Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Help, just when I needed it most

Co-pilot Egg and Mr. Case helped me finish up the wing rack a couple of days ago so the work benches are now clear for starting the flaperons. Which, as it turns out, has only exacerbated other space issues.

Yeah, just try to fly that thing now!

I had new help for the flaperons. My new helper (who I will call 'Harley' because everyone here gets a nickname) is keen on airplanes and is fascinated by the construction process. Unfortunately, I invited him to come over on a horrible night. And I don't say that because it was pouring down rain. I say that because the first steps of the flaperon section are horribly boring, at least for anyone expecting to assemble stuff. Nope, the first step is one of those head-scratching fabrication jobs that involves a lot of measuring, cutting, swearing, and drilling.

I don't mind these jobs, actually. They're a fun challenge, but there is one little thing that confuses me. I simply cannot figure out why Van's insists on every measurement being an odd nominator on top of a '32' denominator. The measurements are all 17/32" or 21/32" and the like. This might just be me, but I can't measure and cut to 1/32" inch. I suspect that the saw blade is wider than that! Since the 1/32" is a throw-away anyway, why couldn't they go for 16/32" or 18/32", either of which are easily reduced to more workable numbers? I'd rather reduce 16/32" to 1/2" or 18/32" to 9/16" to be perfectly honest. I'd sleep better if nothing else.

So, rather than embarrass myself with blank stares and head scratching in front of Harley, I punted. Next page!

The big tube is stainless steel and is intended to act as a counter weight on the flaperons. It has something to do with control flutter, I think. It doesn't matter, really. "Mine is not to question why..." I'll not continue that quote; it's a little too close to the mark.

Here's the thing about the tube: it's stainless steel, and it needs to be match drilled. And that, my friends, is no mean feat. Match drilling into aluminum is not my favorite thing; match drilling into a nearly impermeable material was bound to be a real treat! The first step was to get the tube positioned.

Then the first hole! I started with a very small bit (#46 since I've already broken every bit between #41 and #46) to get a good indentation to hold the #30 bit, then went at it with everything I've got, that being the air drill, some Boelube, and a great deal of pressure. This is where having Harley there to hold everything still while I shoved on it with a power tool was a tremendous help. Honestly, I don't think I could have done it without him.

Here's something I almost missed. If I hadn't read ahead and seen a directive to remove the #40 clecos before match drilling into the little ribs, I wouldn't have noticed that I needed to have them in there in the first place.

After drilling all of those holes into the tube (I think there were eight or ten, at least), drilling into those aluminum ribs was sure easy!

No comments:

Post a Comment