Saturday, January 29, 2011

That dog might be onto something...

It's been a relatively easy winter this year with respect to snow and ice storms, and even the temperatures seem friendlier than last year. But...

This has to be the grayest winter ever. I can't remember the last time I've seen anything more than a sliver of blue sky. Today was no different; 35 degrees under gray, hazy skies, and a wind chill of much lower than 35 degrees as a result of the 11 - 14 mph winds. It's so depressing that I strongly considered following Brave Sir Hogarth's lead and just crawling back into bed. Well, my bed, not his. But even so, he sure does make it look comfortable!

I couldn't do it, though. I'm still in the middle of a step in the plans and that tends to encourage me to get out to the hangar and get through that step. It's the purgatory-like feeling of betweenness that does it, I suppose, but I just can't stand leaving a step partially completed. Before going out to rivet the stepping area doubler onto the top of the wing, I decided to check around on the internet and see if there was a better way of handling the situation with trying to break the leading edge of the double, given that it has a row of pre-dimpled holes in it that precludes the use of the normal tool. I had tried putting the doubler in my vise and simply bending the edge a little bit, and while that seemed to work, it also seemed to be a little too brute force to be comfortable.

I found an answer on Torsten's blog:
I decided to work around the problem of the pre-dimpled holes by clamping the doubler in a vise with wood as a buffer and bent it right behind the line of rivet holes, about 3/8" from the edge. This worked pretty well and a visible crease was created that ensured that once the rivets were set, the edge would still be in touch with the skin.
So there ya be! Good enough for T, good enough for me!

Before I clecoed the doubler onto the top skin, I checked the adhesion of the new primer I'm using. This primer isn't self-etching like the other stuff is, so I was afraid that it might flake off. That didn't appear to be a problem, though. It was a nice, tough finish. And according to the fellow at Napa, this stuff should provide better corrosion protection than the other stuff. His opinion was that the other stuff was better if you were going to paint on top of it, but for an interior part that was never going to see a top coat the Zincrom was the better choice. Of course, the Napa guy has never built an airplane so he may be completely off base. On the other hand, I don't work at Napa and am by no means an expert on the topic myself. In any event, some protection has to be better than no protection, so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

The bend that I made using the vise must have been adequate because the edge of the doubler fit right up snug against the top skin. Well, the bottom part of the top skin, to be completely precise.

That doubler was apparently the last thing keeping me from riveting the rest of the top skins, so at the urging of the wonderful folks at Van's, I pressed on with that.

I still have an inspection panel to install and the wing tip to do before I can call this wing done and start on the next one, but even at this stage I have completed an aerodynamic form that, if I was capable of propelling it though the air at 100 mph, would be capable of lifting 10 times its own weight. That feels momentous, somehow. I decided to commemorate the event with a nice self portrait.


Rick Lee said...

It's really starting to look airplaney.

Leon said...

not to be negative but i find this background very difficult to read.

Torsten said...

Hm.... was it wise of me to not proof read my own blog and have you quote me writing 'wise' instead of 'vise'? Not so much, I guess. I fixed this in the blog so to not confuse more people :-).
This bending step would have been so much easier if Van's hadn't tried to help by dimpling those holes that could have easily dimpled by us - AFTER bending the edge that is.

DaveG said...

I didn't notice the typo - I went ahead and fixed it here too.

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