Thanks, Jim!

I finally had some time today for more work. Got the rest of the HS-405 and -702 match-drilled, and clecoed the HS-710 and -714 in preparation for drilling all these parts, plus the HS-404 nose ribs, in assembly. I don’t have an angle drill, and was in a quandry about how best to drill these parts. Even though I measured everything precisely, I was also concerned about having the proper edge distance on all these parts when drilled together. Thanks to some advice from Jim Smith, I managed to get the job done with a 12-inch #30 bit – thanks, Jim!

Drilling is done – and the edge distances look ok. Closest margin is the HS-710 to -405 hole, where the edge distance is just slightly over 1/4″ from the hole center to the edge. The technique I used to lay out the center HS-404 and -405 holes seems to have worked well.

The goal for tomorrow is to finish match-drilling the entire HS left side, then fit the right HS frame to its skin.

Thumbs-up from Van’s

Not much progress recently, a rather tough weekend around the house. Before I finished up the HS left side, I wanted to make sure that the HS-702 tab seen here – left with a smaller edge radius where the excess flange radius was removed – wasn’t too sharp. I emailed Van’s with some pictures, and they gave me the thumbs-up.

One tricky area I encountered was how to drill the HS-405 front flange, and trim the HS-404 aft flange, so that when the two are drilled together all holes have the proper edge distance. Based on newsgroup emails, this area has been a problem for others as well. So, I cut two strips of scrap 0.032″ aluminum and clamped them to the -404 and -405, as a sort of simulated HS skin. I marked the HS-404 flange edges on the -405 and used those marks, plus a little margin for error, to lay out the two center #40 holes called for in the plans. If you use this approach, be sure to pull the -404’s flange tight against the -405 after they are clamped together.

Visible progress

Finally, some visible progress! I match-drilled the left HS frame, then deburred the resulting holes. Those 12-inch #30 drill bits I bought eleven years ago finally got some use. The frame was reassembled and with Ellen’s help, the skin was fitted to it. I found that this process is much easier if you can get one or two clecoes in the nose ribs, since that’s where the fit is worst initially.

I’m so happy to have something that resembles an airplane part that I’m throwing in another picture. Note that I’ve slipped in the HS-405 just for grins. I haven’t drilled its forward flange holes yet, and won’t until the new HS-404s arrive, are trimmed, and are test-fitted to the -405s to verify proper edge distance on the web holes.

The only slight hiccup in this process was getting the HS-707 nose rib (the one at mid-span) holes to align with the skin. This rib fits into the leading edge at an angle, and the rib flanges won’t fit easily into the skin. If you’re not there yet, take your time and try to get the flanges as aligned with the skin as possible as you insert the frame into the skin.

Pictures are courtesy of Tracy Murphy, generous co-worker and friend, who lent me his spare digital camera while the Post Office finds mine. Movie of the day was “Goldmember” – yeah, baby!

New rule

No pix today, but then again there isn’t much to write about. I dorqued up one of the HS-404 inboard nose ribs while trying to cut it with a bandsaw. New rule – no cutting, drilling or power tool use after a 12-hour workday. I did, however, cleco the left HS frame together – no damage, and there was much rejoicing. Yea.

HS ribs deburred and fluted

Not too much done today, but I did manage to get the HS ribs deburred and fluted. As a check of my fluting skills, I clecoed a couple of interior ribs to a HS skin. Everything lined up very nicely…guess these pre-punched kits work pretty well.

The workshop computer has a DVD player in it, and today’s movie selection was ‘The Battle of Britain.’ Of course I can’t really watch the movie while I’m working, but the sound of all those piston engines is pretty motivating. Too bad the RV-7 won’t take a Merlin…

First major screw up

Still no pictures – hopefully the camera will be back soon.

Realized this morning that I’d made my first major screw up. Last night I misread the plans and bent the HS-710 spar reinforcement splice in the wrong places – 2.5″ from the ends, rather than 5 3/16″ from the centerline. Oh well – a new part is $20, but I’ll lose several days waiting for it to be delivered. I did manage to bend the -714 in the right place, though.

Meanwhile, I measured, drilled and trimmed away extra flange material on the HS-702s. Not too many problems. Then I dimpled/countersunk the -702 and -714. Again, not too many problems.

Camera troubles

My trusty Olympus digital camera proved not to be so trusty – so no pictures until it gets fixed.

Not much done today, just priming the VA-146 and riveting it and the HS-411s with my pneumatic squeezer. I’ve had the squeezer for two years now – it’s good to finally use it! Before squeezing I installed the Avery adjustable squeezer set – worked great.

Slow progress

Progress has been really slow recently. I’ve had only a little time for building. After deciding to get over the minor (less than 1/32″) offset in the rear spar channels, I match-drilled and cleco the rear spar.

Following that, I clecoed and match-drilled the HS-412 and HS-413 brackets. As you can see from the dental floss I strung through the hinge line, the prepunched parts lined up pretty well.

Then I clamped the HS-411 bearing brackets around the VA-146 bearing, clecoed the whole assembly to the spar, and match-drilled the bearing rivet holes. A #40 punch helped align and center the -146 holes with the predrilled HS-411.

Flange strips are finished

Georgia, our on-site QC inspector, has noted several errors in Van’s plans. Unfortunately, she can’t tell us where they are.

Georgia, our on-site QC inspector, has noted several errors in Van’s plans. Unfortunately, she can’t tell us where they are. I’ve been playing with the ExperimentalAero DRDT-2…I think it’s gonna be a worthwhile investment. As I learn more about it, I’ll post information here.

The flange strips are finished, and I started fitting them in the spar channels. Progress is slow, too many things going on in the evenings and on the weekends. I played with the spar channel alignment while clecoing, because the the channels seem to be offset by about 1/32″. Is this significant? I don’t know. If you’re reading this and have some insight into how well the prepunched parts line up, I’d appreciate some feedback.

And so it begins

And so it begins…after two months of intermittent shop work, floor painting, bench building and part counting, I finally generated some metal shavings! Got the HS spar flange strips filed so that they fit snugly against the spar channels’ curved corners.

There were some rather deep milling/clamping marks and scratches in the flange strips when they arrived with the kit. Of course, the plans say that you should remove all scratches, no matter how small. Just to understand what the real tolerances are, I called Van’s. Their words – if you can drag a fingernail across the scratch and your nail doesn’t get stuck in it, it’s ok.