.
I would spend close to an hour with each one of them, measuring all sorts of convoluted alignments and run-outs, only to find something very basic wrong with them.
One of these was a newer (mustard, but still American-made) PM60 jointer. It checked out reasonably well; until I asked the guy if I could adjust his fence square (I wanted to check it's warp by measuring squareness to tables along it's length).
"Sure Thing!" - he said, walked to a corner of his shop, picked up a hammer, and ... WHACK! - ... ... yeah. Call me a WHACK-o, but that is not how you adjust squareness... Not in my book. I felt for the poor machine.
I left, of course.
Another time I spent just south of 40 minutes with a PM66 table saw, only to check it's flatness dead last. Of course, it was so horribly bowed out of shape, I had to leave. And that was a 3 hour drive. Each way, mind you!
At any rate, yet another PM60 jointer popped up on Craigslist, and I grabbed a trailer in preparation of going to San Antonio the next day. That's where the jointer was.
Now, there was a rolling joke with one of the guys from the office - that he absolutely HAS to convince yet another guy from our office, his buddy, to sell me his PM66 saw - or, Russian Mafia will get him! Them both, in fact!
I kept it up for over a year; and I am not sure if that joke had made any contribution to this... but, he called me and said, "Roger is selling his Powermatic! Grab it, QUICK!". Same day as the jointer popped up.
Hah. So tomorrow I am about to go possibly pick up a jointer. Did I just land me a saw too?
I went to Roger's to dial the saw.
Arbor was shot, but trunnions were in great shape, and arbor for PM-66 is not a problem (someone still literally makes them and sells them on EBay). The tables were flat aside from a very tiny dip, a bit dirty at that, but alright.
I decided to pick it up.
So I did land me a saw and a possible jointer!!!
Next day (Friday), I rush to San Antonio to look at the jointer.
It was a green, older one, and it checked out good, except one minor mis-alignment of infeed and outfeed tables. I was trying to tighten them up a touch with gib set screws, and... I broke one of them.
The tables were flat, the motor was good, and the price was reasonable though, so I decided to buy it from the guy - especially after I broke it :).
Didn't take any pictures of jointer in transit... damn.
So, Friday night Im back, barely manage to roll the jointer off the trailer and into the garage, and Saturday I pack my wrenches and such to go break down the saw at Roger's.
See, it was set up with a large side table, router plate insert, and outfeeds - no way I would've been able to load all that; and besides, I don't need any of that aside from core saw. I already have all my router stuff from my previous shop (Incra no less).
It's raining. Damn.
I get to his place - he's gone for the weekend, his wife lets me in and leaves me alone with the saw and my tools.
About to begin.
Saw comes apart quite nicely.
Most of exterior stuff off, table's coming off next
I took off the fence, the side table, and the outfeed rollers. Side table goes into trash. Outfeeds and the fence I will sell (in fact, as of right now I sold the fence already - had three guys call me in the same day!). Yeah, I don't care for it. Incra's TS-LS any day over any other fence (and I have one :) ).
It was obvious no one has cleaned it inside. Likely, ever. Oh, well...
Remember, I said it was raining? I got a bunch of wrap, and plastic to cover the guts - I wouldn't drive under rain, but even the splash-back concerned me...
High-Tech Rain Proofing
Funny thing - when I was almost done, we got a nice break in the rain... So, I was able to load the saw up, and got it home without further adventures.
On the trailer
Later, in the next few days, I scraped together a vac and a compressor (remember, all my tools are packed away!), and cleaned it out. All important and not so important unpainted surfaces got a coat of either T9 or Corrosion-X, and she got wrapped back into plastic... The Saw, I will see you in a year or so...
And the jointer? Well, the jointer was clean already. So it just got wrapped too...
The only pic of the jointer I got
They're sitting nicely in the storage shed now, making acquaintance with my other toys.
And, there. Two most important tools? Done. Pickles out of metal done? Done. What's left?
A mandatory airplane pic, of course! Ken Wittekiend's PA-12 on floats on Lake Buchanan, first time ever I flew a seaplane! That was nice!
"Approach, how far from the airport are we in minutes?"
"N923, the faster you go, the quicker you'll get here."
|On:||Sep 26, 2018|
So, the last entry was in July 2015. It's September 2018 now. No, previous entry doesn't count: I have written it 2 hours ago :).
