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Inboard Edge Nutplates, Fuel Sender Fitting, Conduit Runs

Got some good work done recently, but it took longer than expected.  First, I noticed that when running through the steps that had already been completed on the QB, I didn’t notice that the inboard wing nutplates (for the wing/fuselage fairing) were missing.  Installing them requires countersinking the skin/doubler/rib combo, #40 for the nutplate attach rivets and #8 for the screws.  I hadn’t used the #8 countersink—it removes a ton of material, as you can imagine.  The rearmost nutplate goes through the skin only, so the #8 holes are dimpled on it.  I should have installed this one before installing the flap fairing, so unfortunately I had to remove the little stiffener at the inboard edge to get the nutplate in, then re-rivet the stiffener with the MK-319-BS blind rivets.

Next  up was fitting the fuel senders (the things that tell you how much fuel is in the tanks).  It’s basically a float that pivots across a potentiometer, which shows the fuel level as varying resistance between two terminals, which are wired to the engine management system (EMS).  This thing is a huge pain, because you have to adjust the wire holding the float “just right” so that the float can go from top to bottom, not hitting the vent tube and stiffeners.  There’s not much margin for error, and the only way to check is to attach it, then stick something in the drain hole to move the float to the top or bottom, then look in the hole, then detach, adjust, and repeat.  I think I did this about 10 times per side.  If you build the fuel tanks yourself (non-quickbuild), the plans tell you to install and adjust the senders before attaching the rear of the tank, which would be significantly easier.  Here’s a picture of each sender adjusted.  The wire isn’t pretty (note the differences in the 90 degree bends), but it works.

Interestingly, there is a “left” and “right” fuel sender part–they’re identical, except for the hole pattern on the mounting plate.

Lastly, we installed the conduit in the wings.  This was pretty easy: just drill a small holes near the second lightning hole in each rib, drag the conduit through, then tie it at each hole with safety wire.  We used the nylon conduit that Van’s sells.  It’s light, cheap, and easy to work with.

Kelly did the safety wire on the right wing by herself, while I started looking at the bottom skins.

More wings work

It’s been a while since the last update, but we’ve been making some progress.

Doing the flap and aileron fairings mean Kelly is back helping with clecos.

I finished doing all the riveting on the gap fairings (except the ones on the inboard portion of the spar–they can’t be easily bucked, so I ordered some CherryMax rivets, which are in the mail.

Also, in the picture above, note the nutplates on the inboard edge of the skins aren’t in yet.  I realize now I missed installing them earlier, and those near the fairings will be difficult to squeeze.  At a minimum, it looks like the aftmost one will get a CherryMax rivet (Kelly calls them “cheater rivets”).

We also finished installing the aileron torque tubes and bellcranks.

Lastly, we riveted the pushrod ends.  From reading the Vansairforce forums, I was worried it’d be difficult to get the rivets in straight, but a C-frame and a hammer made it quick and easy.

Working on the wings

Rob started building the aileron control system. Here he is priming some aileron pushrods. Yes those are swim goggles!

Building the wing cradles and fuselage stand

We did this a few weeks ago, but I thought I should document what we did.  I built the wing cradles from this diagram (and only this diagram).  Not sure where it came from, since I downloaded it a long time ago.

The fuselage stand is very simple.  I built it exactly as described here: http://wcurtis.nerv10.com/fusestand/fusestand32.html

Pallets just didn’t trip my trigger so I picked up twp wooden sawhorses, 2ea 8′ 2 x 4’s and 4 swivel casters at the Home Depot. Cut the 2 x 4’s in half, cut the legs off the horses and screwed this all together. It is just the right height, you can wheel it around and it was less than $40.

– Rick Sked – 40185 – Las Vegas

My only regret is that I didn’t use bigger casters on these.  They’re fine in the garage, but at some point if we want to roll things out to the driveway temporarily, it’ll be a little rough.