22 March 2009 Started the fuselage today. In several hours I had the table (2 pieces of MPF tied together) mounted on my counter top and started to build. Hours: 6.0 24-25 March 2009 After putting the fuselage longerons in the jig I decided there was too much pressure (in my opinion), so I made another bending jig, similar to the one I used for the rib cap strips. I steamed the first 5-6 feet. It came out nice, and it fit almost perfectly back into the jig with no pressure. I cut the rest of the braces, but now have to wait on my 1/8" plywood to arrive. Hours: 4.0 27 March 2009 Plywood arrived, cut several pieces of 1/8th for the left fuselage. The plans call for wedges between several braces, but I could not tell if required between all braces. I cut enough for all, however after looking at the plans and trying to interpret what they were for, I concluded they are only called for where pointed out for brackets. Hours: 2.0 28 March 2009 I glued the left side of the fuselage. I used several of the jig clamps from the rib jig, however, the 1" bracing was a little harder to clamp. Hours: 1.0 29 March 2009 Pulled out the left side of the fuselage from the jig. Pretty cool, strong, light and looks like a fuselage. 4-5 April 2009 Started the fuselage right side. With any luck, I won't forget and make two "left sides". I steamed the bottom longeron for the right side and fit it into the original jig. I cut all the braces. Hours: 3.0 8 April 2009 Glued the braces together on the right fuselage side. Hours: 2.0 9 April 2009 Cut and glued the gussets on the right fuselage side.
Hours: 2.0 10 April 2009 Flipped and glued the gussets on the right fuselage side, side 2. Hours: 1.0 11 April 2009 Cut gussets and started gluing the left fuselage side, side 2, got about half way through, will finish tomorrow.
Hours: 2.0 12 April 2009 Finished cutting and gluing gussets on left fuselage.
Hours: 1.0 13 April 2009 Pulled left fuselage side out of the clamps. 24 April 2009 Sanded most of the fuselage top and bottom longerons of excess epoxy.
Hours: 1.0 22 May 2009 Started laying out the fuselage. Needed to order white ash for framing in. 15 June2009 New pieces of Ash arrived this week, began cutting braces to size and squaring up fuselage. Hours: 6.0 20 June2009 Epoxied the first few cross braces
Hours: 1.0 22 June2009 Epoxied an ash brace on the bottom of the fuselage
Hours: 1.0 24 June2009 Using a piece of 1/4" plywood and sandpaper glued to the plywood, formed a sanding board for the aft section of the fuselage sides. Some have told me they use a bench sander or belt sander and then finish off with this board sander. However, I found it gives a pretty straight sanding and if it gets off on one side, you merely tightened the opposite clamp for more pressure and the two side were sanded even again. I paused often to measure the sides to ensure it was sanding evenly. I sanded for about 20-30 minutes each day for about 3 days, that was about all my arms could take. It came out pretty good and very straight.
Hours: 3.0 1-20 July2009 Epoxied numerous brasses and cross braces. Paused at the end of July to enjoy Brodhead and Oshkosh 2009!!!!
Hours: 10.0 August More cross brasses and sanding accomplished in August. Also epoxied several gusset plates on fuselage. Not much else accomplished.
Hours: 4.0 1-19 Sept2009 Epoxied gusset plates. Sanded majority of the fuselage. Using the table belt sander adjusted in the vertical, sanded the fuselage tail area. First I aligned the vertical stabilizer on the fuselage and marked the angle and how much needed to be sanded. Then I adjusted the sander in the vertical position. I placed the sander on two small sections of pipe, so it could be rolled into the fuselage with a consistent angle and pressure.
Hours: 6.0 17 Oct2009 I contemplated the type of plywood to use on the sides and bottom of the fuselage. After searching several sources, I was able to obtain (2) sheets of 1/8" Okoume Marine grade (BS1088) and (1) sheet of 1/4" Okoume from North Carolina, where a friend picked it up on his way up for a visit. I cut the bottom piece using the 1/4" plywood, and a cardboard template to form the half-oval on the rear of the piece. One thing I have never been sure of, and this is not made clear in the plans, is the use of 1/8" x 1/4" edge strips. I overhung most gusset strips to take into account the need to round the longeron edges, and will fill between these with strips, however, not over the side plywood pieces.
Hours: 1.0 23 Oct2009 Prepped the fuselage for the bottom plywood piece, scraped off excess epoxy. Epoxied the 1/4" plywood bottom clamped all around, used weighted boxes in the middle to hold against cross braces.
