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Badland F2 - Peer E. - Woodland Hills, CA

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Peer Ebbighausen

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It took a while, but I'm finally getting around to starting my build log. I'll do my best to get caught up, and then do my best to take pics and update along the way. (It's never been my strong suit. I'm the guy who comes back from vacation with three pictures, and then wishes I had taken more.)

I brought the airframe and most of the parts home on April 26th, driving to Vegas to meet with Chris Deuel (the owner of the company) and strap it onto my truck with the help of a friend.

Once I had it on sawhorses in the garage, inventory began. I was short a few odds and ends that I felt were needed for this part of the build, and Chris was quick about getting them to me.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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Step one was mocking up the landing gear. First few hours were spent chasing holes to remove powder coating and fitting the pieces together. They went together without too much filing or elbow grease. I did notice the stance was a bit wide for my taste, and it had some negative camber.
Disassembly and readjustment of the spring gear set the stance and camber a bit more to my personal liking.

After speaking with Chris, it was determined that an upgrade to the landing gear arm mounts had moved them inboard a bit, and the spring gear could be readjusted to taste. I suggested that perhaps he provide the spring gear undrilled to allow the customer to set it to their liking.

*I'm the very first customer to purchase a kit rather than a finished plane, and he had requested and (so far) welcomed my feedback (or so I hope).

Prior to, and after, adjustment:
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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When I wasn't in the garage putting the gear together, I was in the living room putting assembling the tires and wheels. They assemble as a unit, then the brake discs (an option I decided was a must, but probably isn't) are bolted on using an aluminum bracket and the three bolts that hold the hub together. Loctite was used, as per instructions, and I was starting to feel somewhat accomplished once they were affixed to the landing gear.

Axles were driven through the gear with the persuasion of a hammer and block of wood, and a hole and bolt added inboard to keep them in place. A hole and cotter pin at the outboard end holds in a sleeve and washer. I managed to fit both with a minimum of side play of the wheel, and they spin freely.

I think my biggest issue so far has been being afraid to start a process out of fear that it might not be to my satisfaction. (Actually, just "up to snuff" is more like it.) I feel like I am working past that, as long as everything is still structurally sound. To my knowledge, so far it is.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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Once I had the landing gear mocked up, it was on to the rudder pedals and toe brakes.

I made the mistake of painting them first, then fitting them. Live and learn.

Most of my time was spent hand filing the bushing sleeves to keep the brake pedals from binding. A little off the insides and the outsides of the sleeves, and I was in business.

Not long after spending an hour or two with my hand file, I made a trip to Harbor Freight to buy a bench grinder. 😊 So far it’s proven to be very useful.

They still need a little touching up of the paint, but I opted to leave them as is until I had the cables attached to the pedals, to ensure everything fits well and has clearance.

Once greased and installed, I began swaging. I think I did a good job, never having done it before and struggling to single-handedly use the less expensive swaging tool that uses two bolts turned alternately to compress the fitting. I used a dial caliper to measure the fittings afterward, making sure they were within tolerance according to the directions. Cables are stainless 1/16" 7x7 wound (I think it's called)

I also purchased some turnbuckles, which will be next to the seat for final adjustments and ease of access. (I’ve seen them fitted to the pedals, but once the airframe is covered I don’t see access for adjustment or inspection being anything but extremely difficult.)
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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Having run the cables up to the seats (and turnbuckles), my attention turned to the control stick. A little sanding of the nylon block, and some holes, and it was fitted, ensuring free movement in all directions. I found that the bolt at the bottom of the control stick pivot (for the elevator pushrod tube) had a tendency to bind at the edges. I could have cut away the metal at the bottom of the housing, but instead had a neighbor machine me a new aluminum piece. No more binding, and all it cost me was a bottle of scotch.

I ended up screwing up the threads on one end of the pushrod tube, and Chris is being kind enough to send me a replacement. I think perhaps some machining debris jammed the threads from the inside. At any rate it locked up and wouldn't move in either direction. I got a bit ham-fisted and bunged it up permanently.

Fitting the flaperon bellcrank and its linkage went much more smoothly. Bushings were greased, holes were drilled, and cotter pins were installed. All going well so far.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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The next step was to lay out all the parts to put the flap handle together. A little more sanding and fitting, and it was assembled and ready to install.

There was a bit of a gap on each end, and I was concerned that the play was enough to allow the roll pin in the handle to slip out of the ratchet plate. The solution was to shim it with some aluminum tubing cut to size.

