November 24, 25, 2016 Wait for it... wait for it...
The 24th... jigged up the fuselage for the depth of the first seat-back pan. Then... off to Turkey Dinner.
Next up!... bending these seat-back pans around the tubes of the fuselage. For that, I'll need to go back and remember what I learned doing that for the seat pans. The one be caveat I can recall... don't rush the process ! If I do, I'll scorch the aluminum and I'll need to cut a new blank and start out all over again.
As a reminder... you start off coating the area to be bent with soot (light the accetylene gas on your welding rig for sooting)... you then slowly burn off the soot with your tourch flame set as if you were going to weld (when the soot starts to disappear it's ready for bending). Remember... this is a slow process. Wave the flame over it, and up and down the length of the bend. I used my 201 tip for the smallest flame possible... for the slowest heating up of the aluminum possible.
To bend the aluminum around the tubing I use a VERY THICK
pair of welding gloves. I'm talking THICK ! The light leather
gloves I like using when I'm welding arn't thick enough for
Application of soot.
Fine looking seat-back !
Ready for the second seat-back...
November 26, 2016 Wait for it... wait for it...
Ba BOOM BOOM !
Getting the second seat-back pan ready for wrapping.
A lot of glue to take off of it... used M.E.K. Not nice stuff... went outside where there was a breeze. Used thick rubber gloves and avoided breathing the stuff in. After all said glue was removed I still needed to file the rough edges of the piece.
Okay... ready for bending... opps, not yet. Still need to file the slots at the top-back to allow it to go beyond the vertical tubes that support the battery tray. First try on that and I didn't make enough of a downward cut... second one was a charm.
Now... thinking this through a little bit more, I'll need to cut down the upper wrap to miss the tubes (or least I think I do). I'll need to check this the next time I go to work on the project...
December 2, 2016 Just when you think...
Ba BOOM !
Over the past few days I managed to wrap the pilot's seat-back pan... and then decide that it ain't gonna work out the way I wanted it to. So... I have one option... but some others may think you have two. The two being... modify the existing to MAKE it work, or, start again. Don't get me wrong... it looks great, but doesn't work as I had planned it to.
And start again I did... Looking at the existing seat-back pan I discovered that the wrap needs to cover the vertical tubes entirely, top-to-bottom. The existing seat-back cut the verticals into three sections. My thought... somethings going to catch on those edges and either rip whatever catches on it or will bend the aluminum. Either case... not good. Although the wrap needs to cover the front edge of the tubing it can't wrap the entire piece top to bottom. Approximately 6inches of the top and 7inches of the bottom will be fully wrapped and riveted. The top and bottom edge of the seat-back pan are fine.
Pulled out the computer and fired it up. Made the changes to one of the CADs I had and then started hand-drawing it on paper. Right now I've got the aluminum blank cut out close to the pattern. Only need to file, sand, bend, anneal and wrap...
oh... I was out of .o32 5052 aluminum so I needed to take a drive over to Fazzio's to pick up another 4' x 10' sheet and stuff it into the Challenger.
Great looking... but doesn't work like I wanted it to.
New seat-back pan.
December 3, 2016 Yeah...
always Jimmy John Fast...
the second, third... time 'round.
One of the nice things about a re-do is that it gets done a lot faster... well, not really if you're counting the first and/or second attempt at making that piece. Anyways... you've learned from the first time(s) and you're improving on the product that you are making.
The seat-pans I made paper patterns for it... not so much for these seat backs. Maybe I should have... maybe it wouldn't have matter... I think it would have though. I wouldhave seen that weird twist that the back seat-pan back would have had to make on the upper wings and maybe would have noticed that the 3-section sides wouldn't have worked either. We live and learn and that's what this is all about.
Made short work of cutting out the pattern. Actually made a modification to the above cut-out that I had made to the others... angling the cut from the bottom of the seat-back to the tab at the top of that side. Also angled the sides instead of the straight cut.
With the pattern cut-to-size I set about bending this one up. It's ready for filing those slots at the top, like the first one, then annealing and wrapping.
December 4 and 5, 2016 It's not...
always Jimmy John Fast...
the second, third... time 'round.
Wasn't as easy as the other pans to wrap... but I'm REAL close to having the back seat-back pan wrapped. Just one or two more minor tweaks need to be made to it.
There's several tubes that criss-cross near the vertical tubes for the pilot's seat back. It doesn't make for an easy wrap.
My initial wraps were made in place, on the spot that the seat-back would be attached to. I needed enough bend on the top and the bottom of the wrap so that I could position it on another tube. That tube was a 3/4inch tube just lying around the shop. I had to do this because the criss-cross of tubes kept me from fully wrapping the seat-back pan onto the fuselage.
I did my best to anneal and wrap the sides on the "loose" 3/4inch tubing, but it needed additional tweaking once I put it back in place on the fuselage. The fit ain't perfect but it's DAMN close. Looking good too !
