Tag Archives: Fuselage

Making a heater valve bracket

Hours: 1.5

Time to turn my cardboard prototype into a permanent bracket for the heater valve.

Since this bracket will sit freely, I decided to use 0.05in thick aluminum to give it some strength.

Just like the standard bracket that would usually hold the bowden cable, I designed the bracket to mount into the heater valve unit. So I added the size of the screw mount portion of the original bracket to my cardboard bracket part.

Outlining the bracket to cut
rough outline of the bracket and adding some indicators for the 90 degree bend

With the outline made, I got out the aviation snips and started cutting out the bracket.

Bottom part of the bracket cut
Bracket cut and 90 degree bend location marked

Next step, releasing some tension. To make the bend, I mounted the bracket along the bend line in my bench vise. And then gave it some gentle (read strong) taps with the rubber mallet to form the bend.

Bracket mounted in my bench vise with some wood to bend it along
Whacking the bracket to form the 90 degree bend (very satisfying)

And here it is, a nicely formed 90 degree bend.

Bracket with the bend completed
New bracket along with the original bracket to check the bend is aligned

Next I deburred all the edges and rounded out the corners.

Deburred and corners rounded

And then I match-drilled the holes to mount the bracket to the heater valve using the original bracket.

Match-drilling the bracket holes using the original bracket as a template
Bracket mounted on the heater valve

Finally, time to mount the servo to the new bracket. Quick test fitting with a clamp to get the travel distance right.

Final test fitting of the servo

And then I drilled and mounted it to the bracket.

Servo mounted.

And here it is in action:

More Cabin air servo work

Hours: 2.5

With my cabin air servo mount worked out for the right side, time to translate it to the left.

I started with my cardboard pattern to match everything up for the left side. Everything looked good, so I started cutting out the bracket out of 0.032in aluminum stock.

Test fitting for the left side

I recently ran across this very helpful video on how to properly use aviation snips. This made it a lot easier to cut things like the bracket.

Cutting the bracket using some of the tips from the video to cut a sacrificial strip of metal to keep everything straight.

Cutting the bracket out of 0.032in aluminum
Cutting a sacrificial strip to keep the rest straight
Long edges cut
Completed the cut of the bracket

Once I completed cutting it, I removed the protective plastic and rounded the corner and edges.

Corners rounded and edges deburred

Then time for the final test fit in the airplane before match drilling the holes.

Test fitting the bracket
match drilling the holes that attach the bracket and vent to the side skins

All worked well, here’s the completed test fit in action:

Cabin Heater fluid valve

The third and final modification I’m making in the cabin air department is the valve that controls the heater fluid that runs through the heater.

The standard installation controls this valve using a Bowden cable connected to a plastic switch to be mounted in the cabin.

So on to some prototyping to figure out a bracket to operate the valve using the servo instead.

Figuring out the travel distance of the valve
With the travel distance figured out, time to mock up a bracket
Mock bracket mounted and servo "installed" to test it working all together

Looks viable, here’s the cardboard prototype in action:

Fabricating the air vent servo mount

Hours: 1

As I mentioned a while back, I am going to use a servo to control the butterfly valve that controls the flow of outside air for the cabin instead of the manual “school bus handlebar” that the kit is designed with.

With the assembly of the Rudder pedals that sit right below it done, I now moved on to actually putting this together.

I temporarily placed the dash in place to make sure there won’t be any interference with the bracket I designed for the servo mount.

Temporarily mounting the dash to check placement

All looked good, so I moved on to fabricating the bracket I designed earlier out of cardboard.

I decided to use some 0.032in thick aluminum to give the mount some stability and rigidity.

Tracing the template onto my 0.032in aluminum sheet stock
cut out aluminum bracket, waiting to be deburred
Deburred and rounded all corners

After that I match drilled the hole for the servo mount through the template, marking the hole using a center punch.

