A couple of more hours in the shop today. Work continues on the 701 wing rebuild.
Stripped off the last of the paint where the wing and nose skins will be replaced. A wipe down with acetone and it comes out real shiny! Next step will be to scuff the aluminium and paint it with primer in preparation for mating the new skins.
While I was letting the stripper soak in for the above step, I finally got up the nerve to clean and trim the nose skin where the damaged piece was cut away. Working from the outside, I wanted to make sure to cut not only straight but well away from the underlying nose rib. To make the task easier, I laid on a piece of painters tape outlining where I was going to cut:
The curve of the nose skin makes this difficult to use hand shears or metal snips. Bring on the power tools! Ron suggested using the air powered saw:
When it's running, the blade on the air saw moves faster than the eye can see. It's fine tooth blade made short and clean work of the skin. The last inch or so I did with metal snips to prevent accidentally cutting into the wing spar (that would be a unmitigated disaster!):
A productive couple of hours.
I've sent off a quote request to Zenair for a complete tail kit of my own, minus the rudder pieces I already have.
Friday finally got here and I departed home for my road trip to "parts south" at 1130am.
First stop, my long time friend Lynn's place just outisde Barrie. Lynn and I grew up in the same hometown of Holland Landing and her late father Wally owned the local airport. For several years Lynn was heavily involved with ultralight aircraft, as a builder, pilot and instructor. Now heading in a different direction in life, she contacted me with a list of items from sale from her collection.
As I arrived in her driveway, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that one of my best friends Mike (also from Holland Landing) was also there. It was just like old times - what a fantastic chance to catch up a bit. None of us has aged by the way ;)
Lynn had collected up a bunch of stuff for me and made a sales pitch I couldn't refuse. More on this in a bit.
Next stop, my parent's place to pick up Dad and head to Kitchener to see Scott about the 750 rudder he has for sale. I like taking Dad on these jaunts when possible. It's great to catch up and of course talk airplanes - it's certainly something in the DNA I got from him!
After a dinner in Guelph with Dad, we made our way to Scott's place in Kitchener. The deal for the rudder we agreed to got even sweeter when Scott included a box of Cleco fasteners, Cleco pliers and two heavy paper bags of A4 and A5 rivets - all for $100 cash! I didn't dicker or give him a chance to change his mind. START THE CAR!!
We wound our way back to Dad and Moms during Friday evening rush hour and seemed to hit every red light. Times like this remind me how much I enjoy living in northern Ontario. I decided to grab a nap for a couple of hours, but by 415am this morning, I was back on the road home (there are other things I have to get done before going back to work tomorrow!)
Once I got home and had some breakfast, I began the inventory process.... in a word, wow!
Here is a group photo of the items I obtained from Lynn and Scott. Top to bottom, left to right: A handful of the several reference books, bags of Cleco fasteners, over a thousand rivets (paper bags), Cleco pliers, drill bits "The Claw" aircraft tiedown kit and a "One Touch Tach" tool used for confirming prop RPM.
Amazing stuff for my project. In fairness to Lynn, I won't disclose what I paid for her portion of this stuff, but suffice to say, it pays to stay in touch with friends!
The big item of the trip however is the 750 rudder. Scott had attended a Zenair factory sponsored rudder workshop with the intent of getting a head-start on his 750 build, but as is often the case, life got in the way and he decided to part with his barely touched project. This rudder is already mostly built, including corrosion protection. Fortunately one side only has some temporary rivets on the skin that can be drilled out so I can confirm everything is good inside and run the wires for a navigation light. For $100 and the fact it was built in a supervised factory workshop I can drill a few rivets out to confirm. Unassembled rudder kits are more than $500 from the factory and there is at least $100 in hardware that he threw in.
Can't wait to show Ron!
But right now, the lawn needs to be cut.... again.