Hours: 2.0 25 Oct2009 Removed clamps and sanded all edges of the bottom plywood piece.
Hours: 1.0 ++++++++++++ 4 March2010 **After working on the empennage pieces and waiting to weld some metal pieces, I cut 1/8" plywood (Finnish Birch) into approximately 1/2" strips long enough to go between gussets as called out in the plans. I started gluing these on the fuselage. Near the tail section, where the HS will rest, it didn't seem prudent to use just 1/4" stips so I cover the entire top with small pieces of plywood.
Hours: 1.0 ++++++++++++ 12-15 Apr2010 Cut out the Fuselage Port Side Plywood using 1/8" Okoume Plywood. Epoxied the side and using random weighted objects to hold it down epoxied it up. Once it dried, I sanded it up.
Hours: 3.0 17- 25 Apr2010 Cut
out the Fuselage Starboard Side Plywood using 1/8" Okoume Plywood. Prepared the side, this time using tape to minimize and epoxy oozing out and getting on the fuselage inside. Epoxied
the side and using random weighted objects to hold it down epoxied it
up. Once it dried, I sanded it up.
18-20 October2010 Cut out the Fuselage firewall and attached in place. Started running pieces of spruce strip down the sides of the fuselage, pieces 1/4 by 1/2 inch. Hours: 1.0
26-30 October2010 Added fuselage strips on the sides of the fuselage using 1/4" X 1" spruce. The plans called for these to be 10" down from the top of the longerons, however this did not appear to place it in the middle of the fuselage (from top to bottom), so I placed it 11" down and parallel with the top of the longeron. This made it run perfectly where shown in the plans to the next to last gusset. Hours: 2.0
21-22 November2010 Began varnishing using Poly system two part varnish, and reducing by 50% on the first coat. Hours: 2.0
12 January 2011 Attached the wheels to the axle and wrapped with temporary 5/8" rope on the gear. Hours: 1.0
The turtle back...
1-2 Nov 2009 I made the turtleback bulkheads and cut 7 stringers. The plans do not call out the stringer dimensions, so after looking at numerous web sites they appeared to be 1" x 1/2", and that is how I cut them. They just looked too heavy and big. Soon after I investigated further, and realized they should be 1" x 1/4", so I started the turtle back over and re-cut everything. This time it looks much better. Hours: 4.0 3-8 Nov 2009 I took off the mid-supports and scalloped them. The stringers come together at the empenage and I made a stopper so they would all be even. The stringers are now off and have started the helmet box. Hours: 3.0 9-24 Nov 2009 I rounded the stringers and sanded the rear ends so they would lay flat on the fuselage, and flat against the rear stop. I test fit the horizontal stab. several times. I fit the helmet box in place and replaced the stringers several times, while fitting the box and the mid supports. I glued the mid supports. Hours: 3.0 25-26 Nov 2009 I made a new cross piece to fit below the helmet box and patterned the rear seat back. I decided to use a piece of 1" material as the helmet box front, whereby I will cut out the door and attached with hinges. I needed it to be 1" to cover the top of the rear seat plywood back. Hours: 2.0 26 Nov 2009 Thanksgiving day! After a huge meal at the Owens, I grabbed a few minutes on the Piet. Adam snapped some pictures of me around the shop. Cut the cross piece to size behind the rear seat again. Angled it to accept the rear seat plywood back. Hours: 1.0 16 Dec 2009 Updated pictures of the construction of the turtleback and the seats. Way behind on updating my text but good work being completed on the fuselage. Hours: 10.0 3-5 October 2010 I made short pieces of spruce to put between the stringers making up the turtleback. This is to prevent excessive movement of the fabric during operations. Hours: 1.0
Building the Helmet box...
8 Nov 2009 I
cut pieces of Okoume and started building the helmet box. I deliberated for quite some time on making an elaborate design, and decided to keep it simple and small, similar to the plans. I decided to round the top to give it a better look and make the door easier to function. Glued the two sides this evening. Hours: 1.0 9 - 15 Nov 2009 Glued the back piece then sanded the top edges for the top piece to sit flush. I cut
the top and steamed it until I could bend into the rough arch of the box. I let this top piece sit over night. It fit pretty good, so I glued
it in place. Glued the box to the front face piece (The stringer cross brace). Then I cut out the hole for the door. I sanded the edges of the inside of the door by hand. The whole helmet box fits on the fuselage pretty good. Hours: 4.0 16 Nov 2009 I epoxied the helmet box in place. Then, because I framed in the rear cockpit cross brace 1" aft, I added another cross brace in front of the helmet box. I thought was to use a 3/4" board as the facia for the helmet box. This will provide much great strength getting in and out of the cockpit where weight will be put on the turtle back. It will also give me a larger and stronger surface to attach grommets for a cover in the future. Hours: 1.0 25 Mar 2010 Using a piece of Poplar, I cut to fit the front of the helmet box. Using a router, I cut out about 1/4" of the back and fitted it to the helmet box. It is slightly big to allow for the fabric it will cover. Hours: 1.0
Building the Seats...
