Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers day .. mount, pedals, throttle

Seems every time I work on this thing, I learn something new. Its alot of fun, and keeps the mind busy. 
I am confident in my welding ... but last night I realized again, that I am using too little heat in my oxy/ace setup. I used my #1 tip on my big handle to get that engine mount goin ... seemed my little victor junior wouldnt get it done. After the big, open areas were welded up .. I decided to go back to the Vic Jr. with an 000 tip. Figured I would crank up pressure to 10 psi on both ends, and set a big cone. It worked well. It heated up quickly .. dropped in some filler and got out. I get alot less carbon and crap buildup and less warpage to take care of later. Good Stuff. 

Mount done .. need to ream out the bushing holes again, and sand blast and powder coat. Should look good. 
The rudder pedal/cable attach point needs reinforcement. The plans call for 3/8 tube from the top of the tube where the cable attaches to up to the top corner of the rudder pedal. This creates an angle that I didnt like, as the way my foot sits on the pedal, the angle of the reinforcement tube would have been uncomfortable. So I can up with this, after debating other ideas. This is clean, nice and square, and allows toe brakes in the future. 

AeroVee sells a neat throttle quadrant that I like, but like anything else aviation, it is $$$. Thought I would try out my own throttle lever, using Monnet's measurements with a 3/4 tube attached. Its really comfy and feels .. "cool" in hand :) I am enjoying building MY airplane, that fits me. The Decathlon I rent has such a short stick, I actually hunch over a bit use it ... sucks. And due to the forward hunch, the throttle feels like its behind me. Anyhoo .. this plane will "fit" me, and I am pumped about that. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

engine mount correction

I got some errors to fix on my mount jig, mentioned in the previous blog. 
I set up my jig at 8 1/2 inches overall length for the mount ... the picture above is a "corrections" in the plans, but noted elsewhere in the plans it clearly states the overall length of the mount should be 10 inches, NOT 8 1/2 inches. 
I will shim out my jig, and start over. Glad I questioned some other builders .. though in the end I found the info in my own plans. 
I read them intently when I received them ... and my memory and instinct said 10 when I was building the jig for 8 1/2". The picture above shows 8 1/2 ... I suggest when this happens, stop work and research for a definate answer. 
I wasted a bit of material, as the tubes used in the previous blog are scrap. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

engine mount

Cutting, fitting, grinding and filing tubes. 5/8 x .035 chromo tube is used for the engine mount. 

I started on the lower tubes, as my jig is standing up .. which is wonderful to work with. Standing it up was a last minute idea, and sure glad i did. 
Starting with the bottom diagonal, I nothced the tube, then took off the upper motor mount and notched the upper part of the tube. Trial and fit, trial and fit until the upper mount lines up just right to slide the bolt in. Repeat for other lower tube. And move up to the next level. 

Worked great .. but the upper tubes, which are almost horizontal and almost a straight line from the forward mount to the rearward mount turned out to be a challange. I needed to offset the tube for bolt clearance, and then dropped the rear of the upper tube to the lower diagonal in hopes to get the bolt clearance I need. I am waiting for approval of this modification from some experienced Sonerai builders before I weld it all up. 
So side view ... forward, or engine is to the right >>>>
<<<<<<<<<Rearward, or firewal is to the left 
The bolts/clearance issue is the top left firewall mount. 
This was my "fix". To drop the upper tube .. I am concerned that since it does not connect directly to the mount, but rather the tube below, that it might not pass muster, or inspection. I hope to have opinions soon on 

You can see the offset needed for bolt clearance. This is all good .. and is the engine, upper, right side mount. 
Overhead of the top of the mount .. engine to right, firewall to left. You can see offset, and the left junction were I dropped the tube. Notice that it shows in this shot how the tube would go right into the bolt I had not dropped it down. 

I want this to work ... hope I get good news. I dont want to gussett this joint up and add weight and ugly-ness (that a word?).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Got my seat pan idea rollin' along. Setup my first layer, and it feels good to sit in and gives me the couple inches I want to sink into the S1. The turtledeck is the 15" the plans call for in height. The seat frame however, is a touch lower than plans. The tubes were measured out THAN notched and fitted ... in essence loosing a good 1/2" per tube. The seat framework sits very close to the control tube, but does not interfere. Again, I am 6'1" and I think will fit nice and cozy :)
Got to this point yesterday. 
And in the airplane .. so now I can really see the "dip" that I was looking for. Lots of work to do yet on this idea. But it should pan out ... pun inteded :)
Tonight ... I got to making a jig to form up the engine mount. Used dense particle board and layed out my measurements on each piece. Got a piece for the firewall side, and the engine side. 
This is the firewall side .. with my engine mounts bolted in place with 3/8" el'cheapo bolts. Plan was to make a fairly rigid jig, then add my 5/8 x .035 tubing. I will tack, and finish weld as much as i can in this jig before it bursts into flames :)
And the finished product ready to use. Simple, but aligning both sides was quite the chore. The 2x3's in the middle are glued to one side, all layed out on a circle I drew at the centerline. I used welding rod in the center to pre align, then spent some time getting it just so. I drew the centerline on each piece over the sides and top ... used a level straight up to get them perfect. All went well, and I am excited to get a mount out of this contraption. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Canopy frame ..

