Monday, March 31, 2014

F-1201 Upper Firewall Riveted Onto Fuselage

Today the weather cooperated and temperatures were in the painting and curing epoxy range. Today was basically the first warm day of the year here … it may have gotten into the 60 degree range.

Of the two chores I wanted to accomplish today, one was disastrous and the other glorious. The painting of the miscellaneous firewall parts with white high temperature paint was a total disaster. The rattle can paint sucked! The white engine enamel I chose was the worst ever … well the paint itself may not be, but the spray can is to be sure. I tried to lightly spray two coats before spraying a third. The spray nozzles splattered and left heavy and light areas which ultimately contributed to many runs. Unfortunately, with this paint I can’t attempt to sand and repaint for 7 days. I’m thinking of letting all the air out of the can and pouring the paint into an airbrush and having another go at it after much sanding. Another option (and likely better) is to throw in the towel and get the parts powder coated. No photos were taken to protect the guilty but it is ugly … very ugly.

With the first setback of the day behind me, turned my attention to installing the F-1201A upper firewall assembly onto the fuselage shelf. During a trial fit of the F-1201A upper firewall onto the firewall shelf had another slight setback. Didn’t like the fit in the area where the F-1201P firewall spacers touched the firewall shelf because there was a little interference with the edge of the firewall shelf. I decided the fit would be more to my liking if the F-1201P spacer received a little trimming.
Edge of the F-1201P spacer extends a little beyond the 45 degree mating edge.
F-1201P spacer now filed back flush with the 45 degree mating edge.

Van’s recommends using a sealant when mating the F-1201A upper firewall assembly to the firewall shelf to seal off the possibility of fumes from entering the cockpit through small gaps along the mating surfaces. The parts were cleaned and a batch of ProSeal was mixed up then carefully slathered onto the flange of the F-1201A upper firewall … the assembly was then mated with the firewall shelf and secured in position with Clecos. Thought it would be a good idea to offer some additional support, so the panel shelf was left temporarily sitting across the longerons and the holes in the forward edge were used to help support the F-1201A upper firewall so all the weight was not on the firewall shelf.
Clecoing the second of two nutplates in position. Finally ready to begin riveting the assembly.
Securing the F-1201A upper firewall assembly onto the firewall shelf by riveting the parts together from the center outward.
F-1201A upper firewall assembly riveted onto firewall shelf. Note the two Clecos with blue tape … these holes are to be left unriveted for now.

I’m glad the side skins were not riveted in place yet because there are a few rivets which are riveted from below the F-1201A assembly … it was an easy matter to set those rivets by reaching in from the sides. Had the side skins been on at this point, the rivets that are installed from below would have been much more challenging to get at.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

ADS-B Wiring, F-1202B Requires Extra Hole

The warmer temperatures I was awaiting for to allow painting some of the firewall components were also accompanied by very gusty winds … making painting parts from a rattle can a foolhardy endeavor. The warmth was only for one day so did not ProSeal the upper firewall either. Nicer 50 - 60 degree weather is promised for early next week … so meanwhile decided to move forward and perhaps run some wires throughout the fuselage.

The F-1204Y wire run conduit was checked for length (correct out of the package) and at a midway point in the conduit a 7/16” hole is cut into the plastic tube. Two pull strings are then placed into the conduit from the newly cut center hole to each end and another string is installed that passes through the conduit from end to end. The conduit is then attached onto the center section using four cushion clamps and some hardware.
F-1204Y wire conduit with pull strings ready for assembly onto the center channel by way of four cushion clamps.

One of the tools the DOG Aviation procurement department purchased early on, knowing it would come in handy for the finish kit and engine mounting phases of the RV-12 project, is a cushion clamp pliers and awl set. Basically, the pliers (pictured in the accompanying photos) are small vice grips that have long slotted bills welded onto them. The pliers squeeze the cushion clamp tight and an awl is used to center the holes for easy bolt or screw insertion. Once a nut is threaded onto the mounting screw, the pliers are slipped off. They worked quite nicely and no sore fingers with deep dents.
Cushion clamp pliers holding the cushion clamp tightly together so a mounting screw can be easily inserted and a lock nut started without destroying your fingers.
F-1204Y wire run conduit installed on the center channel with the three pull strings in place.

Because the upper firewall is not in place yet, decided to just clamp the F-1202B panel shelf in position onto the longerons and begin running wires to their approximate locations throughout the fuselage. The first task called for is to run the three coax cables for the Radio, Transponder and ADS-B antennas. Sounds easy enough right? … no sooner did I get the cables unpackaged and labeled to begin instillation when it became very apparent there was a problem.  The instructions said to run each coax cable through separate holes with grommets on the F-1202B panel shelf … “Huston we have a problem”.  The F-1202B panel shelf only has two wire run holes … but the drawings clearly show three holes.
Photo of F-1202B panel base … the missing ADS-B antenna wire hole should be in the vicinity of the silver connector to the left of the two existing wiring holes shown without grommets.

