The Dragonfly

Last Update-03/13/2010 01:41 AM


Here are the all the form blocks cut out for the stabilizer and elevator.





Here I'm using an 1/8" round over bit to scrape a nice 1/8" radius on the edge of the form block after I sanded the edges to 8 degrees.





Stabilizer ribs after being formed and lightening holes cut.






Here the pieces are drilled and clecoed and the final shape starts to take shape.











After the pieces are deburred and cleaned, a coat of primer goes on before the items are assembled together permanently.






Now the stab is feeling a little naked.  Time to get some skin on the skeleton.






On the left, I have laid out the skin with a sharpie.



On the right, I have planned down a piece of pine to the correct depth as called out in the plans to serve as the depth stop for bending the skin.



OK , the plans make this portion look a lot easier than it is.  If you have some help it would help, but I didn't.  Be very careful not to crease the metal as you pull it down toward itself.  I would suggest getting these straps setup first.  Then with some help, bend the metal down to meet itself and start snugging down the straps a little at a time and evenly across the span.   Those little chunks of 2X4 are there to apply pressure on the top skin so you can pull it back and butt up the back edge.




Once you have the straps as tight as you think you can get them and the back edge of the top skin against the stop, place your plywood on the skin.  As you push down on the plywood, pull back as well and that should keep the skins top back edge against the stop.  Its amazing how much power it takes to bend that 6061-T6 aluminum that is only .016 thick and about 8 feet long.  Its like trying to fight Jackie Chan (if he had eight arms that is!)

I did this entire bending evolution by myself so you know it can be done but I would not suggest it.  Get some help if you can.




It seems the only time a guy can get some help with a homebuilt airplane is when there is fun stuff to do like using the pop rivet gun.  Here my son "helps" the old man with the pain full chore of seeing it all come together. Thanks bud! lol




Where the son is, the daughter is not far behind offering up more help for her apparently weak and frail father during his time of need. 






Well, I did it again.  In my mad dash to get the skin on the stab with some help around, I managed to forget to grab the camera and show the steps in getting the skin wrapped around skeleton utilizing some endless ratcheting straps.  I did it exactly as the builders guide showed and it worked great.