Lower right longeron, mid fuse prep

OK, finally back to work. I’ve been a bit lazy this past week, in addition to trying to get a head start on being ready for out trip up to Oshkosh. I started today by working on repeating all the stuff I did previously with the lower left longeron. I ran into a problem almost immediately when I first put the longeron in place:

IMG 6036

Yup, apparently I twisted the aft end the wrong way. Fixing the twist wasn’t a huge deal, but it did require a few trial-and-error trips between the vise and the forward fuse assembly before I got the twist just right. Then I set to work doing all the drilling. This is especially fun since a breaker trips if the compressor cycles while the garage air conditioner is running. So when I know I’m going to be doing a lot of drilling like this, I preemptively turn off the air conditioner, which of course means that it pretty quickly starts getting hot. And here I am, sitting on the floor and drilling over my head, with aluminum and steel chips raining down on me…and the sweat makes sure they all stick to my skin. Whee!

Anyway, with the drilling, deburring, and refitting done, I final drilled all the #30 holes on the outboard sides of the gear weldments. This is just to remove the powder coating from the holes and make it easier to cleco stuff together later. Next, for each side, I placed the auxiliary longeron in place, followed by the outer gear tower plate, which holds that longeron in place. The fun part about this is that you’re supposed to cleco from the inside, to allow for fitting the skins at a later time. That works fine on the lower portions of the towers, but for the forward upper areas, the baggage bulkhead gets in the way. So I ended up temporarily removing the forward baggage floor along with the bulkhead, just so I could place a handful of clecoed on each tower. I bet it’ll be fun doing all the riveting up here…

Here’s the left side with the aux longeron and gear tower plate in place. Note that the aux longeron hasn’t been drilled at all, it’s just loosely held by the tower plate. I imagine it will get drilled in assembly with the skin at some later time…

IMG 6038

And that’s all for the forward fuse assembly for now. I removed the center section assembly and set it aside, then moved the forward fuse assembly back to the saw horses. That brings us to the mid fuselage assembly, which appears to basically constitute everything from behind the center section to the back of the rear seat; the seat rib assembly from before will be the base for all this. First up is just a bunch of part hunting and deburring. There are four floor angles, a couple of gussets, and ten parts for the rear seat armrest assemblies…and they all have nooks and crannies requiring the needle file to smooth. I spent probably a couple of hours or more just deburring all that stuff.

The instructions also call for you to enlarge a hole in the armrest bulkheads to allow for routing the pitot static line, but they don’t tell you what size to enlarge it to. I spent a fair amount of time hunting through the plans, then searching online, before finally remembering that I have the entire pitot kit from Safeair in the garage. Sure enough, it includes the snap bushings for the line routing, so finally I got past that issue.

Another hangup I’m having involves the rear seat throttle. The instructions say to modify the left armrest now for the rear seat throttle, if one is being installed. Well, that wasn’t an option on the fuse kit, so I don’t have that stuff. The bit of research I’ve done so far seems to indicate that people do lots of different things for the rear throttle, so there’s no one simple answer so far as I can tell. I’ll just have to do some more research and try and figure out what to do here; I can probably delay these modifications without much impact up until the time that I actually rivet the skins on. Maybe I’ll get some good ideas at OSH…

Next up I pulled out the mid side skins, peeled off the blue vinyl, and deburred all the edges. More tedious work here with files and needle files and the die grinder. The next step here is to make a bend at the aft edge of each skin, but it was late enough that I decided to leave that for tomorrow. Instead, I clecoed together the left armrest assembly and then clecoed it to the seat rib assembly, mainly just so I’d have something visual to show for today’s work:

IMG 6039

And that’s it for tonight. Tomorrow I should be able to get the skins rolled and maybe have a nice-looking subassembly by the end of the day…

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