Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Section 37 -- Roll Over Structure

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  22.0 (est.)

I skipped Section 36, which has the builder install the elevator and aileron push-rods, in favor of finishing out the air frame's structure.  Section 37 is the last section of the forward fuselage sub-kit.  Woohoo!  Of course there are a few items in addition to Section 36 that I need to go back to, but it's quite amazing how fast this kit seemed to go together.

Here's a shot of the roll over bar being match drilled.  I used as many clecos as possible to ensure an aligned fit.

With the structure riveted, I painted it black and then secured it to the main fuselage for match drilling.

After match drilling, I needed to remove the roll over bar and brace to clean up the holes.  Then it was time to reinstall and rivet them in place.  This final section was an easy weekend project.  I cannot believe how light and solid this piece is.  Although, I am reminded that it certainly should be strong for its purpose!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Section 35 -- Upper Forward Fuselage

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  36.0 (est.)

I finished the upper forward fuselage a couple of weeks ago, but I am just now reporting on it here.  That's the way it goes when airplane building, life, and blogging converge.  I would say that Section 35 is the last big build section of the forward fuselage sub-kit.  I admit it, I do a lousy job of accurately keeping time records.  Most of the time, I have a general idea, but half way through this section I flat out stopped marking times.  Oh well, no matter how much or little time I spend working on the project, the bottom line is that it takes what it takes.

As I started pulling the remaining parts from the shelves, I started with the bare parts and bits and had the same impression.  Namely, how do these flimsy parts come together to make something so strong?  Well, by the time I was finished installing the structure, I was again amazed at how strong it became!

Some of the parts had already been prepped for this Section when I had some pieces anodized.  Below, you can see the canopy decks (as well as the roll over assembly brace used in Section 37).  Like I said before, I think the anodized pieces will add some nice "pop" to the build.

The first order of business is to construct the main structure.  Below is a shot of the structure fixed to the forward section of the fuselage.  Keen followers might notice that my primer color has changed.  After the end of the large structural components were done, I ran dry of the Akzo Nobel epoxy primer.  Knowing that I would not use another two gallons, I opted to finish out the kit using SEM's rattle can primer.  Admittedly, it's nowhere near as good as the epoxy primer, but I think it will work well enough.  I also decided to paint the pieces that will be visible when the canopy is open.  Black seemed like the natural choice for me.

Here, I needed to match drill the cowling attach piano hinge.

It was time to use the aileron bell crank template to match drill the canopy release pin system.

Here's the anodized wiring channel.

The canopy anodized decks are in place.

With the forward upper fuselage done, it was time for a well-earned break.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sections 33 & 34 - Rudder & Brake Systems and Flap Actuation

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  18.0

Sections 33 & 34 flew by in no time!  Well, at least the finishing up parts of Section 33.  I had previously done a lot of the prep work for the brake pedals about a month ago.  Why you ask?  Well, I decided to add a little "pop" to the cockpit interior so I had the brake pedals (and a few other parts) anodized with red dye.  Let me tell you, it was no easy time finding a place to anodize the parts.  That is not to say that there are few anodizing shops.  Quite the contrary.  It's just most places can't be bothered with small batch hobbyists that are perhaps a little too picky.  Thankfully, I found a local place that was more than willing to accommodate my request.

Here's a shot of the brake pedals after they were anodized.  Pretty good, right?

After the prep work, it was no sweat mounting the pedals and connecting the brake lines.

Brake fluid reservoir.

With Section 33 complete, I moved into the Flap Actuation section.  Again, no problems here.

It began by match drilling the connections.  Here, the instructions call for using the aileron alignment jig (pictured towards the top of the picture below).  Thankfully, I had the foresight to hang on to that little gem!

There you have it!  Two sections that blew by in no time!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Section 32 - Baggage Area

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  25.0

Finishing off the baggage area of the RV-14 is a simple enough task.  It's really a matter of riveting the baggage floor and side panels.  For the most part, the panels are riveted using pull rivets.  This means that there's little or no dimpling required.

Prior to starting, I snapped a few pictures of the open floor (mostly as future reference).

Next, I prepped and placed the floor panels.

Once the floor panels were fixed, the side panels and flap motor channel were riveted to the airframe.

The end of Section 32 marked the time to paint the cockpit interior (if so desired).  Since I haven't determined what kind of finish panels I might install (if any), I decided it was worthwhile to paint it while there was easy access and little masking required.  I chose Zolatone Gray Stone.  Zolatone's finish is a mix of fine speckled colors that has a light texture to it.  I liked the idea of this finish because of its tendency to blend the exposed structure.  I used a Harbor Freight sprayer with good results.  Although Zolatone calls for a 2.0mm tip, the 1.7mm tip worked without issue.

Here's a closeup of the finish.

And here's some wide shots of the cockpit.  With about 2.5 coats, I used a half gallon.  Of course, I wasn't being as careful as possible, and I am sure that I wasted more than necessary.  That leaves me plenty for the remaining panels due with the finish kit.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Section 31 - Fuel Lines

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  5.5

Section 31 ushers in a diversion from the build process to date; i.e., with the main structure built (albeit,  some additional structure is yet to come), the build moves into the systems installations.  Case in point, the fuselage's fuel lines.

The fuel system for the IO-390 is a single line system with no returns.  That means that each tank has one fuel line running from the respective wing's fuel tank to the fuselage where they connect to a selector valve.  Simple enough.  The fuselage kit comes complete with the aluminum hard lines, connectors, selector valve, fuel filter, and boost pump.  It's the builders job to take an eight foot coil of aluminum tubing and bend selected lengths into the fuel lines.  Easy enough, right?

I thought so.  So, I bought the tubing bender from Cleaveland Aircraft Tool and set to work.  Well, my first attempt was not so good and it meant that I would need to order new tubing if I wanted to get it right.  Instead, I contacted Steve at Aircraft Specialty to secure a set of fuel lines prefabbed in his shop.  The bonus here is that he saw fit to use flexible line between the boost pump and firewall; thus, removing the possibility of a line break from a hard landing or other "incident."

I received the lines in short order and within about 30 minutes, I had them all installed.  Not only did it save a tremendous amount of frustration, but it also means that these precious lines were not "amateur" fabricated by me!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Aft Fuselage Attach -- Section 30

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 22.5

What a difference a section makes!  For the first time since commencing the build nearly two years ago, two sub-kits met.  The tail cone / empennage finally met the forward fuselage.  I'd like to say that it came together like that scene in 2001:  A Space Odyssey when the two spaceships doc.  In the movie, it's a slow and delicate scene.  While it was not all that difficult to join the two ends of the RV-14, it was no where near the ballet-like dance of the spaceships.

As directed, I lined the two ends up, tilted the tail cone upward, and pushed it forward until it was more or less positioned.  At that point, it was a matter of cleco-ing a few holes in the bottoms.

It's looking good!

Once I had the bottom positioned and fixed, I was able to continue the rest of the joining.

I used every 3/32 cleco in my arsenal.

After that, it was a simple matter of riveting the two ends.  It took a little contortionist maneuvering at times, but with the help of my good neighbor, it was together in no time!

In the down time while waiting to get to the riveting, I put my time to some good use and prepared a few parts used in future sections for a special project.  I will reveal all in due time.

With my new tube bender (never thought I'd own one of those), I'm already to install those fuel lines!