Fuselage 1 (5.0 hrs)


While I still have work to do on the fuel tank, I decided it was high time I did some work to my fuselage! Quick-build fuselage construction begins on page 41 of the fuselage instructions and begins with mounting the gear. I will not mount it permanently at this time, but I will get everything match drilled and ready to go for when the time comes. I didn’t do any research on doing this before getting to the hangar, so it was slow progress and I quickly realized this is a substantial project.

The first step was to rotate the fuselage and then remove the gear access plates.

Next I found all the appropriate parts, removed their labels, and marked them accordingly.   

Here is the mounting point for the inside mounts on the gear towers.  

Next I needed to match drill the holes shown here. The rotating stand made this a breeze! 

I had to match drill the 804 inboard main gear attach brackets to each leg. First Van’s tells you to slightly round the corners to ensure a flat fit. This is rather unnecessary as the bevels are clean to begin with. Never the less I gave it a quick once-over. I ensured the brackets were firmly in place with a few light taps from my dead blow mallet and then I clamped it in place with the pictured c-clamps 

I carefully clamped, leveled and aligned the gear and bracket to the drill press. Use lots of Boelube!       

Next you use the inboard brackets to match drill the inboard wear plate to 7/16″. 

This is where things get tricky. Those gear legs are heavy, and attaching them with one bolt and only two hands… well lets say this. I was sweating profusely at the end! 

Now, the next step is where things get more… involved. I need to ensure the gear outboard edge is parallel to each other, and to the fuselage center line. Secondly, the gear should be perpendicular, that is to say, it should be equidistant from the tail. All of this is important for handling and toe angle down the line. The difficulty in my case is my rotisserie mount. I will likely need to remove the fuselage from the stand to complete the alignment. Never the less I played around with the Van’s method that calls for using four plumb-bobs and some measurement to accomplish this. There is an alternative method on VAF that calls for using some aluminum angle to accomplish this. I will likely take a look at both. This isn’t something to mess up! 

I also opened up the notches for the outer brackets in the skin. The quick build already had sizable notches, but they still needed to be increased. The Dremel made quick work of the project.  

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