Before anyone thinks I am complaining that it took FOREVER for spring to arrive, rest assured, I am grateful. I'm also reminded by the "shared memories" of Facebook that it hasn't been that uncommon to have snow after or on Easter weekend in the past decade. At least spring appears to be here for good and we can cancel the arrest warrant for the Groundhog. He was wanted for fraud.
I got my FlyCorvair.com engine dis-assembly DVD this past week and watched it as a starting point for assessing the 140hp core.
It was a gorgeous afternoon today and I took the opportunity to pull out the engine stand I purchased with the two core motors:
With Brenda's help, we lifted the 140hp core up onto the mount. This gave me the chance to have a better all-around look at it. I placed it in a spot where the sun this morning would warm any oil inside with a plan to drain it this afternoon:
First step after letting the warm, beaming sunshine do it's thing, grab a wrench and bucket to remove the oil drain plug and catch any old oil that might be sitting in the oil pan:
I removed the oil drain plug and.... it's dry? I would have thought there would be some oil there, but even the threads on the bolt are dry.
I grabbed a 3/4 inch socket and ratchet and tried turning the crank at the harmonic balancer. It didn't seem as it is tightening at all. Watching the cam gear and crankshaft at the other end, they remained dead still..... hmmm. Maybe the engine is seized? No oil so it wouldn't surprise me. Weird that the harmonic balancer bolt just keeps turning. Must mean that whatever the bolt is threaded into is turning inside the oil cover.
This engine core already has the distributor removed. I looked down the distributor hole as I was turning the harmonic balancer bolt and I can see daylight?:
So... the daylight means something is missing on the other side.... namely the oil pump gears and associated cover:
That explains two things. The lack of oil in the pan (the oil pump gears are close to being the lowest part of the engine) and the crank not turning as I suspect the crank is seized (possibly bad news for taking apart the pistons and cylinders).
With the concerns I have with the 110hp core studs being damaged and snapped off, the other place I wanted to have a better look at was the studs on this motor, hoping to use this block instead. Sadly, it looks like someone previous tried to remove the studs, but at least they are complete and not broken. Hopefully they pass the torque test. If they pass, great. If not I'll replace them and use this block. Some look like they have been partially backed out from the block (not preferable) and one is completely out of the block. Thankfully all of them seem to have good threads and are clean:
Next thing I wanted to have a look at is the rocker arms under the covers. Oddly, the hold down clips are missing on the rocker covers and 1 of the 4 bolts is a different size.
My next hint that things aren't as they seemed was that the rocker cover I removed came off very easily. I started to get the picture that they had been removed already and put back by the previous owner:
Once the cover was off I got my first good look at the valve train. It became immediately obvious that there are some key pieces missing (the ones I found earlier in my inventory - now I know where they came from!). The rocker arms are loose enough to spin around their studs:
The pushrods are missing....
....and so are the valves, as evidenced by the empty valve guides, missing valve springs and keepers:
This is the final clue that tells me the heads have been previously removed. There is no way to remove a valve from the head without removing the head from the block. The valve's shape only allows it to come out from the combustion side of the head, therefore, this head (and likely the other one) have been removed previously. I have a bunch of valves, springs and retainers in my inventory. Guess I know where they came from! It also explains at least in part the lack of oil and the surface rust on the rocker arms (which will be replaced).
That these heads have been off previously this is good news. This should mean dis-assembly will be easier when I'm ready. In preparation, I've soaked the upper side head nuts on both sides in PB Blaster penetrating oil. I continue to soak them for several days before turning a wrench on them. If I'm careful I should be able to get the heads and cylinders off and have a good block to work with in my conversion.
That should be easier than fixing the 3 broken studs in my other core block. At least I have some options.
Previously on part one.....
Without the resistance of the blower fan and suction of the vacuum filter assembly, this motor spins way faster than what the label states. So fast in fact it wants to tear itself apart while merrily dancing across the shop floor despite being mounted on springs (or maybe because it's mounted on springs?)
So, I need to figure out a way to slow the motor down or reduce the vibration component.