What took me so long? Mostly, the damn house!
Yes, seems like I pulled the wrong set of plans... again, and instead of building an airplane, ended up building a house.
Damn. Need to sort thru my plans a bit better next time.
The Tile (each handmade by my kick-ass wife - ~3000 total)
So while we wait for the next project to solidify to the point of having something interesting to write about (it's gonna be The Dream Shop)..., well... I guess, we wait.
The Door Bell (which still works when power goes out)
Try to keep the number of your landings equal to the number of your takeoffs.
...the long-needed updates
|On:||Sep 25, 2018|
|In:||[Misc] B Log|
|Tags:||tools, software, website|
After using the setup I did for myself in 2014 for a while, I decided it was time to change things around a bit.
... so yeah. I needed to add a static page, and I had a bunch of ideas about extra stuff I wanted to do for a while. But mostly, I just needed to add a damn static page, and thinking about coercing the existing setup into doing that with all the pictures I needed there was not making me happy...
... it was also about time I set this thing up so that I could actually log more projects than just a single airplane. Hey, I bet we all know - websites of this kind are mostly created to be later enjoyed by their authors in periods of 'I ain't got nothing better to do than review my old notes' mood ...
First of all, I wanted to be able to log multiple projects. The way the old setup was done was it had basically one project, under the section called "Build", and then this dangling catch-all "blog" thing for everything else.
But as you can see, most of articles here actually are NOT about the airplane I was working on at the time - the Skybolt - but rather, other little things here and there.
First thing I did, is I changed the way the files are laid out, and added semantics converting source content's directory structure to "Project / Section" semantics.
Each project now has it's own "sub-log" (that's what time logged is tracked based on). There is still a catch-all "blog" section, and a "default" project that can be configured if one so desires.
One more thing I realised is that the original version would only allow to log time if it was associated with an article-type entry... Flooding the Internet with tens of pages of "built three more ribs tonight" type stuff just to log time seemed kinda silly, so I added support for plain text log entries.
Articles still can track time; but you can also now have a separate text file with just "Date", "Summary", and "Time Logged" entries - one per line.
When creating the "log" page for a project, entries, being both from articles and from logfiles, are sorted by date, and then ones with articles associated with them will pick their summaries up from articles. Entries coming from text files will be displayed with summaries from log files.
All this time tracking functionality, structuring articles into projects, and such, were becoming an entity of its own large enough for me to justify clumping it all into a single Pelican's plugin, now called "b_log". I also added a bunch of config options to set up it's behavior.
Yeah. I killed it. This site Does Not Track You now. Because there's too much of this crap online.
Too many to count...
And finally, some silliness! I wrote another plugin that adds a "quote of the day" at the end of each article, randomly :) Enjoy; and I hope they will encourage you to read more articles (or at least, scroll thru them to get to the bits of wisdom).
I got happier now.
I have changed the B-Log notes to match the new setup, just so that there's one place I can send people to in case they are interested in my setup.
And I'm very close to posting that damn page, but...
...of course, I am restructuring the old content and modifying old pages instead to match what I got now, and writing stupid notes on what I did to the thing. Because, as we all know, making yourself a tool is as, if not more, pleasant, as using it...
A kill is a kill.
... I hate sanding!
|On:||Jul 03, 2015|
|Tags:||9891U, mechanicing, fiberglass|
In the past 7 months I have been busy building... the crib for the baby. Almost non stop evenings, 4-6 hours a day: the result is good, but this is a "Skybolt Story", not a "Bed Story": so no, I won't post all my projects here :).
Also, it seems like next 2-3 years will be mostly furniture building for this guy.. Oh well.
Meanwhile, I was able to put in a few hours into fixing up the coves in my wingtips where all the lights are.
If you recall, I have made strobe shields quite a while back, but I haven't fixed up the coves. I was waiting for the shields to be painted.
Well, they were during the cgr-30 install, and then I was working on the crib.. So finally, the time has come.
Look at what I had to start with.
Sad sad wingtip
Another sad wingtip
First, all the lights came out. The old plastic lenses went straight into the trash bin. Then, came off the foam padding that goes in between the lens and the wingtip.
