Organizing and tinkering

Well, I didn’t really get the good start on the wings I kind of wanted to today.  Truth be told, I slept in pretty hard…the last few weeks at work have been kind of stressful and draining, and I haven’t been sleeping that well, so it was nice to feel like I got caught up on some rest.  I finally found my way out into the garage early in the afternoon.

The first order of business was to get all the parts put away.  The crates were still out in the open where they were dropped Tuesday, and the place in general was cluttered.  I’d previously put the wingtips, along with the empennage tips, on the top shelf, and the wing ribs on another shelf, but everything else was scattered about.  I spent the next hour or so grouping parts by subassembly (flaps, ailerons, etc) and stacking them together on the shelves.  That was pretty simple…next I had all the long pieces to deal with.  The longerons are just under 16′ long, and there are also a couple of 12′ pieces of angle and tube.  Obviously those weren’t going on the shelf.  I ended up putting a couple of hooks in the rafters and hanging those long pieces up there.

That just left a bunch of skins to deal with.  After some thinking and general chin-scratching, I put all the control surface skins as well as the tank and leading edge skins on the shelf under the work bench.  Unfortunately, the main wing skins were too big to go under there.  After some more chin-scratching, I decided to hang them all on what was basically the only remaining clear wall space in the garage, using some small finishing nails through the rivet holes.  That should keep them out of the way until it’s time to get some skinning done.

The empty crates got put outside by the driveway for now.  I think I’ll cut them up for scrap/firewood, maybe tomorrow.

So now what?  The first task called out in the instructions is riveting the tank attach nutplates in place and countersinking for the attach screws.  Problem was, the metric ton of nutplates needed for this task are on backorder, which is a bit of an obstacle.  The next main spar tasks are installing the inspection cover nutplates and the tiedown hard points; however, I decided it made more sense to move on to the next major section of the plans, which is assembling the rear spars.  Actually, I just wanted an excuse to get some parts out and cleco them together so it looked like some kind of assembly.  Plus I could start getting some insight into how the wings go together.

I didn’t really get anything done on the rear spars besides clecoing the reinforcement forks in place.  Instead of just diving into work, I sat down with the instructions and started reading through them to get an overview of the whole process.  One thing that’s immediately obvious is that the step-by-step handholding from the empennage instructions is gone.  No more checkboxes beside individual steps; now I just get paragraphs of general instructions and things like “prepare the piece for riveting as usual.  Note that some holes will need flush rivets.”  It’s up to me to find out which holes those are, and to decide how to accommodate the flush rivets.  It definitely seems like there are a lot more opportunities to make mistakes, between the lack of handholding and the vastly increased complexity of the assemblies.

I was honestly a little intimidated and overwhelmed after reading through everything.  I’m going to have to work hard at getting my mindset right; if I think in terms of the entire wing assembly, it’ll always seem like I’m making no progress, so I need to focus on what current small piece I’m working on.  Eventually it’ll all come together.

I guess tomorrow I’ll get to work on those rear spars.

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