Then I mounted the bracket in the plane using some clamping clecos in order to match drill the holes from the air vent.

clamped in place to match drill the marked holes through the cabin skin and the bracket
First hole drilled and clecoed

With both holes drilled I then clecoed the air vent in and mounted the servo for final testing.

air vent clecoed to the side wall and bracket and servo installed

I’ll shorten the screw of the servo mount as it’s a bit longer than it needs to be as can be seen above so it won’t interfere with the parachute cable.

Here’s a video of it in action:

Now I just need to replicate it for the left side and then I need to install it permanently.

Assembling the Rudder Pedals

Hours: 3

So with me moving on working in the Fuselage I did some rearranging of my garage workshop.

I moved the wings back into the corner. I also turned the Fuselage around to have easier access to the flight deck. (The latest FAA’s handbooks says that even a small Cessna 150 is now a flight deck and not a cockpit 😀).
To get around easier, I also moved one of the work tables up and formed a T-shape.

Garage workshop rearranged a bit.

I am going with the standard Sling configuration of T-bar rudder pedals and the central brake instead of differential braking.
This makes the installation and setup simpler without the hydraulics in the pedals. When I did my test flight of the TSi it was easy to steer it without differential braking.

I inventoried all the parts for the rudder pedals the other day. It took a bit to find the pedal hardware bag. But luckily Juliana found it buried in my mountain of hardware bags on the table in the background.

I noticed that the right side pedal bar had cleaned up attach points, but the left side was missing it. So I had a bit of shaving it off to do. It was pretty easy using a utility knive and then a bit of sand paper to finish it off.

Before removing the paint for the control points
After removing the paint for the control points

With that bit cleared up, all I had to do was slowly build it all up. I had to do a lot of moving left and right of the Fuselage to be able to reach down to put everything in.

The empty bracket for the rudder pedals to install into
clecoing the brackets that hold the pedals in place
Bottom brackets riveted in

With the bottom brackets installed I started putting it all together.

Pedal bars in place and moving freely with the removed paint on both sides.
Top of the brackets clecoed in place that lock the pedal bars in place and final testing for easy free moving of both bars.

With the brackets in place, I then temporarily put together the stops with the AN bolts. That way I don’t have to go looking for the hardware later when I attach the rudder cables to the pedals.

Temporary installation of the stops with the AN bolts (but not tightened, since the rudder cables will connect to them).

The next step was to rivet the brackets in place. This was trickier than I thought due to the tight space. In retrospect I should have temporarily put the brackets together before putting them in, which would have made reaming the holes a lot easier since I couldn’t fit my drill in properly, so I had to turn the reamer bit with my hand for a bit.

Brackets riveted in place

And finally, attaching the pedals to the bars. There are 3 possible depths and I’m not sure yet which will be the best fit. For now I put them on loosely until I have fit the seats and can do a test sit.

Rudder Pedals attached

Completing the rear seat

Hours: 4

After a bit of a hiatus, back to building.

With the help of my other half, we completed the bottom part of the rear seats and put it all together to finish it. This was truly one of those tasks where 4 hands can finish it all in half the time.

Clecoing the ribs
My helper in action

With everything clecoed together and fitted, time for some rivets.

All clecoed in place
Riveted the bottom half

Once that was all riveted together, we combined the bottom and top bench with the hinge.

Clecoing the bottom and top halves together
Riveting the top seat back to the bench from the back.

One piece of note here as the instructions don’t quite call out what orientation the hinge should be put in place. I did a lot of test fitting to get the ideal hinge-fit for this.

Based on my testing, here’s what I did:
I riveted the top bench from the back as seen in the above picture. And the bottom bench from the front to back, in order for the bench to be able to fold forward completely without interference like this:

Riveted the bottom of the bench from front to back in order for the seat back to be able to fold down without interfering with rivets.

And here’s the happy completed picture:

Completed rear passenger bench

Assembling the rear seat

Hours: 2

With the front seats almost complete apart from the lock pin mechanism, time to assemble the rear seat.

