Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My new addiction

I'm going to have to look up the location of the nearest DUA. That's Dremel Users Anonymous, for those of you fortunate enough to have not become addicted to the power one wields when using a cutting wheel spinning faster than a Formula 1 racing engine. I hear there are two types of program available for treatment of the addiction: the normal 12 step process, and for a few bucks more, a variable speed program.

I tried to quit cold turkey tonight. Really, I did! I even picked up the hacksaw and tried to use it, but...

I'm getting ahead of things. The job for tonight was to cut, fit, and install the hinges that will be used to hold the seat backs. These hinges are really nothing more than strips of aluminum with interlocking hoops through which a piece of piano wire gets threaded. Vans airplanes use them for all sorts of things, up to and including holding the fiberglass engine cowls in place. The number of places that they are used as attachments probably rivals the number of locations where they are used to actually, you know, hinge things in the more traditional sense.

The seat back attachments actually do both. Their primary purpose is to hold the seat back in place, but it is convenient that the seat backs will pivot forward a little bit when it comes time to reach behind them for the wing attachment pins. The hinge material comes in various lengths and is simply (well, not so simply as it turns out) cut to the length you need. I needed four 10" lengths. The reason for four rather than two (one for each seat back) is to allow for a little bit of adjustability. Not much, truth be told, but some.

I measured out the 10" lengths and marked a couple of the hoops that were to be removed:

A hole gets drilled in each piece 1/4" in from the horizontal and vertical edges of one side. You might be able to see the dot where I marked one of the locations.

With the measuring and marking done, the band saw would make easy work of cutting the 10" lengths. Or it would have, if I didn't own a 9" band saw.

An inch too short. Again. Story of my life. I'm hear to tell you, it has been my experience in life that size does matter. Not to worry, though, as I still have my trusty hacksaw. But boy oh boy was that taking a long time, and there was that luscious Dremel sitting right there, just calling out for me to pick it up and cut, cut, CUT!

Lord help me, I did.

And I liked it! Is that so wrong? I can quit any time. I swear it!

I drilled the holes and used them to cleco each of the hinges to the cockpit floors. The idea was to then turn the floors over and line the holes up with a line that had been drawn horizontally along the other side of the hinge. Then the existing holes in the floors would be used to match drill the hinges.

It was easy enough to see the line through the holes, but not so easy to figure out a way to secure the position of the hinge while I match drilled it. When you consider that I believe match drilling to be the best way on earth to create two holes that don't line up ever again, you can understand why I wanted to be sure that the hinge wouldn't move while I was drilling it. The best I could do was a big spring clamp.

Between the clamp and a block of scrap wood that I put under the floor to give me something to press against, the drilling went OK.

On the other floor, though...

The clamp wouldn't reach. All I could do was try to hold the hinge in place long enough to get a second hole drilled and clecoed.

I was going to keep going, but the next step was to dimple and install more nutplates.

Yeah. Not tonight. Maybe if you could do that with a Dremel...

I did trial fit the floors to the rib sections I've been building for the last few days, though. Just to see what all of the fuss has been about.

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