Bits and Pieces

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The good news is the wing kit leaves the US on the 8th of August. Until it arrives however, there is a number of things that I am trying to get finished off so I can focus on the wings when it gets here.

The horizontal stabiliser and elevator are out for media blasting and finish welding. They needed work as they are just starting to get surface rust just sitting in the garage bare and I want to get some primer on them. Thats what you get with humidity I guess.

I am now riveting the upper wing fuel tank. Should have that finished quite quickly but will wait to have it welded because I need to check the clearances in the wing and particularly underneath the tank to make sure the clearance of the drain/fuel line flanges are acceptable. I will build a drilling template also to locate the holes in the lower surface of the wing.

I am also still completing the second and last butt rib for the upper wing, which is different than a butt rib from the standard wing. This rib is a 1/2″ think rather than the standard 1/4″ and has the compression wood within it.

Finally I have been playing with the cabane struts, having been fortunate to scrounge some streamline tubing from a fellow builder in Canberra. Thanks Lou!!



You can never have too many clamps

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I remember reading on some build posts about the need for a large number of clamps. I have found myself drawing the same conclusion. I find every time I walk into a hardware store I pick up a couple of clamps of differing kinds as the use of them changes.

I can confirm, if you are building a wooden plane – they are your best friend. I must also say you get very adept at putting them on even with one hand.

Below is some pictures of the laminating process for the hand hold that sits at the rear of the top wing centre section. Most of this will be covered eventually except the middle which will assist the passenger in the front pit extracting themselves on the way out.

How to Make Ribs

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OK a quick tutorial on how to make wooden wing ribs.

Step 1: If you want to do this the easy way…. but a wing rib kit from Steen (if you are building a Skybolt) as well as the rib jigs. If you dont want to buy the gussets, capstrip and jigs – thats fine you can make them, but man that would take a lot of time

Step 2: From here I am using a rib kit and the jigs. Next step is to lay some Glad Bake into the jig. This stops the glue sticking. Then cut out the gussets from the sheets that come with the kit. One sheet per rib. It does take a bit of tim to figure out which of the 6 jigs to use. Once you have done a couple you can figure that out. You will notice in the picture below that the nose rib is already cut – another time saving from the kit.




Step 3: Trim Capstrip and lay it in. You will notice that you need to notch the fronts of the top and bottom cap strip to lock it into the nose rib infill. Trim the rest. I do the verticals first then the angles.

Step 4: Glue. Now once its laid in, I pull it all apart again to start the glueing process. I do one rib in about 35 minutes. Each piece needs to have glue added in the right spot in the joint starting with the bottom gusset, then lay the cap strip in then add the top gussets.

Step 5: Lay another sheet of Glad Bake on top of the ribs, ready to sandwich between the bottom of the jig and the perspex overlay


Step 6: Place the top on and clamp to hold flat. Once clamped drying only takes about 12 hours.


Step 7: Once dried and removed from the jig, there is quiet  bit of sanding that is required. What I have done is use a file with the jig in a vice to file out the spar location holes, then used a linisher to sand any glue on the outside of the rib. Any further removal of glue for example on the cap strip is done with a file.

Step 8: Once all of the ribs are dry I then joined them up to profile sand. This takes quite some time to get the profile of the ribs together so they are the exact same size and profile


Step 9: All done and ready for placement onto the spars




Still Going

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It has been a few weeks and no posts, but that is largely because I am still doing the same thing. Glueing ribs. Whilst they are often a little different, it is the same process and the pics are identical. I have made two customisations on the lower inboard ribs.

On the butt rib I have made them half inch wide, not 1/4inch like the rest of the ribs and then on the rib outboard of that, I have sheeting the whole of the inboard side. This is all in order to strengthen the wing walk area on both wings. That way….people can walk over the top on a little more than egg shells.

Next post will be the last rib…given this morning I glued the second last rib. The end is in site. Unfortunately by Wing Kit is not.



Up Next – Trailing Ribs

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Ok, due to lack of forward planning I am waiting for my metal brackets to be welded and media blasted. They are currently off getting done so work has slowed. All the pieces other than ply are cut and ready for final fitment. I can glue the trailing ribs in, so here they are. You can never have too many clamps in the shop.

Beginning to Glue

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As I get close to ending the shaping of the plywood pieces the next step has been to begin glueing some of the ply pieces together. The process began with cutting, shaping and trimming the ply pieces, shaping the capstrip and spruce reinforcement parts, then glueing them together to make the pieces that will be used on assembly of the centre section. Pics below show glueing the double thickness trailing ribs of the centre section and the method I have used to ensure the front and rear faces of the 4 ribs of the centre section are square.

Ribs and Spars

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This afternoon, spent the afternoon on the bandsaw and with the router shaping the capstrip for the centre section ribs. Once I had completed the top and bottom cap strips for each of the 4 ribs I jumped onto the thicknesser to get my oversize spars down to one inch thickness. Next step will be to bevel them on a bench saw.

Step 1: Bandsaw the top of the capstrip to rough shape. Thats me on the saw.


Step 2: Router the edges of the ops to correct size. Note the ply template used to ensure consistency. On these bigger 1 1/4″ capstrips I needed to passes, the second at a greater depth.

IMG_2231Step 3: Trim the ends with drop saw, then back on the bandsaw to trim the inside curve. This will just be sanded as it will sit inside a rib with ply on either side….not visible.

Whilst I was in my mates shed…. thought I would grab some time on the thicknesser to get the spar widths correct. That machine is magic. Andrew my quality controller in the background. He is the master, I am the apprentice.