My first thought is to reduce the size of or modify the shape of the metal strip I added to the motor axle.
I think doing this only reduces the vibration. The motor will still be spinning way too fast and determining the right size of strip may be hit and miss to get exactly right.
How about controlling the motor speed? I think this will be the easier route.
Digging through my box of household electrical stuff, I found two incandescent dimmer switches that should work. They are designed for AC power (as is the electric motor) and this would add the ability to fine tune the vibratory effect for best results.
Before that however, I need to finish creating the parts bowl. First I inverted the bowl and traced a circle on a piece of spare lucite (plexiglass):
Cut the circle out using my bandsaw...... that's when I realized the centre section of the bowl sits above the rim:
To secure the new lid, I used a piece of hollow threaded rod. I screwed it into the top plate of the tumbler and l left it long enough to add a cap to hold it down tight to the bowl:
To hold the lid, I found an old powder scoop that fits perfectly over the bowl centre. That and a washer and nut hold everything down nicely:
Now that everything is built, back to slowing down the motor.
I added in the rotary dimmer switch. It has an off position when turned counter-clockwise all the way. I'll tide up the wiring once I figure out if this is going to work as designed. The picture was taken prior to creating the lid. Using the dimmer works!
Time to test the machine....
First, add the tumbling media, in this case a couple of scoops of clean clay cat litter. Then add some dirty, greasy and rusty test parts:
Close and fasten the lid..... all secure and "go for power-up!" The vibrating of the tumbler makes it hard to get a clear picture, but the media very quickly envelops the parts. As it tumbles, they occasionally come back up the top:
The tumbler is NOISY! I suspect the bolts between the levels of the tumbler are vibrating against the bowl. That should be easy to fix. Perhaps it might have to be run outside. After letting it run for about five minutes, I decided to have a look at the progress. Even after only 5 minutes, the parts are obviously cleaner and devoid of the grime they entered with:
Although the parts come out a bit dusty, clearly this method and machine I've built works very well, even at a short duration. I'm planning on running a longer test this afternoon and will post more details.
So as I mentioned previously, I have a pail full of loose hardware (bolts, nuts, washers etc.) that are completely covered in dirt, grime and rust. I pondered using my daughter's rotary rock tumbler, but learned that the interior of the drum can get destroyed by the tumbling medium and the metal parts.
A quick Google search led me to this post on how to make a Vibratory Tumbler:
The tumbler described in the link above is for rocks, but the concept is simple enough, perhaps I can come up with something for cleaning my parts. Another Google search led me to this You-Tube video:
Now that seems more like the type of task I'm trying to accomplish! And the cleaning media is cat litter!
Shouldn't get much cheaper and easier than that! Let's build one!
First, I obtained the following two items from the Value Village thrift store:
I tested the vacuum in the store before purchasing it to make sure it worked. It was missing the nozzle extension, so as a vacuum it really was worthless..... but it's the 9000 rpm electric motor that's inside I'm after. Recycling at it's best!
Remove the filter section and split the main case open:
Remove the motor/blower assembly and filter gasket:
Pry off the outer housing with a small screwdriver and remove the blower fan:
I removed the plastic backing plate leaving just the motor assembly. The mounting screws are quite short so I needed a thin board to mount the motor to. I had an old poly cutting board (white one on the bottom of the picture below) that I wasn't using for anything. I drilled out a large hole in it for the motor axle and two smaller holes for the mounting screws. The upper board is where the bowl will sit, for this I used a piece of scrap laminate flooring I had kicking around. I used 6 inch bolts with lock washers and nuts to space them apart enough to fit the motor in between. This whole assembly will be the vibratory part:
Next, I mounted the vibratory assembly on compression springs I bought in the surplus aisle at Princess Auto. Then the whole thing is mounted on a base of wood:
Next I mounted the motor. In the vacuum, it was designed to spin at high speed and very smoothly.