Okay, so it's on the fuselage now... and looking at it I see that I need access to the battery tray right behind the seat-back. Thinking... I can either put a large access hole, with cover, in the seat-back or, make the seat-back pan removable. Making it removable will allow me to have a large access hole for working with the battery AND everything else in the back part of the biplane. It'll be a little bit more work to make the entire seat-back pan removable but in the long run with make it easier on me.
I plan on doing this by using anchor nut plates with nuts instead of riveting the back in place.
December 6 and 10, 2016 Always...
Wasn't feelig like doing much on the build over the past few days... had a chest-cold and took it easy. Didn't stop me from thinking about it... and thinking things through.
I'm pretty good at getting things made and then just dropping them right there... before figuring out how they're going to attach to the fuselage. Not with the seat-back pans. I know that I'll be attaching the seat pans with rivets; they won't need to be taken out once attached. I thought the same about the seat-back pans until I thought it through... the battery is going to be just behind it. Because of the shape of the fuselage (with the stringers) I can't put an access hole in the side... it just ain't gonna work. So I figure I have two options; put an access hole in the seat-back pan, or, make the seat-back pan removable. The access hole will only give me a limited amount of room for working... removal of the entire seat-back will give me so much more room for working.
I make the decision to make it removable. I'll rivet anchor-nut plates on the tabs and use number 8 machine screws for attaching. Now it's just a matter of making the pattern for drillig the holes after figuring out the placement of those holes on the bottom of the seat-back pan. The back of the seat-back pan rests on two vertical tubes (which will take most of the weight when pushed on with "G's". I'll secure with four screw on each side, top and bottom. The top will clip over the top tube and the bottom tab will attach with screws into the seat-pan.
by the way... I just hit 4000.6hrs
December 11 and 12, 2016 I didn't...
Working on getting the anchor-nut plates attached to the back-seat pan. Drilled and deburred the holes for the rivets the first night. The next night I was determined to rivet all sixteen anchor-nut plates onto the seat-back.
I started working on it and said DAMN ! I was used to riveting on the anchor-nut plates with two arms. The two-arm plates weren't easy-peasy when I was riveting them on... but when I saw what I had to do with the single-arm anchor-nut plates... it turns out they were very easy-peasy. With the singl-arm nut plates I need to align the nut plate with both rivets. But... since the rivets are close to each other I needed to pull the one out so that I could begin the squeeze on the first, but first I would need to tape the anchor-nut plate into position so that it wouldn't move too much, half-squeeze the first rivet, put the second rivet in, put a small clamp on the head of the nut-plate to make it flush with the aluminum, and then half-squeeze it, then finish squeeze the first one then go back to the second and finish squeeze that one. Esssssssssssssssh !!!
Actually, once I figured out what I had to do, it wasn't hard... but it was time consuming. Took me just about two hours to squeeze 32 rivets/16 anchor-nut plates. It wasn't that I didn't think ahead before doing this... it was just a different technique for riveting them on.
First one finished.
December 26, 2016 Still...
Spent a little over an hour today working on the front seat-back pan. I'd like to make it removable... but not sure now. Whatever I do, removable or riveted in place, I needed to bend the tabs about 15degrees for doing whatever.
It was a pain in the arse; anneal then take the hand-seamer to bend, repeat repeat repeat. Got it close to where it needs to be. It's a pain in the arse putting on and taking off for just the trial fitting. I'm thinking I'll need to wrap the tubing with something after I paint it so that it doesn't get damaged while re-installing it.
May 31 and June 2, 2017 Things are getting a little...
Started looking at the control sticks again. I have two stick grips... both different; one is a NAF 1173-2 and the other a Mason 81579 701-1401. The Mason has a nice feel to it but no real way of connecting it to the control stick. The NAF 1173-2 is just badass... comeon, it's the type that was used on the Navy F4U's and F6F's.
Decided the best thing to do is go... BADASS ! Needed to make a bushing that would fit the 1 1/8inch hole in the NAF grip and also slip over the 1inch control stick. Had been thinking about this before and had 1 1/8inch tubing (used in another part of the project) that would work beautifully.
Cut a length of that off the 8ft piece I had. Fitted and cut to length the piece that would slid into the Grip.... center drilled the hole for attachig the grip. Tried it on the 1inch control stick. Cut the 1 1/8inch tube to length. Stuck it on the rear stick socket and made a few airplane noises.
A few trial fits back and forth to make sure that I had plenty of room between the grip and the control panel and still keeping to the plans of having the control stick in the stick socket 2inches. Also made sure that it felt right while sitting in the plane... which meant that it has a slight twist to it so that my hand wouldn't be cocked while holding it in flight.
Cut to length, and with the known twist set in it... I needed to cut the 60degree fish mouth cuts in the stick socket for welding. Cut those by hand with a hacksaw... didn't want to screw things up trying to make quick cuts and having to make a new stick socket ! Fired up the O and A rig and welded on the top bushing to the control stick and the stick to the stick socket.
June 3, 2017: Not a lot of time spent on the project today. It's Saturday... go figure. Busy with mowing, etc.
Decided to make the front control stick permanent. Marked and cut the 60degree V's in the stick boot. It's ready for welding.