All opened up
Cleaned and sanded
I think the above was about an hour of sanding. All old paint came off. Also, the broken rivnut went out (did you notice it? That extra hole was what someone has drilled and used a sheet metal screw to "fix" it instead of drilling out the broken rivnut).
Finally, masked with the first set of masking tape. I was set to repaint the coves.
Masking the edges
The other wingtip was even worse. The cove itself had a huge "dip" in it. Also, some "genius" decided to screw #10 screws straight into the fiberglass... Some threads were all torn up, and I decided to install rivnuts all around to make sure the tips match.
Just disassembled, note the large dip in the nav light area
In with Bondo! Lots of sanding! Oh man, I hate sanding...
Bondo, and sanding...
Phew. Quick fit of the strobe shields over the rivnuts, needed to enlarge the holes...
Fitting holes in the strobe shield
And we're ready with the second one.
Now, I wanted to clean up the nav lights housing as well. Originally I wanted to paint both cover and base, but once I cleaned up the base, I decided to leave it as is: apparently, it was nice and shiny after all that 40 year old corrosion cleaned off of it!
Nav lights covers. Second one was cleaned up as well
Cleaning nav lights bases. Shiny!
Came out nice after painting!
Then, final masking, and painting. Damn! That didn't go so well. I didn't notice a fairly small dip in the other tip's cove, and the Bondo'd one got some pinholes. Time was running very short so I ended up leaving that as is.
Right wingtip cove, painted. See the dip now?
Left tip. That one with pinholes :(
Once the paint was all dry came the time for fitting the foam padding and lenses. And here, I made a fatal mistake: I have installed the padding first. That makes fitting of the lens virtually impossible (at least, for me).
That had produced an unsightly gap of about 1/8 inches. Oh god! I had no spare lenses, and I had to put the plane back together not to screw my partner who needed the plane soon. Very soon.
... I ended up screwing him anyway 'cause somewhere in the middle of me fitting that first lens Max was born and I was knocked out for 5 days ...
... just in case you're wondering: 7lbs 11oz, 20 inches, June 25, 2015, 10:35 am ...
... I still haven't had any chance to get another lens, so I decided to put it back together as is as a memory of me being stupid. Maybe I'll buy another set from Ken in another year or two; and also fix all the dips and pinholes ...
Fitting the foam padding
Fitting the foam padding (back side)
Top/front lens fitting
Bottom seams: see the unsightly gap?
I was much smarter with the other lens, and made sure to fit it before I put on the foam padding, and it came out perfect.
Fitting other lens. See no padding?
Padding on: and some holes in, too
The other side
Then, I've put the lights back in, permanently screwed on the lenses, and I was done!
Installing the nav light base
Much nicer than before, but with some problems. Still, much nicer than before.
Till next time (which-I-dont-know-when-will-come)!
"Don't anybody maintain anything.
lots of upgrades
|On:||Dec 10, 2014|
I'm done with my longest airplane project so far! No, it's not for the Skybolt, it's for my Cheetah. But it's an important one and was a great fun to tackle.
So, without further adieu...
The Cheetah never had an engine analyzer -- and I elected to get one, full blown, replacing all the standard engine gauges. I ended up picking the EI's CGR-30P because of it's roundness, compactness, and me generally liking EI a lot.
So, late August, it was Christmas. I got the box, that had a lot of boxes, with boxes, and boxes inside -- lots of stuff. Probes, aggregator box, wires...
First thing I did was put everything together on my dining table, just to make sure I understand the wire-up and that it works. I have even blown into the fuel transducer and was satisfied seeing it registering some "flow".
On the bench
And then, the install. The problem was, I also wanted to fly in between, so I had to plan the install in stages and make sure the airplane's flyable in between.
First thing was running two out of three wire harnesses thru the firewall (all temp probes, and all pressure and flow transducers). I found a spot on the inside of the firewall for the box, and made sure I had enough length to run to the "aggregator" box.
Reused existing hole, new grommet
Wires bundled neatly for running thru
All wires are thru
.. and neatly tucked away
The hole with the wire harness sealed
I was planning to fly out to friend's hangar and work on the probes install there. The luck did not cooperate -- very sluggish pull-thru on the engine start and heavy discharge right after on the ammeter hinted at the alternator failure.
