In my continuing quest to find something FWF to work on that didn’t have infinite dependencies, I drug out all the baffle components after work today. A nice touch here is that the instructions for the baffling come in the style of the newer kits – these combined instruction and drawing pages. So instead of constantly referring from a big page of text to a drawing, each page of the instructions has smaller, more focused drawings for reference. However, I kind of found myself uncomfortable with the very prescriptive nature of these instructions, and so I found myself skipping steps in short order.

The first step was just separating some angle/brace type pieces and doing some trimming on them. This was where I started skipping steps – in some cases the trimming of pieces was pretty obvious, in others it seemed less clear. I decided that I wanted to see these pieces in assembly with their neighbors to better understand the trimming, so I set them aside and moved on.

From there, we jumped to working on the left rear baffle components. This sent me in a new direction of uncertainty, though. The first bits were easy – just fitting and riveting a couple of reinforcements where the side baffle piece will be screwed into a cylinder head. The next bit involves fitting the oil cooler, though…and despite the drawings showing a pre-existing hole in the left rear baffle for this, my piece had no such hole. Some research indicated that it’s up to the builder to figure out this location. It also turns out that RV-8 builders quite frequently have clearance issues between the oil cooler and the cowling. Oh, and almost everyone adds extra reinforcement in this area, as it’s a common location for cracking from vibration.

The end result of all that is that I’m skipping the part where I fit the oil cooler for now. Presumably there’s plenty to do with the baffling before I get to that requirement…I guess we’ll see. In the meantime, as part of my goal to comprehend how the baffling comes together, I decided to temporarily fit most of the left-side baffling in place on the engine:

It’s nice to see that despite abundant uncertainty, this stuff all fits like a glove. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky with the right baffling, which I tried stuffing in place as well. The right rear piece doesn’t seem to be shaped properly to fit against the engine, so it looks like I’ll have to do some strategic trimming there.

Basically, tonight once again involved a nontrivial amount of head-scratching, but I think I’m starting to wrap my brain around how all this stuff fits together. Hopefully I can at least make some good progress in getting this stuff together, even if I have to keep deferring things.

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