|This photo is of the prototype during the
earlier phases of construction.
June 30 2017 3.5hrs - 3288.5 total. Sanded down glue joints on supports under
the windscreen and most of the skin in this area to prep for final coat of sealer.
Before finishing up this area, want to install nut plates for attaching the windscreen
frame to the skin. Trial fit the frame in place, but unsure of exact fit as I left room
for water seal putty between the frame and the plexi. Without it in there its difficult
to tell exactly where the frame will sit on the fuselage, so I can't drill the holes.
Called around and found a local source for Butyl tape (water seal putty). Went and
picked up a roll and installed it between the metal frame and plexi and on the other
side, between the plexi and the fiberglass frame. Now everything sits where it will
when final assembled, so I can accurately drill the mounting holes through the lower
fiberglass frame and the top fuselage skin.
|Metal frame, fiberglass frame and plexi
cleco'd together with Butyl putty.
|Close up of all layers temp
July 1 2017 5.5hrs - 3294.0 total. Marked and drilled lower edge of fiberglass windscreen frame as well as front fairing. Temp
mounted frame on fuselage and drilled holes in skin. Also drilled holes for press in threaded sockets on SB side of cockpit. Removed
windscreen and drilled rivet holes for each nut plate location. Six of the mounting holes land on stringers so don't have nut plates, but
will have wood screws instead. Mixed up batch of thin epoxy and applied 2nd coat of sealer on the under windscreen supports as well
as surrounding skin. Also sealed up all the mounting holes and rivet holes. Sealed large holes for press in fittings, applied more glue than
pressed fittings in place. Sealed up screw holes where wood screws will go. Waited till glue was partially set then pressed rivets into
holes and removed wood screws that had been temp installed. Partially dis-assembled undercarriage position indicator so that I can
modify it to be wired for lights.
July 2 2017 3.5hrs - 3297.5 total. Riveted nut plates in place under windscreen fuselage skin. Sanded down rough spots in 2nd coat of
sealer. Applied two coats of paint on all areas just sealed and touched up some other spots. Trial fit windscreen in place and tried new
SB threaded inserts. Had to tweak the mounting bracket strap a little, but everything lines up very well now. Dug through plans and
started looking at plans for fuel tank.
|Undercarriage position indicator
|Preparing to install press in
|Threaded sockets glued
in place on SB side.
|Attachment and rivet holes
drilled for windscreen frame.
|Holes sealed, rivets temp
pressed in place.
|Starboard side of cockpit
|Nut plates installed and
two coats of paint applied.
July 4 2017 3.5hrs - 3301.0 total. Tried to get instrument panel in place after installing braces under windscreen skin. Used cardboard
template to determine notch to be cut out of top of control panel. Still had a very difficult time getting it installed. Tried using a ratchet
strap to bend the panel and was able to get it onto place, but removing it was almost impossible. Finally got it out again after putting
several scratches and scrapes on inside surfaces of cockpit. Eventually conceded that I needed to cut some small sections out of the
edge of the panel to allow it to be installed and removed without having to bend it, or scrape up the paint every time. Now that its easier
to install and remove, I'm able to trim the edges a bit to fit around the fillets on the longerons. Still looks like I'll need spacers behind the
panel. Got out the aluminum angle piece that goes just in front of the panel bulkhead. Trimmed it up a bit and started planning for
drilling holes for mounting the panel and the angle strip.
July 7 2017 2.5hrs - 3304.5 total. Made up a new angle piece for back of fuel tank cover. The old one had several cuts and scratches
that could have been stress risers. Went to great pains on this new one to insure there are minimal stress concentration points.
July 9 2017 2.0hrs - 3306.5 total. Marked center point on new flange and bent closer to final shape. Trimmed back ends to allow it to
extend flush with skin. Took lots of measurements and started marking places where holes will be drilled in control panel, bulkhead and
flange. Screws will need to go in on the control panel side, through the bulkhead and flange, and into the nut plates riveted to the flange.
|Some of the damage caused by getting the panel
in and out before the notches were enlarged .
|Areas where I had to cut away material
to allow easier panel removal.
|Starting on the fuel tank
|Old flange on top, new one on
bottom - not bent yet.
|New flange trial fit in place - just
starting to bend it to shape.
|End of flange trimmed back at an
angle to allow flush surface with skin.
|View from outside of flange
notched back to allow flush fit.
|Starting to mark the locations for holes
through panel, bulkhead and flange.
July 10 2017 3.0hrs - 3309.5 total. Drilled mounting holes in control panel. Clamped it in place in the fuselage and used the holes in the
control panel as guides to drill holes through bulkhead. Removed control panel, clamped flange in place and drilled holes in flange.
|Holes drilled through control panel,
bulkhead and flange.
