Fuselage and all metal part Powdercoated and Fuse Rotisserie

October 31, 2011

Today I got the call from Triton Metals (where my fuse and parts were being blasted and powder coated) and they said it was all done. I ran over there on my lunch break and picked up my parts and pieces. They did an excellent job, I was really impressed. Total cost for all metal parts was $1460 for blast and powdercoat. After I got home from work I started organinzing things and I decided I need to make a fuse rotisserie for covering and painting. So I ran to lowes to get some 2X4, brackets and caster wheels and I spent the evening making the Rotisserie.

Time spent 3 hours
Total time spent 881 hours

Powder coating time

October 24, 2011

I packed up the truck with the fuselage, Stabs, Rudder, Elevator, all the control tubes, I-struts, and a box full of parts and pieces. The powder coater I used will be media blasting, phosphate wash and Powder coating with TCI 9840 Signal white. The powdercoat is a Polyester TGIC powder which has excellent chemical resistance and is nice and crack resistant. So hopefully I will be able to go pick it up by the end of the week. Also made up some really detailed instructions and photos with labels at the below links.

Powder Coating parts pictures.ppt

Finish welding and engine mount separation

October 10, 2011

I have been busy in the basement the last couple of days. I finished welding the elevator control tube rod ends on all three control tubes so that’s 5 total. I cut out tail wheel steering horn and welded the attachment tube to it. After I did that I aligned the steering horn and drilled the holes for the two AN3 bolts. I cut and welded rudder pedal gussets that are to help support the brake pedal and give more surface area for my toes to rest. I built an engine support with caster so that I could separate the engine from the fuselage but keep it in a position to roll around as required. Once the engine was separated I rolled the fuselage over and finished all the bottom side welds. After all that was completed, I think I’m done welding… I called my powder coating shop and re-confirmed my powder coating date 2 weeks from now. I then quickly packed for my 9 day work trip.

Torque tube Idler and Elevator to fuse idler control tube

October 5, 2011

Tonight I had a softball game but it was early and I was able to get somethings done on the plane. Last time I was working on the torque tube and I decided to put the torque tube idler in to see how the old controls functioned, just as a mock up. I had planned on using the old idler because it measured out to specs, but I quickly realized tonight that the holes were drilled out to 1/4″ and I need 3/16″ holes. So I decided to make another one. I started by re-drawing the shape of the idler on to the 0.050 sheet (twice for both sides) then pre drilled the holes for the bearings and the 3/8″ upper tube. I ran over to the airport to use the shear and cut out the pieces. while I was there I used the vice, my bottle of MAP gas, and a 7/16″ piece of wood (to stop the vice at the right width) to form the 7/16″ squish in the 3/4″ tube that connects the elevator horn to the idler. After I got back home I assembled and welded up the idler and the tack welded the connector tube angle.

Time spent 3 hours
Total time spent 857 hours

Torque Tube block mounting

October 4, 2011

Monday I received the front and back bearing blocks for the torque tube. Today i was able to work with them a bit to see how they mount and how smooth they were on the torque tube. I started with makeing the 4 bushing spools made up of 1″ 3/8 0.058 tubing and AN970-6 washers. I got those made and then trial fit the torque tube to the fuselage. I had to remove the paint in the welding areas and after I got them clamped in place and silky smooth rotation of the torque tube I tacked them in place and removed the bolts and clamps to finish weld them. After I finished welded them in place I decided to fit the torque tube in place again and it was running in the bearings real nice.

Time spent today 3 hours
Total Time spent 854 hours

Elevators/Rudder hinges, torque tube, stringer attach, Elevator mounts

October 3, 2011

I haven’t made a post in several days because I have been hard at work. So I decided I would only make one post. I have been working half days at work for the last few days so that I could all the metal construction and welding completed. So here’s the list of things I completed over the last 5 days.

  • Welded the Rudder saddles
  • Welded the Elevator Saddles
  • Fabricated, mounted and welded the aft horizontal tail spar and elevator bearings mounts and tube
  • Welded the rudder hinge collars
  • Welded the elevator hinge collars
  • Welded the lower stringer aft attach brackets
  • Welded the lower stringer mid attach brackets
  • Fabricated and welded the elevator fuse idler
  • Welded on the front of the torque tube..
  • Routed bent and welded the trim tab tube in the right elevator.
  • Welded the elevator splice and elevator pitch horn to the elevator
  • Fabricated, bent and drilled the elevator hinges.
  • Fabricated, bent and welded the rudder stop.
  • Cut out new lower stringer plywood stringer guides/attach pieces.


The reason I have been on a hard push is that I have a powder coating date for all my metal and I need to meet it as they are a 5 week lead time right now and I am on and off of travel so if I miss my date I will need to reschedule and wait several more weeks which could delay me a much as a month due to my busy work travel schedule.

The list of things I have left to do prior to powder coating.

