<November 25, 2006>
Wing Conduit & Bent Aileron Skins
Today started off great but ended on a sour note. I'll just leave it at that for now, you'll just have to read the captions below.
I had my first real tech counselor visit today and the results were good, scratch that, they were great! The tech counselor gave my work high marks saying that it is some of the nicest work he has seen on an RV. No, I am not bragging (ok, maybe a little), but I am just happy that all my hard work and attention to detail has paid off. He was amazed at the smoothness of my wing and tail skins and the cleanliness of my tanks. He left leaving me with zero items to address. Whoooohoooo!
I decided to install the wiring conduit in the wings. I've had this stuff laying around in the shop for almost a year and it was nice to finally make use of it. Here I am pulling the conduit through each rib. I found that if I stretched the conduit a bit as I was pulling, the diameter of the conduit lessened a little and it was easier to pull through the ribs. I am wearing heading protection because it made a racket as each little rib in the conduit went through the hole in the rib. You can really see the rib flexing as I pull the conduit through.
All done. Both sides took less than an hour, but I worked up quite a sweat while doing this.
Ugh, here is where everything went south on me. A few days ago I remade my bending brake from 3/4" MDF (big mistake). I did this because my empennage brake had warped to the point of being unusable, and I thought that the MDF if set on a solid surface would be a good material to use. My original plan was to use two layers of 3/4" MDF for each side but I ran out of materials and decided that I would go with one, again thinking that if I put the brake on a flat solid surface, everything would come out fine. Oh, how I was wrong.
I decided that our solid surface kitchen countertops were stout, flat, and large, they would make a great surface to work on, so I brought the brake into the kitchen to complete the bending. I thought the first one went OK so I moved right onto the second. Feeling like I had a job well done I gathered my parts and headed back to the shop. However, upon further inspection under the bright shop lights, I found that the trailing edges while straight had a bend radius that was inconsistent. If you took your fingers, pinched the trailing edge, and slid your fingers down the length of the aileron, you could feel the trailing edge go fat-skinny-fat-skinny all the way down the aileron. Another way I could describe it would be to say it was sort of hourglassed along its length. It was minor, and you wouldn't see it if I didn't point it out, but it was there. It was at this point that I started having a mild freak out session, but rather that work myself up into a wild rage, I decided to walk away and address this another day. You'll just have to read on to see what happens.