Should Have Been a Surgeon

Time: 4.25 hrs

Things done today:

  • Checked the fit of the rear to center fuselage joining
  • Drilled missing holes in center fuselage ribs (CF-RIB-006 L&R) for longereons (RF-LGN-701 L&R)
  • Reamed holes in bottom skins of the rear and center fuselage to 4mm

Of all the holes to be missing it had to be the ones on CF-RIB-006 L&R, the ribs closest to the center of the fuselage. Also having installed the soundproofing didn’t help either since the holes were so close to the bottom skin. Some how though I managed to drill them out to match the hole sin the longerons (RF-LGN-701 L&R). Thank God for the lightning holes in the ribs and the flexible extension I bought for the drill. After drilling out these near impossible holes I thought… You know I should have taken the advice of my 10th grade Biology teacher who told me I should be a surgeon after having removed the fetal pig’s brain in one piece with only a scalpel. Well if I did I probably would have had enough money to buy a brand new Cirrus SR22 and not need to build my own plane, but then again where’s the challenge in just buying something.

OK so lets start with how I managed to maneuver the rear fuselage into place. Fortunately the rear fuselage is very light, but it requires a bit of an angle to get it into place. I used a large piece of PVC tubing so I could roll the piece around while I ran from side to side to see how things were lining up. This worked out great since it added a bit of an angle to the rear fuselage and it made it very easy to push and pull slightly to get things to line up. Once I got the bottom part to line up with in the center fuselage I clecoed the bottom skins together… see next photo

The rear and center fuselage skins clecoed so they don’t move. Note the second row of holes is because I have the updated rear skin, but and older center skin. The second row of holes will be filled with 3.2mm rivets just to fill in the holes. With that done I just used a box of printer paper under the rear fuselage and pushed in forward until the holes in the side skins lined up with the center fuselage.

Side skins line up well so those were checked as well. I found that it was easiest to leave the center fuselage skins free to move a bit so that lining things up was easier. I would definitely not follow the manual which says that by this point the skins should have been riveted to the center fuselage… I think that would have made things a lot more difficult.

Here’s the join of the center and rear fuselage (right side) where the center fuselage side channels (CF-CHL-032) join with the longerons from the rear fuselage. Everything lines up great.

And here’s the highlight of the day. I managed to drill these three holes out as well as three on the right side using the flexible drill extension through the lightning holes on the other ribs. In fact I was so proud of myself that I had done this I walked right into the garage door that I had put down about half way to keep the wind out of the garage. If I only had a video of that 🙂

Here’s the tool that saved the day… $10 from Home Depot.

Once the impossible holes had been drilled in the ribs I went on to reaming out the joining holes in the bottom skins to 4mm as directed by the factory. Here they are all reamed out. The last thing to do was to pull the section apart and debur everything. Now I’m getting very close to permanently joining the two sections together. I’m thinking I should be able to do it tomorrow. I just want to make sure it OK to do so I’ll look over my Task List and make sure I’m good to go.


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