AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust October 25th, 2016

I keep putzing along and making progress. I am amazed that there are getting to be fewer and fewer “projects” to complete each day! I am starting to feel like one of these days the plane will be done.

So one of the unfinished items from last post was the seat and baggage area. Other than upholstery the seat and baggage area are now complete.

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The back of the baggage area is a wooden frame with a 1mm plywood front. I added a couple of small wood blocks behind it on the window framing to keep it from falling backward into the fuselage. The whole assembly is easily removed to allow access to the elevator bellcrank and aileron cable ends.

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Another item was the air intake which got crunched when the plane took a nose dive. This has been cleaned up, straightened and reinstalled.

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I still need to safety wire two bolts and castle nuts toward the front of the assembly.

Before I can glue the plywood over the nose and dash I want to get the wiring and plumbing installed. The first order of business was to figure out how to activate the starter motor. The C-85 has a “pull starter” that requires a cable or rod to be run from an arm on the starter to the cockpit. Here is how I finally decided to do this:

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I used a 3/16″ rod for my actuator and bent it at a right angle, then threaded the short end.

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I eyeballed the anticipated run for the rod and drilled a hole in the firewall. The hole is large enough for a steel tube to extend through the firewall and act as a guide for the rod. Another hole was drilled in the instrument panel where I wanted the end of the rod to be accessible for starting the engine.

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Of course, the rod had to go over the fuel tank and miss the filler neck, but everything just seemed to work out.

The next thing was how to actually pull the rod from inside the cabin. I had some left over pieces of Delrin, so I drilled a 1″ hole for my finger to go through and a hole for the rod to go through. I used the Dremel tool to shape the edges and make a notch to accommodate a nut and washer.

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Next on the list was to decide how to control the throttle. Yesterday I spotted a throttle and mixture control quadrant on Barnstormers, so I contacted the seller and it should be shipped later today. I have quite a bit of Belden cable left from the trim control, so I started working on running some of that.

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This looks like it will work out quite nicely! The next issue is how to mount the throttle quadrant assembly? So I added a piece of wood reinforcement between the fuel tank restraint and the instrument panel. I won’t be able to complete the installation until I have the throttle quadrant, but this is a good start.

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As long as I have good access to things, I decided to complete the fuel gauge sender installation. I had the base of the sender in place on the fuel tank just to keep dirt out, but I needed to install the float. Following the instructions that came with the unit was pretty easy. The hard part was getting the assembled unit into the fuel tank. I ended up loosening the sender rheostat so it could slide down the support and fit through the hole. Then I could slide it back into place and tighten the screws to secure it. The other surprise was that the float now sits toward the side of the tank rather than toward the center of it. If you use one of these, be sure to take into account which way the float will extend from the support before you weld the mounting ring to your tank. The holes in the mounting ring do not allow for multiple positions of the sender!

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Roger on October 25th 2016 in news

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust October 20th, 2016

So the wings are done, that means that I need to finish the fuselage. There are quite a few details that need to be dealt with before I can start covering and painting.

One requirement is that the plane be fitted with an ELT. I purchased a used Pointer ELT at the AirVenture Fly Mart a couple of years ago. However, I thought I would just buy a new Ameri-King AK451 from Aircraft Spruce instead. I ordered the new unit, but was informed that these are no longer available from AS. At that point I decided to use the ELT that I already had. Parts are available for it from AS, so I can still get a new battery and it is still legal.

My ELT needed an antenna, mounting tray, and new battery at a minimum. I also wanted a remote switch. When I added up the cost of these on AS it became obvious that a bit of time looking for used parts might save a considerable amount of money. I was able to get the antenna, mounting tray and antenna cable on Barnstormers. I still will need a remote switch and a new battery. The switch kit is available at a reasonable price from AS and will be part of my next order. I will order a new battery just before the final inspection. That will get me the longest time before it needs to be replaced again.

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I bent up a mount for the antenna and bolted it in place. Then I attached the antenna cable and zip tied it in place.

