January 1-6, 2017
I can see clearly now...
the windshield has windows !
Getting things accomplished with the windshield... "full steam ahead!".
Drilled the corners holes for the windows the next night. Same as the 96 other ones but took much longer having to cut those 1 1/8inch holes with a hole saw cutter; centering bit, hole saw cutter, deburr.
Next I needed to notch the back-end of the blank; on the ends where it would meet up with the fuselage, and the two areas where I would bend the piece. Started off with drilling relief holes in the corners of those cuts so that I wouldn't have a 90degree cut where it would tend to crack over time. I then cut away all the excess... followed by bending the back edge over (basically to capture the back end of the plex so that I wouldn't be seeing the raw edge of the plexi.
Followed all this up with bending the two angles on the piece by putting it in my Work-Mate (does Black and Decker even make these anymore?)... putting an aluminum "L" angle behind it to make sure that I had a perfect straight edge to bend it against. Bent both angles. (note: I should have notech the center notches about 1/2inch wider as to avoid smashing them in the "vise" of the Work-Mate) Not a problem though, just needed to pry the smashed end up a little, but... if I have to do this again I would make the cut over the outside facet about 1/2inch wider. Okay, with the windshield bent, and the capture in the back re-opened I grabbed my cutters, both left and righ-handed ones. Proceeded to rough-cut the openings for the window.
I feel pretty monotonous with writing all this like I am... I then filed and sanded the openings to the lines makig sure there were no burrs or rough edges. Standing back... it looks good. I'm happy with the results of my work.
One thing... thinking back on it now, that I would change is instead of bolting the three attachments that will connect the windshield to the fuselage (that I still need to make) I would rivet them on. As of right now, I'm going to need to put anchor nut plates in place in order to bolt them on. Unless I just say, screw the holes you won't see them... and rivet the pieces on anyway? Naaaaaa....
January 8 - 13, 2017
I'm back to WOW's !
Damn it ! I just can't let things be...
Back to making another one of these windshields. I guess if I was just trying to push through this project to have a biplane I'd say "screw it". But with the few additional things I learned from making the final one I'm saying "I can make a better one, and I'll do it now!".
- Drawing the grid again.
- Deciding on what I want to change.
- Hours of drawing up the pattern by hand, again.
- Figuring out where I want the relief holes.
And... that's pretty much where I'm at after six days of additional work.
Just made windshield sitting on pattern of newer windshield.
A few things that I changed:
- Made the width of the posts wider.
was 5/8, now 3/4
- Placed attachment holes off the corners of the glass.
- The forward bracket holes were too close to the post bend.
adjusted the spacing of those holes
- Changed the cuts in the bends in the trail-edge.
"V" instead of squared off.
- Will make trailing-edge bend after bending to shape.
- May change the glass attachment screw size.
now #8 bolt, may change to #6
January 17 - 20, 2017
We're seeing some of that...
"90 percent finished and 90 percent to go" !
The entire project is made up of "Excellence"; doing the best that we can do, above and beyond the "aircraft standard" that we need to meet. But, we need to push ourselves beyond that "the best that we can do" and do things a little better when it is sitting out there for everyone to see...
Not a lot of work on the windshield this past week. More thinking... than doing.
I decided to attach the brackets, for attaching the windshield to the fuselage, with rivets instead of screws/bolts. Cleaner look, well and it will be easier for attaching. If using screws I would then need to use anchor nut bolts which means... blah blah blah. I should have decided to do it this way the first time (what was I thinking???).
Here's where it stands so far. Still need to drill all the additional holes, then bend it to shape, then cut out the window openings then file to shape.
January 21 - 26, 2017
Still working on that...
"90 percent finished and 90 percent to go" !
Continued work on the newest windshield. As of Friday, January 26th, I'm to the point where I have it bent into three facets and the window openings roughly cut out. It's all a repeat of what I just did... all blah blah blah now.
I'll need to file the openings to the lines then bend the trailing edge over and it will be ready for the glass. of which... I bought some 1/8inch lexan for making patterns for the final pieces.
January 27 - February 11, 2017
Still working on that...
"170 percent finished and 10 percent to go" !
More work on the faceted windshield. It's there now... it's there...
Finished cleaning up the windshield frame; filing and sanding. Moved on from there to making the paper patterns for the glass pieces I'll be cutting and drilling. THEN cut the lexan test pieces...
BUT, before I do any of that, I needed to notch the bottom of the trailing-edge wrap. The wrap comes around and covers up access to the bottom of the hole. Made up a few patterns and glued them in place... notches to allow the nut to spin on the machine screw. Free-hand it... was good enough... but good enough isn't good enough. Thought about it for a while then decided I'd notch a piece of 1/8inch 4130 with the large round file I have. Clamp that to the trailing-edge and put a drum-disc on the Dremel and have at it. Worked like a charm. Should have done that from the start.
