Friday, October 16, 2009


Although it was an abbreviated work week after taking Monday and Tuesday off, it felt like a full week. The first day back after even just a couple of days off is stressful as pent up demand for my services hits full force as soon as co-workers start coming in, but even after burning all of Wednesday getting caught up I was able to get some good work accomplished. I'm in the middle of at least a half dozen long- and short-term projects, but with only two full working days left in the week I concentrated on small stuff.

Even with only two days to spend I got two new customer-facing reports done, and the technology I'm using for these (Microsoft C# and Crystal Reports to programmatically generate PDF files, if you must know) is somewhat brittle so any progress at all is gratifying. These particular reports turned out very well, if I do say so myself, and I'm particularly proud of the one I did today. The one I did yesterday was mostly to spec, although a clever two-line approach for each data row that I came up with answered a thorny issue having to do with horizontal page space. The one I did today was my own idea, and although it used the same data as the other report, it presented it in an entirely new way that garnered a few of the "oohs" and "ahs" that IT folks just live for.

Somewhere during the half hour commute home I went through my daily transition from SME (subject matter expert) to VI (village idiot). In this case, the transition to "airplane builder" was especially jarring. You see, I'm very much still in head scratching mode. I look at the plans and instructions with the same level of comprehension my dog Hogarth demonstrates when he sees me perform what to him are the minor miracles of turning darkness to light and summoning forth water on demand.

So, here's where we're working:

The red ellipse is around the rear spar of the vertical stabilizer. You might also call it the tail fin. The blue ellipse is around the part that I worked on tonight, the VS-1212A Lower Spar Cap. The VS-1212A and VS-1212B come in one big part called the VS-1212. The VS-1212 has to be separated into the A and B components. That's pretty easy; I just cut them apart with tin snips and filed the leftover tabs off. The part that had me perplexed was this:

"Remove Area Shown Hatched" is pretty easy to understand, but what I didn't know was where to draw the line, so to speak. There were no markings on the part to show where to stop removing metal:

Once metal is removed, it's darn hard to put back on, so I wanted to think about it awhile! After staring at it for awhile, I decided that I could just use a straight edge to continue the slanted edge all the way down to the end of the part like so:

Then I just traced a line with a Sharpie marker:

Once that was done, it was just a matter of clamping it to the table and filing it down to the line:

There are a still lot of rough edges to be deburred, but I clamped it into place on the spar just to see if it looked reasonably right:

I'll either deburr it tonight or wait until tomorrow morning. Once it's deburred, it has to be drilled to match the holes pre-drilled by Van's into the spar. That should be pretty straight forward. I hope to have it done before noon when I will sit down to watch THE Ohio $tate Buckeye$ play the Purdue Boilermakers.

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