August 13, 2010

Dimpled Top Fwd. Skin, Installed Rudder Brace, Brake Fluid Reservoir - 4.0 Hrs.

It's time to wrap up a few miscellaneous items on the Front Deck so I can move on. The first thing I did today was finish the dimpling on the top forward skin. Then I set it aside. Although it's ready to rivet, it may be quite a while before this skin gets riveted to the fuselage. An entire instrument panel and all the wiring needs to be done first. Not to mention, the canopy work, which comes soon.

Next, I believe my rudder and brake pedals are in to stay. I may be wrong, but I can't foresee any reason to have to take them out again. So I went ahead and riveted the rudder brace to the firewall. I could still get the assembly out of there, I suppose, but it's one more part off the shelf and installed for good in the plane. Feels good.

Then I turned my attention to the brake fluid reservoir. It comes in the fuselage kit and the plans clearly show you where it's mounted to the firewall. So you drill a 1/2" hole in the firewall, along with bolt holes to hold the thing on. When the holes were deburred, I mixed up a small bit of proseal to seal around the hole, and then installed it. It looks great! A good friend of mine in our local chapter gave me a set of Bonaco brake lines that he won't be using. Wow, can you believe that? Thank you, Roy! They are a definite improvement and upgrade from the plastic stuff that comes in the kit. When the proseal is set, I may as well install them. The brake lines will go from the reservoir down to the master cylinders on the brake pedals. I'm going to need a set of right-angle fittings that connect the ends of the brake lines to the master cylinders, so I called Bonaco today and ordered them. When they arrive, I'll be all set to go ahead and install them.

About the only thing left under the front deck, for now anyway, is to install the NACA air vents on the insides of the fuselage skins. These plastic vents are nicely shaped and look great. They will bring fresh, ventilating air into the cabin.

I've been debating whether or not to use rivets to install them, or just proseal them in place. Some people use pop rivets, but some don't use rivets at all. My preference is to just use proseal and avoid any rivets at all, but the obvious challenge is how to hold them in place and apply some pressure to the inside of the fuselage while the proseal cures. So I spent some time today devising some clamps that I believe will do the job. It's very simple, really. I just used some strapping tape and taped a 1 x 1 wood piece onto the clamp as an extension. They won't need a lot of clamping force, so this should hold just fine.

I haven't actually installed them yet, but I did test the clamp to see how it works. So far, I'm surprised how well this will work, and how easy it was to do. The masking tape pieces on the fuselage skin below are for reference, and will help me position the vents correctly when I install them.

I will probably install them shortly. Stay tuned.

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