|This photo is of the prototype during the
earlier phases of construction.
May 2 2018 0.5hrs - 3545.0 total. Received the Navion landing gear today. Spent
some time looking at the plans for the gear and measuring the Navion gear. Am
going to need to remove about 5 1/2" from the length. Am able to see now that the
pivot shaft at the top of the strut, that the gear pivots on, to retract, is at a slight
angle away from perpendicular to the wheel axle. So is the Spitfire. Need to take a
lot of measurements to see what all will need to be modified, and how to do it!
May 9 2018 0.5hrs - 3545.5 total. Pulled the bottom cylinder out of the gear leg to
see what type of internal mechanisms might be there. Very pleased to see only a
single baffle for the hydraulic fluid and an upper guide ring. Should make
shortening the gear leg easier than if there were complex fluid baffles or cylinders.
|Navion gear leg with strut
|Navion gear leg with strut
|Very rough sketch showing the
differences in required strut length.
May 14 2018 2.0hrs - 3547.5 total. Started on the backing plate and light holder for the landing gear indicator. I want it to be clear that
there are two bulbs for up, and two bulbs for down, so that I can see the status of each gear leg independently. Decided to put a divider
between the bulbs to help differentiate them from each other. Making the back plate and dividers from very light gauge aluminum scrap.
May 18 2018 2.0hrs - 3549.5 total. Drilled holes, de-burred, primed, and riveted light dividers onto backing plate. Got to use the rivet
squeezer I got for Christmas for the first time. Had never used one before. Works great! I wish I would have known about it a long
time ago! Trial fitted and tried light on each side of dividers and it looks good! Put on a coat of flat black paint.
May 19 2018 3.0hrs - 3552.5 total. Sanded down both rib #10s.
May 20 2018 4.5hrs - Sanded down last eight 1/4" ribs to final shape (still need to scarf on extensions). Cut out all four 3/8" ribs with
saber saw, trimmed with band saw, and sanded one of them to final shape. Now have all ribs cut out, three of the 3/8" ribs still need to
be sanded to shape, and all four of the 3/8" ribs as well as eight of the 1/4" ribs still need to have extensions scarfed on, and holes cut out.
May 21 2018 2.0hrs - 3554.5 total. Sanded down the remaining three 3/8" ribs. Now for all the scarf joints and extensions. Heard from
the guy working on the fuel tank. He wants to get together and figure out a parts list.
May 23 2018 2.0hrs - 3556.5 total. Hand sanded ribs #14 (2 ea). Stood up a partially finished rib #1 next to the fuselage to see how it
looks. Its reassuring to see the spar positions as well as the holes for the aileron and flap linkages line up properly where they should go!
May 29 2018 1.0hrs - 3557.5 total. Hand sanded one of the rib #11s.
June 1 2018 3.0hrs.(Not counting this time) - 3557.5 total Spent about 2 hours going over the plans for the fuel tank with the welder
making up a parts list. Sourced the sheet aluminum locally, went and picked it up. Now need to layout the shapes, cut them out, and
bend as needed so the welder can do his part.
June 2 2018 4.0hrs - 3561.5 total. Working off plans and parts list placed order for 90% of the parts for the fuel tank. Transferred
marked dimensions from template print callouts to inner template areas then cut out paper template pieces. Started transferring patterns
from the templates onto the aluminum sheet.
June 6 2018 2.0hrs - 3563.5 total. Continued laying out sheet metal parts for the fuel tank. Have all the small pieces transferred and
two of the large pieces. Only have a 3 or 4 large pieces left to layout, then will take it to a shop with a sheer and a brake and cut out
most of the parts. Some of the small pieces will need to be hand cut and shaped.
June 8 2018 1.5hrs - 3565.0 total. Finished transferring all of the tank templates onto the metal sheet.
June 11 2018 3.0hrs - 3568.0 total. Took the 6' X 4' sheet out to the metal supply store and had them sheer it as marked. Brought
pieces home and started cutting out smaller pieces on the band saw then final shaping them on the sander.
June 14 2018 - 2.5hrs - 3570.5 total. Went and picked up a couple of pieces of oak and some metal forming hammers, hand seamer,
etc. Transferred pattern onto one of the oak pieces and cut it out. Not quite symmetric... Need to clean up the shape a bit on the sander.