Another thing that needed to be done was to improve the tail spring mount. There is a large bolt holding the front of the leaf spring in place and I had a couple of threaded rods farther back to hold the leafs straight. The threaded rods needed to be replaced. I decided to make a “U” type of bolt with nearly square corners at the “U” end. So I got a piece of 3/16″ steel rod, bent it to shape, cut it to length, and threaded the ends of the legs.

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That worked pretty well and I was having some issues with finding bolts to hold the horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage, so I got a piece of 1/4″ steel rod and repeated the process.

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I will probably need to cut the threaded ends off a bit, but that can wait for a while.

The elevator cables rubbed against each other near the middle of their runs. I tried to come up with some type of small separator, but couldn’t get things to work quite right. What I finally came up with was a chunk of PVC pipe that would sit between the cables and have guide notches cut in it.

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The plans call for the fuel tank to be mounted in the nose of the plane aft of the firewall. I followed the plans to build the fuel tank, but found that the specified mounting method just didn’t work for me. So I came up with this mount:

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That holds the tank up and across the top I added a wooden restraint to hold it upright and generally in place.

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The curve of the top of the fuel tank is not the same as the curve of the top of the firewall. That put the fuel filler neck and cap inside the nose of the plane. I took the filler neck to a friend who cut it and added a piece of tubing to extend it to reach above the nose deck.

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That worked out quite nicely. HOWEVER … while working to get the fuel tank in place I managed to push on the nose of the plane just a bit too much and it v.e.r.y..s.l.o.w.l.y tipped over onto it’s nose! Fortunately the engine was not running and the “tip over” was very slow, so damage was minimal.

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Only the air intake box was bent and I think I can straighten it. It will need to be removed from the carburetor, though.

So, with that experience behind me, I tied the tail of the plane to the workbench.

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The next project was to design and build the seat and luggage area. I decided to have a bench seat with a back rest that would tip forward for access to the baggage area.

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Under the seat will be storage area for an emergency kit, some tools, and misc items that do not need to be accessed during flight.

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The luggage area is behind the seat and has enough room for a couple of suitcases, a small tent, and a couple of sleeping bags. I still have to build the retaining wall/device so my luggage doesn’t end up in the tail.

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The seat and luggage area are easily removed, should that become necessary, by taking out a couple of AN-3 bolts.

In my “spare” time I have been helping my son insulate and sheetrock his garage. He suggested that we move the fuselage into the long bay in his garage this winter, so we can finish it up and have everything ready to fly in the spring.

Now, on to the rudder pedals, brakes, and instruments!

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Roger on October 20th 2016 in news

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust September 19th, 2016

So the wings are done, as you saw in the last post. However, I have been trying to come up with a way to test the wingtip lights and strobes. I have really been scratching my head on this and have come up with several “elegant” ideas, but they were just too complicated. Then my son suggested just using my battery charger. Duhhh! Now why didn’t I think of that?

So here is the result:

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And here’s the video:

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Roger on September 19th 2016 in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust August 19th, 2016

So, rib stitching took less time than expected. Applying the finishing tapes and perimeter tapes took quite a bit longer than expected. However, the wings finally reached the point of being ready to paint. Ben brought two small folding tables out to the hanger and we were able to set one wing on them and the other on the workbench which allowed me to paint both wings at the same time.

Six coats of primer were applied to both sides of the wings. That used up the remainder of the first gallon of primer and most of the second. The first two coats of primer were applied with a foam brush with the second coat being applied perpendicular to the first coat. All subsequent coats of primer and paint were applied with a small dense foam roller.

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A wing with all the primer applied.

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The same wing after the finished color has been applied. Note that the aileron has been attached as well.

The screws that I had planned to use to attach the ailerons turned out to be too long. So I ordered shorter screws and am currently waiting for them to arrive. However, I was able to mount the wing tip lights which required that I open an access hole in each wing.

