<September 22, 2007>
Drilled J Stiffeners
I've been fighting a cold for the past few days and it had taken me out of the airplane building game, so it was good to get back to the shop for a bit. With the sniffles and sneezing now behind me it was time to start thinking about the aft fuselage with a clear head (pun intended). I spoke to a couple of my go-to guys and they both said the same thing. The fit of the parts at the far aft of the fuselage sucks, and that I just need to do the best I can. With that in mind, I pressed on.
I started the day by securing the folding legs of my sawhorses so that I couldn't accidentally kick one of the legs, folding it and bringing the fuselage crashing to the floor. Once that was complete, I got out the plum-bobs and leveled the fuse. I taped the ruler to the F-706 bulkhead to assist with the alignment. It looks a little off center in the picture, but it isn't, it is just my picture taking abilities at fault.
Same thing at the rear. Looks pretty good, so I put some shims under the corners of the fuse to keep the fuse from rocking or moving, but I am really not sure what help this really does.
I then drilled the j-stiffeners at every forth hole, but I stopped before I drilled the holes at the far aft where the side skin, aft bottom skin and j-stiffeners overlap.
After a quick trip to Lowe's for a bigger clamp, I was able to drill the far aft bottom stiffener. I used the clamp and some little angled wood shims to compensate for the taper of the fuselage to hold everything aligned for drilling. This area is a huge pain in the butt, and it took some messing with to get it all set up right before I could drill. When drilling these holes, I worked my way from forward to aft two holes at a time (both sides at once), inserting clecos into every hole. The aft bottom skin being made of thick .040 is the culprit here, and in a perfect world the alignment would be better, but I am relatively happy with what I was able to accomplish.
I then drilled the remaining holes in the j-stiffeners and called it a night.