Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Prop Flange Extension

This will be a quick post - as part of my power plant setup, I'll be using a 4" aluminum spacer to help streamline my cowl around the engine. At my place of employment, I've got access to a CNC mill and a larger metal lathe, among other things. I was able to pick up a 5" diameter 6" long piece of 6061 aluminum for about $40 on Ebay, modeled what I wanted in CAD, then went to the manual lathe to turn it. I should have taken more pictures, but I didn't think about it; I do a fair amount of machining at work, and it all feels pretty routine anymore. The first picture I have is after I turned the stock down to final inside and outside dimensions, except for the face that will abut the flywheel. I set it up on a rotary table on the mill to get a bit more precision with the 6 prop-mounting holes, but that was probably overkill.

Spot drill, undersize drill, final drill, chamfer the edges. Not exactly rocket science. I intentionally left about an extra half inch on the end that I chucked up for the majority of the turning work, so that the marks left by the chuck wouldn't be on the final part. When I reversed it to turn the remaining face, I used some orange .050" plastic shim stock between the jaws and the part to avoid marring the finished surface. Turning the remaining face was straightforward, though I took light cuts to make sure I wouldn't pull the part out of the chuck. 

After the final lathe operation, I drilled the other 6 holes and cleaned up the part. Nothing left to do but put it away until the engine is ready to run... except test fit it on the flywheel.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

More Wood!

Ok, so I got the necessary braces installed. I also set up the seat well enough to take some measurements with a laser level simulating the horizon from my height when seated, and used that to generate templates for the canopy. However, in the meantime, there were a few more pieces of woodworking to attend to. The first is that, because of the way the fuselage is built, the plywood that stretches over the crossmembers behind the seat doesn't have a good way to glue to the longhorns.

The solution the previous builder used was to glue on more spruce to build the sides up to level, and it makes sense to me. So I went ahead and did the same. First I shaped some pieces of wood to follow the contours of the plane:

Then I glued them on, came back a day later, and started planing. I had to build up the center crossmember as well, because of the compound "dip" in the fuselage (Only needed about .02" or so, but it was easier to glue on a much thicker piece and plane it down later.) I used a hand plane held at an angle, so that the center x-member was being cut while the plane used the forward and rear x-members to set the height. Once the x-members were all co-planar, I planed the sides to match.

I didn't get a picture of the finished product, apparently. I was about ready to glue the plywood on, when I realized I'd want all of the gussets in place first; they'd be hard to add later! So I spent some time sanding tiny wood blocks to the right compound angles. It's not very difficult, but it was a little time consuming. I ended up needing 12; I was able to finish and glue 9 before I ran out of time.

The next time I was down, I finished making the gussets I needed and glued them overnight.

After everything had time to set, I planed and sanded everything down and cut the plywood to fit. This is pretty thin stuff, and I've found that by using a utility knife to cut through it, I can usually avoid sanding it except to break the sharp edges.

After several passes with the knife, it usually only needs a touch with sandpaper to get the edges smooth, and as long as you marked it right, it's bound to fit. All that was left was to glue it all together and clamp it down.

Next time I'm down, I'll pull the clamps off and start re-working the fiberglass seat backs. They need to be trimmed a little bit in order to fit the new angle. I'll probably cut the holes for the control sticks too, which will allow me to install those again and start fiddling with their location. I'm gearing up for all of the non-fiberglass things, since winter is almost upon us here. I've been working on designing a prop in CAD, as well as a control stick grip. Unfortunately, it looks like the canopy/aft deck/front deck is going to have to wait another winter... at least I have a plan for that now.