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The access hole was required to allow me to reach inside the wing and direct the wire for the lights out through the hole in the wing tip.

The cables that I purchased for the lights came with the mating connector body and pins that needed to be crimped onto the wires on the wing tip light and strobe assembly. There are four wires on the light assemblies. A red and orange wire are provided for the +14v for the strobe and the light. A black wire is for the ground and a yellow wire is for synchronizing the two strobes if that is required or desired. I like the idea of synchronized strobes. Since the cable only has three wires inside its shield, I crimped the red and orange wires together. This will provide voltage to both the navigation lights and the strobes at the same time; i.e. if the wing tip lights are turned on the strobes will be turned on as well.

When the pins were on the light assemblies I plugged them in and mounted each light on the end of the appropriate wing.

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Roger on August 26th 2016 in news

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust July 26th, 2016

Covering the wings took much longer than I was expecting. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but there are a lot of details to tend to and each task takes time. This is the third post dealing with covering the wings. But now they are covered and I am on to painting them.

Rib stitching seems to be something that people are very hesitant about. So was I to begin with. However, after doing a couple of ribs things started developing a rhythm and went pretty fast. I thin the first short rib took over an hour, but by the time I got to the final long rib in the slipstream, that long rib only took an hour and short ribs were taking about half an hour. I used my lunch time to go to the airport and do a rib or two each day during the week and it only took two or three weeks to finish all the ribs.

The rib stitching technique that I used is available on YouTube:

Once the rib stitching was complete I marked the locations of the surface tapes and applied them.

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I used the Stewart System process where glue is applied to the fabric over the ribs, then the tape is placed onto the wet (well, not yet fully dry) glue, and glue is applied over the top of the tapes and wiped off to smooth it down and get rid of any excess glue.

Reinforcement “doilies” were made for anyplace where something has to go through the fabric. This included the strut fittings and pitot/static tubes. I made 8″ diameter doilies for these areas, but I was not fully pleased with the result. I must have cut things a bit too loose; i.e. I cut holes a bit too large. I went back to the places that I wasn’t satisfied with and added in some short pieces of tape to bridge the openings, then cut 4″ doilies to go over the tapes. I liked the final result and I don’t think the extra tapes will really show once the wing is painted.

I also put an 8″ doily over each of the mounting blocks for the wing tip lights.

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Ben helped me move one of the wings to the workbench so I could apply the leading edge and perimeter tapes.

After cleaning up my work area and putting the covering materials away, I washed the top surface of the first wing to get any debris off of it that was picked up during covering and tape application. I just used a paper towel that I dampened to wipe the dust and dirt off of the wing.

Then I went home and got the painting supplies to start applying the primer.

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Zinsser Bulls Eye latex interior & exterior primer in gray. This is diluted with water to approximately 75% primer and 25% water or maybe a bit more dilute. Then I used a foam brush to apply the primer to the wing.

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The first coat of primer is being applied parallel to the ribs. The second coat will be applied perpendicular to the first coat.

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Roger on July 26th 2016 in news

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust June 20th, 2016

Continuing on with covering the left wing, and with significant assistance from my son, Ben, we are now lacing the ribs. After moving the wing to the wing racks I added an “outrigger” to the workbench to provide support for the wings under both spars at the same time. Then I covered the outrigger with some carpet scraps and got a 2’x6′ carpet runner at Menards and put that on the top of the workbench. The carpeting is to help cushion and protect the fabric an wing surface. When that was done we moved the wing back onto the bench and I proceeded to cover the top of the wing.

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The top of the wing is quite a bit easier to cover than the bottom because there is only one opening that needs to be made in it. I marked a three inch overlap with the bottom fabric at the leading edge, per Stewart Systems recommendations. Glue was applied to the leading edge overlap and to the trailing edge overlap. When the glue was dry the top fabric was tacked into place along the leading edge, then stretched across the wing and wrapped around the trailing edge and tacked into place there. The interesting point here is that the fabric was EXACTLY the correct width to fit. I did not have to trim any of the fabric along the trailing edge and there was just enough to cover the glue. On the next wing I am going to wrap the bottom fabric around the leading edge to 12″ instead of 11 1/2″ to get just a bit more working room on the trailing edge of the top fabric.

