RV9 or 9A Build Project - J Muri
OK - so, I'm ready to start my "Build Project" thread. Haven't yet looked into the Build Log but thought I'd start here so that I can get any replies/advices/feedback.
I have been PPL for 5 years and purchased a Cherokee 140 during my flying lessons. I was putting about 100 hours a year on the Cherokee. I like to do some of the work on the Cherokee as it comes up - Installed Power Flow Exhaust, Replaced Air filter with K&N, Owner assisted annuals, Oil, etc. Even flew the wife to OshKosh in the Cherokee 2 summers ago!
Since getting the Cherokee (and even while buying), I talked about an RV9 after visiting Vans and researching specs of all of their planes. Well, I had my Cherokee painted 2 years ago and then had it out in Idaho again getting paint touchups last winter and found an RV9 partial kit for sale. Completed Empennage and then the Wing Kit - with all of the tools/etc. I had some builders go take a look and they gave it a good thumbs up. So, I purchased that kit almost a year ago and bought it home to my garage in Southwest Washington. I then started accumulating a few things to prepare to build - with plans to go to a few builders clinics/etc. Purchased compressor a couple of storage racks/work benches and some other air tools. But then flying season came and a great deal on an already build RV9A came up (friend of family)... so, I bought a flying RV9A and have been enjoying that since October. Makes me want to build another even more - and learn from the one I already have how to make "MINE" even better!!
SO, I am now kickstarting the preparations again. Bought an nice Garage Storage Unit... Organized the garage a bit better and have purchased more tools and looked at a few tutorial videos from Vans and Youtube/etc. Wife bought me the Vans Tool Box to practice and I will also purchase the Practice Control Surface. Then attend a builders seminar or two as I start to build.
Next on my 'prep the garage' list a few other handy tools to help build the EAA Work bench. I'm thinking 2 of them. One for general work and one to hold the C Dimpler. Also thinking of picking up a shopsmith Mark V to help with build of the Workbenches and Wing dolly and Drawing/Plan holder (Easel?)
I could put an inventory here of tools - but it looks like I have a very good assortment of the starter tools. Couple of Air drills, a 90 degree drill, many bucking bars, pneumatic squeezer, hand squeezer, files, dimple die, flutes, sandpaper, grinding wheel (36 and 60 grit?), etc.. Also with the kit purchased are 2 storage bins with 40 drawers each that hold existing inventory of rivets of various sizes all labeled by drawer and many many Clecos.
Long first post - I'll get pictures of the setups and of the aircraft parts as they are pertinent and take advice on build log websites/databases/etc (or should I create my own website?)
Suggestion for success
I have found that the best 'tool' that I have found is someone who is willing to spend a little - or a lot- of time getting my feet on the ground as far as set up and beginning my build. Doesn't matter where this volunteer person is found but really try to find him/her. Let them show you how it's done as you practice the building skills.
Likely, you will find this person at an airport - maybe even an EAA meeting if you are lucky. My local EAA groups were not helpful - they only flew Young Eagles and went for breakfast together - but I kept trying to fine my helper and found a man who has built an RV or two and who helps me a lot every week.
This 'tool' is invaluable - make it happen for you. Best to you, Ed Eliot
Thanks Ed - I'll be looking! Interestingly, the person I bought my flying RV9A from is a friend of family. And he will travel here to assist in my Conditional Inspection this year. I know he is open to me calling and using him to help... But I'll also be searching for a local.
Thought I'd update my thread...
I have my workshop making good progress. I have some temporary workbenches in place while I prepare to build the EAA workbenches.
I purchased a ShopSmith with bandsaw, disc sander, Table saw, lathe, drill press, etc so that I can start building the tables, an easel, and eventually wing stands, DRDT table/etc...
I have my compressor and air tools setup and tested with 2 regulators (one at 55 and one at 80 psi). And I have installed some extra overhead LED lighting in the garage/shop.
I was preparing to build the workbenches on Sunday, but my tablesaw blade seems too dull - so ordered a new arbor and saw blade that should arrive soon.
