The wing compression strut end fittings, per the plans, need to be machined on a lathe.  Either you can farm out the job to your local machinist, or you can take the insane route and decide to learn a completely new skill from scratch and then invest money in the required equipment to do the job.  That way you can be sure to invest several hundred dollars at least for a bunch of parts that should cost a buck or so each.  Needless to say, this approach was overwhelmingly compelling for me, and is, of course, what I did.

I did a lot of web-surfing to determine what bench-top lathe would be a decent compromise in quality, cost, and flexibility for Skyotë-related tasks as well as general utility.  I ended up purchasing a 7 x 14 lathe from Micro-Mark, although equally good versions are available from Grizzly or Little Machine Shop; all of these lathes are made in the same factory in China and are simply re-branded at varying levels of quality control by these distributors, as well as many others.

The photos below depict the process of chucking up the bar stock in the lathe, turning it down to the specified diameter and creating the shoulder for the flange, cutting the fitting free from the bar stock, facing the cut end smooth and to correct thickness, and then boring the center hole to dimension.

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Raw stock in collet chuck, prior to being turned down.

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Turning the fitting to diameter_1020537

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The fitting is then cut from the bar stock

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Resulting in this

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Once all the fittings are turned down, they get re-chucked to be faced, removing the saw marks and getting the flange to correct thickness.

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Then the center is bored out per the drawing.

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Leaving the finished compression strut end fittings.

 

 

 

 

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Long Blog Hiatus Ended!

Posted: February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

It has been a couple years since I’ve updated the blog, but there has been some work done that was a least partly Skyotë-related.  The most obvious change on the blog is the appearance change – I hope you all like it!  I took a couple of shop classes at the local community college, one for welding (arc, gas, MIG, TIG) and one in machine shop (lathe & mill).  These were taken to develop basic skills to apply to my Skyotë project, but also served to divert funds towards new tools versus Skyotë part and materials.  I will cover these new tools and their role in my project in future blogs.

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Scratch-made clamp I fabricated in community college machine shop class. 16 weeks of classes and $350 tuition to make a $15 clamp!

I also became distracted from my project by other interests/endeavors.  In particular, over the past couple of years I got heavily involved in shooting sports, particularly in high-power rifle competitions (across-the-course and F-class); this has led to a further diversion of finitely limited funds from my Skyotë towards firearms, reloading equipment, and ammunition.  I also have gotten back into photography; I was involved in 35mm film photography in my younger days, but have now gotten more involved in the digital photography realm.  I will continue with these new areas of interest, but hope to invest more time and money in the Skyotë in the future.

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Landing my RV-4 at Oshkosh

I have also stayed involved in flying, taking my RV-4 to local area fly-ins, the Oshkosh fly-in every year, as well as the major antique/classic aircraft fly-ins at Blakesburg IA and Brodhead WI.  The innovation and beautiful craftsmanship of the many homebuilders and restorers has served as an inspiration for me, encouraging what I hope will be a high standard in my Skyotë.

Drilling rear wing spars

Posted: October 17, 2009 in Tools, Wings
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All 4 rear wing spars have been drilled using spar drilling jigs.  Through the kind assistance of John Robert,his CNC data for the main and rear spars was used by Johnathon Pritchard to fabricate steel water-jet-cut drilling jigs for the spars that precisely place every rivet and attach bolt hole in the spar webs and spar caps.  The combination of the jigs and the separate spar components (along with some judicious use of clamps and spacers) in a kind of sandwich permits you to drill all of the holes in the assembly with a high degree of accuracy;  John Roberts reports an exact matching fit between his jig-drilled spars and his CNC-cut fittings.  Even though I plan to use hand-fabricated fittings, I still see the use of spar jigs as a time-saver and better guarantor of accuracy.  Once I am done drilling my spars, these drilling jigs will be available for other Midwest-area Skyotë builders to borrow and use; I will make them available at no cost to the borrower except for shipping and return.