I am using the non-certified 2.7 oz Dacron fabric from Aircraft Spruce. This comes in 62″ wide rolls while certified Ceconite comes in 73″ wide rolls. Be aware of this when planning your covering work. The difference in price is that the uncertified fabric is about 1/3 the cost of the certified fabric.

Stewart Systems and the FAA require a three inch leading edge overlap for certified aircraft. Sawdust is an experimental airplane, so I could claim to be experimenting with a two inch overlap, however, where I can I like to follow established aviation guidelines. The three inch overlap seam will be covered by a four inch wide tape when the finishing tapes are applied.

The other issue was to provide an opening for the push-pull aileron control cable to come through the top fabric. This is a bit different than the opening required for a regular pull-pull cable. The aileron control cable is mounted to a bracket and secured internally to the compression struts. Therefore the opening needs to be cut as the fabric is applied rather than after it is applied and shrunk.

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With the opening cut and the fabric secured to the leading and trailing edges of the wing, I took a look at how much of a bump the cable and bracket make in the wing surface.

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The bump is not too bad, but I decided that I really should open the fabric enough to allow the majority of the bump to be eliminated. The resulting hole is really fairly small and I cut it close to the cable and bracket.

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Now, how to cover the opening and provide some type of fairing? I am mainly concerned with keeping moisture and bugs out of the wing, so I visited the aviation department at my local Menards and had a brain storm. The bracket that secures the cable has a diameter of 1 1/2″. It doesn’t extend above the surface of the wing more than about half way. Therefore I decided to find something that would provide a round cover with a 1 1/2″ diameter inside. Guess what I found:

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With that decided I cut a doily for around the cable opening. The main thing that I want to do is keep water and bugs out of the wing, so I thought it would be a good idea to cover the cable opening as tightly as possible.

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I then cut the pipe into a wedge sort of shape that would cover the cable mount and extend over the cable to sort of make a fairing. This is not as elegant as what the Stewart brothers show in their videos, but it works. I found that I needed to rough up any area where I wanted glue to adhere to the pipe. I used my little rasp for this and that seemed to work pretty good.

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I coated the pipe and area around it with glue and cut some fabric to provide a good fit to the wing fabric.

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After ironing the fabric to get it to fit the contours it seems to fit pretty good.

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With the cable opening covered we proceeded to do the final two fabric shrinks. Ben helped with turning the wing over a few times. The fabric is now taught and looks pretty good. Ben and I marked the locations for the rib stitches on both the top and bottom of the wing, then moved it to the wing racks for rib stitching.

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Fathers’ Day afternoon provided an opportunity to try out our rib stitching skills. We found that we needed about 21 feet of lacing cord to do each of the long ribs. I estimate that we will be able to get by with about 15 feet for each of the short ribs. Things went pretty well and we were able to complete two ribs in about two hours.

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The next effort is to finish the rib stitching, then apply the finishing and perimeter tapes. Then we can move on to the second wing.

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Roger on June 20th 2016 in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust June 8th, 2016

Covering the wings has begun. The bottom of the left wing is covered and now I need to modify my workbench to make it “friendlier” to the fabric as I work on the wings. However, that is what I WILL be working on. What has been accomplished is getting the left wing ready for covering and getting the bottom covered.

The wings have been installed on the plane for a couple of years now. The old hanger was pretty drafty and dusty. Therefore, the top surfaces of the plane were/are really dirty and needed to be cleaned. All surface imperfections and glue joints needed to be fixed and smoothed. This is just like the control surfaces that I covered last winter. I found that a fine rasp worked really well for doing this.

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Then I applied anti-chafe tape to the ribs and to the edges of the plywood wherever I thought it might provide an abrasion issue.