Sure enough, it was. I ended up unbuttoning the cowl at the FBO I was hangaring at.
That day, since the cowl was off and out of the way, I decided to continue and wire up as many probes as I could.
The CHT probes, lubed with anti-seize
The EGT and CHT probes on one side
Probes on the other side
Then, came the time of connecting the probes to harnesses. As you saw on the pictures, probes have dinky little wires that aren't protected in any way. I asked EI if I should special-treat them in any way and they said no, but I still decided to get some fiberglass firesleeving from Grainger, and tucked them neatly away. Liked this much better!
Connecting the probes. Notice the barrel connectors staggered, and fire sleeve
Sleeved and tucked away.
Sun was setting down at that time, and I called it a day.
We replaced the alternator in the field, but I kept the cowl open to wire up the rest of the probes.
Installing and wiring more probes
I decided to install pressure transducers on the engine mount tubes using clamps, to keep them close to the engine outlets and hose lengths to the minimum. Consulted with EI again, and they said that's an okay idea.
Oil pressure transducer
Oil pressure transducer wire-up
Fuel pressure transducer
Fuel pressure transducer wire-up
That was it. I didn't install the fuel flow transducer yet.
Next, came closing that cowling, and a big break due to weather, travel, and life....
This time it was a day to install the "aggregator box". All the probes feed into it, and there's a single wire that connects the box to the display of the engine monitor.
I didn't know what the exact length of the screws to mount it would be, so I decided to buy a bunch of different ones. Didn't have any way to measure the firewall thickness.
All that hardware
First hole in the firewall
The "aggregator box" installed
That was a short day 'cause I had some things to take care of in the evening.
So finally, it was time for a bunch of work behind the panel. Before then though, I decided to make a little panel insert that will hold the annunciator LEDs, the USB port, and the display dimmer.
As usual, played with the layout in Solid Works before I liked it. Decided on a 2 inch hole and fiddled with locations until I was happy. And then, used the final drawing as a template!
Painted. Also painted the panel covers
I also painted the panel covers that I took so long to figure out how to make.
Finally, back to the hangar! This session took 2 days actually :). It was the time to install, wire up, re-position all the gauges on the panel, and such.
The old CHT, EGT and hobbs were to go. Clock was to be relocated to the position it's visible at (it was right under the panel eyebrow before). Davtron OAT/PALT/DALT/Volts gauge was to be relocated to another spot in the panel to free up space for CGR-30 auxiliary panel I made in the previous session. And, most of wireup had to be done. Harnesses connected to the box, ran to the display, and power.
Box installed on the firewall, with harnesses coming in
Behind the panel, sometime in the middle
Ring terminals for power
Auxiliary panel installed
P-leads connected to mag inputs
And then, it was time for the first checkout.
I pull the plane out of the hangar, and hook the rest of things up with test leads.
Turn the enigne on, and observe!
We're on! Oh, wait...
You see the problem? Yes, right mag is dead! Oh, and the old tach (I had one of those fancy Horizon P1000's that tells you if a mag is dead) is showing everything's okay. And, the engine starts doing this rattle sound, and quits. WTF?!
Thoughts about grounding something I shouldn't have grounded (ie, a plead) cross my mind. Then, thoughts about a loose screw somewhere next to the ignition switch crosses my mind.
I re-try. Same thing. Engine starts, runs a few seconds, and dies off. WHAAA??!
... I decide to go take a bathroom break. On the way back, another thought crosses my mind.... I get back, practically running, get into the plane - and sure enough! Fuel selector is "off". I switched it off the day before, before getting behind the panel. Just in case :) Phew.
The "right mag" problem doesn't go away though. I start diagnosing -- touching input wires to different pegs on the ignition key -- no matter which mag it is, "left" is okay and "right" is dead. Uneasy thoughts about a dead wire in the harness and having to undo the whole thing start crowding me... But, I decide to dig a bit deeper. Success!
Can you spot the problem?
Left mag RPM raw signal value
Right mag RPM raw signal value
Bingo! A call to EI, and a quick configuration update fixed that one.
It was that time to go to Fletcher's and continue working on it there. Plus, my new wheelpants were ready!
