Sunday, March 4, 2018

Fuselage Taking Shape

Holidays and work projects really slowed down my posts, but I made some good progress on the front of the fuselage.  Another Saturday, and I should be ready to start building the rear fuselage.

I received the bulkheads from Greg Westberry a while back, but I kept them in the box until now.  I'm really glad I bought these because each shape would have required two custom cut blocks to form them (The pieces that look like "O"s are made up of 4 pieces each).  So it saved me from creating and hammering on 46 custom blocks.  Unfortunately, Greg has stopped making these.  Hopefully, someone else with a shop will jump in and take over.

Mounted the firewall supports (will have to drill these out because the rivets are facing the wrong way.  Not a bid deal, but I want them the other way).

Breathed some new life into an old computer and added it to the shop.  It's a big help for looking up parts and other's pictures, but Youtube keeps sucking me in!

Lower Longeron Work (There's a great document on the Yahoo group Files called "Lower Stringer" that helps with bending these).

The brackets to attach the lower longerons to the spar.

Getting somewhere

Making airplane noises

Bending and cutting the upper longeron.  The bandsaw was a big help here.  Watch that your circle doesn't cut into the longeron since this part will be visible when you open the canopy.  I ruined one by cutting 1/2" in.  If you look at the plans, it says "no more than".

After lots of grunting and swearing the rough cuts and bends look good temporarily set in place.

Finishing them

After (I need to cut this down and bend inward on the trailing edge, but I will do that once I see the aft fuselage setup).

All squared up with temporary supports holding up F6 (Seat back).  It feels pretty solid.  You can also see the 1/4" bar stock supporting the inside of the lower longeron.  Second picture shows more.

Closer shot with the vertical 3/4 angle in place and F3 bulkhead temporarily clamped in place.

Most everything is clamped together for fitting before I drill and bolt everything in place.  More to come, but I'm tired now!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Hurricanes, a Left Wing, a Change of Plans, New Tool, 3d Printing, and Beginning the Fuselage

That's quite the title, but it's been a really long time since I've updated this log, and a lot has happened.

Hurricane Irma

We live in the Tampa Bay area, and Irma was originally heading our way.  It's never good when your weather man makes this face...

So, I put a halt to building, stacked anything important on top of my workbench in case we got any flooding, secured the garage door with some 2x4's, and hit the road to Charlotte.  The storm took a last minute turn, and my CX4 project lived to see another day.

Left Wing Progress

The left wing is basically done.  I'm leaving the trailing edge off until I have the ailerons so I can make sure the trailing edge of the aileron lines up with the trailing edge of the wing tip.  Here are a few pictures, but basically the same thing as the first wing but on the left side.  I decided to cut the hole in the left wing for pitot static hardware later as mentioned in the build manual.  I'm wondering if it would have been easier to fit the parts while the wing was open.  I guess I'll find out.

Also, the change of plans part of the title is that I decided to buy the ailerons from Greg Westberry.  I don't think mine are right (they don't fit the aileron ribs from the plans), and to rent a truck and a bending brake is almost the cost of the parts minus shipping.  I'll have a separate section for all of the parts I bought from Greg in case anyone is interested.

New Bending Brake

I needed to make a new left wing tip spar, and decided to pick up the Harbor Freight bending brake.  So far, I'm very happy with it!  Here I taped on some bent 020 to increase the bend radius so I don't work harden the material.

Playing around

3D Printing

I have a small 3D printer, and I hope to find ways to use it on this project.  I was thinking the air vent might be a good fit for 3d printing.  Anyhow, I needed to make a new Scotchbrite wheel fit my drill press for deburring.  So I drew up a part, printed it, and it worked really well.  It took about 20 minutes from drawing the part to final product.

Highly recommend the Scotchbrite wheel for deburring.

Starting the Fuselage

The pictures speak for themselves.  The best part was bolting the wings together.  24' is pretty long in a single car garage!

Louie makes an appearance with the forming block...

The seat...

So cool to see the wings bolted on.

And the wings stacked and stored so I can work on the fuselage now...

A present for my dad

I went to Ohio State (forever ago!), and I wanted to get my dad a block-o for his outside bar.  It turns out that no one really makes a good one.  So I decided to use some 6061 and make him one that will hold up.  I was happy with the results...

More to come, but time for a xmas party with the friends...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Main Portion of Left Wing Done

I get to mark another section on my progress map green today!  The main part of the left wing is complete.

