Monday, February 25, 2013

Nut plate mayhem

Finished all the countersinking on the left wing spar tonight, then I attached the access panel nut plates and the single arm tank attach nut plates (going to have to wait for the proper nut plates to do the rest). I also prepared the aileron bellcrank brackets. Tomorrow night I'll get started on the wing ribs. Hoping to have everything ready to rivet the ribs onto the left wing this weekend.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wing spar

After some problems with the power supply at the airport, I finally got started on the wing today. I am unable to run my compressor normally since it will trip the breaker if it starts under load, and the panel is located in someone else's locked hanger. I guess the problem is that there are several hangers on the same 20 amp circuit, and in the winter a couple people leave their preheaters on 24/7. For the time being I'll have to start the compressor with the drain valve open and then it will run fine to cut out. When the tank pressure drops to below what the tool I'm using requires I'll have to drain the tank and start over. A serious PITA, but it gets me working. We're going to talk with airport management to see about running a breaker just for the one hanger as a permanent fix.

Thursday with the help of a friend I built a 4' x 8' work table. This thing is pretty stout, and I'm sure it will stand up to whatever it gets put thru during the build. I would still like to build a dimpling table for the DRDT-2, but will probably wait till I get to riveting on the skins.

Work table with the spars on top.

Today I fabricated the J channel stiffeners for the left wing. I was lucky to see a post from another builder that pointed out the fact that you skip not only the plate-nut mounting holes on the lower stiffener, but also the skin rivet immediately next to them as well. He had found this out the hard way when he tried to cleco it to the top flange and finish drilling.

Match drilling the J channel stiffeners on the left spar.

 After fabricating the stiffeners I began countersinking the left spar. I got all the tank attach plate-nut mounting holes done, and was going to start riveting them on when I discovered a problem. The K-1100-08 plate nuts I was sent have both the screw and rivet holes dimpled, and from the details it appears that this is wrong, the rivet holes should not be dimpled. I checked the called out single leg nut plates for verification, and they did not have the dimpled rivet holes. I'll be calling Vans tomorrow to make sure, but it looks like I'll be slowed down slightly waiting for the correct hardware. I'm going to build the wings one at a time due to space constraints, but will fabricate the J channel stiffeners and prep the spar for the right wing while I'm waiting for the proper nut-plates to come in.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Completed the kit inventory tonight and found a few missing items. Most of the missing stuff was minor hardware, a few missing nut plates, washers, and screws, but I am also missing a couple ribs. I'll be giving Vans a call Tuesday so they can get the right stuff out to me.

I've been going over the plans for a while now and I don't mind saying I'm a little nervous. After match drilling some stiffener the plans have you jump right in and start by countersinking and riveting the tank attach plate nuts to the main spar, the single most important (and expensive I'm sure) airframe component. There certainly isn't any easing into this project.

I'm just going to play with some scrap and then use the micro-stop countersink cage very carefully. Hopefully once I have the cage set for depth the rest of the holes will go quickly. I should be able to squeeze all the rivets also, which will give me more control. I'm still not a pro with my rivet driving skills, and I do not want to be drilling rivets out of the main spar.

With the Presidents Day holiday weekend I'm hoping to make some real progress over the next three days, I just need to work slowly so I don't screw anything up during my learning stage.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wing Kit Arrives

My wing kit finally arrived today and is sitting in the hanger ready for work. There was a small bit of damage to one of the crates but nothing inside was damaged. I had other things to do tonight after work, but I will start inventory tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tools and Workshop

Vans has cashed my check and my wing kit should be arriving shortly, so I decided it was time to get my workshop ready.

I live in a small apartment, so building at home is not an option for me. I do however have a friend with a hanger at the local airport, and he has some extra room for me to build in. We will most likely end up partnering in the airplane when it is complete also. I'm sure things will be easier with a good helper when I'm stuck on something or when a second set of hands are needed too.

I've read comments from previous builders that having the project at home, at least to start, is the only way to go. I don't think that would work out well for me though, there's way to much at home to distract me. I can see where even a drive of "only" 15 minutes each way would eat into build time pretty quickly, but I am literally a 2 minute drive from the hanger. I think being at the airport will allow me to focus more clearly on the build during the time I schedule for it.

This past weekend I moved my tool chest, a shelving unit, and my new compressor down to the hanger. We did some measuring and there will be just enough room to construct the wings comfortably with Lee's airplane in there. With the added length of the fuselage there may need to be some creative rearrangement of the work area at that stage. I also began organizing all these cool new airplane tools I got from Cleaveland Aircraft Tool.

I've been giving a lot of thought as to the number and size of work tables I'll put together. The eaa chapter 1000 tables seem to be pretty popular and well designed. The wing stands I've seen on other builders sites also look pretty useful. I've decided to start with a single table similar to the chapter 1000 tables, but with a 4'x8' top, to build ailerons tanks and flaps on, and then construct a wing stand on casters for the main wing structure. I've made some drawings for a dimpling table as well, but won't construct it unless it seems like it would be useful.