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Made Scrap Metal Tonight

March 7, 2011

I am so pissed right now I probably shouldn’t be posting anything.  Remember that pucker factor task I mentioned in my last post.  I guess I should have explained what that was.  It was the final bend on the elevators.  You have to make a brake out of two pieces of wood and some door hinges.  You put the elevator in the brake and Viola you have an elevator of the proper bend.  I got my materials from Lowes and built my brake today.  But like an (f-bomb) idiot I decided not to make it like Vans says.  “Leave a 1/4″ gap between to pieces of wood.  This will make the gap at the trailing end of the elevator perfect.”  Bullshit!  All that ended up doing was leaving a gap where the brake couldn’t squeeze the  trailing edge down enough.  I couldn’t for the life of me make the pieces come together enough.  I even sat on the brake to try to get it to come together more.  I moved the elevator closer to the outside edge of the brake where the gap was less.  Still no good, I couldn’t get enough leverage there.  Finally I got out some “C” clamps and used them for the final squeeze.  Too much.  I squeezed one of them together too much and it caused one of the stiffeners to buckle.  On the other one I simply squeezed to much and the radius was just too much.  And there is no “un-squeezing”.  You get it right, or you hope you dont go too much.

Tomorrow I’m going to see how many stiffeners I can salvage.  I now have to order two new elevator skins and some unknown number of stiffeners.  Three days and $120 in the toilet.  Lessons learned today…

  1. Dont look for solutions to problems you dont have.
  2. Follow Vans instructions to the letter and if you have a problem contact them first before resorting to advice from people you don’t know on VAF.
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2 Comments
  1. I like you website. It is straight forward and honest. I did not build my plane, but there are things I am rebuilding. ( Safety First ) Good way to stress the time factor in homebuilding.

    • Thanks for the comment, Clay. Though I’ve gotten over that incident I have to admit that it beats down your confidence a bit when you think up a solution to a problem and that solution fails. You start to over think problems and eventually get bogged down in second guessing yourself. This is what happened to me last weekend while working on the rudder. I spent so much time reading and looking things over that I didn’t get nearly as much accomplished as I wanted to. Basically it is fear of screwing up.

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