Has it really been four months!!! Sorry for the long break in progress! Ended up
getting a new roof on the house, along with some other things to keep me busy. Winter
has set in now. Its -20F outside and time to get back to work on the Spitfire!!
November 18 2017 2.5hrs - 3312.0 total. Spent about 3 hours cleaning up the shop - that time doesn't count though! Removed
flange, Cleaned up bolt holes. Had to enlarge a little for 3/16 bolt. Drilled and counter sunk rivet holes for nut plates. Sprayed some
primer on holes, both sides, in preparation for installing nut plates.
November 19 2017 4.0hrs - 3316.0 total. Applied two coats of primer to all surfaces of rear flange. Riveted nut plates onto flange.
Cleaned up holes in BH a little. They still need to be sealed. Started working on forward flanges that goes on back of firewall and hold
forward edge of fuel tank cover and aft end of top engine cowling. Marked and cut slots in 1" angle aluminum. Cleaned up all edges
and ground bottom of slots to round edge to prevent stress risers. Clamped in place and trial bent to shape.
November 20 2017 2.0hrs - 3318.0 total. Drilled bolt holes through existing hole in firewall and into the forward flanges. Temp bolted
flanges in place. Strapped aluminum sheet stock for fuel tank cover in place to start planning for attaching it down. Researched
correct size of cover. Looks like I'll need to shorten up each side by about 2" to 3".
November 24 2017 5.5hrs - 3323.5 total. Removed tank cover that was held on with strap. Temp bolted and clamped aft flange
securely into position. Sanded down and shaped part of the front side of BH-8 to get the flange to seat better. Also temp bolted
forward flanges securely into position. Put fuel tank cover piece back in place, aligned with center line and strapped firmly into
position with three straps. Using calipers, magnets, and a little black magic I located the longitudinal datum line on the outside of the
skin, forward of the instrument panel. The original Spits had a piece of very heavy gauge metal covering the fuel tank that stretched
down both sides to the top of the datum - basically the centerline of the fuselage. I spent about 2 hours trying to get the cut line for
the bottom edges of the tank cover right. Finally decide the best thing would be to use a long level to help get thing aligned. This
meant I had to jack up the tail about 18". Again, with the skin in place, its very difficult to align things with the main longerons that
are inside the fuselage now. One thing about wood, no rivet lines to follow! Once everything was aligned and marked, went ahead
and marked locations for the bolts. Dug out the Monforton book to get exact number and location of bolts. As the side metal cowling,
and top fiberglass cowling all overlap on the forward edge of the fuel tank cover - and use the same mounting holes - ended up
spending a lot of time getting these lined up. Marked, center-punched and drilled through the tank cover and through the fuselage skin
while everything was still strapped in place. Some of the holes are drilled in the upper main longeron. Very stressful drilling into
those! Inserted clecos into holes and removed straps. Will need to drill flanges then back drill through fuel tank cover to get all aligned
November 25 2017 4.5hrs - 3328.0 total. Climbed inside fuselage from below and started drilling out through flanges into tank cover.
Had to climb back out and put a couple of the straps back on to hold the cover down as I drilled. Climbed back in and finished drilling
holes in flanges and cover. Removed cover, de-burred all holes. Removed all flanges, de-burred holes. Marked and drilled rivet holes
for nut plates. Counter sunk flush rivet holes. Primed forward flanges. Riveted all nut plates on forward flanges and new nut plates on
aft flange. Primed forward flanges and nut plates again. Primed new nut plates and rivets on aft flange. Applied second coat to all.
November 27 2017 1.5hrs - 3329.5 total. Decided to go ahead and drill fuel tank cover mounting holes right through upper mid-main
longeron. Four of the holes are too close to the edge for my comfort so started making up some reinforcing blocks from two layers
of 1/2" ply. Traced pattern on ply, then rough cut to shape (had to change the blade on the band saw and re-align the guides - took a
long time). Started sanding to final shape.
|Nut plate rivet holes drilled and
countersunk in flange.
|Starting on forward fuel tank
|Aft flange primed and in place,
starting on forward flanges.
|Starting to size up fuel tank
|SB side of fuel tank cover with
some of the holes drilled.
|Ports side of tank cover - note
the cut lines marked on both sides.
|For and aft flanges
complete and primed.
|Hole in longeron just below blocking.