Since I have a limited number of extra hands, I decided to cut the fabric at home where I have enough room to roll out the fabric on the basement floor and cut it by myself. I measured the length of the wing and allowed for some excess on each end, then cut a length of fabric 17 feet long. When I was ready to spread the fabric out on the wing there was a pretty stiff wind and I had to close the hanger door.

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I forgot to take pictures of the first pieces of fabric that I put on the wing. I started by putting fabric over the ends of the aileron cutout and the wing root. Then I glued the bottom fabric to the wing.

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The big decision for me was how to deal with getting the pitot static tubes through the fabric without problems. What I ended up doing was laying the fabric on the wing and tacking the leading edge in place, then I marked where the back side of the pitot static tubes came through and marked a straight line forward as a cutting guide. Then I took the fabric loose and cut a slit in the fabric just long enough to allow the pitot static tube to go through. The cut started at the mark for the back of the tubes and cut forward for about two inches. After the initial shrink of the fabric I made two doilies to reinforce this cut. One doily had a notch cut to fit the back side of the tubes and was installed first. The other doily had a notch cut to fit the front of the tubes and overlapped the first doily. The result seems to be pretty solid.

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The lift strut attach fittings needed to come through the fabric as well and I made doilies to fit them, too.

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The same went for the jury strut attachment fittings.

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Rib stitching will be done where the ribs are open. However, the wing root and the wing tip have plywood covering a rib each. I don’t know how to stitch these, so I decided to glue the fabric to the plywood at those areas. I thought about drilling holes in the plywood to accommodate the lacing needle, but I don’t really like that idea. I will continue to give this some thought.

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Figuring out the position of the fabric edge for the leading edge took a bit of thought. I watched the Stewart Systems videos and read their procedure manual several times. What I ended up doing was working backward. The leading edge finishing tape needs to be four inches wide. The top fabric needs to overlap the bottom fabric by three inches. The leading edge tape should cover the fabric joint in such a way that it sort of faces the air as it meets the wing. Anyway … I marked the place where the fabric edge should be glued at 11 1/2 inches forward from the back of the leading edge plywood bottom edge. That works fine for the main length of the wing. I just eyeballed the same type of position toward the wing root on the area where the wing tapers. It seems to have worked out ok.

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The bottom fabric was extended to the wing tip. I glued the wing tip fabric on the top of the Hoerner wing tip. I did have to cut out for the wing tip light mount. I am planning to put another doily over this area after the top fabric has been installed.

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We moved the wing to the wing racks to allow us to modify the workbench. Once the workbench has been modified I will put the fabric on the top of the wing.

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Roger on June 8th 2016 in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust May 31st, 2016

This weekend was busy, but left some time to work on Sawdust. I started by finishing up the details on the wings, then marked where the jury struts will mount to the struts. Finally, I put together the tool cart that I had purchased at Harbor Freight last December.

My neighbor, Carson, gave me a hand with pulling the wings and organizing the hanger for covering the wings. So at this point I am working on covering the wings.

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The wings are off. The right wing is on wing stands at the back of the hanger. The left wing in on the wing stands to the left of fuselage in the picture. The red tool cart is sitting by the fuselage and is loaded with struts, tools and supplies.

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I borrowed the wing stands from my friend, Fred. They have been used to hold the wings from several planes in the past, including the wings for a primary glider that was built by our EAA chapter before I moved to Kearney. They are kind of like the EAA wing rack, but they are designed to hold only one wing per set. This also provides a platform for rib stitching when I get to that point.

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We moved the left wing to a workbench that I brought out to the hanger. This will give me a good platform for doing the covering.

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The cable for the wing tip strobes is run through the ribs and is secured to each rib with a zip tie. Any place where the internal bracing straps came close to a rib structure I covered the rib structure with plastic tubing. The tubing is intended as a wire organization tool and was purchased in the aircraft materials area of my local Mendards.

