Month: June 2015

Fuel Tank

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Before gluing the top on I wanted to get the fuel tank mounted. I recall David at TEAM telling me to put fuel in the tank before mounting it since it will swell. About a week ago I put a couple gallons in it and shook it up to ensure the entire inside surface was exposed to fuel. When I checked it today the top and bottom were swollen a little but the four sides were really swollen.

I put the tank and it’s support in the fuselage and placed the top onto the fuselage to ensure everything lined up.

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Fuel tank support

Once I was satisfied that it was located properly I drilled the holes into the fuselage sides and bolted the support in place.

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Tank support bolt

While  the plywood is strong enough to hold the tank I am thinking about adding a plywood doubler around the holes so they will be less likely to get stretched out over time.

This is the first time I’ve had the rudder pedals and the fuel tank in place at the same time and I noticed that they were really close to one another. This had me concerned that my big feet might not fit well so I climbed into the cockpit to check the fit. Unfortunately my fears were confirmed, my toes can get caught on the tank support.

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Tore caught on tank support

This could be deadly, in a panic situation I might not realize my toe is caught on the tank preventing me operating the rudder.

The reason this problem exists is because the rear nose gear C channel raises the floor board 1.25″. After speaking with David at TEAM I cut 1/2″ off the C channel.

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1/2" removed from rear nose gear support

While this made things better it was not good enough. So I also moved the RS-8 tank support back a few inches. A heat gun works great to unglue it.

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Modified tank support

I did not take any pics detailing how the valve and sending unit were installed. It was really simple, drill a 1/2″ hole, insert rubber grommet and then insert the valve. Just make sure you use a Forster bit when drilling the hole so it is perfectly round. If you like leaks feel free to use a regular drill bit.

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Forster bit

If I had the chance to do this all over I think I would have made the fuselage two inches higher.

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BRS Egress Port

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The parachute needs to exit somewhere, I choose between the first and third stringer on the rear turtle deck.

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BRS launch tube
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BRS launch tube

I did  to move the launch tube mount toward the center,  this required drilling an extra hole in the BRS mount. Be sure to use loctite on the bolts.

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Launch tube mount relocated

Those two at the egress port had a section cut out so they can be turned into break away stringers.

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Cutting stringers

A small piece of this aluminum was cut and formed into a U shape and glued onto the bottom of each stringer. I used .016” thick aluminum. It was tough to get the nice corners needed to hold stringer at proper height.

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Stringer supports
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Glue stringer supports

Once the glue was dry the sections that were cut off were beveled on each end.

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Bevel ends for easier egress

Then set into the U slots.

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Break away stringers

The fabric will hold these in place and the rocket will easily blow them out of the way should I ever need to deploy the parachute.

I’m sure someone will want to know why I don’t launch the rocket straight up. While that is what I wanted to do the space does not allow this.The seat belt shoulder straps go over the BRS, if the chute launched straight up it is quite likely to pull or get tangled in the shoulder straps. Risking a malfunction or my shoulders getting crushed by the seat belt did not make sense. Pulling the parachute out the side avoided conflict with the seat belt.

Completing the nose wheel

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Completing the nose wheel was not too much work. After adjusting the fiberglass rod to get proper ride height I drilled the holes and bolted it to the mount.

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Nose gear fiberglass rod

Next I flattened the ends on the RS-402 struts in the vice and drilled a 3/16″ hole in each one. To ensure both were the same length I put them side by side.

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Nose gear struts

After measuring the needed distance I flattened the other end at a 90° rotation from the first. Marked the holes, drilled them and then installed both struts.

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Nose gear strut mount

The steering bar nylon support was put in place. This was tricky because of the angle.

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Nylon support

The steering rods were threaded and attached to the rudder pedals and steering arm.

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Nose gear steering arm

The rudder pedals were clamped to a board to keep the straight. The steering rods were adjusted until the steering bar was centered. With the nose wheel straight the bolt hole for the steering arm was drilled into the steering bar and fastened in place.

BRS Bridle Routing

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Time to route the BRS bridles from the axle to the parachute. I first attached the bridle to the axle.

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Bridle lopped around axle

The most logical place to enter the fuselage is straight up and there already happens to be a plywood block there so I cut a short in it.