Got to the canopy frame today. It was a ton of fun getting it togethor and watching it take shape on the airplane. 
3/8" x .035 tube, and the hardware you see in the pics for the latching mechanics is all cheap, mock up stuff. 
I have to make a disclaimer first ... I was told by another Sonerai 1 builder, who has a wonderfully built airplane, that the fuel tank that I am able to buy prefabricated is of different dimensions than the plans, and therefore interferes with the guage bow .. which is what the front canopy bow is based off of. Apparently it is longer .. which means different placement of the gauge bow than plans call for. After pondering this for a few days ... I decided to go ahead with the plans, and move forward. After ordering a cowl, money for a tank isnt available, nor do I want to have a tank sit around for 2 years. Gamble?? Yea, maybe .. but we will see in that stage of the game. 
So after a few hours of work, we got a working canopy frame. Spent some time on the latch's on each horizontal ... you can see the silver 2 bolts in the pics. I chose to put latches on both sides, as it will swing up, or easily come completely off. 
It is tougher than you think to make the curves match up ... I used the same technique on all four bows I bent up .. no heat, just a nice steady pull on each side and had great results. 
First thing, was to use some short 3/8 tube on each end to capture the inner sliding tube of the latch . Got them cut and formed and fitted. 
After that, I started fitting the bows, rear first. A little trimming and notching out, and tack it in. Then the front bow got the same treatment. 
The challenge tonight was the welding .. seems my Victor junior handle was having a hard time keeping a setting. Very irritating. And as a fairly inexperienced gas welder, I started with too little heat .. again a bit frustrating. But all worked out, and we were rolling. 
Example of the hinge setup .. this is front, left corner .. if you were in the cockpit. Not the prettiest welds, but they are plenty strong. 
So this is the setup I used at all for corners of the canopy. 
And the canopy opens, closes, and latch's very well. I have a safety lock device in mind, as I have heard of canopies coming open .. and I am not real excited about experiencing that. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Not too much done today .. but try to do a little every day. Thinking of setting a goal of Oshkosh 2 years from now. I have been once ... in 1986. I was a young man, and went with my 2 uncles .. both commercial airline pilots. An amazing trip, never forgotten. My first time to see a real Pitts special in person ... and a Christian Eagle too. As a kid, I bought or borrowed brochures from these companies, just so I could "feel" it. Wish I had the Christian Eagle brochure still ... it was amazing! Very colorful, printed on photo style media ... I drooled for years on that thing. 

Ok, so cleaned out the failed seat pan foam .. and refoamed. It took, so will move forward on that idea. Looks silly .. but will use the variety of tools to chip away and make some sort of form for me to create a fiberglass seat pan ... goal is to "sink" me into the airplane.  It will work ...... :)

Again, not too much done .. middle of the work week ya know? 
These little things are my dash support mounts ... flat chromo sheet bent, drilled and formed out. 
Thats it for now. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Made some progress today. Got my turtle deck bow formed and welded on. Also the gauge bow. I then made copies of the two to use for my canopy and mocked them up. Got the side rails of the canopy drilled and notched out for the latch system. 

Used an old cast iron skillet bolted to the work top. Worked so well!! I am using 3/8' x .035 so not real difficult to bend, but very happy with the results for such a low-buck idea.

Turtle deck bow welded up, pic shows rear canopy bow in progress. I was happy that I was able to get these bent and shaped almost identical. Same for the gauge bow and front canopy bow. 

Here is the start of my lowered custom butt pan. Will, or plan is to get another couple inches of "sink' into the airplane. I know it will work, as I sat in the plane without the wood pan. 
Using some foam spray, inside a 99cent paint tray. I split the tray, and dropped it down in on either side of the control tube below. After a few hours to dry and set, I find out that the top is nice and dense .. the foam in the bottom is wet, and super thinned out ... no air! Might have to do this in layers, or bite the bullet and buy some real filler material to use. Plan is to make this mold, then sand away to get my shape. Then I will make a  fiberglass pan over the mold and walla! .. new, lower seat pan with a comfy contour. 

All four bows in place. The T-deck and gauge bow are welded in, and I am mocking up the canopy. Got my side rails sitting in there, and they are notched out ready for the latching set-up

Getting late, but I wanted to play with mocking up the stringers. I lower stringers on each side only go to station 5, or about half way to the tail. Notice the left of the bottom pic .. I top stringers per plans attach to the vertical stab uprights .. but that makes the tail look "chubby" to me. I want to draw them in a bit, and the short string tying' two togethor in the back is my attempt at getting a preview of what the covered fuse will look like with the stringers set in about 1/4" or more.