Before I went though, I had to make one last missing bit. A bracket for the ammeter shunt. Did that at the home shop; and did it in a couple different widths to see which one fits better. That bracket was supposed to plug the hole left after old engine gauges removal, and hold the shunt.
By the way, I decided to wire the shunt into the battery leads. First of all, that's how Grummans are wired by default; and second, it actually shows you the actual discharge when you're on battery -- a good thing! It doesn't show the true load when charging the battery though -- just the charge current. That's okay though, as long as charge current remains positive I know my alt is okay.
Two shunt plates
With the shunt
My makeshift paintbooth for painting these little boys
All that bending, sanding, filing, and drilling took about a couple hours in the shop.
Onward - to Fletcher's!
We've measured lengths for all the new hoses; and decided to change all of them -- mine were manufactured 15 years ago. Also, found a small oil cooler leak, and decided to replace that bad boy. Oh, and I was finishing up behind the panel while David's guys were working on fitting and trimming my wheelpants.
I took out all the gauges, unwired everything that was to be removed, and installed the shunt... Then, it was time to call that a day since Clayton was supposed to fly me back, and I didn't want to make him go back after dark.
Shunt attached to the bracket
Installed. The bracket replaced old engine gauges.
Shot from behind the panel
I drove up to Fletcher's to finish up some more work behind the panel.
My new wheelpants, all painted!
Oil temp probe installed and safetied
Display installed on it's final place
Starting to wire up the shunt
When trying to do the shunt, I realized that I didn't have the right size terminals, and the big enough crimper... Oh well, left that over to another day
Final panel, with CGR and all the holes plugged
All holes left after oil and fuel lines removal patched
Also that day, I felt a blast and wanted to do more -- so decided to do the last finishing touch and clean up the oxidation off of my mixture knob. Acetone, baby!
Last one! I arrived about a week later, to find the pants installed, oil cooler installed, and all hoses hooked up. John also hooked up the fuel flow transducer. And I made sure to have that crimper and right size ring terminals.
Battery wire ring terminal crimp
Shunt wired up
After that, we decided to temporarily hook up the cowling, and do the weight and balance, the right way. Too many changes. New oil cooler, new wheelpants, new gauge.. Plus, I know this particular airplane was never weighted at the factory, so why not.
Speak of unusual attitudes! One wheel on the scales.
And another. "Pull up, Jimmy!"
On scales. Leveling.
... and then, it was the moment of truth, sort of. Final checkup. Rolled her out of the shop, fired up, and...
Shutdown.. checked all hoses -- a little drop of the oil on the oil cooler inlet. John said there was some oil in the hose, to wipe out, and try again.
Did just that. Fired up, and.. fuel pressure shows 0. "Oh shit!"... You guessed, right? Fuel switched off, again! Damn, that thing actually works!
I suppose I have to give some final thoughts.
Here's what I like about the gauge:
Here's what I didn't like:
Overall, I love it. Great gauge, and I will be putting that on the Skybolt! :)
Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.
|On:||Nov 23, 2014|
|Tags:||CAD, lower wings, ailerons, ribs|
No posts about the Skybolt doesn't mean that there was nothing done :). Yessir!
I was redrawing pretty much everything I did in the first few months of modeling the lower wing; and that ate up a bunch of time and didn't actually produce anything to show. But damn, did it suck up time!
I ended up re-doing:
Especially with ribs, the problem was that I did them while learning SolidWorks -- which led me to sketching them in AutoCad first (I used to hate doing curves in SWX.. now I hate Autocad, but that's another story :)). That made them virtually un-tweakable; and "tweaking" the verticals, which I had to do after confirming drag wire interference, proved to be virtually impossible.
So, I decided to clean it all up. Oh yeah, and I have moved that interfering vertical.
The brand-spanking new set of ribs:
Master sketch, off of which everything else was derived
Butt Wing Rib
Typical Wing Rib
One of the many sketches that go into a rib
Rrriiibbzzz!! Oh, wait...
And then, only then, I could go on to finishing the tip rib and the aileron tip rib.
For tip rib, I used the positioned tip bow to project the cuts onto the surface of the nose block. I'll explain this technique in a bit with aileron as illustration.
