Sunday, November 25, 2012

Page 06-06 Build Time: 36 hrs

The goal for the holiday weekend was to get the Vertical Stab through primer so that it could cure during the week and be ready for assembly next week. I completed all the de-burring for the VS skeleton as well as scuffed them up to get ready for paint. I've dimpled the skins for the VS de-burred and scuffed for paint as well. I test fit the ribs that need radius so there won't be any O-shit moments post primer.

The process I'm using for prep is a very fine (red) scotch-brite followed by the ultra fine (silver) just to knock down some of the scuff from the red one. Not too much but enough to give the aluminum some "tooth" as they say. This is followed by a wash with Dawn to remove most of the dirt then Acryli-Clean until no more black comes up. Prior to primer there's one last quick cleaning to pick up any dust of finger prints. I don't want to go the Alumni-Prep / Alodine route as it's just too much prep and the primer I'm using should be fine without it. The outside will have the full treatment but that won't be done by me.

I've given this primer business quite a bit of thought. After speaking with a couple people in the business that I trust I ended up with Sherwin Williams corrosion resistant epoxy primer. While talking with the painter I asked about the water based stuff I had previously decided to use (I only bought a quart) and he felt that if you could still get the good stuff you should use it. I have to say - primer adds a significant amount of time to the build. I'm sure as I get settled on the process it won't be so bad but I could be quite a bit farther along if I just built without primer.

I mixed the primer (turned out to be exactly the right amount) but ran out of time / temperature before I could get to the VS skin. So that will have to wait till next week. I wanted to see how this primer was going to turn out - it's hella more work in prep, cleanup and logistics. I'm going to look into doing it in a shop locally so that I have a bit more control on the process. I also weighed each part going into primer and will re-weigh once it's cured. I want to track the ratio so I can get an idea if I'm really putting on the pounds with internal primer.

Primer is a all day event. I thought I could take on the intake gaskets for the Cessna and the primer in one day but it was a grind getting it all done. Going forward I'll leave the entire day for it. I'm very pleased with the results but it makes everything much more work in terms of prep and mocking up without actually assembling anything.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Page 06-03 - Build Time: 14 Hrs

Spent a full day getting the shop cleaned out so I had room to work. So this weeks time was pretty much dedicated to that. Here's a look at the room I have now. I have the next three kits on order and I'm hoping they will fit. I imagine there will be lot's of stuff hanging from the rafters.

My First Porcupine.
Found some time Sunday night to drill out the spar caps for the VS. Finally got to use some of those clecos.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Page 06-02 - Build Time: 10 hrs

Finally building an airplane. Built out the Rudder Bering attachments less the riveting. That will come post primer. Ah, primer. Yes there will be primer.

I've settled on Stewart Systems because it cleans up with water and it's touted a less toxic. I spoke to one of the guys at Stewart and he felt that unless your less than 50 miles from the ocean don't bother with the inside - and I would agree. I'm around 30 miles from the real salty stuff. I've decided to use primer sealer on the ribs and the epoxy based on anything that isn't aclad. I'll use the epoxy on the inside of the fuselage to protect from fluids.

I took on the rear spar caps and those are ready for match drilling. I also took on a bit of de-burring on the mid ribs and front spar. Removed the material as noted in the build book. I really do like working with aluminum because it's so pliable. It's great to sit in the shop and craft each part thinking of how early pioneers of flight took on building their machines a part at a time.
The tools are working out. I'm very happy to have a chance to use the stuff I've been accumulating since A&P school. The right tool makes all the difference.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Build Time: 6 hrs.

Spent some time today reading the build docs, reading more primer wars and peeling off the blue plastic. It's interesting how much weight that stuff adds to a part. Vans says get it off quickly and as much as I like knowing it's protecting my shinny aluminum soon I'll be scuffing it up for paint.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Santa Drives a Kenworth!

The empennage kit came today. The driver called and asked if there was enough room on the street for a forty five footer and I said sure without even thinking about it. When he came up the street I though no problem on the sides but he came close the the power lines! The box had some damage so the driver helped me open it up and pull enough out to make sure no skins were damaged. Vans does a great job of packing. I spent the rest of the day pulling everything out and doing the inventory. Only one part missing - a small plastic grommet that should have been in with the wire ties. Everything else was there including TEN THOUSAND pull rivets. I'll spend the rest of the weekend reading through the plans and taking care of other chores.

Besides being really excited about building an airplane I'm very impressed with the kit. The plans look to be top notch. I'm still on the fence about primer during the build. I have a 35 year old Cessna that grew up in FL and now lives in the SF bay area. It's had Corrosion X treatments most of it's life and has held up well. The bay area does take it's toll on the paint but the inside is in good shape for it's age. I doubt that primer on this plane would have made a difference in the areas that are problematic.