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Side Skins

July 8, 2013

Now that the center and tail are together it is time to work on the skins.  It seems like they would be fairly simple, but this is not the case.

I retrieved the skins from the attic and removed the blue plastic from the inside and cut the plastic along the rivet lines, like I do for all of the parts.  I took the time right then to go ahead and edge prep and de-burr every edge.  Its sort of tedious, but this is a good time to do it.  Next I had to cut the holes for the steps.  There is a small pilot hole in the skin already, you have to open the hole to 1.5″…which I didn’t take pictures of.

Then it is a matter of fitting.  This process is more about making sure that the frame, as built so far is in good condition and that it is straight and all the holes match up.

100_1429 100_1431This actually took longer than I was expecting.  I had to rearrange how I had the project supported and the heights of the sawhorses.  Once it was all situated I was very pleased with the results.

The big question mark in my build up to now was the quality of the longeron bends.  Now that I can see them in place, they are about as close to perfect as I could have gotten them.

Of course after you get the skins on, you take them off again.   It is now time for the conical bend.  This bend occurs where the aft part of the forward skin meets the forward part of the tail skin.  This forward skin must roll around the corner and mate with the bottom.

There are no real instructions that go with it.  Just the briefest of instruction.  The instructions use the phrase “…bend line…” in several places.  I assumed that there was something in the plans, but there wasn’t.  So, if you arrived here looking for directions on how to make the conical bend, here are a bunch of pictures that I took that should be pretty helpful.  The process works pretty much like the instructions say.

100_1446 100_1445 100_1444 100_1443The most important this here, apparently is to open the hole in the vertex of the bend and file it nice and smooth.  This will keep cracks from happening.  I had no cracks in my bends.    Here are the results on the left side of the plane.


You can see the hole for the step.

You can see the hole for the step.

The right side came out much nicer, thought there isn’t anything wrong with either of them.  Once the bend was done I put the steps in place to see how they fit.

100_1451 100_1450I need to tweak the hole a bit.  Coming soon I’ll be drilling the holes for the step rivets.

When I left off yesterday I had both skins fitted, both conical bends made, the skins re-fitted and I had started drilling holes for the longerons.  Busy work week, so likely wont get to see it again until next weekend.  It will give me time to heal my grievous wound.

I broke a nail

I broke a nail


From → Build Log, Fuselage

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