Trial fitting rough cut pieces.
|Rough cut reinforcement blocking.
|** Purchased a throttle quadrant from another builder who has made a couple of absolutely beautiful
and functional scale reproductions. It arrived today, but I can't open the box and look at it as its a
Christmas present! As soon as I open it on Christmas morning, I'll post some pictures of it here.***
|3mm backing plates for holes that go
through skin, but not through longeron.
November 29 2017 2.0hrs - 3331.5.0 total. Started sanding down the reinforcement blocking and realized it will be better if I laminate
them together before final shaping them, so set them aside till next glue batch. Started on backing plates for the nut plates for the fuel
tank cover holes in the fuselage that only pass through the skin, not through the longerons. Using 3mm ply for these. Marked, cut and
shaped them, drilled for bolt holes, drilled for rivet holes and counter sunk the rivet holes. Will need to seal the holes with epoxy before
the rivets can be installed.
December 4 2017 2.0hrs - 3333.5 total. Sanded down areas where nut plates and reinforcement blocking will go. Also cleaned up
some of the damage caused by taking the instrument panel in and out before the notches were enlarged.
December 6 2017 2.0hrs - 3335.5 total. Sanded some of the backing plate contact areas inside the fuselage down a little more. Also
sanded the instrument panel holes in BH-8 and the damaged longerons a bit more. Mixed up a batch of thin epoxy and sealed all the fuel
tank cover holes in the forward fuselage skin, as well as holes in BH-8, BH-5 and those through the upper main longeron. Mixed in
some thickener and touched up the damaged areas on the longerons. Glued the reinforcement blocking pieces together. Sealed the
holes in the backing plates and the surface where the nut plate goes. Went ahead and stuck the rivets through the holes and set the
nutplates in position while the glue dries. Will set the rivets after glue dries.
December 9 2017 4.5hrs - 3340.0 total. Riveted nut plates onto backing plates. Sanded down front surface and sides. Dry fit in place
and sanded a couple of them down to get good fit. Marked contact areas on inside fuselage skin. Sanded areas as needed for gluing.
Removed reinforcement blocking from clamps. Sanded to final shape, dry fit in position and marked skin. Sanded contact areas. Dry
fit nut plates on front side of BH-8. Drilled small holes for nut plate mounting screws and temp install brass screws. Dry fit additional
nut plates on inside of longerons. Ran out of the tiny brass screws for the nut plates. Need more before I can glue everything in place.
Sanded down areas where longerons were patched up.
December 10 2017 5.5hrs - 3345.5 total. Went and picked up some more brass screws for nut plates. Finished drilling holes for nut
plate screws. Glued in six backing plates with nut plates, four nut plates with screws onto forward side of BH-8, two nutplates with
screws onto inside of longerons, and four reinforcement blocking pieces inside skin on longerons. Also sealed up forward surface of
BH-8 where it had been sanded down a little. Used mold release on 3/16" temp bolts to hold all the nutplates in position while glue set.
After glue set a little, removed bolts and insured all nut plates move freely.
December 11 2017 1.0hrs - 3346.5 total. Reamed out all the 3/16" holes a little so the bolts fit in easily. Dry fit the last four remaining
nut plates on the longerons, drilled holes for the brass screws and dry fit them. They all need to be epoxied in place now.
December 12 2017 3.0hrs - 3349.5 total. Cut out space for "blind flying panel" in instrument panel. First drilled a hole then used a
nibbler to rough trim it to shape. Final shaped with thimble sander and Dremel with grinder disc. Then hand sanded till smooth.
Located and drilled holes for rubber stand-off/vibration dampeners in main panel and flying panel. Dry fit to test how much weight
they will hold. Flying panel has a lot of flex in it and sags with just a little weight. I really don't think these standoffs are strong
enough to hold all six instruments. Will have to try it and see. Still need to trim back main panel in places to insure clearance for
December 13 2017 2.0hrs - 3351.5 total. Marked and enlarged hole in main panel to prevent possible contact with instruments. Trial
fit the four instruments I have in the flying panel. Had to enlarge the holes bit. Need to drill mounting bolt holes and temp mount
instruments see if standoffs will support instruments and flying panel.
|Also cleaning up the damage
from the instrument panel.
|Sanding down spots where nut plates
and blocking will go.
|Blocking glued together. Backing plates
sealed with nut plates dry fit.
|Used thickened epoxy to patch up
|Dry fit of blocking, backing plates, and
nut plates with brass screws.
|Blocking, backing and nut
plates all glued in place.
|Cutting out hole for blind
flying panel using a nibbler.
|Nibbler works great but
makes quite a mess!
|Flying panel temp mounted on
main panel with standoffs.
|Only three standoffs -
located same as original.
|Enlarged main panel hole to
insure instrument clearance.