Tip rib, with all the cuts that will match the bow perfectly
Tip, and other ribs, on the spars, and tip bow
And then there's the aileron, it's bow, and tip rib.
I started with a "placeholder" that was the inboard (full size) butt rib. Then, using the tip bow, I drew a couple of "guide curves" and projected it on a couple planes, corresponding to ribs, giving me two different profiles.
Projections, and helpers
Guide curve and loft profile
Then, I set up my loft, and voila!
After that, I drew the butt rib. In the previous post, I said that it is supposed to be a touch larger profile than the tip wing rib; but that ended up not being the case -- in fact, it's a touch smaller and somewhat "hides" in the aileron well area. I decided not to mess with that...
Tip rib sketch, derived from the "regular" rib, and the tip bow "intersecting" with it
Aileron tip rib model
And here it is, in all it's glory, with the bow, tip rib, with everything matching perfectly. Note how the tip bow of the aileron changes shape along it's length -- that will be a hard one to hand-shape when making it...
Aileron on the wing
"American Two-Twenty, Eneey, meeny, miney, moe, how do you hear my radio?"
... fun with stretcher
|On:||Oct 24, 2014|
|Tags:||9891U, mechanicing, sheet metal|
No Skybolt news, you say?
Well, with dead alternator, tons of work, and unfinished install of a gauge that is supposed to keep you informed about your engine, not much time for the Bolt.
I love to fly at night. It's just something out of a different world, something... else.
There are a few things that are extremely important at night. Most importantly, the old "See and be seen" rule.
To be seen, you need blinking lights on your airplane, nav lights, ideally a landing light, and such.
To see, you need to retain your night vision. That means, no bright white or any color light besides something like red or blue. Otherwise, your eyes readjust for "daylight", and you are at good odds of not seeing other blinking lights... like the ones on an airplane you might fly into!
You see, I don't have strobe shields on my plane. Take a look at the picture below, and imagine you sitting in the cabin.
Strobe Shields on a Grumman
You see that vertical little metal "fin" I circled? That's what blocks you from seeing the strobe - a bright flashing white light. If that metal fin is not there, you basically get blinded every second or so.
It's so bad I ended up flying with strobes turned off a couple times I was up after dark. I figured, just one beacon on the tail and no strobes is better than a blind pilot.
And especially now, when the weather in Texas is so nice and night flying is just calling and calling and calling, that became a priority project.
So, on to it!
Those shields go under the wing tip light cluster lens, and the spot they're supposed to go into is curved. Shields themselves are nothing but a curved L - angle out of aluminum.
So, I needed a stretcher.
Prepared one of the wingtips:
Wingtip light cluster with the spot where the shield goes cleaned up.
First, I decided to make a test piece to get some practice. Never used a stretcher before.
We start with a simple L-angle. I used 6061-T4, 0.025 thick.
And then, stretch-check-stretch-check... Not bad at all. Just takes time.
Close enough for a prototype.
You can see on the pictures that the stretcher leaves pretty deep "scratches". On the prototype, I tried sanding them out -- only to get my metal turn paper thin.
On the real one, I decided to fill them up with Bondo.
So, bought some, and made myself a pattern too -- which I printed full size.
To do that, asked Adam, the guy who bought my 28797's share (thanks again, man!) to take some pictures of strobe shield on his Tiger.
And then, just drew around it in Solid Works. Turned out nice.
Sketching around the photo in SWX.
Note the tape measure above -- I first drew a line 6 inches long and scaled the photo until that line matched 6 inches on the tape measure. This way I ensured proper scale.
SolidWorks part for the Strobe Shield
Drawing of the part for the patterns.
So with those patterns printed out, I went to town.
First thing I noticed is that curvature on the wingtip I was working on doesn't match the pattern :). Of course. They're all different (and by the way, on the other wingtip it matched perfectly. Go figure.). I wanted the pattern to primarily get the general shape right.
So, here I am stretching my L shaped angle, and... SNAP!
So now, bend another L angle, deburr, clean up, size... sigh.. I went much much slower...
I think, getting it perfect took around 3 hours of careful work. That curve gets aggressive towards the end. And, when I was almost done.. snap! I tore it up again, this time the very tip.
Luckily, it actually still was long enough (I started with a piece longer than necessary), so I was able to get away with this tear. Phew.
