Tue May 13 2008

Tweaking F-779 aft bottom skin

Tonight I decided to try to get the fit of the F-779 bottom skin somewhat better. This means curling the edges more than they currently are. The .040 thick nature of the skin makes working with it a real bear. I started by clamping one edge between a strip of oak and my workbench edge and curling it over.

After some work, it's a little better (left side), but it's still got a long way to go.

Here you can see I'm really curling the heck outta the skin. As aggressive as this seems, it didn't really do too much to improve the situation.

Here's what actually worked: Lay the edge of the skin on the a crosswise piece of 2x4, hang my gut over the skin and literally put my weight on the skin. Who'd have thought that Kerin's excellent cooking would actually come in handy for airplane construction. The only problem with this method is that the edge of the skin gets little kinks in it so that if you sight down the edge, it's not a perfectly straight line. I got most of that out with seaming pliers. I'm not really worried about those little kinks since that area will be overlapped by the side skins.

You can see the fit is much improved. It's still a real struggle to get the clecos in, but they actually do go in now.

When putting the aft bulkheads and skin back into the tailcone assembly I noticed that when the F-711A (forward) bulkhead is clecoed to the skin....

The holes in the F-711B (aft) bulkhead are offset by about 1/2 hole. I've got the two bulkheads clamped together, so I know there's no space between them. I'll give Van's a call in the morning. I'm thinking the solution is to get an F-711B without prepunched holes.