In my application, I want the motor to continue to spin at a high speed, but to also vibrate at high frequency. To accomplish this, I attached a small strip of scrap metal to the fan mounting bolt/axle of the electric motor:
So... thinking all was good, I figured it was time to test it. I very quickly learned that the motor was designed to power the blower fan with the added resistance of trying to move the air through the vacuum filter. Although I did plug in the motor and tested it once I had it outside of the vacuum housing and disconnected from the blower I didn't think much of it. However, without this resistance, I believe the motor spins much MUCH faster than it's rated RPM. Adding the attached metal strip and the whole assembly almost jumped and bounced across the shop floor base and all when I applied power. I should have tested this before mounting it, but it probably would have ripped my hand off in the process.
This obviously won't do.
More to think about..... stay tuned for part two.
Had a bit of time in the shop last night, decided to try an get the oil filler neck out of the casting. The neck and cap will later be welded to the valve cover. It fits under the cowling better in it's new position and provides an easy way to inspect the upper valve train once the engine is assembled. The aluminum casting isn't used in the conversion.
To get it out of the casting, it was suggested to me to heat the cast aluminum base close to the oil filler neck. It's just pressed in there and should come out easily.
Into the vice....
I'm currently out of propane for my torch, but I wonder if the heat gun would be enough...
A gentle twist with the channel-lock pliers and voila! Out it came, clean and easy!
Tagged and numbered as seperate items and into the inventory bin.
Now to clean some of the that loose hardware..... there has to be an easy way :)
What used to look like this:
Now looks much, MUCH better:
The biggest change is floor space. I'm no longer tripping over stuff to work on other stuff. Most of that is from better organization and better work surfaces. And a personal commitment to put stuff back where it belongs.... HA!
It's certainly not perfect. I still have some decisions to make on some of the smaller items and some stuff to get rid of (bonfire anyone?) I doubt it ever will be perfect, but it's a darn sight better than what it was!
On another note, I picked up a digital calliper on sale at Home Hardware during their no tax sale this weekend:
Like the dial indicator I bought a couple of weeks ago, this will be an invaluable tool to measure the engine components as I pull apart the core engine.
Off tomorrow to look at 2 cores that should be acceptable for conversion! Now I have space to work. Very motivating :)
Used some of these t-nuts....
...that I salvaged from the old desk I recycled for the workbench top. I drilled the mounting hole and used the bolt to draw the t-nut....
....tight into the underside of the bench-top. Now I have a way to temporarily secure my vise and drill press. Mounting bolts go through the top of the desk and hold nice and tight in the t-nuts:
These will come in handy at some point I'm sure.
I'm almost ready to share some pictures from the re-organized shop, but not quite. Here is a sneak peak of my re-organized tool board. I bought a new set of pliers today on sale at Canadian Tire. I never seem to lose screwdrivers, but for some reason I can't hold onto pliers...
Brenda says she is thankful because now she doesn't need to go digging around to find a tool that she might need. Power tools are in the bin under the workbench.
The other tool I picked up today was a dial indicator ($15 at the local hardware store). They actually told me the other day I was the first person to ask in many years for one and when I went in today to buy it they knocked $5 off the price.... sometimes it pays to shop local.
This simple tool will be invaluable in measuring some of the running gear of my engine turns straight and true. It will also be helpful in determining the suitability of the salvage parts (crankshaft, cam, etc) being sent for rebuild.
Hopefully the shop muck out will be "complete" this week and I can start actively purchasing a core engine to work on.
I guess this isn't a workshop "tool" in the traditional sense, but it is a tool nonetheless.
A couple of days ago I spotted an engine stand on Kijiji. Normally these range in price from $150 and up. Got this for $30! A guy was downsizing his personal hotrod shop and moving to motorcycles. He believes in paying things forward, that's why it was such a good deal.
This will be helpful during the engine rebuild process.
Husband, father and 911 dispatcher. Long time pilot with a licence that burns a hole in my pocket where my student loan money used to be. First time aircraft builder. Looking to fly my own airplane.