It's no joke folks - if you want to do a big job, you need some big tools. Most metal airplane builders are familiar with squeezer yokes - heavy steel shapes that attach to either a pneumatic cylinder or a hand squeezer to squeeze rivets and dimple sheet metal. Really big ones might handle a depth of about four inches. But for some jobs, you need to reach really far inside the sheet from the edge, and for this, most folks use a C-frame dimpler that you hit with a hammer. Continue reading "Now THAT'S a Squeezer Yoke!"
I've been working on airplanes for a long time, and some things I do a certain way because I have always done them a certain way. Deburring for instance - I can't begin to think of how many tens of thousands of holes I have deburred (both sides!) on countless airplanes. Drill, debur, repeat... the mantra of the metal airplane builder. I have almost always used a hand-crank deburring tool with two or three flutes for the job, and I can do it while watching TV or (probably) in my sleep. One and a half turns, then on to the next hole, endlessly. Continue reading "Old Dog, New Trick"
AirVenture is long over, but we're still digging out from the information deluge the show provides. A good example is the Aerocreeper, an adjustable height design that looks perfect for those "too short to kneel, too tall to sit up" jobs under our airplanes. We saw it while running through one of the display hangars and couldn't resist a quick peek. Continue reading "Aerocreeper"
There comes a time when you realize that your assortment of aircraft hardware has reached a point where you have to hunt and peck your way through every drawer to find what you want - when the shear variety of nuts, bolts, rivets, and what-nots have exceeded your personal memory capacity, and it takes longer to hunt something down that it does to figure out what you're looking for. When you reach that point, its time to make some labels! Continue reading "Necessary Tedium"
Curtis Superior Valve Co. announced that they have received FAA PMA approval for the CCB-38000 low profile, aluminum oil quick drain valve - a very clever device, as the "tool" is hollow and you put a hose on it to drain the oil. This drain valve fits most Lycoming engines. Continue reading "Curtis Oil Quick-Drain Valve"
I have always found that the success in a highly technical endeavor that encompasses a vast sea of knowledge is not about memorizing everything that you can (although some are successful at doing it that way) - but in knowing how to get ahold of the information you need when you need it. In the old days, that meant remembering which reference book you needed to got to in order to find the specifications for a particular integrated circuit, or the allowable number of defects in a Sitka Spruce spar blank... or in knowing who to go to that had that information memorized! Continue reading "Applied Research - the Search Process"