Cut to about the right size
Next, came a lot of sanding, filing, and emery-clothing to get it to the right shape. And then, the holes.
Those had to be duplicated and match up with the existing holes in the wingtip, so I made a simple hole duplicator. No, I'm not paying 10 bucks for that thing!
Homemade Hole Duplicator
And, we have the holes.
Finally, I filled all the scratch marks with Bondo, sanded it down, and called it a nite. I think it was around 3 am then :).
Next day, the other wingtip.
Notice that this one has rivnuts and not just holes. I now have a theory why this plane is missing strobe shields.
I think the guy who tore all the threads in the fiberglass wingtip and installed those rivnuts (remember, the other one doesn't have them?), was too lazy and didn't want to tweak the holes in the strobe shields to match with the rivnuts. That's my guess.
Initially, I thought about making oversized holes in the shield, but that would put one of them too close to the edge. Then, I tried filing the rivnut down a bit, but decided that I'm not gaining much there, and that notching the strobe shield base would be best. That's what I ended up doing.
I made just the first notch, and to stretching it was!
When it was close to the other rivnut, I notched area around it.
Secont Notch - close!
They came out perfect.
And then, tons of filing, shaping, sanding, Bondoing, sanding, washing, and...
They're not quite complete yet. I'll have to clean up the rest of black tape from under the wingtip lenses and replace them with new ones, but that'll come after painting the shields. I'll ask Dave Fletcher to paint them into the same Imron he's gonna use for the (now soon to come) wheelpants.
And you know what.. that was fun!
"Approach, what's the tower?"
"That's a big tall building with glass all around it, but that's not important right now."
Russian autumn tradition
|On:||Oct 07, 2014|
No posts for 1 month and 5 days! Holy cow.
That's all been eaten up by a couple projects. One of them ended up being a complete redraw of all airfoil sections on the lower wings on the Skybolt; and nothing to write about (no pretty pictures, very routine work). Just lots and lots of cleanup.
Another one... was me following an old Russian tradition.
You see, during long winter months Russians' desire for fruit and vegetables (and mushrooms) is satisfied with pickled everything. Cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, grape leaves, dill (!), apples, garlic, fish (haha :) ), and other things which I don't know English words for.
My genes are calling. It's fall, and I had to pickle me something.
It was.. a disassembled Lycoming for the Skybolt!
Some weeks ago, a gentleman posted on the Forum about him selling an O-360-A4M, all overhauled, yellowtagged, and such, by Superior; with higher compression pistons from ECI, with everything needed to put it together minus the sump and accessories, for a very attractive price.
Best part was, it was disassembled, so I am to get all the fun putting it together without the disassembling and sending parts out for overhaul (and well, paying for that too :)).
In short, it was a great deal.
The problem? Well, I will not need it for quite a while. 10 years maybe, if I go with the speed I'm currently going at.
I figured, assembling and pickling it after would be a bad proposition. A much better one would be to pickle it part by part.
As usual, started with a thread on the Biplane Forum.
At the end of the day, I ended up using three things.
Phillips 20W-50 Anti-Rust Pickling Oil
Good' Ol' STP
Cortec CorrShield VpCI-368
This latter substance is amazing. It's mineral spirits soluble, moisture displacing spray-on stuff that can protect up to 2 years in outside (!!!) storage. I'm storing the engine parts inside my house, so I figured it will do very good for a much bigger number of years.
It sprays on, and then dries over a couple days to consistency of candlewax. A bit sticky, but very tough. They claim it's scratch resistant.
Just in case I missed something or ended up scratching it off; I decided to also put a thick layer of Aeroshell grease on everything that's covered with CorrShield. Just in case.
It showed up!
For smaller pieces, I first wanted to put them in sealed sandwich bags, with some STP / Oil 50-50 mix, and squeeze all the air out.
New connecting rod
Now in the baggie with STP/Oil Mix
Gears and bits
.. all bagged up
But after them sitting like that for a couple days, I didn't like how all the oil drained to the bottom of the baggies. So instead, I submerged everything in 2 oil/STP baths.
