Progress on the airplane, the door comes together

Today was a good work day, after we decided not to go to Manteo to see Robby and Jenny because of weather. Lots of accomplishment and not much frustration.

Step one when we got back from the airport was to have Spork take the old metal brake and toss it in the scrap metal bin. Once that was done, it was time to start on the new shop cart.

Spork putting together the new shop cart
Spork putting together the new shop cart

Spork had an interesting comment about this cart. His instructions were, “Go put that cart together.” No here is where your tools are. Here is a work space. This is how it is assembled. Nothing. Just get it done. He said that not long ago he’d have had all kinds of questions and not been sure he could assemble it. Now it was just, “Meh, ok. I’m building an airplane, a cart is easy.” Basically he is self-aware of how his skill set and his confidence are both growing. Why do we do crazy projects like build an airplane? This is why.

Shop cart finished assembly
The finished product. One shop cart, ready to work
Trim cable installed with handle
The trim cable, finally finished

Here we see the cable, bent so it runs true. This is a terrible picture of the cable, but it is a good picture of my toes, so I have that going for me. I’ve bent the cable itself so it jogs out to the right, then bends back to line up with the handle. Now that it is in, I could install the whole thing in about an hour. It only took two days. Sigh.

Baggage door frame, with hysol beginning to be sanded
Baggage door frame, with Hysol beginning to be sanded

With the trim cable installed, I moved onto the door. Step one was to file, and then sand the Hysol (the grey stuff between the silver bars). The high spots on the Hysol need to be sanded down or they will poke through the fabric and make ugly bumpy spots. I went all around the airplane filing and sanding down high spots, something I’ll probably do a few more times before covering. There always seems to be one more spot I missed.

Door mocked up and drop guard in place waiting to be drilled
Door mocked up and drop guard in place waiting to be drilled

I got these cheesy little clamps at Harbour Freight for 99 cents. They are my new favorite thing. Just enough force to hold something like this, but not enough to bend it like big clamps do. I drilled out the hinge for the door, both sides. I still need to drill the drip guard but I want to look at it a bit longer before I do. Just to make sure I like where it is.

Bends in the door for strength
Bends in the door for strength

I talked to Miguel about how to put a few brakes in the door for strength. It isn’t like we are going to go that fast in this airplane but it could still flutter in flight and I didn’t want that. Miguel gave me the idea of putting an X pattern with very slight bends, going from corner to corner. He said it would add lots of strength and barely change the panel at all. Once it came time to do some bending he was nowhere close so I closed my eyes and did the bends myself. They came out perfect! Now the door has a slight convex shape, standing a little proud off of the fuselage. I think it will look perfect. It also doesn’t flex anymore so it looks good and it is strong.

baggage door opening to show access and function
Door opening to show access and function

Everything is finished except for drilling the clecoing the drip guard. And making the locking handle. But the door opens and closes and truly makes the baggage area usable. Otherwise you’d have to climb over the seats to gain access.

Seat rails, polished and non-polished
Seat rails, polished and non-polished

When we were in Granstboro the tool I wished for the most was my belt sander. Robby has one, but it isn’t the same as a 3HP Baldor knife makers belt sander.

One thing I really wanted to have done was to put the seat slide rails on the barrel spinner and polish them up. They were a bear to get sliding correctly, always binding and sticking. I spent about 5 minutes with the barrel polisher and a scotch brite belt and went from what you see on the left to what you see on the right. I actually need to work on my barrel polisher. If I had it complete, I could get these things to a mirror finish. But for now I polished both of them and reinstalled them in the seats.

Time spent today, 7 hours.

Leave a Reply