Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Trying on new pants

I've been working on the wheel pants for a couple of hours at a time over the last few days. I finished laying up the glass to fill in the space between the vertical brackets and the sides of the pants, and just couldn't put it off any longer: I had to level the brackets and get the pants aligned again, then drill the holes for the rivets that would attach the brackets permanently to the pants. Yep, permanently. One way trip. No turning back. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

I couldn't see the pre-punched holes in the brackets through the fiberglass, nor could I fit the drill inside the pants to drill out through the hole and glass. I borrowed a bottle of Street Walker Red nail polish (not saying from whom), cut the heads off of a Q-tip, dabbed the Q-tip in the nail polish, and marked the spot on the glass where I needed to drill by pushing the Q-tip through the holes in the bracket. It worked pretty well for the most part, although I was concerned about being the first RV dude to drill a #40 hole in his tire.

Once the holes were drilled, I dragged the pants uptown to have the rivets squeezed in. One of these days, I really should think about getting a rivet squeezer of my own. In any event, the riveting was a piece of cake. I couldn't wait to get back to the hangar and bolt the back halves on for the first time.

Tonight I rough-trimmed the front halves just enough to fit them to the back halves.

Tomorrow I'll lay up a little glass in the area where the pants attach to the horizontal brackets, drill the holes for the screws and nut plates that will provide said attachment, and rivet the nut plates onto the brackets. At that point, I think it'll be ready for a test flight. Assuming I return with all of the parts I depart with, all that will be left (for now) is the finish work. Lots of sanding, priming, sanding, and priming later, I'll put on some placeholder paint. Then it's simply a matter of waiting until later in the year to add the gear leg and intersection fairings.

No comments:

Post a Comment