Note: angle of camera makes the original notch look WAY OFF... it was pretty much centered over the hole.
Notch on left - old, notch on right - new
Received the number6 machine screws from Aircraft Spruce. Discovered that the nut I researched on line for thickness... is half as thick as what I was told. Add that to the few threads that I would leave show (for safety), they're about 1/8inch too long. WAY TOO LONG... when you're only talking about a 9/16inch screw. DAMN !They twernt that much money. I'll wait until I have an order for some additional items before placing an order for the shorter one... the cost in shipping would be the same as the cost for the screws. At least I had the screws so that I could now begin the process of drilling out the holes then attaching them to the frame to make sure all the holes lined up. Did this with all three pieces. Decided on a number 12 drill bit... Easy-peasy, other than the amount of time it took to do it.
Still work to be done. Need to figure out and make the attachment brackets. I'll need to figure out the bend in the fuselage and bend them somehow. After accomplishing that, I'll need to rivet them onto the above piece.
February 12 - 17, 2017
Now the brackets...
the last parts to be crafted !
Spent more time thinking this week... than actually doing. It's a good thing... 'cause if I just forged ahead with each thought I'd be wasting a whole lot more material.
Working on the bracket for the windshield to fuselage attachment... wanting to make the curve on the bracket with an english wheel, which is several hundred dollars. Hoping to find one on Craig's list... but nothing at the moment. Thought of finding out the bend, making a pattern of the bend, and then hammering it out. Still... was there an easier way of doing it?
Took another look at the pieces I needed to make... the bend was actually made by the radius I had on the windshield frame that I made... or so I'm thinking. All I need to do is bend the piece to that radius and ??? The more important question... how do I make that radius and have it look nice?
That beader I have won't work, the amount of material I could put in there before it beading isn't more than 3/8inch or so. Keep thinking... a few days go by with several thoughts, then I remember what Tony B showed for making flanges... Cut the depth of the flange in a piece of wood and work it slowly across the piece. I had some hard wood lying around so I cut a piece about 6inches long by 1inch wide. Cut the depth of the opening to 1inch... gave it a try. Worked pretty good... just need to keep an eye on making sure that the material is always inserted all the way to the bottom of the cut. Also... make sure that the excess material is cleaned off the edge after cutting the original piece... all that aluminum build-up makes it hard to insert it into the opening.
After figuring all the above out I tried a test piece or two... to make sure all my figuring out was thorough.
Need work on my technique.
Everything checked out fine so I drew up the blank for the starboard side bracket... Used the pattern to set the curve for the piece and cut it out and cleaned it up. I then set the adjustable square to 1inch and used it as a guide to make the line for the bend. Laid the pattern back on the aluminum to draw the upper half that attaches to the windshield (I had that all figured out ahead of time). Used the adjustable square as a guide again to draw the 1/2inch mark and then spaced out the holes, marking every 2inches. Used the flanging tool to carefully make the end close to what I had figured it needed to be (had the actual windshield on the fuselage and used my adjustable angle finder to figure out the bend needed).
Took the piece back over to the bandsaw and cut the top edge to shape, then filed and sanded for a finish profile. Below are the results...
WOW ! Looking good...
February 18 - 23, 2017
Still on these brackets...
But, I'm almost there...
This all could have taken a lot less time that it has. More thinking about what to do... a LOT more thinking, than the actual work done.
Finished up the drilling of the rivet holes in the final side bracket and the front bracket. Spent another night match-drilling the rivest holes into the brackets.
I didn't have the correct length of rivets so I took about 70 longer-than-needed rivets and filed them down to the correct size. And that... my friends... is where it stands!
All I need to do is now rivet the brackets onto the windshield and she's ready to be attached to the fuselage.
February 24 - March 9, 2017
my current rate of posting...
Most of the time I've been currently spending on the build is either, a re-hash of me making the windshield for a second or third time... or me thinking through the instrument panel (my current work).
What's to write ??? "Jeez... can't find my layout I drew up for the instrument panel and I've been 1. searching for it, or 2. trying to figure out why I put those size holes and what's supposed to fill them." Thus... my silence.
Anyways... I finished up the windshield. Had a little backlash from one of the guys on the biplane forum not understanding why I wouldn't use an aircraft grade aluminum for the windshield (one that is harder to work with and serves no other purpose because it's not structural). Like I said on the post... if it's used on a Stearman's windshield it works for me. I'm MORE than happy with the way it turned out.
Wanted to continue on the sheet metal but didn't have enough left from the last time (which reminds me...). Looked at the instument panel and that's where I've been since. And you know where I am with that at this moment... figuring what I had decided on as far as instruments and toggle switches and breaker locations. Think I have it figured out and decided to make a side panel. I just may be wasting my time... but, I'm moving towards something. AND... it always seems when you're stuck... moving forward in any direction, whether the right one or not, will get you back on track.
Overhang of aluminum extrusion in photos below are not a part of the panel.