17 - 30 Nov 2009 Worked on the rear seat. I simply started with the four foundation pegs and built up. I raised the seat one inch, partly because of a measuring error, however, I discovered my mistake, but decided I wanted it slightly higher. Hours: 2.0 1 Dec 2009 I cut out the rear seat brace. This is the piece in front of the rear seat. I went ahead and made the pully cut out to size, however this will have to be widened later, after I make the control rod and pully mechanism. Hours: 1.0 2-3 Dec 2009 Epoxied the rear seat mid supports. Started working on the front cockpits seats. Made the front seat back and cut out the hole for the control horn. The edge of the plywood chipped a little more then expected, so I made a triangle cover plate out of 1/8" finnish birch, which will also provide a little more rigidity to the okoume. Cut out the pieces of spruce to make the Vee in front of the back piece.. Hours: 2.0 4-21 Dec 2009 I made the front seat out of 3/4" spruce and Okuome Plywood, and will use birch for the seat. I made two back braces for under the seat using 1" x 1" spruce, where I felt it needed more support in case the seat was used as a step to get in or just for the weight of the passenger. Hours: 5.0 1-3 Jan 2010 Worked on the front and rear seats. Built as per plans, however, used 1/4 for rear seat back for extra strength. Cutting the front seat bottom between the back support wedges was not a perfect fit, but it should look alright. I cut out the rear seat back and it fit well. Most wood building is complete, looking to start the metal fittings. Hours: 4.0
2-3 Dec 2009 I had previously cut out the front cockpit instrument panel. However this was to measure the hight and angle from the front cockpit to the turtle back I wanted. This week I cought up and while a piece I epoxied was drying, I cut out the rear cockpit instrument panel front piece. I will fashion a support piece behind it (I don't think there will be enough support for a passenger getting in and out if they put their weight on the 1/8" bulkhead. Hours: 2.0 21 Dec 2009 I cut out a support for the access panel for the rear cockpit. I tried using a pice of spruce and it would not bend to match, so I opted for using 1/8" Finnish birch. Hours: 1.0 STOP THE PRESSES>>>>>>> 1-9 Nov 2010 After completing the majority of the fuselage, front storage compartment, and cabane brackets, I then went back and re-started the instrument panels. I discovered, because of the side trim strip pieces and the cabane brackets, etc, I wanted to change the instrument panels a bit. So I decided to make new ones, ones with better arching supports. I cut out the instrument panels using 1/8" finnish birch, but used 1/8" okoume for the back seat of the front cockpit (rear of the aft instrument panel). This was to match the front cockpit seat. After cutting out each piece, I made a support arch from 1/8" finnish birch cut into 1" strips, long enough to arch from longeron to longeron. I fashioned a dor opening in the front cockpit headrest, and cut a slight arch in the bottom of the instrument panel in the front cockpit. Hours: 3.0
10-15 Nov 2010 Worked on the instrument panel supports. I made some from laminating 1/8" finnish birch strips 1" wide, bent and epoxied into an arch. Other ones I cut the arch out of 3/4" poplar, both seemed to work fine and are very strong. I then glued supports across the top of each. Hours: 6.0
Adding some Magazine Racks...
5-12 April 2010 Decided to add some pieces of 1/8" plywood on the inside of the fuselage for support and to cover up the lower braces which had extra epoxy buildup. I saw these on another Piet at Brodhead and thought they were a great idea. I call them magazine racks or chart racks. Regardless, they were fun to make, using my drum sander with the smallest drum.
1-2 Oct 2010 I cut an ash cross brace piece into a 1 1/2" x 1 1/4" diameter and glued to the front firewall frame along with an 1/8" piece of Okume plywood as the bottom piece. Initially I cut and glued side support pieces in the vertical until I realized (looking at other web sites) these pieces would interfere with the cabane brackets on the sides. So I removed these pieces and glues on new pieces at approximately a 45' angle aft and glued on a piece of 1/8" Okume to the back. I then trimmed out the storage area with extra spruce cap strip.