While waiting for that - I figured maybe I'd try to actually get my practice kit tool box going to get some real experience with building with aluminum. So, I inventoried and prepared the kit - removed some plastic, dimpled the sides and got started with Riveting. To my surprise it was 'easier' than I thought. The first couple of rivets I used the Pneumatic Squeezer to both dimple and rivet - and they came out pretty darn good. Then I had to switch to the DRDT and pneumatic riveter/bucking bar. DRDT did a great job but the riveting didn't come out as well as Pneumatic Squeezer - which of course was my fault. I kept going - and the other side came out much better due to a technique change.
So, I did my first match drilling, Clecoing, Deburring, Dimpling, and Riveting last night! I'm going to order another tool box and probably the practice control surface before starting the wings in a few months. The extra tool box will before my 18 year old son to learn on before he starts helping me.
I'll get some picture of the tool box up later for examples of good and bad (in my opinion) with hopes of some good feedback.
Latest update -
Qty 2 EAA Tables are build. Very solid and pleasure to use!
Qty 1 Vans Practice tool box complete. First try had an issue with opening and popping the back panel back and forth. Ordered new hinge and drilled out old one and installed new one. It is better. But not perfect. What's the secret to this? Countersink instead of dimple??!! Also learned importance of correct air pressure for specific size rivet. ~50psi worked for smaller rivets - but the round head larger rivets needed closer to 80psi.
Compressor was bleeding off over night - so I did the soapy water test on the fittings and found a few that needed retaped and put back together. Soapy water test showed no leaks after that. Held nicely over night last night.
Next - plan to build 2 more tables - but smaller. These will be 2' by 3' top tables instead of 2' by 5'. One will hold the DRDT at a height that will match EAA tables to the dimple height and the other table will hold grinder and vice.
I have one more Vans practice tool box that I plan to have my son build so he learns the processes and can help with the plane. Also will be ordering flight control practice kit before opening up the Wing kit I have.
And whatever you do, put those heavy tables on retractable wheels. It doesn't have to be complicated, expensive, or time consuming. Just do it.
Well - I haven't posted in a while but I have been making progress... what have I done?
*Finished two smaller workbenches - mounted the DRDT in one of them so that the dimpler is flush with top surface.
*Put all Workbenches on retractable wheels - I used the 2x4 with locking/swinging 2x4
*Finished 2 Tool Box kits - one for me and one for son
*ordered and received flight control practice kit (not started yet)
*my son and I took a Saturday course this past Saturday at Synergy Air in Eugene on Fundamentals. In this class we build the flight control practice kit and got some more familiarization with tools/such. Was a good class and we did a decent job on the kit there. We will no build ours and do it even better!
*during the class - each workbench was setup with a wooden block with marked dimple die for #30 and #40 as well as drill bits and counter sinks and more. So we are going to make that this week as well.
Almost ready to open the instructions to the wing kit and get started!
after the Saturday class at Synergy Air, Here is what has happened,
*Built my practice Flight Control surface at home - did a much better job the 2nd time.
*put Melamine over my work benches so the nice lighting I have is bright against the work bench.
*installed 2 small Shop Vacs on each end of the work bench
*upgraded my extension cords on both my compressor and ShopSmith to 12ga wiring for better performance (and stop tripping breaker)
*inventoried the kit I had purchased over a year ago from a previous builder -- WOW Further along than I thought!!
So - The Milestone is... after about a year of 'preparations' of my garage/workspace and workbenches/etc, I am now in AIRCRAFT build mode!! I am in the instructions and have build the aileron alignment jig (tough... yes.. I know). And now have the frame of my wing stand (not cradle) ready to put together once I build the skeleton.
I had not REALLY looked into the kit I purchased to see how far along the previous builder was. I had though all along it was just that he had finished the empennage and then inventoried the Wing Kit. This week I took it all out and the Wing Spars already have all of the Plate Nuts and other prep work. ALL of the Ribs are debur'd and fluted...
I believe my next steps are a bit more verification and then priming of the Ribs - then start putting the skeleton together for one of the wings and mount it on my wing stand!
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