  • Rudder pedal brake reinforcement
  • Stick to torque tube idler tube
  • Torque tube idler to fuse idler control tube
  • Fuse idler to elevator control tube
  • Torque tube mount bushings.
  • Gascolator mount bushings.
  • Remove Engine
  • Remove rudder pedals
  • Remove throttle and linkages

Time spent (alot!) Im not actually sure but my best guess is approx 40 hours

So Total time spent 851 hours

Rudder part 3

September 26, 2011

Tonight I didn’t have much time but I wanted to get something done so I finished welding the 60 deg splice on the rudder pitch horn and also finish welding the pitch horn to the splice. I then decided to locate and drill the lower hinge inplace. I measured and drilled a small pilot hole in each side of the hinge and then placed it on the aircraft and finihed drilled in place. I then drilled the frame tube out to 3/8 and installed a 3/8 0.058 tube and welded that in place. After that was done I taked the collers for each hinge in three places like the drawings show. All I have left on the rudder is the bottom for the steering chains.

I also CAD’d up the new rudder area vs the old rudder area just to see the size difference and it turns out that the new rudder is 35% larger

Old/Stock Rudder 447 in^2
New Rudder 601 in^2


Time spent today 3 hours
Total time spent 811 hours

Rudder part 2

September 25, 2011

Today I got started again late since I was up very late the night before. I decided to re-attack the pitch horn again. I heated it up again and this time I made sure I had the radius in the right spot. I temp fit it again and now I get 32-35 deg of travel which is what I wanted. So that being done I fit the 1 inch 60 deg cut tube and the rudder pitch horn together in a jig and tacked them in place.

After that I had all the right elements to start assembling my rudder. I tacked all the ribs in place. It was funny how even tacked the rudder is easily flexed so you have to be careful with welding out of the jig. I finished the rib welding and trimmed the 3/8″ tubes on top and bottom. I fit the top tube and a gusset and the bottom tube with a 3/8″ support. finally I finished the whole thing off my finish welding the top of the rudder leading edge tube to the 3/8 which required some crimping. After all that I positioned the rudder and hinges where I wanted them and check the throw which was good. marked the 60 deg cut tubing with pitch horn and tacked it in place and check the throw again, which was still good.

After all that I decided to back drill my upper hinge, properly spacing it of course!

Time spent today 8 hours
Total time spent 808 hours

Rudder part 1

September 24, 2011

Well after a long day of building yesterday I got up a little later and started working on the rudder. Up until now I have only played around with the strap hinges and rudder spar but it was now time to get started on the building the rudder. First things first I need to get a pipe bender. I went to lowes and bought a 1/2 EMT 5″ radius pipe bender (it was the smallest they had). I wanted to bend the radius at the bottom of my rudder to 4.5 to 5 inches so that worked out. Next stop was the airport to cut out the lower 1″ 30 deg tube for the rudder horn to attach. I also cut out those tube for the elevators as well. I got everthing home and practiced a bend on some spare 3/8 0.035 4130 tube. After some adjustments I had it pretty good I so I measured out everything and made a bend. With some clamps I placed it up on the plane for some sizing.

I marked up the 3/8 tube and the rudder spar and then jigged it on my work bench (sorry no pictures thought I took some but I can’t find them!). Anyway I got sitting happy and then measured out my ribs to match my fuse ribs. I then marked up some 0.025 sheet and took them to the airport for use of the sheer and brake again. This was easier than though it was going to be I was really dreding the folds but it was no big deal.

I got everything home and realized that I mis-marked the top rib by 1 inch exactly, oops that what I get for adjusting the ruler by 1 inch to make it more exact, oh well. So I marked a new one and headed back to the airport and cut and folded another. I got everything home and trimmed the ribs to fit. Before I welded the ribs I had to get the hinges done they go on before the ribs. So I stopped there and finished the hinges (rosettes and made sure they rotated smoothly on the tube). I then also decided to make the rudder pitch horn. I ended up drawing this one in Solidworks and glueing it to a piece of sheet. It took a lot of effort to make the folds right on the pitch horn and were a SOB at best. The first go around I made them and they limited the rudder travel to somewhere around 15-20 deg. So I had to continue the folding by heating and forming them until they were giving me the right amount of travel. I actually got tired and gave up and went to bed.

Time spent today 8 hours.
Total time spent 800 hours!

Torque tube Part 5 and control stick

September 23, 2011

I took a half day at work so that I could burn some leave and get some work done on all these welding projects. I started right in by marking up the aileron control tower shape on 0.050 sheet. I also marked out the shaps for the stick pieces as well. Finally just to be as efficient as possible I marked up the channel for the last elevator control tube that gets formed and installed at the idler.

After I got back home I imediatly trimed them up to the correct radiuses. I started tacking the aileron tower together and then I set up the wings on the fuse to check to make sure that the aileron push tubes would be in the correct place. I adjusted the tower a little and then marked and welded that on. Also found out that I can have a fully assembled airplane in my basement with plently of room to work and have a paint booth!

Finally I finished the stick. I don’t think I mentioned that last post but had gotten started on the stick and welded the bearing housing to the stick and cut that to size. Today I tacked together the lower half and fit it to the stick and finish welded it. Also here is a picture of the torque tube and stick married up.

Time spent today 8 hours
Total time spent 792 hours