Yesterday, after home school year end testing we were able to sneak in a few hours of work on the airplane. Step one was to get back onto the trim cable installation. While the major pieces were in place, we had not adjusted the handle to run true, which required a bit of bending. I wanted to wait till Miguel was here because he has so much experience using a metal brake that I figured he’d do a better job.
I decided that even though it added a touch of weight, I wanted the handle to have a rubber coating on it so I used Plastidip to coat just the top of it where your hand would rub. That was of course after using the belt sander to round over the rough cut piece and smooth it out. The Plastidip had gotten really thick but Dustin had some naptha which he thinned it out with. Even thinned it didn’t go on like I’d have preferred but it was good enough for what we were doing.
Spork setup our old metal brake in the shop, which entailed screwing it down to the bench. Nothing too complicated.
We had a small piece of 1/4″ aluminum to bend, and a wide piece of .040 aluminum to bend for our baggage door. Once Miguel was able to stop by, we got the handle bent, more with a hammer than with the brake. A test piece of .040 revealed that our super cheap old brake just wasn’t going to bend anything thicker than paper. With that realization, Spork and I took off to Harbour Freight to purchase a larger brake. About 1.5 hours later, we returned with this and a few other goodies like a new battery charger and a new shop cart, which will likely be our covering supply cart.
This brake is floor mounted instead of bench mounted, which is great because we don’t have much bench space. It also has a 36″ throat instead of 30″ like our old one. But best of all, it is an actual brake and works properly, vs the cobbled together thing we were using. It has adjustments in all the needed places and a built in clamping system vs. the gaggle of hand clamps we used on the old one. Setup on the old one took minutes for every single operation vs seconds on this one. Once we had it setup like we wanted out of the box, it took Miguel less time to make this rain guard (top of picture, the metal piece that is bent).
Than it did to setup for one single bend on the old brake. I’ve already forgotten how I got along without this brake. Now we can make parts for the airplane, which is great if you mess one up. Some blank sheet aluminum and the old part for a template, and a new piece is made in no time. Takes the pressure off when you are working with something and you can quickly remake it vs. having to reorder a part from the factory.
On our next work day, Spork will take the old brake off the bench and toss it in the scrap metal bin. We will then find a place for the new brake to reside semi-permanently. We’ll finish the trim cable install, which only needs a few bends of the cable and cleaning up of the trim handle from Miguel’s apprentice marks, and then we’ll move onto working on this door and drip guard. All the pieces are in place, we just need to do the final fit up, break sharp edges, maybe make a door handle/lock, and drill out the holes for the hinge. Everything will be clecoed in place because it all has to come off for fabric covering.
With the trim handle finished, and the door hopefully finished, we can move onto the firewall.
Time spent this afternoon, 3 hours.