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Slot for BRS bridle
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Slot for BRS bridle

Next a slot in the seat is needed.

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Slot in seat for bridle

From there it’s routed through the fuselage top just in front of the rear spar carry through. Be sure that the bridle is on top of the seat belt, not under it!

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Bridle slot under turtle deck

At this point the right and left routing differ. The left bridle needs to go over the shoulder harness over to the right side. Starting with the third stringer on the left, ending with the third stringer on the right a notch is cut into the top of the stringer to make room for the bridle.

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Shots cut in center four stringers for bridle
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Bridle slots in stringer

For aesthetics each slot is covered with a piece of 1/16″ plywood. This piece must easily break away so I only glued one side, the fabric will hold it in place.

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1/16" plywood cover bridle slot

The next hassle of the BRS is the egress port. Two stringers must be modified so they can break away.

Rudder Pedals

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Now that the floor board is fastened in place I turned my attention to the rudder pedals. The two pedals were cut from RS-591. The curve was cut using the Dremal circle cutting attachment, I doubt my feet will be bothered by the center hole. Once they were cut the hinges were attached and they were mounted on the floor board. Two 1/4″ slots were cut in the floor board to accommodate the nose gear controls.

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Rudder pedals attached to floor board

Next the nose gear steering brackets were fabricated from RS-200. Unlike the TEAM prototype, my 1030 has the floor board sitting on the nose gear c-channel support so I had to make the brackets longer than the plans.

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Nose gear rudder bracket
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Extended brackets

Next it was necessary to cut slots in the fuselage bottom so these brackets can reach the outside. I did this by using the floor board as a guide drilling two 1/4″ holes at the end of each slot.

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Transfer slots to fuselage bottom
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Guide holes for slots

Then using 3/16″ drill bit I drilled a series of holes the between the two 1/4″ holes. It was necessary to make the slots in the fuselage longer than the floor board slots so I extended the holes.

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Holes drilled length of slot

Using the 1/4″ round file I connected the slots and cleaned the edges with a flat file.

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Nose gear steering arm slots

Next the brackets were attached to the pedals and the floor board installed to check fit.

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Rudder pedals with nose gear brackets

This area will be difficult to access once the fuselage top is installed so, according to the plans, I cut an access hole in the front of the fuselage. Again the Dremel circle cutter was handy.

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Dremel circle cutter

I did not make one continuous cut, each half was cut leaving a little bit of material between the two halfs.

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Leave a little connected on each side to ensure you end up with a circle

The cover was installed to check fit.

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Access cover looks great
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Access cover inside

To complete this I fabricated the rudder cable and spring brackets then attached them to the pedals. The front nose gear c-channel was removed and two 1/8″ holes drilled in it. Two springs were installed on the two holes with the other end attached to the pedals.

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Sidings attached to c-channel
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Springs attached to pedals

Since the circle cutter was out I also cut the hole for the foot step.

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Foot step hole

Floor Board and Seat

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Time to get the floor board and seat installed. The plans suggest to use regular wood screws but I was concerned that the holes would strip if they were removed and installed a few times so I used some brass inserts.

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Floor board brass insert
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Start fastened in place

They were rather simple to install and are working well so far. Now I can start working on the rudder pedals.

Varnish

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Now that the airplane rolls I pushed it outside and Anna help me flip it over and set it on some saw horses. I  removed the nose and main gear then we carried it back into the garage.

Using the router I rounded the bottom edges.

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The edge must remain square where the main gear is mounted.  Not only did I leave it square where the gear is but also where the gear would be if I was building a tail dragger. This way it can be converted into a tail dragger in the future.

The random orbital sander  did a great job smoothing the plywood in perperation for the varnish. My goal is to varnish the bottom and the main gear so the fuselage will not need  turned upside down like this until it’s time to attach the fabric and paint. Since the sides can be varnished when it is upright I will not be varnishing them now.

After mixing up a batch of thin epoxy varnish I started applying it to the bottom and the engine compartment.

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The leading and trailing edge of the main gear legs were rounded. The router bit I have does not have a large enough radius so I also used my plane and the Great Plains easy touch contour sander I used to build many models with.

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Rounded edge of main gear
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Rounded edge of main gear

Now I just need to get two coats of varnish applied to the main gear legs and fuselage bottom.