Carlson Skunk Works

February 15th, 2013

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust February 15, 2013

Posted by Roger in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news

Last night Marsha and I had a Valentine’s Day dinner at The Alley Rose here in Kearney. We had the buffet which included prime rib, several shrimp dishes, chicken and wild rice with asparagus and a salad bar. We walked in and waddled out. There was also a lady playing piano which was a very nice touch.

Now back to Sawdust!

I ended my last post thinking that I was ready to cut out the plywood for the stabilizer skins. I even thought that I had two full sheets of 1.5mm plywood reserved for this purpose. These sheets of plywood were stored in the box that they came in, so I pulled one out and noticed that it was damaged in a couple of places. Not a big deal. I can cut around the damage and things should work out just fine. Then I noticed that the label on the plywood said 1.0mm, not 1.5mm. So, it was time to transition into scrounge mode.

There is another box of plywood in the garage where I keep the full and partial sheets of plywood for the portions of this project that need to be worked on in the garage. Those portions would include the fuselage and wings. I found three partial sheets of 1.5mm plywood there and a couple of other partial sheets in the basement. The skins for the stabilizer need to form an elongated “H” pattern, so by carefully cutting the plywood that I had available I was able to scarf together what I needed to make the skins. Here is a picture of the stabilizer with the bottom skin tacked in place.

The reason that this skin is just tacked in place is that the area ahead of the forward spar will form a space that needs to be sealed before final assembly because I won’t be able to apply the sealer once things are glued. Therefore, I needed to tack the skin in place and mark where I can apply the sealer and where I need to leave bare wood for the glue to adhere to.

There are several brackets or fittings that need to be bolted into place before the bottom skin can be permanently glued into place. These are the the brackets where the guy wires will attach. The brackets are done, but I still need to order the bolts.

A couple of years ago I tossed my original staple gun and bought a new one because the old one had become so loaded up with epoxy that it no longer worked. Well, my current staple gun reached a similar state this week. It would no longer drive 1/4″ staples, but it would work reasonably well with 3/8″ staples. It would drive the longer staples into position and I would finish driving them with a hammer. When I was at AirVenture the last time I stopped by the area where people were learning to make wooden ribs. Their staple guns were being dragged through the epoxy more than mine ever are, but they didn’t seem to be having any issues with them. So I asked one of the people how they dealt with epoxy build up? They told me that they soak the staple guns in acetone each night to remove the epoxy build up from the day. So, I dumped a bottle of acetone into a coffee can and stuck my staple gun head down and let it soak over night. The next day I wiped it off and it is now working as good as new!

Tuesday evening was our monthly EAA Chapter 1091 meeting. After the meeting Fred took me aside and said that he came across a compass and an altimeter in his spare parts area. He said that they had been given to him and I could just have them, but he wasn’t sure of their condition. Well, if they work it would be great, and if they don’t I will have gotten my money’s worth out of them anyway. So he said to stop by his hanger about 1:30 on Wednesday. I was there and here is what I got:

The compass works, but is low on fluid. I know that Aircraft Spruce sells the fluid, so that is not a problem. However, when I was checking things on the AS web site I noticed that they also sell rebuild kits for these compasses. I also noticed that they sell this same compass and it costs about $135 new! I did a bit of Googling and found an article in the EAA Chapter 448 newsletter from May 2009 that details how to rebuild this compass.

The altimeter is an older unit, but it looks like it is in good shape. When I picked it up I set it to the field elevation, then watched it as I drove home.

I was a bit concerned because it seemed to be sluggish or sticky. I had to go up or down a significant hill to get it to move. So I got on the web and looked around for information about how to repair a sticky altimeter. What I found out is that this is a common issue with altimeters and I will need to add a vibrator. Fortunately I already have the vibrator which is also know as the Continental C-85. Yup, the vibration from the engine is all that should be needed to allow the altimeter to work nice and smoothly. It seems that when they started experimenting with jet engines there was not as much vibration and they ended up actually having to add devices that would tap on the altimeter housings to keep things moving smoothly.

For right now I will plan to use this altimeter in Sawdust. I have driven to work and back a few times with the altimeter in my cup holder and the road vibrations seem to keep it working properly. Worst case is that I will need to replace it later.

February 11th, 2013

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Making Sawdust February 11, 2013

Posted by Roger in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news

FINALLY!!! Back to work on Sawdust and making some progress.

This fall and winter have had me focusing my time and efforts on other projects and activities, so very little was accomplished on Sawdust since September. The main focus was making Christmas and birthday gifts for family and friends. I also made a quick trip to Minnesota to check up on my parents. Immediately after Christmas (December 26th to be exact) I hopped in the truck and drove to Dallas to spend a few days with my son and his family.

My father has become very hard of hearing and has not been able to use the telephone for the past six years or so. I found that there are special phones available where the person who has hearing difficulties can talk and hear the voice of the person they are talking to, but the words of the person on the other end are transcribed and displayed on a small screen. The transcription is done “real time”. The transcription service is paid for by a line item on everyone’s phone bills. Therefore, Mom & Dad have been paying for this service for a long time without using it and all of their children, friends and strangers have been chipping in as well. Dad is now able to call me and visit any time he wants. It is a pretty neat gadget and I am looking forward to seeing it when I am there next time.

My second son was born the day after Christmas and now lives in Dallas with his wife and son. I had some vacation that I needed to use up, so early the day after Christmas I headed south. The trip went well even though there were some interesting parking configurations along the freeway between Oklahoma City and Dallas. Anyway, I was able to have dinner with Ben and his family to celebrate his birthday. The next day I helped my grandson build a snowman. There is something a bit wrong about having to drive ten hours south in order to have enough snow to build a snowman.

When I got back home I was able to get back into the building mode and have made some progress on Sawdust. The focus over the winter is on the horizontal control surfaces. The first object to work on is the horizontal stabilizer. Things are moving along quite nicely. The attached pictures show where things stood as of this morning. I need to sand it to get the nose ribs and leading edge to blend nicely to the main ribs. I also need to sand the spar at the trailing edge to blend it to the shape of the ribs. Then I will need to lay out and glue up the top and bottom skins.

I need to make a list of bolts and get them ordered. I can’t put both skins on this until the fittings have been bolted into place. Of course, the interior needs to be sealed before the bolts can be installed. There are lots of little gotchas that one needs to be aware of.