« Archives in September, 2005

Learn to count.

This is evidence of the fact that I can’t count holes, and should have been looking for a pattern. the Left HS hinge brackets not only have the manufactured heads on the wrong side, they’re in the wrong place as well.. The outboard bracket is ten, count ’em TEN holes from the end of the reinforcing bar. This bracket is at nine. Grr. Double Grr. So today I decided to drill out and redo the rivets, because something tells me I don’t want this particular sandwich to lose its tomato in flight. So drill them out I did, but this is where the double-grr comes in. I put them back on exactly as they came off, but not before I realized the position was wrong. So I drilled them out again. Rivets don’t like to come out of that angle steel nearly as easily as they pop out of aluminum, so I had to drill them out, and in doing so, enlarged the holes past the point of being able to safely take a rivet. Fmmkgrmmbllefffmk. Just ordered my first oops parts from Van’s. I’ll take a couple of HS412-PP’s to go, thanks.

Optimus Prime.

6 Hours
Ahh. Significant progress, finally. Today, I actually RIVETED SOMETHING! But I’ve got some pics here, so I’ll just go through them.

This is the VS bits, ready for prep, and the big giant bitchin tool chest upon which they sit is already worth its weight in, uh, stainless steel. The drawer that’s open there is the drill drawer.

First evidence of priming. For the record, I HATE priming. It sucks. I’m going to prime as little as possible, because it’s messy, complicated, time-consuming, environmentally unsound, and hazardous to your health. I’m going to put my faith in Alclad where it exists, because it’s going to be a better protector of metal than any prime job that I’ll give it. Having said that though, I found a nice primer that’s real close to the color of the dropship and the APC in James Cameron’s “Aliens.”

Some more bits. I remember reading in the construction manual somewhere that it’s OK to scribe part designations into the metal. That’s what I did, because this nice, friendly, USCM-issue self-etching primer covered up the sharpie marks pretty well.

The blue thing in the upper left corner is the Rose Bowl swap-meet HVLP gun I picked up for 28 bucks. The manual was interesting; it read like it was translated from another language by a computer and transcribed manually by someone who spoke a different language altogether. Didn’t matter though. It didn’t leak and shot half-decent paint, after some work dialing it in. That’s what the various patterns below the dartboard are.

OK, here’s everything, looking good, let’s rivet it… Crap.

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s dig the HS reinforcement bars out from behind all the other crap and paint them too. Grr.

First Rivets! Well, second rivets. And they’re WrONG! yippeee! Supposed to put the shop head on the side with the thicker material. But I used my lifeline. Dan C said it’s probably OK to do it this way as long as the metal on the other side doesn’t get distorted, which it didn’t, except for one rivet, which I later drilled out and re-did. That little sharpie graffito there that says “Every Move a Picture” is a band I heard on the radio, and I didn’t want to forget what it was so I wrote it down on the worktable. It’s good stuff, sounds a little bit like Joy Division without the death, New Order without the whine, and early Duran Duran without the hairspray.

Smiles, everyone, Smiles! Still riveting arse-backwards at this point.

Hey, now that’s got it! Thanks Dan! using the C-frame actually kind of rocks.. almost hands-free, but I think it’s now time to revisit the pneumatic squeezer, squeezer sets, and squeezer yokes. I’ll need to pick up the adjustable piston, a few flat and cupped sets, and a couple of yokes, namely the 4″ and the longeron yoke.

Here, we’re looking at the aft HS spar put together (except for 2 bad rivets I have to drill out) and the beginnings of the forward HS spar.

And here’s the HS spars, riveted! badda boom, baby.

VS skin, ribs, and spars deburred/dimpled

2 Hours
With a working Burraway, I finished deburring and dimpling all the VS ribs, skin, and spars. Also went to the paint store and got some self-etching primer, plus some solvent wash. Still need to deburr the VS skin edges. Raining today, so painting’s out. This sucks, I wanted to be riveting the HS and VS skeletons by this afternoon.

The Burraway and Other Animals

A side note on the Burraway. What happened originally was that I snapped the blade in half trying to mess with the tension bolt in the end of the tool. So then I had to change out the blade. If you recall, there is a pin that goes through the shank of the tool that holds the blade in place, and it’s one of those tension pins that’s basically a metal tube split down the length so as to put tension on the hole it’s inserted in and to hold the blade in place. You find them more often in things like watches. Well, when I drove this thing out to replace the blade, I didn’t really have the type of precision tool to do this correctly, so I raided my wife’s sewing gear (her craft room rivals my airplane factory in complexity and scope) and used a big sewing needle to push the pin out. This was all dandy, except with the new blade in, I couldn’t compress the tube-pin and get it back in the hole. Enter the needlenose pliers. Small ones, but not small enough. I managed to mangle the pin quite nicely before trying to shove it back in there. Of course, now I was hosed. 2 spare blades, no way to secure them to the Burraway’s shank. Actually, Cogsdill Tool recommends replacing the entire fitting and keeping the arbor, which is where the tension spring and pin are. Unfortunately for both Cogsdill and me, MSC carries either the blade or the whole tool, but not just the shank-blade part in assembled form.
It’s amazing how the monkeybrain works sometimes. I was standing there in the garage, when the idea hit me like a 1x4x9 monolith. The sewing needle I used to push the tension pin out of the shank was about to get repurposed. With the needle through the blade and the shank, I put the whole tool back together and it worked, since the spring tension on the blade was enough to hold it steady in the hole and let the blade work properly. Woohoo! Success. Except now I had two great lengths of needle sticking out to either side, which probably would have been all right if I was careful enough, but a sewing needle spinning at 3000 rpm somewhere near where I’m putting my hand to hold work steady wasn’t totally cool with me. Enter the wire cutters. With these, I cut off the needle as close to the shank as I could, but there was still a little bit sticking out, which went away with a little bit of Dremel work. I was ready to go. I tightened everything back down, but something must have come loose, causing the pin to fall out and the blade to go pinging across the garage, never to be seen again. It looks like a metal shaving, so lotsa luck finding it. No matter. I had another spare blade. Repeated the above process, and this time it worked great! My Burraway was back online. The idea with this thing is to keep it from carving away too much metal, and you want to put just enough tension on the blade so that it compresses after it’s removed the burrs and made the chamfer. Too much tension and it makes a #30 hole out of a #40. Not enough and you still got burrs. Too much tension also has the effect of snapping the blade in half, as we learned earlier, which is exactly what happened. But now I was out of blades. I will defy any dockside brawler to match the swearing that came out of the garage at that moment. Back to the computer. I wasn’t about to fork out another fifty bucks for a new Burraway, but I could spend that on 5 replacement blades and not feel too bad about it. That was a week ago. Now, knowing what I know, the Burraway is once again earning its keep.


Actually got a couple of hours to work on the plane.. Or so I thought. fixed my .093 Burraway, but after a few runs on the HS aft spar, the blade broke. This wouldn’t have been quite as frustrating if I hadn’t previously tried to fix it and had the spring tensioner pop the blade out and fling it across the shop into some nameless nook (yes, the shop shares space with laundry machinery and some wood). It also looks a lot like a metal shaving, so searching for it was going to be interesting. Well, screw it, I thought. Nothing to do now, but buy stuff. The new tool chest rules. I now have everything put away in a drawer, and my worktable no longer has to share space with my old toolbox, which can now contain all the usual home handyman stuff. I was able to move all my compressed-air and paint stuff out of the storage cabinet that holds the woodworking, tile, and other home-improvement gear. So that was nice. And when my spare Burraway blades come in from MSC, I will remember not to tighten the tensioner so frigging tight.