The dust and dirt that has accumulated on the wing surface was wiped off. Any sharp edges and uneven areas were smoothed with a fine rasp. Anti chafe tape is being applied at any area where the fabric might wear against an edge.

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The plastic tubing from the pitot and static tubes is run along the strobe cable to the wing root. Each tube is secured to the rib structure separately from the other using zip ties. The aileron control cable is secured to each of the compression ribs with zip ties.

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The next things to do are to flip the wing over and apply the anti chafe tape to the top of the ribs and install the inter-rib bracing tape. I will also apply more anti chafe tape to any sharp edges. Then covering can begin. My biggest issue now is to figure out how to apply the fabric around the pitot static tubes.

I decided to turn the fuselage around, so it is now facing into the hanger. This gives more room to work on the wings.

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Roger on May 31st 2016 in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust May 23rd, 2016

Things have been moving along. The ailerons and rudder have been covered and painted. The vertical stabilizer is covered and primed. The plane is moved to the new hanger. The cables to the elevator have been built and installed. Yup, things are moving along.

The last thing that I did was to mount the wing tip lights and run the cables for them.

I started by gluing up a wood block from three layers of basswood that I got from Patrick Schutt. I used this wood for the tips of the horizontal stabilizer and elevator, and had enough left over to make up the wing tip light mounting blocks. Patric provide some really nice wood.

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The wing tips are Hoerner tips which really has the ends of the wings cut at a 45 degree angle. The end of the wing is covered with 1.5 mm plywood and the tops and bottom of the wing from the last full rib to the tip are covered with plywood as well.

I purchased the Whelen Microburst II Kit from Aircraft Spruce. These are intended to be installed on the wing ends on a flat vertical surface. Therefore, I needed to build a couple of mounting blocks that would fit securely to the 45 degree wing tip surface and provide vertical surface on which the lights can be mounted.

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Once the wood blank has been glued up, I cut it lengthwise at a 45 degree angle.

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Then I traced around the lights to see how small I could make the finished mounting block.

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Then I cut the block to the final size and rounded the corners with a rasp. Then I marked the wing tips so that I would know where the blocks needed to be mounted. My method of mounting the blocks was to run two pan head screws through the wing tip plywood into each block. I did this by drilling two 1/8 inch holes through the plywood and continued drilling through the plywood on the top of the wing. I then enlarged the holes in the plywood on the top of the wings until they were large enough to allow a screwdriver to access the screws that went into the mounting blocks.

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I held the mounting blocks in place and extended a sharpened pencil through the holes that I drilled and marked the locations of the 1/8 inch holes onto the back of the mounting blocks. I drilled pilot holes into the wood blocks, then mounted them using the screws.

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The wires for the lights come out of the back of the light approximately in the center of things. The cable kit comes with a cable that has a plug connected on one end and a mating plug and pins that need to be crimped onto the wires protruding from the light. The plugs are nearly an inch wide by almost 3/8 inch wide. So I needed to drill holes in the mounting block and wing tip to allow the plugs to reach into the wing for proper connection.

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The lights can now be (temporarily) mounted to the wing tips.

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The cables were run through the wings and secured in place by zip ties. At this point the wings are ready to be removed from the plane for covering. The mounting blocks will be left in place and the fabric will go over them.

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Roger on May 23rd 2016 in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news

Moving to a New Hanger

On the 1st of March (yep, It’s been a month already!) dad got a new hanger at the airport, and so Emmett (my son), dad and I went out and moved Sawdust to it’s new abode. Dad moved the airplane, Emmett pushed the engine stand, and I… ummm… well, I took some photos and provided moral support.

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This hanger seems quite a bit cleaner, brighter, and maybe a touch bigger than the old one. It should also keep the wind, rain, dust and snow out better.

Anyways, that’s today’s update – he’s also been busy priming and painting the various empennage pieces, but I’ve been pretty focused on work, and buying a house to get too involved. Hopefully I’ll have more time to help this summer!

-Ben

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ben on April 1st 2016 in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news, projects