Quickly figured what the issue was … which definitely is not a fault of Van’s. The problem is the ADS-B option was officially announced by Van’s after my fuselage kit was crated. Apparently, on the newer fuselage kits, a third hole is in the F-1202B panel base because the ADS-B antenna wiring is now supplied with the finish kit … regardless of whether or not the ADS-B option is ordered. The antenna wire is to be run in place so it is there for future use making an upgrade to ADS-B much easier later.

An Email was sent to Van’s requesting the correct measurements for adding the additional hole in the F-1202B panel base. I received the entire ADS-B section 53 instillation PDF file which was promptly taken to a local office supply store and printed onto 17 x 11 sheets to add to the RV-12’s construction manual binder.  Section 53 covers the instillation of ADS-B and on page 2 there are drilling dimensions given for the placement of the third hole in the F-1202B panel base. Basically, the third hole is located inline with the aft most 3/4" wire hole and 1 1/2" from the existing hole’s centerline towards the right side of the aircraft.
Some builders with older fuselage kits may need to drill the 3/4" ADS-B antenna wire hole at this location as I do. If so, suggest doing it before installing the F-1202B panel base.

Two step drills were used in the drill press to enlarge the hole to the required 3/4" … first a small step drill that enlarged the #30 hole initially drilled into the F-1202B panel base then a larger step drill that went to the final size of 3/4".
Checking the alignment of the second larger step drill before turning on the drill press and drilling the new hole in the F-1202B panel base to a final size of 3/4".
New third hole drilled into the F-1202B panel base deburred and ready for a grommet and the ADS-B antenna a wire.

Initially, while looking at the drawings, thought the F-1204D center channel aft bulkhead would also require an additional hole. But as it turns out, it may or may not … it totally depends on when the ADS-B wiring is installed. If the large BNC connector is the first wire being run through the wire grommet in the F-1204D bulkhead (as in my case) no problems … the rest of the wires can be pulled through that grommet after the ADS-B antenna cable is in place. HOWEVER, if you are adding ADS-B onto a flying aircraft, there is not enough room for the large BNC connector to fit through the grommet which is full of wires so an additional hole will need to be drilled into the bulkhead to accommodate the ADS-B antenna wire. For those of you in that predicament, below is the drawing you will need depicting the additional hole placement in the F-1204D bulkhead for the ADS-B antenna wire.
Additional wiring hole placement in the F-1204D bulkhead for those adding the ADS-B antenna wire to a flying aircraft.

Hopefully later today I can get some of the wires run throughout the fuselage without any more bumps in the road.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nutplates Installed On F-1201A Firewall

Admittedly, I have been dragging my feet (sprained ankle not withstanding) somewhat completing the F-1201A upper firewall assembly. I have finished riveting all the nutplates in position and the next step is for mounting the GPS antenna mount onto the firewall and then rivet the F-1201A upper firewall assembly into position on the fuselage.
Completing the instillation of nutplates onto the F-1201A upper firewall assembly with CCR-26SS-3-2 pop rivets.

I’m not really thrilled with the CCR-264SS-3-2 pop rivets used to install the nutplates. If I had it to do over again, since I’m building E-AB and not E-LSA, I would have back riveted the nutplates using AN426AD3-3.5 solid rivets with a rivet gun. However, with the F-1201H upper forward fuselage doubler installed, it made it too difficult to attempt it at this point in time because the upper fuselage doubler is curved and prevents the firewall from sitting square on the back riveting plate. But if you are building E-AB and inclined as I am to rivet as many nutplates as possible with solid rivets, consider riveting the nutplates which use the funky CCR-264SS-3-2 pop rivets in place prior to riveting the F-1201H doubler in place on the F-1201A upper firewall.

Basically, the F-1201A assembly is now ready to mount onto the fuselage … however, Van’s wants the flange on the F-1201A upper firewall to be sealed with ProSseal or firewall sealant along with sealing a couple of tooling holes in the firewall … but I have stopped going further because of the weather. The ProSeal is an epoxy product and should be allowed to cure in non-freezing temperatures. However, winter still has a solid grip on northeastern Ohio … temps are still in the 20’s and it is snowing as I type. Fortunately, the temps are forecasted to begin rising at the end of the week, so hopefully it will be warm enough in the shop for properly curing the ProSeal.