Once its good I'll transfer it to other piece of oak then cut and sand it to match. That should give me a good form for shaping the
flanges on the top profile of the fuel tank.
|Backing plate and light dividers for
gear indicator - also one of the LED
bulbs I'm planning to use.
|Backing plate for gear
indicator, with light dividers.
|Laying out fuel tank templates
on .063 aluminum sheet.
|Cutting and shaping some of the smaller
pieces that go on the fuel tank.
|Starting to shape the oak forms for
the top flanges on the fuel tank.
|Top and bottom forms from oak
and test piece of aluminum.
|Oak forms with aluminum test
piece positioned in between.
|Forms clamped together and
clamped to the bench.
|Starting to form the sheet with
small sledge hammer (not the small
rubber mallet in the phtoto)
|Slightly out of focus photo of
starting around the corner.
|Just about ready to take
it out of the form.
|Popped off the form - underlying
form isn't damaged - to my relief!
|Finished test piece - the hammer I
used is in the background
|Not quite 90 degrees. Not sure
how to get more, unless I need to
bevel the form?
June 15 2018 3.0hrs - 3573.5 total. Finished shaping the first oak form to match paper template. Traced onto second piece of oak, cut
out and sanded to match first piece. Cut out a piece of test aluminum and trimmed to shape. Clamped it between the form pieces, then
clamped it all to the bench. Tried using the rubber and plastic mallets I bought yesterday, but they just bounced off. Got out a small
sledge hammer and started pounding. Works much better than I had expected, except the form needs to be clamped in place better.
After I got it pretty far into shape, got out the rivet gun and tried planishing with it. Works very well, but it can chew up the wood form
if it gets away from you. Couldn't get the final 5 degrees or so on the angle. Think I'll need to bevel the form a little to get it all the way
to 90 degrees. My first time trying to form metal with a hammer - kind of fun!
June 16 2018 2.0hrs - 3575.5 total. Went out to a friends hangar today and used his metalworking tools to make more progress on the
fuel tank. Trimmed all the pieces down to either final, or very close to final shape. Used brake to bend a couple of the pieces where it
would work. Many of the edges can't be bent with a brake due to the curves. He also had a shrinker. Tested it on the sample piece I
made yesterday. Work very well on straight areas, but I can't get the curved piece into the jaws. Couldn't cut the thicker sheet metal
with the sheer. Its foot operated, and even with me jumping up and down on the lever pedal, it just made a slight mark. Will have to cut
those parts out with the bandsaw.
June 22 2018 1.5hrs - 3577.0 total. Trimmed up several of the larger pieces around the top curve and some of the other cuts on the
baffle. Trial fitted them together to make sure they match. Lots more cutting and bending to do before it goes to the welder.
June 23 2018 6.0hrs - 3583.0 total. Rough cut many of the outer edge cuts and sanded some of them to shape. Used fly cutter to cut
holes in tank top piece before it is rolled to shape. Took pieces back to friends shop and used his brake to bend a couple more 90 degree
bends. Used some scrap to practice rolling, then started rolling the big tank top piece. Got part way through and ended up breaking the
latch handle on his roller! Wasn't entirely my fault as he was helping when it happened. Bent a couple of small pieces on the box brake
and called it a day!
June 25 2018 1.0hrs - 3584.0 total. Went back out to friends house and picked up the tank top piece and took it to a local sheet metal
fab shop and paid them to roll it the correct shape. Turned out pretty good!
June 26 2018 1.5hrs - 3585.5 total. Did some test fitting of pieces in the new rolled top piece. Looks like a pretty good fit. May need
to shape the top of the baffle a little. Finished cutting out all the holes and shapes in the baffle and sanded them down to final shape.
Still need to be de-burred.
June 27 2018 2.5hrs - 3588.0 total. Final shaped and de-burred the large tank top piece in preparation for bending flanges on it.
Decided to wait and bend them last as it would be the best way to make final adjustments for fit. Spent some time and marked port and
SB on many of the pieces as well as on the wooden form to insure everything lines up. Put a larger radius on the wooden form piece
than what it had for the test piece. Clamped the rear tank wall in place with the form blocks and started beating on it with the hammer.
Looks pretty good, but want to plannish it before taking it out of the form. A guy who works at Beechcraft told me they sometimes put
a block of oak over then end of a rivet gun and use it to plannish. Thought I'd give it a try. Went to the store and bought a piece of oak.
Ran out of time for today.
July 8 2018 4.0hrs - 3592.0 total. Been away from the build for a while - spent the last two weeks putting laminate flooring and new
baseboard in the hallway. Managed to get a few hours in on the fuel tank today. Made up the wooden plannishing block and tried it, but
the metal just ignored it. Learned at a recent EAA meeting that I need to anneal the aluminum as it work hardens very quickly. I was
afraid of that, but wasn't sure how to anneal it. They told me to heat it up with a propane torch, and use a sharpened piece of pine to test
for the right temperature. If it just starts to burn the pine, then that's hot enough. I googled it, and it says 650F. I tried using a digital
thermometer, but it can't handle much over 400F - just gives weird readings. So tried the "pine burn" method to anneal the piece I have
in the clamps, then tried the block plannisher again, and the metal was as soft as peanut butter! What a huge difference! This was very
encouraging, as I had been unable to get the flange bent over all the way to 90 degrees. After annealing, it was easy. Was so enthused,
I went ahead and took the pieces out to my friends shop and used his box brake to put the remaining flanges on the front and back
pieces of the tank. When I got home I hammered out the wobble between the box bend and the flange I had already made. Not perfect
yet, but its getting there!
