Sunday, February 24, 2013

Left Wing Landing Light Cutout Completed

After waiting most of the day for the temperature to get UP to freezing decided it was time to make the long overdue landing light cutout on the leading edge of the W-1203L wing skin. As I was about to head out to the shop, my friend Bernie swung by to check out the project … perfect timing, the extra hands for this operation proved useful and were greatly appreciated.

Admittedly, carving up the leading edge of the wing skin with a power tool is a little disconcerting. The instructions have the builder trace the top half of the cutout along with marking locations where holes will be drilled on the upper surface of the skin then repeat the process for the bottom portion of the wing skin all the while using six designated rivet holes as alignment points.

After the cutout for the landing light was traced onto the W-1203L wing skin, a step drill was used to drill access holes for the jig saw. Next the skin was flipped over so the leading edge hung down from the bench and the bottom portion of the cutout was cut with a jig saw.
                    Using the jig saw with a 24 teeth per inch blade to cut the bottom half the landing light hole.
                            Bernie preventing the skin from bouncing while holding a light so the hole marks could
                            be clearly seen as the lower portion of the cutout is rough cut with the jig saw.

Once the bottom half of the hole was successfully cut, the W-1203L skin was flipped over and the upper half of the hole was cut while Bernie held the light and put pressure on “curve” to help keep the skin tensioned.  This part was a little dicey and it was hard to keep the jig saw moving smoothly but fortunately all went well.

When the time comes for cutting the right wing’s landing light hole, think I will try another method of cutting the top portion of the hole. After the bottom cut is made I’ll Cleco the skin onto three ribs to secure the skin while the jig saw makes the cut. I feel this will be a better option as opposed to having the skin flopping around like it was beginning to do. While smoothing the cut with a Dremel tool, I did Cleco the skin onto three ribs and that really worked nicely to keep the skin in place.
                                             Using a Dremel outfitted with a sanding drum to smooth the edges.
                                            The sanding drum did a great job of quickly fine tuning the material.
                                                 Finished landing light hole in W-1203L wing skin after using
                                                 the Dremel sanding drum followed by the ScotchBrite wheel.

To finish the landing light cutout, four holes need to be drilled into the W-1203L skin where the center punch marks are above and below the cutout. These marks can be seen in the above photo. The eight holes will be used for the lens backing strips which will secure the Plexiglass lens snug to the skin.