First order of business was to remove the protective plastic and do some inspecting and deburring of the edges and holes.

Laying out the ribs
Ribs deburred

With that out of the way, time to assemble the main rib structure.

Lining up the rib structure of the seats
Backside of the seats with ribs clecoed

On the bottom rib there was a minor misalignment of the rib. The rib extended a little bit beyond the skin, but the holes were all drilled fine.

bottom rib extended a bit too far

So I trimmed off the small part that extended too far.

Sanded it down to finish up with the skin

And on to more ribs to make it a really solid seat.

Complete rib structure clecoed to the back

The last part was to put on the front skin and make sure everything lines up. When I first clecoed it on some of the ribs didn’t align, so I unclecoed the skin again, then centered it and clecoed it again and everything fit well.

Both sides of the skin clecoed in place

Next step will be to rivet it all together.

Vertical Stabilizer skin riveting

Hours: 3.5

With the wiring finished and the Antenna fitting done, I am now finally able to close up the Vertical Stabilizer and rivet the skin.

To begin, I closed up the left side of the skin and held it in place with clecos, since this is the side where the Antenna slides through the enlarged rivet hole, while on the right side I had to create the custom notch so that I can pull the skin around the Antenna.
Left side of the Vertical Stabilizer closed up with clecos

Once that was done, I riveted on the support plate for the Antenna onto the top rib of the Vertical Stabilizer.
Riveting the Antenna support plate in place Antenna support plate riveted in place 

Now that the structure is complete, time to mount the Antenna permanently in place. Using two 20mm long M4 screws, washers and Nyloc nuts and some medium strength threadlocker I mounted the Antenna in place. Here’s the Antenna mounted in place and the wire connected to the Antenna using the BNC connector I crimped onto the wire. Antenna ready to be mounted Antenna mounted and wire connected

Riveting the skin

With all the prep work finished, I closed up the right side of the skin, made sure everything fits correctly and clecoed it in place. There are two holes on the bottom on each side that are not riveted, but instead I have to install Rivnuts in them, so I marked out those holes, so I don’t accidentally rivet them.
Vertical Stabilizer skin closed up and ready for riveting Holes where I have to install Rivnuts marked

There were two rivets that I had to shorten in order for them to fit flush near the Antenna. So I made a small template for the dept through a piece of wood and then shortened them accordingly.
Wood piece to hold the rivet in place to shorten Rivets shortened (and normal length on the left for reference)

After that, it was just a matter of pulling the many rivets on both sides of the skin to close the Vertical Stabilizer up for good.
Riveting the right side in progress Riveting the left side in progress Riveting the left side in progress Done riveting the skins of the Vertical Stabilizer

The last part was to install the two rivnuts on the bottom on each side, so after enlarging the holes using my step drill and reaming them out using my hand reamer, I got out my rivnut puller and high strength loctite and put those in place.
Holes enlarged for the rivnuts Rivnuts installed

With the Vertical Stabilizer completed, I then did a quick test fit and mounted it on top of the Fuselage and also attached the Rudder for a moment – almost looks like an airplane.Completed Vertical Stabilizer  Quick test fit of the Vertical Stabilizer and Rudder

Timelapse of building the Vertical Stabilizer

Quickbuild Factory progress

I got an exciting progress update from the factory today on the coming along of my Sling TSi Quickbuild kit down in The Airplane Factory in South Africa.
The Fuselage is mostly assembled and here’s the pictures of it:

Aside from that, my tool collection is coming along nicely. I now have hundreds of clecos, various pliers, deburring tools, drill bits and countersinks. Just a few more tools to go from the list from TAF.
The project may also have been my excuse to buy a label maker, I ended up with the Brady BMP 21, so now I get to print nice labels, I started with some boxes for the clecos as seen below.

Another fellow Sling TSi builder received his Empennage kit today, so I look forward to following his progress until I receive my kit to start.