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Matchdrilling tooling holes to spar web with drilling jigs

Using drilling jigs to mark spar taper at wingwip

Using drilling jigs to mark spar taper at wingwip

Spar web placed over lower drilling jig using pins thru tooling holes

Spar web placed over lower drilling jig using pins thru tooling holes

Spacers inserted at tooling pins (will space spar caps apart later)

Spacers inserted at tooling pins (will space spar caps apart later)

Closeup of spar cap spacer

Closeup of spar cap spacer

Upper drill jig plate (sandwiching spar caps) installed & fixed with clecoes

Upper drill jig plate (sandwiching spar caps) installed & fixed with clecoes

Clamps and spacers used to ensure correct spar height dimension

Clamps and spacers used to ensure correct spar height dimension

End view of spar "sandwich" and clamps

End view of spar "sandwich" and clamps

Clamping and drilling along the length of the spar

Clamping and drilling along the length of the spar

Top view showing correct spar height dimension

Top view showing correct spar height dimension

Fuselage Weldment Acquired

Posted: September 25, 2009 in Fuselage
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In my original plans for building my Skyotë, my intent was to scratch build the entire aircraft myself.  I had even planned to form my own aluminum ribs.  As life”issues” arose and pushed back the start of my work on the project I began to revise my building plan.  I bought hydroformed ribs from Pete Bartoe, had Murphy Aircraft in Canada shear my spar webs to size and press brake my spar caps, got in on a group buy of flying wires through Harvey Swack, and bought a set of waterjet cut spar drilling jigs from Johnathon Pritchard with John Roberts’ help.  (Incidently, these spar drilling jogs will be available for use by any Midwest-area Skyotë builders for the costs of shipping to your project location and return.)  I then ran into some good fortune while attending the Midwest Antique Aircraft Assn (MAAC) Grassroots Fly-in at Brodhead, WI in Sept 2008.

I was admiring a very nice Cessna 170A (OSH 2006 Classic Bronze Lindy award-winner) and noted the owner’s/restorer’s name was Mark Zilinsky.  I recalled a very nice SE-5a replica that had been featured on the cover of Sport Aviation about 20 years prior that had been built by someone named Zilinsky, and I wondered if these two Zilinsky’s were one and the same, so I hung around the airplane to meet the owner.  When I met Mark, I found he was the son of Bob Zilinsky, who had built the SE-5a that was featured in the January 1982 issue of Sport Aviation.  We got to talking about airplane projects, the Skyotë came up, and Mark mentioned that he had started work on a Skyotë about 20 years ago.  However he had gotten distracted by other projects after welding up the fuselage, so the Skyotë frame had been hanging in the hangar rafters for about two decades, and he was looking to sell it.  Since he lived relatively nearby, I made arrangements to visit and photograph the fuselage, with the intent of posting pictures of it on the Skyotë website and YahooGroup for anyone who might be interested in buying it.

When I got around to visiting Mark in Nov 2008, saw the outstanding welding that he had done, the virtually new condition of the tubing (very well preserved over the 20 years), the included landing gear and vertical tail surfaces, and heard the price he was asking, I knew it was time to act.  I drove back the next day with a check and hauled the lot home to my shop.  In one fell swoop, I had taken a huge leap forward in the progress on my project (and totally violated my original concept of scratch-building everything myself). I rationalized that as a novice welder it would have taken my welding the entire project to maybe (?) having gotten as skilled at welding as was evidenced in Mark’s work.  So, that is how I have a fuselage as you see it here.

Mark Zilinsky helping to load the Skyote fuselage in my truck.

Mark Zilinsky helping to load the Skyotë fuselage in my truck.

Skyote Fuselage in Mark's hangar

Skyote Fuselage in Mark’s hangar

Closeup of the weld quality

Closeup of the weld quality

Flying Wires

Posted: March 1, 2009 in Wings
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These are the flying wires I purchased as part of a group buy by the Skyotë Type Club.  We ordered around five sets of wires and got about $1000 savings each over the price for a single set.  We ordered them through Harvey Swack of Great Lakes Aircraft (although I think they all ultimately get ordered through Steen Aero Lab, which the U.S. dealer for Brunton’s of Scotland, the only company in the world that still manufactures aircraft flying wires.)

The flying wire set for  Skyote

The flying wire set for Skyotë

Center section flying wires

Center section flying wires

The Beginning

Posted: February 26, 2009 in Tools, Workshop
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All projects have a beginning, and this is it for Skyotë Serial #73.  In this case, I have started with the workbench.  Actually I have two identical workbenches that are intended to be joined to make one large table for wing assembly. By the way, those are flying wires in the tube, and one of the preformed ribs available from Pete Bartoe on the table.

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Half of the work tables

Preformed ribs from Skyote Aeromotive

Preformed ribs from Skyotë Aeromotive