Cooling Ramp & Gear Towers

Time: 8 Hours

Today started with a few work related tasks and a couple of errands. When I got home I got right to the Hangar for some more work. First task to rivet the cooling ramp stiffener in place and the cooling ramp attach bracket to the forward floor substructure. The stiffener was done with the back rivet set and I was able to get the others with the pneumatic squeezer.

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IMG_3650.JPGAfter that I moved on to the gear towers. All the parts need to have all the edges deburred as well as all the lightening holes. That took several hours to get accomplished. Now on to one of the “mods” I will be doing to my RV-8. When the gear tower is completed it is a pretty tight space on the inside. The main gear attach bolts will be housed inside of the tower at its bottom going through the floor to the steel gear legs. You have to check and torque these at a regular interval. Van’s only gives you a stretched circular hole in which to access the nuts for torquing. It’s well known in the RV circles that this is a pain in the butt to say the least. So down the road someone came up with a modification idea that would help this task. Basically it’s a access plate that opens this area up for access. There have been several different styles or mods that various builders have used. I decided to go with what was proven, my buddy Glens style, and did a rectangular panel. This will allow me to use the angle structure for the support and will just replace the stock rivets with #8 nutplates to screw the plate to.

IMG_3654.JPGSo I took several measurements ant came up with a good panel size. The top will be at a slight angle as the rivets are not matched between the forward and aft sides. This will allow me to have the screw holes in a straight line although at an angle. Once I had the idea on paper I transferred the lines to the panels.

IMG_3655.JPGI then made the cuts on the band saw going very slow to make nice straight cuts. My blade made about a 1/16″ gap between each panel but that will be backed by a filler piece behind which will have a couple nutplates in it.

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IMG_3657.JPGOnce I had the access plates cut and cleaned up I needed to fabricate 4 pieces of aluminum to act as backers to the top and bottom of the plate.

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IMG_3658.JPGWith the plate backers done and fitting just right I moved on to the top and bottom pieces of the panel. I needed to mark out 4 rivets on the ends that match up with the access plate. These will be flush rivets and hold the plate backers in place.

IMG_3659.JPGI enlarged all the perimeter holes to a #19 that will accept the #8 screws. All of the perimeter holes will need nutplates for the screws to go into. That’s where my new tool, the nutplate jig, came in to play.

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IMG_3663.JPGI was able to get the 16 nutplates drilled in 10 minutes, man I love this tool! I put all the parts back together and cleaned up the Hangar. That’s 8 solid hours of build time and it was a great day!

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