I also want to do a little painting of some parts that will be riveted onto the firewall. There is an antenna shelf that needs to be riveted onto the firewall along with the battery box parts and two oil tank brackets  ... all of which I would prefer painting prior to assembly.  All the parts were primed last fall, but I’ve decided since they will be in the engine compartment, I want to paint them with a high temperature enamel. Feel a good enamel paint will be easier to keep clean so have decided on using VHT gloss white engine enamel which has a 550 degree temperature rating once baked in an oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.

While waiting for the weather to cooperate, decided to move forward and begin prepping for the instillation of the finishing kit’s wiring harness by installing a required cushion clamp on the top of the fuel flow sensor per the plans.
Cushion clamp for the wiring run installed on top of the fuel flow sensor using the forward bolt.

Would to suggest fellow builders consider installing this cushion clamp as I have prior to installing the F-1201A upper firewall. It was fairly easy leaning over the front of the fuselage to install the cushion clamp on the fuel flow sensor. Having the F-1201A upper firewall installed would have made this chore much tougher in my opinion. Tomorrow, while waiting for the warmer weather, plan on pulling in some of the wiring.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Warped Front Landing Gear Mount

Have been away from the RV-12 project because … right after completing the inventory of the RV-12 finishing kit and getting all the small hardware stowed away into parts trays, I ended up falling on the basement stairs and really tweaked my ankle big time plus rang my chimes real good as I whacked my head into a brick wall. Nope, it didn’t knock any sense into me … but it did leave me with a sprained swollen ankle that I am just now starting to walk on again without looking like Chester from the old TV western show Gunsmoke.

The missing screws and nuts I mentioned in my previous post have already been received from Van’s … great customer support! Also previously mentioned, there may be an issue with the front landing gear having a warped mounting plate. Yesterday, Mike and I made the trek to the airport to photograph the landing gear in question. Will find out from Van’s support if it is a big deal or not … I suspect it will get replaced but need photos to show Van’s.

In addition to the camera, I brought along a metal straight edge and a ruler … all of which helped determine the mounting plate for the RV-12’s nose wheel landing gear is indeed warped downward. Mike took photos as I held the metal straight edge across the mounting plate that will ultimately bolt onto the bottom of the fuselage. The warpage measures approximately 1/8" in the downward direction. Guessing this is likely a result of the welding process. It is warped a little less than a 1/8" where the front mounting bolts go … but because of a weldment on the gear being in the way, it is difficult to measure the warpage at that location. The bottom of the fuselage where the mounting plate attaches is flat, so any attempts to tighten the bolts will cause a deformation of either the gear mounting plate (steel so not likely)  or the aluminum fuselage (more likely) causing stress risers … not good. Below are a couple of photos of the issue.
Just looking at the mounting plate from straight on one can easily see the warpage in question.
Using a straight edge and ruler the warp measures a hare over 1/8" at the aft edge.
Closer in towards the mounting screw holes the warpage measures slightly less.

Will send off these photos this weekend to Van’s support to see what they have to say about the issue. The warpage looks excessive to me … so guessing they will replace the unit but will have to wait until next week to find out the verdict.

Back from the future:
The photos that were taken of the front landing gear’s fuselage mounting plate were forwarded over the weekend to Van’s for inspection. Monday I received a call from Sterling at Van’s wanting to know how much warpage was there at the forward mounting holes. Sterling said the maximum allowable limit was approximately 1/16" but all my photos were taken aft of the mounting holes so he wanted me to make a measurement at the mounting holes.

So today went up to the hangar and laid the straight edge across the mounting holes and took another measurement which yielded approximately 1/32" of warpage which is well within the acceptable limits Van’s stated.
A straight edge was laid across the forward mounting holes on the WD-1201 front landing gear’s mounting plate so the warpage could be measured.
The warp measures approximately 1/32" which Van’s feels is well within the acceptable tolerance.

Sterling explained to me that after the welds are made, the whole assembly is then run through a heat treating process which often induces some warpage in addition to the warpage created by the welding process. However, this additional warpage is mostly generalized in the area aft of the mounting holes between the two lightening holes (as is mine) … apparently the two lightening holes in this area of the plate contribute greatly to the warpage. The main thing all is well with my WD-1201 assembly as it is.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

RV-12 Finishing Kit Inventory Completed

A trip was made to the hangar on Sunday to continue with the inventory of the remaining few larger pieces in the RV-12’s finishing kit and to count contents of the numerous paper bags.  Bags that contained small hardware or rivets were set aside to bring home for counting and placement into parts trays.  Mike swung by the hangar to lend a hand with the assembling of some steel shelving I had brought up to the hangar from the southern outpost.
Apparently Mike got off a shot from his phone while I was adjusting the position the shelving frame before we began filling it with shelves.