Again, nothing new here from the right wing, so I'll point you there for details.

Here is a shot (albeit not a good one!) of the completed wing section with most of the wingtip parts and the aileron laid out.  If you look at the top of the picture you can see how I'm storing the right wing while I work.  I found out a selfie stick we received as a gag gift is actually great for referencing decisions made on the first wing to make sure the two wings are identical.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Trailing edge ribs mounted

I mounted the leading edge skin and made the trailing edge ribs on the 4th.  Today, I mounted the trailing edge ribs to the spar.

I spent the majority of the day trying to make the garage functional.  It was a mess!  Here is a panoramic shot in case any one is curious what building in a one car garage is like (Sorry for the fisheye look).  On the upper left side, you can barely see where I have the right wing on a shelf while I build the left wing.

Also a shout out to the guys at for the entertainment while I build.  It's about the RC world, but I recommend checking out the full scale Pietenpol episode and the paramotor series.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Left Leading Edge Update

Able to get the left leading edge skin and ribs ready for riveting the skin on with the pitot static lines ran.  Just a quick pic today.  See the right wing posts for details.

Some notes:  I do recommend drilling from the leading edge towards the spar on this part.  This way, you can keep "pulling" the skin tight.  I did a few holes on one rib by starting in the middle and working toward the leading edge, but this left the skin and rib far apart, and made the cleco want to dent the skin.  Had to make rib #2 again and replace it.  I also found that 2x4's and clamps/straps are really helpful to get the skin set up like you want it before drilling.  Don't forget to make the distance from the spar to the leading edge match the other wing you made too!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Left Wing Nose Ribs Attached to Spar

We're back from our honeymoon, and I managed to find 5 hours today to remake a nose rib that had some flaws and drill and rivet all ribs to the spar.  Pretty much the same process as before, but here are some pics.  See the right wing posts for more detail.

Me drilling out the holes to mount the ribs.

Ribs mounted to the spar.

Poly tube in place for future wingtip wire if I choose to add tip lights.

Me and the "old ball and chain" in Sonoma (Don't get nervous, she knows my sense of humor).  Highly recommend a trip if you haven't been.

Next step is to bend and drill the leading edge skin.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Left Wing Nose Ribs

Finished the last nose rib for the left wing today.  Same as the right wing so just a quick snapshot of them sitting in place...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Left Wing Ribs

Made two left wings ribs today...and one accidental right wing rib because I bent the flanges the wrong way.  Her is my plan to make sure that doesn't happen again:

Also, just a reminder that the first two inboard ribs are shorter because of the extra material near the wing root.  Look closely at this picture to see what I mean.  The 3rd nose rib is full size.

Two down...

Monday, April 10, 2017

Left Spar Progress

After a little Sun-n-Fun motivation, I got back in the garage.  Today I finished making the left spar rib brackets and mounted them.  Nothing different than the right wing here.  I used two washers on each bolt (one on bolt head and one on nut end).  I used a little blue Locktite again.  There is some debate about using this with nylon locknuts, but I know others have used it, so I'm following their lead.

I got to meet Glen Bradley (CX Yahoo Group) and Patrick Panzera (of CONTACT! magazine).  Both great guys!

Also, I saw the SPA Panther up close and personal.  That's a nice plane, and Dan seems like a good guy.  Might have my eye on one of those in the future.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Right Wing Shelf - Shop Stuff

One of the "joys" of building in a one-car garage is creative/careful use of space.  Today I extended the shelf above the garage door to store the right wing while I build the the rest of the plane.  It's made out of scrap wood I had laying around. It isn't pretty, but it works!  Now I can start the left wing.  I'm not 100% where the left one will go while I build the fuselage, but we'll figure that out later.

I managed to wrestle this up there by myself!

They say at some point everyone gets overwhelmed with the project.  Starring at the left wing spar is that moment for me.  I have to build another one?!  Oh well, all for the greater good, and hopefully this will be quicker with all of the lessons learned on the first wing!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wing Tip Leading Edge - RIGHT WING DONE!

The right wing is done!

I fit, drilled and riveted the right wingtip's leading edge.  This was a bear, and I'm not sure I have any great advice here.  I would cut the part big and trim later.  I did find that masking tape helped me to hold things in place while I lined things up.  If you bought the fiberglass tips like I did, you'll want to get that out to make sure everything lines up.  I also focused on the top first, then the bottom when drilling.  I then removed the part and trimmed the excess off the tip and root ends.