Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Fuel tanks

Did some work to the fuel tanks over the weekend and finished them last night.

First part of the job is putting copper tape in a grid pattern around the whole tank.

I found the best technique with the tape was to pull quite hard on it (towards you) with one hand while sticking down with the other hand. This way you avoid any air bubbles or wrinkles forming in the tape. Works well going round the corners too.

After that you have to solder all the joins otherwise the sticky part of the tape would not make a good contact with the section of tape underneath it. Be careful with the soldering iron not to burn a hole in your tank. I found it better to make a connection quickly then go back and tidy the solder up with the iron afterwards.

You don't want the solder sitting up too much as the tank needs to bond into the wing later and a mound of solder would make a void between the tank and wing.

Finally an earthing wire must be connected to the grid. This will be connected to the earth on the engine mount much later on.

The other work I did over the weekend was taking some more peel ply off the flaps and rudder plus bonding some 40mm fiberglass to one of the aileron control pushrods (more about that later).

I won't be posting again for a week or so as I am off to Belgium for the Formula One Grand Prix at Spa this weekend.

One tank and the panel of parts for both tanks

Make lots of pencil marks for the tape and make sure to avoid the fuel cap area

One tank taped with copper

All joins soldered and the earthing wire in place ready to be joined

Both tanks done
Peel ply removed from both flaps and rudder

Aileron control pushrod bonded with fiberglass tape

Friday, 19 August 2011

Work update

I spent a couple of nights this week working on the tailplanes some more.

Seemed to make a much better job of taping the joints on the rear than I did first time round on my 'training day'.

First off a seam of cotton flox is run down each join to make a smooth 5mm radius (fiberglass does not bond to sharp edges).

4 hours down, 1,496 to go!

Tailplane set up on trestles ready for work

25mm fiberglass 'tape' bonded down each side of the rib.
X - marks the peel ply that must be removed from leading edge
Peel ply coming off - once it's started it's dead easy to remove
All peel ply removed ready for sanding now
Leading edge sanded so all the sharp edges are removed
All the parts for each section come in these shrink wrapped panels

Carbon panel with ribs already mostly cut out on machine

The Dremel makes short work of cutting them out.

Have to remove this micro (brown stuff) back to 10mm for the rib

Wing is roughly the right shape of the rib - will close up a bit when bonded

WARNING - Objects in canopy are closer than they appear.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

How long?

People keep asking me how long it's going to take.

The answer I give is 2 years (hopefully). But 3 years if that's what it takes to do the job properly.

Someone who really knows what they are doing and is in a rush could do it in 500 hours (but you wouldn't have a nice plane at the end of it).

Realistically it is more like 1,000 to 1,500 hours.

So I am conservatively figuring on doing 2 nights a week, on weeknights, of 2 hours duration each. Then one day on the weekend of 8 hours duration.

After two years this is roughly 1,200 hours.

So somewhere between 2 and 3 years should see it finished.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Training Day

Not quite the Ethan Hawke/Denzel relationship but last Thursday was my 'Training Day' with Pete.

I spent a good deal of it peeling off the Peel Ply from the fuselage and sanding down the ridge at the joins. This is prior to reinforcing the seams with fiberglass 'tape'. Peel ply is a non-adhering tape that when removed leaves the surface in a prepared state for further bonding.

After that I bonded some fiberglass 'tape' on the tailplanes. All in all a good day and I learned loads.

Removing the Peel Ply on the fin

Sanding down the leading edge of a tailplane

Don't do what I did - sand too much and go through to the honeycomb!

Leading edge reinforced with fiberglass tape (and honeycomb fixed)

Finished with a layer of peel ply (red stripes).

Twister Duo and B-17 'Sally-B'

The aluminium overcast and a couple of plastic fantastics.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Pick up!

Well, I made it.

22 hours of driving later...

Pete very kindly lent me his trailer - which is built for the job but is rather large - it was like towing a giant airbrake.

Fuel average - 19.8 MPG

The fuselage will be stored up at Pete's while I work on the wings and tail.

Waiting at Folkestone to board the Eurotunnel.

Ahhhh it's raining - we must be in Belgium.
Martin loading the wings.
Matthias taping on canopy

All in and secure.

Everything in my garage.  Fuselage fits with 10cm to spare!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Finnish Air Museum

I had a couple of hours to kill at Helsinki airport before my flight home so I visited this excellent museum.

Lots of rare types there which I had not heard of before.

Pics are: Pik20 prototype, 2nd oldest Finnish built aircraft and the world's smallest flying boat.