After assembly of the shelving was completed, Mike and I finished up counting the contents of the paper bags I was not going to take home. The remaining bags of hardware were taken to the house where it was much warmer to work. So Sunday evening and Monday was pretty much consumed by sorting, counting and pigeon holing the plethora of small parts, rivets and hardware into the parts trays ... plus making labels as necessary. There are quite a few bushings, cushion clamps and various bearings that still need to be placed into trays so will swing by Harbor Freight and procure another parts tray or two for all smaller miscellaneous and oddball parts.

I prefer working from parts trays instead of the paper bags and here is why. The parts in the trays can be seen through the lid for one. Secondly, Van’s will often place similar items into a bag say 4 of one cotter pin and 6 of another so you know what the part numbers are based on the count in the bag … however, as parts are removed from the bags, it can become difficult to identify parts because the parts count in the bag has changed.
All the parts trays are loaded up again and ready to disperse RV-12 parts as needed.

Once again, I have to give credit to Van’s … they did a great job packing the crate and nothing appears to have been damaged. There were a couple of small minor discrepancies ... I received all the major parts except I was shorted four small screws from one bag and missing some small nuts altogether from another bag (they were the last item on the list for that bag) but had about the same amount extra of a nutplate  in the same bag ... so guessing the person filling the bag just got confused and counted nutplates in place of the small nuts.  A call to Van’s has the missing parts in the mail.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

RV-12 Finishing Kit Inventory In Progress

The long overdue opening and unpacking of the RV-12 finishing kit for inventory and parts inspection has begun … only had a little time to work on it yesterday and today so not quite finished. The inventory is mostly completed except for a large bag that contains quite an assortment of small parts and lots of hardware. In general, the parts look to have made the trip across the country in good shape ... although there was one small gouge on the crate but fortunately it was at a location where there was nothing touching the crate at that location.
After removing the screws from the finishing kit crate, the banding material was removed from the crate.
The opening reveled yet another quality packing job done by the minions at Van’s … the crate contained quite a few internal braces and strapping to keep parts in position during transit thus keeping the all important canopy unscathed.
Beginning of the unpacking of the finishing kit crate.

The left half of the crate in the above photo contained the canopy & canopy frame, upper and lower engine cowls, landing gear legs and three tires.  The right half of the crate contained the drawings, wheels & brakes, nose gear components, landing gear fairings & associated hardware, motor mounts, fuel tank components, and a large cardboard box that containing electrical wiring and associated components, control system components, a large bag with various small parts and numerous plastic bags of hardware ... plus plenty of miscellaneous stuff.
With the bubble canopy and engine cowlings (seen in background) removed, the landing gear legs, tires and canopy frame can now be seen.
Starting the unpacking of the totally stuffed cardboard box.
Inventoried parts-o-plenty on the table ready to be stored on the yet to be assembled shelving units … yet another project for tomorrow.

Ran out of time this afternoon to finish the inventory all that is left is a large plastic bag filled with miscellaneous small parts and hardware. Thus far, nothing is unaccounted for and all the weldments look good. I may have an issue with one piece that appears as though it may have warped during welding … however it may be that way by design so need to check with Van’s about it on Monday.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

F-1201J&K Cowl Hinges Riveted In Place

Had a good work session in the shop today and finally got a little accomplished without getting too cold. The previously cut F-1201J and F-1201K cowl hinges were clamped onto the F-1201H upper fuselage doubler and match drilled.
Match drilling the F-1201H upper fuselage doubler into the F-1201J cowl hinge.
Match drilling the F-1201H upper fuselage doubler into the F-1201K cowl hinge.
Both F-1201J & F-1201K cowl hinges match drilled.

Builder tip:
At this point the RV-12 plans instruct the builder to disassemble the parts for deburring and then machine countersink all the hinge rivet holes in the F-1201H upper fuselage doubler. I would suggest fellow builders NOT disassemble the parts just yet. Machine countersinking the #40 holes in the F-1201H creates a knife edge condition which easily allows the countersink bit to wander and enlarge the hole unless a backing strip is used to prevent the pilot tip on the countersink bit from wandering. The easiest solution is to use the freshly drilled thick hinge material as the backing strip and machine countersink the F-1201H’s rivet holes by removing one Cleco at a time and countersinking. Be sure to adjust the air pressure so the countersink bit spins slowly and drip Boelube or some form of lubricant onto the countersink bit’s pilot tip. The hinge material will prevent the countersink bit from wandering as the countersunk rivet hole in the F-1201H becomes knife edged … and the slow speed and lube prevents the hole in the hinge material from wearing.  This worked great!
Machine countersinking the rivet holes in the F-1201H one at a time with the hinges Clecoed in place to keep the countersink bit centered. Nice countersinks were obtained by slow speeds on the countersink bit and lube.