After install, I intended to hook up the flaperon control cables, but decided against it until I could see exactly where the gas tank would sit. The cables have a few obstacles they need to clear under (and behind) the seat, so best to get everything else fitted before I attempt to route them.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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The next order of business was to fit the fuel tank. Four Adel clamps, some 1 1/2" x 1/16" aluminum bar stock and a few nuts and bolts.

But first, drill and fit the fuel bulkhead. I opted to put it on the right side of the tank, since the real estate to the left side will be occupied by flaperon cables and the elevator pushrod tube.

I also placed the bulkhead slightly forward of the middle of the tank to keep it off the molding seam. I'm not sure if the seam is raised enough to potentially cause a leak, but I figured better safe than sorry. Some gentle sanding of the edges of the aluminum using a fine grit, and it was ready for install. More Loctite and one more piece of the puzzle assembled.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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I decided now was a good time to shift my focus from the front of the plane to the back. In keeping with the advice of other forum members, I've been trying to complete one task on the project every day I am home, no matter how small. It's valuable advice, and leaves me with a sense of satisfaction at the end of each evening spent in the garage.

I test fitted the elevator to the horizontal stabilizer, and used a hand file to shave the hinge sleeves down enough to prevent binding. I needed to take a little bit of metal out of the inside of one sleeve with a Dremel, working as carefully as I could. I followed it up with a hand file to remove any burrs and smooth it as much as possible. The outsides of the sleeves were finished with a sanding block and they polished up nicely, and are now ready for a coat of paint.

Once the pieces were moving freely, I cut hinge bushings out of 3/8" stock, smoothing the edges and drilling both ends for cotter pins. I'm still not entirely comfortable with their security, but considering there isn't any stress on them, I'm wondering if I'm being paranoid.

Feedback in regards to this is most welcome.

I'll probably revisit them soon; I have a small welder on back-order, and once it arrives I'll try to weld a washer onto one end of each bushing to act as a stop.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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This post should bring me up to date. My latest project was fitting the fly wire bracket and the landing wire sleeves.

The bracket is meant to be bolted on, but I was under the impression that the location would leave little room for the large washers needed to mount the tail spring. I didn’t want to cut the washer down, so I opted to have a friend weld the bracket on.

I also wasn’t keen on drilling holes in the leading and trailing edge tubes of the vertical stabilizer to mount the landing wires either. My drilling tends to be, well, less than precise when I’m forced to use a hand drill. I was concerned about my accuracy, and the roundness of my holes. Let’s just say the odds were not in my favor.

I convinced my friend to weld in some sleeves for me, and now I should be ready to fit the horizontal stabilizer and start building the tail bracing.

A layer of primer and some paint wrapped up this phase of the build.

I purchased several different versions of black paint and tested them on some scrap metal to see how closely I could match the matte black powder coat.

Semi-gloss seemed to be the closest. Not an exact match, but close enough for my liking.

So far so good!
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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I had a small window to spend in the garage last night, so I used the time wisely, drilling the flying (and landing) wire tangs to fit the AN3 bolts supplied, and marking which end had been relieved with a Sharpie (on the backside, so it won’t be visible, of course).

I used a micrometer to find the drill bit that most closely matched the diameter of the bolt, and they all fit snugly, with little or no play.

Not too much in the way of progress, but at least something.

I also took a moment to test fit the horizontal stabilizer to see what needs to happen to set the angle of attack. Use of the Polini Thor 200 calls for the leading edge to be raised as high as possible in the mounting slot.

I’ll need to drill the mounting taps on the stabilizer, as well as drill and trim the rear tab on the airframe slightly.

I’ll also need to figure out how to get a drill into the rather small space to drill the bolt holes. I may need to purchase an air drill. I have a feeling my die grinder turns at too may RPM, and it’s a valid excuse to buy another tool. 😊

I also managed to lift the fuselage off the stands and (finally) sit in it, very carefully, since the aluminum seat and back are not secured. It was a bit of a landmark and quite a thrill; the first time I got to sit in one of these, made all the more exciting by the fact that it’s my own.

I really like it; the ergonomics are quite good for my height, and the seat is surprisingly comfortable even without cushioning. It has increased my anticipation of the final product.

And I think it looks damned good, even uncovered and engine-less.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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A little more progress was made.

I managed to drill the holes for the leading and trailing edge tabs of the horizontal stabilizer, and get it fitted. A little filing and a little paint, and it was to my satisfaction.

