Build the Dream, Live the legend, Fly your Own Fighter!
Week 2: Complete the Elevator
Good evening Av8tors,
I completed the Elevator this weekend, it took me 11 hours (the kit supplier says 9 hours, but I am still learning new skills and figuring out new techniques and working with new tools)
I will provide extra detail with this post to share the initial experiences of the build and techniques used in case someone else wants to evaluate their ability to build it.
The AA (Airdrome Aeroplane) plans are very basic (Compared to Vans RV), and there are no written instructions. You get a DVD video with key instructions as they build the prototype and a CD with lots of build photos. Between those 3 and the internet as a resource, and 2 Skype calls to the kit supplier you get through it.
1st Step is to transfer the plans to full scale paper on flat table
Then you create a couple of bending radius blocks as per the plans. This is my bending rig at the end of my table. Use a spring so the tube don't collapse. Insert the tube and bend it around the radius block
You also need to collapse the end of the tube and flatten it to attach it to the spar. I cut a little wooden block with the shape to collapse the pipe. Notice the BLUE sharpie lines. You cannot collapse the pipe without annealing the tip, basically softening it by heating it up. If you use a Butane flame like in the next picture, you heat it up until all the blue sharpie lines disappear then it is soft enough to collapse.
Butane can and torch purchased from Makro
This is what the pipe looks like after the bend and collapsing the end.
Keep on going down the length of the tube and make all the bends, one by one. Use the Full scale plans as reference and put positioning blocks as you go. You quickly realise that you cannot work to 1mm accuracy when you make all these consecutive bends in the same long length of tube, so you end up with TLAR (that looks about right +/-5mm). Structural integrity, edge distances and general outline shape are more important than 1mm accuracy here. Make both Left and Right on the same jig.
Cut and add the elevator spar, cut the ends of the spar to fit outline tube. (Remember to fit the inner spar sleeve for strength and 2 hinges)
A view of the spar end cut to fit outside tube
Anneal the Spar tip and bend it closed with this simple clamp made out of 2 angles and 2 clamps
Another view of it
Fit the spar and lift the leading and trailing edge by 1/4" spacers all around in preparation for the ribs, so that the LE and TE are centered around the spar.
This is my little sheet bending rig. Bought from Aircraft spruce. You can see some flat sheet and some ribs already bent.
Fit the ribs, drill all the rivet holes where it looks right (TLAR), remember edge distances (2 hole diameters from any edge). Pop Rivet it, turn over, drill and pop rivet the other side.
The Finished Elevator: Total Build Time 11 Hours - This is going to be a very quick building kit!
This week I hope to start on the Fuselage
PS: I will keep all the full scale paper drawings I make, if you ever buy a AA Fokker E-3 kit, you can have it and it will save you a bit of time drawing them out. First come first served. Proof of kit purchase required.
Till next Week