After all the rivet holes in the F-1201H upper fuselage doubler were countersunk, the parts were disassembled and deburred then reassembled for riveting using AN426AD3-3.5 rivets.
Using the pneumatic squeezer to rivet the F-1201K cowl hinge onto the F-1201H upper forward fuselage doubler.
F-1201J and F-1201K cowl hinges riveted in place onto the F-1201H upper forward fuselage doubler.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

RV-12 Finishing Kit Finally Moved To Airport

Taking advantage of the recent heat wave, DOG Aviation was able to enlist the help of Mike & Mike to transport the RV-12's finishing kit to the hangar at the airport so it can be opened and the long postponed inventory completed. The original plan last fall was to have the RV-12 project moved to the hangar long before now … however this winter was relentless, so that just did not happen. Of course, keeping true to form our current heat wave is short lived … this winter just won’t go away, yet another snow storm is forecasted to start late tonight. Will it ever end????

The 300 pound finishing kit crate was easily moved to the airport by placing it on furniture moving dollies and using 2” straps to secure the dollies onto the bottom of the crate. With the help of Mike & Mike, the crate was rolled up onto a tilting snowmobile trailer.
With the help of Mike & Mike, the RV-12 finishing kit is about to be rolled into the trailer and leave the DOG Aviation production facility to make the short journey to hangar 45 at the airport.
The RV-12’s finishing kit arrives at hangar 45 … the first of what will likely be a slow but steady migration of parts and tools to the hangar. In the background I’m pointing out the control tower to the non-pilot Mike.

About two seconds after the photo below was taken, I almost ran myself over with the 300 pound crate. I was gently stepping on the back of the trailer when much to my surprise, it dropped far quicker than I was expecting and the crate began rolling towards me. Fortunately, a wheel on the dolly got caught on one of the ridges on the trailer which kept the crate from nearly running me over.
The RV-12’s finishing kit eager to roll out of captivity and into its new home at hangar 45.

This marks the beginning of what will likely be many short trips to the airport in the coming months to transfer the RV-12’s completed components along with work benches, tools and supplies as DOG Aviation slowly migrates to its new home at hangar 45.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

F-1201J Cowl Hinge – Don’t Come Up Short!

As the old adage goes … measure twice (in this case three times) cut once. Verify cut measurement … OK, measures good, job well done! This was the case when cutting the F-1201J upper cowl hinge. The finished hinge looks great, just like the drawing shows it and it measures perfectly … however, it is too short!
Here is the issue - my finger is pointing to where the F-1201J hinge cut to 25 1/2" as per the plans is not long enough to pick up the rivet hole adjacent to the access cutout on the F-1201H doubler.
Close-up of the F-1201J hinge not being long enough to pick up the rivet hole closest to the access port.

The Van’s drawing shown in the photo below, clearly shows barrels at both ends of the F-1201J hinge and the figure 2 detail clearly states the hinge length to be 25 1/2". However, that is too short … the F-1201J hinge needs to be approximately 26" which means the rivet hole closest to the access port will be in a flat spot adjacent to a barrel … NOT under a hinge barrel as shown on the drawing below.
Close up of the drawing that shows the F-1201J hinge installed … my finger pointing to the barrel as shown which is NOT how it works out in real life. Figure 2 shows the length to be 25 1/2" which is not correct … the hinge needs to be just shy of 26" so it clears the nutplate.

A visit to a couple of other builder sites reveled the right most rivet hole on the F-1201J hinge closest to the cutout port is indeed on the flat between hinge barrels and not under a hinge barrel. So the hinge was remade to just a little shy of 26" while mading sure the flat was where it needed to be.
Longer F-1201J hinge made to just shy of 26" with the flat starting at the nutplate adjacent to the cutout. The newly cut hinge is now clamped in position and ready to be match drilled.

As far as I can remember, this is the first measurement that has been given in the plans that has been incorrect … the drawing is even incorrect because technically a barrel can’t be above that first rivet if the hinge is aligned starting on the left side of the firewall as called for in the plans.

This is not that big of a deal and even if a builder does not extend the hinge, it would still work OK. But just wanted to give a heads up to builders so they can add the extra 1/2" to the hinge and not waste 25 1/2" of hinge material as I just did. Not sure at this point if I will need to purchase more hinge material or not … hope not.