July 9 2018 1.5hrs - 3593.5 total. Annealed the wobble section and spent a lot of time figuring out how to block it up so I could
hammer against form blocking. Figured it out and hammered and plannished it. Sanded down ares where the flange length had grown
due to shrinkage and working of the material.
July 11 2018 1.5hrs - 3595.0 total. Clamped the front piece of the tank into the forming blocks, clamped that to the bench and started
shaping it. Got it pretty far, removed from blocking, and annealed the new curved flange. Ran out of mapp gas - need to pick up some
more tomorrow. Piece needs to be clamped back onto the forms and shaped some more.
July 14 2018 3.5hrs - 3598.5 total. Clamped blocking back onto top of rear wall piece and bent to final shape with hammer, then
plannished with rivet gun and oak block. Clamped some more blocking on the sides and finished cleaning up the areas between the top
curve and the straight sides. Spent some time straightening up the edges as well. Removed all blocking and sanded the flanges back to
correct size after shrinking caused them to push out. Clamped the front and back pieces onto the large curved top piece. Used several
clamps on each to pull them right up to contact, as they will be when welded. Marked actual location of bottom of side pieces and
marked new fold and cut lines for the bottom edges of the curved tank top piece.
July 15 2018 5.0hrs - 3603.5 total. Trimmed back ends of top tank piece to new lines. Had to clamp on forming blocks and hammer
over 4 of the flanges the hard way, annealing between hammering sessions. Was able to get the last two folds into my friends brake and
fold those the easy way. Trial clamped it all together to see how it fits. Shows that a couple of the flanges are over bent - past 90
degrees - an easy fix. Overall, fits together pretty well! I need to get the welder to look at it and tell me if its ready to go, or if it needs
|Some of the pieces of the fuel tank,
starting to take shape.
|Clamped some of the major pieces
together to see how it will look.
|Using fly cutter to cut holes
in tank top before rolling it.
|Tank support brackets cut to
rough shape and bent.
|Tank top piece rolled to shape.
|All tank baffle holes cut and
sanded to shape.
|Sanding one of the holes in the tank
baffle to shape with thimble sander.
|Shaping curved flange on top
of rear tank piece.
|Back piece temp clamped in place
after annealing and bending the rest
of the flanges on a box brake. Rivet
gun with oak block also shown.
|Front piece clamped in place.
|Back piece clamped in place.
|Front piece clamped all the
way around - shows nice fit
between flange and top.
|Whole thing clamped together for
first trial fit - still needs a little work.
|September 21 2018 - Hey guys!! - Been gone a while. Went to Oshkosh at the end of July and met up with another Tally-Ho
builder from Australia. We went around the show together and looked at stuff, including this guy putting together LS-3 engine
Picked up a tail wheel there, tried it on my tailwheel strut and its way too small for the existing fork. If I use this one I'll have
to have the fork completely rebuilt! Was looking at a nice MK-IX that was at Oshkosh and was shocked to see a scissor on
the main gear struts! I know this isn't original. I'm guessing they did it because its way easier to build and much lighter than
the original? Please tell me if I'm wrong!
September 21 2018 0.0hrs - 3603.5 total. Gave the fuel tank to the welder in early August. Last time I checked with him he hadn't
started on it yet. Not counting any time today as I was just organizing and cleaning up. Spent about 1.5hrs cleaning up the garage and
making space to get going again.
September 22 2018 0.0hrs - 3603.5 total. Not counting my time again today as I wasn't really working on the project. I stand
corrected on the scissor links on the gear - I've been informed that starting with some MK-V and MK-VIII forward there were
scissors links, sometimes to the front and sometimes on the back of the gear legs. Good news for me as I'm going to end up
with them either way. I messed around with testing some ideas with plexiglass today. Thinking about making my canopy and
reconsidering the idea of a male mold as opposed to trying to blow it. Dug out the instrument panel and started looking at the layout
again, based on new info picked up at Oshkosh. I got a new set of vibration dampener standoffs at Oshkosh and installed them on the
"blind flying panel" and they work perfectly. Strong enough so the panel doesn't sag anymore.
|MK-IX at Oshkosh with after market
strut end/axle bracket including a
scissor! If he can do it - so can I !!!
(Click on photos for larger image.)
|Beautiful Merlin. Tried to get a shot
of it without people in the photo,
but it was constantly mobbed!
|New wheel mounted, old one laying
down. New one may be too small?
|Messing around with plexiglass.
Stretched a piece over a metal
bowl as a test.