Building a rotisserie

Last night, I mentioned thinking about going ahead and building a rotisserie for the fuselage, and I hadn’t changed my mind by the time I left work today – so I stopped by Harbor Freight on the way home and picked up a cheap 1000-pound engine stand. I also went by Home Depot to get some pieces of angle iron and a few bolts and nuts.

The general idea of the rotisserie is to go ahead and drill the engine mount holes out to 3/16” (not their final size) and use these to attach the angle iron in such a way that the firewall can then be attached to the engine stand. The tail can simply be supported by the tailspring, and the fuselage is turned by simply turning the engine stand.

The first issue evident once I got the engine stand assembled was that the upright wasn’t vertical – the digital level actually showed it off by about 3°. In order for the rotisserie to work properly, I want it to be pretty close to dead vertical. So began a long series of tinkering with the thing, trying to figure out ways to straighten it. There’s no kind of adjustability for this, so basically I just started figuring out ways to reassemble it incorrectly that would tweak the angle. But nothing seemed to work right, and eventually I resigned myself to needing to buy some more hardware to make this work.

I’d given up for the night when I had another idea for tweaking the thing – and this time, it worked. The upright is now just .3° off dead vertical, which I figure is close enough for government work. So tomorrow or Friday, I should be able to attach the angle iron pieces to the firewall and get this thing put together. Then I can finish riveting those cockpit rails…

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