Piston pins, gears, rocker arms, misc accessory case things in oil/STP bath
Pushrods, piston rings, tappets, etc in oil/STP bath
At this point, I ran out of oil and STP... And I had too much of CorrShield and grease -- and, after playing for some time with CorrShield and seeing how tough it is, I decided to use it on everything that didn't get into oil baths; even on smaller parts.
One of the jugs
Jugs, right side up and tops CorrShielded and greased.
Some more small pieces stored "dry", covered in CorrShield and grease.
Thru studs and pushrod tubes
Bearings, oil pump housing and minor pieces
This project took a couple weeks worth of evenings; and now my inner Russian is completely satisfied with his stash of pickles!
Definition of a complex airplane: landing a taildragger on pavement with a 20 knot quartering crosswind.
|On:||Sep 03, 2014|
|Tags:||sheet metal, cgr30, mechanicing, 9891U|
So on the Cheetah side, I am slowly ramping up for replacing all the engine gauges that I currently have on the panel with the CGR-30. I got it at Oshkosh, and finally, the box arrived a couple weeks ago.
Ain't she a beauty? Assembled on the bench for testing and familiarizing myself with it :)
Ain't she a beauty?
Because of it, I will lose a few 2 1/4 inch round gauges, and I decided to make some covers for the panel, not to have unsightly holes in it.
Of course I could've bought them from Spruce or whatever, 5 bucks a pop, but if you know me, I would rather spend hours making something I can make. Besides, this is a nice first sheet metal exercise :). And, I wanted a nice domed bulge on each one of them. Just Flat wasn't enough.
So, I got to it.
First iteration was making a jig that would sandwich the sheet between two boards, with holes over and under the metal. Then, I would press a "piston" thru the holes using my vice as a press. Pictures are better than a thousand words.
Three piece jig + soon-to-be-'piston'. Oak boards sandwich the sheet between them. Ply plate has the "piston" and is used as a backing plate for it.
That didn't work out. Vice jaws are not perfectly parallel, and the "piston" is not exactly the same diameter as the holes -- so it gets misaligned, even though there are four guiding bolts in the corners... Here's the jig assembled, and one of the first tries.
I think I tried it two or three times, with the same result.. no matter how much I tried to align the "piston", it would make a bit more pressure on one side of the jig than on the other, either resulting in a tear, or in an uneven "bulge".
Out of desperation, I took a piece of metal, laid it over one of the holes in the oak jig board, and started banging away - and was surprised! I was getting almost what I wanted, just not clean enough.
I tried sandwiching the metal between two plates and banging via the top hole - and made a fairly nice bulge! The edges weren't very clean, but I reasoned that if I opened the top hole up a bit more, that would give me access to the edge, and I will be able to bang on the edge a bit more, defining it better.
Ha! No. Same stuff.. I was able to make a fairly nice bulge, but the edge will be all "torn" and ugly.
Bulge is there, but the edge is god awful
I also tried putting a profile on the bottom, "die" plate of the jig, with a very sharp edge and curvature under it.
No luck. I think I spent a couple hours, making over ten "bulges" and trying different hammering techniques...
All those tries.
The Two Hammers
So I gave up, and emailed Bill Rose, the gentleman who gave me all the SolidWorks parts for standard HW, and, in general, helps me a bunch with my silly SWX and other questions, for advice.
Bill suggested using MDF for the jig instead of oak. Apparently, irregularities in wood grain would make it hard to define the edges uniformely. He also suggested using corking tools akin a big "chisel" on the edges to better define them.
..and.. it worked!
The third jig is ugly, but it works. Upper hole is enlarged just to get access to the edges (I didn't bother making the top hole concentric with the bottom or even round; there was no need).
The third jig
I used the two-headed plastic/rubber hammer's rubber head as a corking tool, lightly hitting it with the plastic mallet, and having it slide from the edge into the center of the bulge.
This bulge still has some "orange peel" on it and needs to be smoothed out, but the edges are very well defined!
Check out those edges!
But of course, I screwed up again - the hole in the bottom, "die" plate of the jig, is of a wrong diameter (I used the wrong holesaw). But hey, at least I think I figured that technique out!
Good evening in the shop tonight :).
He who sees first, lives longest.
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This website only shows how I did things in my various projects. These pages are for information and personal entertainment only and not to be construed as the only way, or even the perceived correct way of doing things. You are responsible for your own safety and techniques.