Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good day, part 2: The *Revenge!

*Disclaimer: no actual revenge took place in the day described in this post.

Dad came over for another afternoon of productive plane building today. We started (and finished) putting together the frame for the vertical stabilizer. We then cleaned up the skin I had previously cut out (it needed some deburring and trimming).

Next was one of those parts where I’m never sure I’m ready to dive in, but we went ahead. We put the bend in the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer skin, using the method shown in the Sonex builder’s manual: taking a big piece of 2x4 and pressing down on the skin. It worked like a freakin’ charm! A very nice bend was made. We then started working on fitting the skin to the frame. This was definitely a two-person job. There’s a lot of tension on the skin as you stretch it over the frame.

We drilled a slew of holes, put in a slew of clecoes, flipped the stabilizer over, did more holes and clecoes.

I need more clecoes. I’m ordering some tomorrow.

Most everything matched up great. It is pretty amazing to build various parts, following the plans, and then when you put them together you’ve got a line of holes that follow exactly that piece of channel you just riveted in place. You know that’s what’s supposed to happen, but it still is pretty cool when it actually works.

I said “most everything” matched up great. My bottom cross-piece on the vertical stabilizer frame had flanges that were nominally the right width, but ended up being a little too short and missing some of the holes in the skin. I had to take it out and refabricate it with wider flanges. That did the trick and we were back in business.

You know what is way more fun than fabricating individual parts that by themselves look nothing like part of an airplane? Everything we worked on this weekend.

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Look! It’s a piece of a plane!

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