Mon Sep 1 2008

J-channel stiffeners and joining center and aft fuselage

Today I started by sliding the F-786 J-channel stiffeners (which I had notched yesterday) back into position. You can see that I cut them to match the angle of the skin.

Unfortunately I noticed that I had cut the lower stiffeners too short. Ack! These are supposed to extend through the F-711 bulkhead, but instead they stop at that bulkhead. I'm gonna have to get two new F-776 J-channel stiffeners, it seems.

Well, fortunately I hadn't trimmed or drilled the last two (upper) J-channel stiffeners, so I was able to use them to keep moving. After notching the aft end of these two, I slid them into position...

...then drilled them to the side skins. I had to remove the heavy .040 tail skin to get them in position.

After much wrestling, I had the .040 tail skin back in place.

Then I clecoed the F-705 bulkhead back together, clecoed on the F-704F side plates, placed a sawhorse roughly in position, and persuaded Kerin to help me lift the center section in position.

I had forgotten to install the F-706 bulkhead ahead of time, so I phenagled that in place.

Then it was time to cleco on the side skins. This was sort of difficult because the whole assembly is getting pretty heavy at this point. Also, the fact that the side skins extend down past the tops of the F-704F side plates means that I had to bow them out past the sides of the sawhorse initially. Only after getting the center section clecoed to the aft section did I raise the F-704 up and place it on some wood blocks so that the side skins wouldn't be bowed outward.

Note that by this point, most builders have already riveted the center section together. I'm trying to do as much pre-assembly just with clecos so that I can keep working in the basement as long as possible. Once I commit to riveting the center section together, I'll have to move out to the garage. That means either dealing with heat and humidity or cold weather, so I'm trying to delay that as long as possible.