We’ve had a satisfying weekend of progress and have managed to work efficiently in parallel on a few of the fuselage tasks.
J had some fun using the band saw to separate some of the more complex metal attach plates and doublers. The band saw is a tool we didn’t buy initially as we were hoping it wouldn’t be necessary, but unfortunately we had to give in as there are parts in the fuselage kit that would be completely ruined by trying to saw them by hand – the metal is just too thin and the shapes too delicate. The band saw does a great job, but the downside is that it makes a horrific noise. I’m sure the neighbours have been loving us the last couple of days…!
The main part of the forward fuselage (basically the area under and around the cockpit seats) is made up of a large floor skin and a complex structure of spars and ribs. We had a marathon priming session a couple of weekends ago to get the ribs ready, and I’ve spent the last couple of days riveting on attachments, doublers and nut plates. Some of these tasks I could do myself with the squeezer, but others were definitely better with another pair of hands. The ribs are quite flimsy when not assembled, so you need someone to stabilize the structure before you whack it with a pneumatic hammer!
The project has definitely started to feel more real as we’ve begun working on pieces like seatbelt attachments…hard to ignore the fact that we’re going to try and fly this thing one day when figuring out where and how we’ll be strapped in!
Some of the ribs need ‘fluting’ before they can be attached to the skin – this is a process whereby the holes (which can be slightly out of alignment when the pieces come out of the factory) are brought into alignment with each other by gently bending the metal in between. There are special fluting pliers designed for this purpose (of course…there’s a tool for everything!). What you have to be careful about is that you put the bend in the direction *away* from the straight edges, otherwise you will have some very strange lumps when you try to put the skin on!
Apart from that random collection of tasks, J has been having some fun with the firewall and been working on dimpling the stainless steel and some pre-assembly in readiness for the next few steps.
Have a good week!