04/12/2011 - 04/17/2011
Hours: 11.1
Tailcone: 16.8

About a weeks worth of work done on the tailcone.  And after cutting and deburring and shaping and trimming lots of metal, it finally feels like we're making some progress on it.
This is an attachment bracket which eventually will help hold the Horizontal stabilizer to the tailcone.  I made two of these.  The first was passable, but I thought I could do a better job and so bought another length of angle aluminum from Home Depot and tried again.  The second one was much nicer so I put a star next to it so I don't get the two of them confused.

Audra building a little wooden jig.  She loves to come out and build with me.

We can't wait to see a picture of the airplane in the center of a shot like this about 2000 feet above the trees.

All the J-Channel stiffeners needed a 45 degree cut on the ends.  I did it with the belt sander.

A closeup of the J-Channel getting its 45 degree cut.
Each of the 12 J-Channel stiffeners needed a line drawn down the center.  It actually took me a little while to come up with this contraption to easily draw a very accurate line.  It's a little T-Square clamped to the bench.  The ruler has a small hole drilled at just the right diameter to allow a thin marker to squeeze into the hole and stay very tight.  See next picture.
Then I slide the J-channel along the T-Square and the marker draws a very consistent, straight line at exactly the right distance from the edge.  It worked great on all 12 J-Channels stiffeners.
Two long lengths of aluminum angle needed to be cut to size and a notch cut into them at the right spot.
The plans.

After the aluminum angle pieces were cut, a 2 degree bend had to be put into them starting at a specific spot.  The plans described how to do it.  One thing required was to use an aluminum-padded vice.  So I got some scrap aluminum and padded my vice.

The process involves putting the angle into the vice as shown with the spot of the bend on the edge.  Then you pre-load the end (by pulling the left end in this picture) in the direction of the bend.  Then you hit it with the mallot.  Do this until you get the desired angle.
Here are the two angle pieces bent.  One 2 degrees in one direction and the other 2 degrees in the other direction.  Each of these were checked for the right angle by placing them against the skin where they will eventually be mounted.  However .....

I decided to do some measurements and apply some high school trigonometry just for fun to verify the angles were correct.  That result is 4.67 degrees total.  About 2.3 degrees each.  Not too bad.

Naturally, I didn't have the right size saw horses.  They need to be at least 38 inches tall.  That's a pretty tall saw horse.  So we bought some wood and those hinges and build what we needed.

Here we have the bottom skin upside down with the skeletal pieces hanging below.  Those clecos along the top are holding on some of those J-Channel stiffeners cut and shaped in previous steps.  Those nice straight lines came in very handy as I match-drilled.  There were no problems at all.
And here's the mother-in-law over for a visit.  We're hoping in a few years to be able to easily deliver her and the father-in-law by air for visits to their friends in Florida.

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