<June 28, 2008>

Drilled Floor Stiffeners

After sleeping in for a bit, I was back out to the shop for a full day of building.

The first order of business today was to mount the passenger side rudder pedals using the same process I used last night for the pilot's side. While I am extremely please with the results, knowing now what I know now, I don't know if I would do this in the aircraft again. I must have climbed in and out of the fuselage twenty times to get more washers, a bolt, or a tool, and I managed to stab myself good with the corner of the F-6118 Rudder Pedal Brace several times.

Sonoma took up here normal spot in the shop. What she doesn't know is that in a few hours we are headed to the vet.

Next up on the to-do list was the floor stiffeners. But, before I clecoed the bottom skin back on, I took the opportunity to mark the firewall angles while the access was good. Several web sites warned me of this, and I listened (for once). It took me a few minutes to located the dimension on DWG 19.

All marked, but before I put the skin on I used my center punch to mark the locations of the holes for easier drilling.

I then trimmed the forward end of two of the stiffeners to get around the various firewall angle pieces, and drew centerlines down the bottom flange of each.

Much better.

With the skin clecoed on, I clamped the inboard stiffeners into place and used the Center Cabin Cover to ensure the proper alignment and spacing.

I was able to drill the inboard stiffeners by myself without issue, but the outboard stiffeners took some thought as there really isn't anything to clamp them to.

I feel like the stiffeners could have been a bit longer, as it seemed like I was having rivet spacing issues on both ends. In the end I settled on a location that yielded equal spacing forward and rear. The stiffeners are fairly thick material and attach to the firewall angles and cover support ribs with three 1/8" rivets, so I am not too concerned about the 1.5-2D edge-distance I have on the stiffener to bottom firewall/bulkhead flanges.

I ended up taking some tips from my fellow builders Chad and Mike and used a combination of duct tape and clamped wooden blocks to hold the outboard stiffeners into position for drilling. It would have been much easier with another set of hands, and I did attempt to obtain help, but I managed to get it done solo.

Looks good from the inside.

I then used my angle drill and drilled the holes that I had marked earlier through the firewall angles and stiffeners.

On the aft side I was able to drill the forward two holes where the stiffener mounts to the cover support ribs, but the aft hole was just too close to the bulkhead for my angle drill. I may have to borrow an angle drill with a smaller head to get at this one. Once the bottom skin comes off, I am going to see if I can get it drilled somehow. I got a lot accomplished today, but I decided it was time for me to grill a nice thick juicy stake, and enjoy a nice glass of wine, but I'll be back at it again tomorrow.