Using a level between the front and rear wing mounting cross members and another level on the horizontal stabilizer got the stabilizer level, and I am holding it in place with some electrical tape.

I’ll start rigging the landing wires first, and, realizing that electrical tape is far too elastic to maintain any accuracy, I fashioned a brace so I can put some tension on the cable while crimping the fittings onto it.

Thimbles are in place and waiting for some attention.

It’s really starting to look like an airplane. I’m pleased.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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I haven’t posted in a while, but that’s not to say I haven’t been working on the plane.

Since my last update I’ve run the flying wires and mocked up the tail, and added the tail wheel. For the first time, it sits on its own gear.

The brakes and brake cables have also been mocked up to make sure they don’t bind or interfere with my feet. They seem to be working quite well in the current placement.

Picture of the brakes and cable routing to follow (somewhere down the line when I have a moment to head back into the garage).
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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As promised, picture of the cable routing for the brakes. They don't seem to bind when the pedals are full forward or full back, but I'll have a better idea once the rudder is installed and the cables are run. I may set the pedals back toward the seat a bit, but I can have a little bend in my legs. Thanks to the turnbuckles, there should be (a little) room for further adjustment.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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While I'm waiting for glue and other ancillary bits and pieces, I decided to do some aesthetic work. I may have gotten carried away, but I'm pleased with the outcome.

I dimpled the holes while the seat was held in place with Cleco's, which was likely a good thing. The sheets curl up when I remove them, but fit nicely when clamped in.

The tool I bought both punches and flares, and with a little elbow grease (and some sanding edges afterwards) does a nice job. It'll look a lot better once I remove the protective plastic sheeting, I'm sure.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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A little more progress has been made - I've installed the elevator linkage and the flaperon cables. The control stick is now fully functional, so to speak. I did my best to route the cable away from any other moving parts, and it moves smoothly.

I find the mechanics of the flaperon system ingenious. It took me a while to wrap my head around how it works; it's quite clever. I can also now see why the ailerons become much more ineffective with addition of flaps beyond 10 degrees.

It seems that at full flaps it may run the risk of binding. I'll have to mess around with it a bit to see. I'd love to hear from anyone else using a similar system.

I'm finding that the advice to "do something every day" is most helpful. While waiting for bits and pieces for further assembly, even ten minutes in the garage putting tools away or sorting bags of nuts and bolts has been both therapeutic and satisfying.

The next step is likely to remove the tail feathers (that haven't been powder coated) for paint. I'm a bit curious how far to go with covered surfaces...just primer, or the "full works"? I'll be reaching out to Chris with more questions (including this one) soon, I'm sure!
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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After some time away from the garage (and the plane), I finally decided to remove the tail feathers for primer. I was a bit reluctant to do so, since I was having a great time moving the stick around and watching the elevator move and the flaperon cables extend and retract. It also felt a bit like moving backwards, but of course it's not. And there will be plenty more to remove before covering.

I drew up a small chart indicating where each washer sits to pull the fly wires taut, cleaned the parts with acetone, and grabbed the rattle can.

"Perfection is the enemy of progress". Perhaps I'm misquoting, but it's something I needed to remind myself of these last few days.

To be honest, I feel the fit and finish of my kit leaves a bit to be desired. I had always considered myself to be a pretty decent craftsman, but this project has humbled me. In spite of buying several aids from Aircraft Spruce, Amazon, you name it, I can't seem to drill the perfect hole; neither perpendicular to the drilled surface, nor precisely round.

Having read a fair amount of material regarding building "to spec", I feel a bit discouraged that not all of my bolts are completely snug in the hole, nor all my bolt heads sit perfectly flat. (I'm really not sure my work would pass any official aircraft certification process.) I DO take some comfort in the fact that the design seems to allow for a bit of leeway. (A good example being the (crooked) bolt that holds the axle in the sleeve. It was a plenty snug fit without the bolt, so at least there's that.)

There has been a bit of a learning curve for sure, but I'm still having fun. I guess I can't ask for much more than that. This has, of course, further cemented the need for an inspection by someone with more experience than myself before I try to get this bird off the ground.
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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I decided to revisit some components I wasn't entirely happy with. First, the brakes, because they were the easiest. The cables weren't binding, but they seemed a fair bit tighter when the pedals were fully back. (I think I zip-tied the cables far too close to the pedals.) I removed them all and started over. With a larger radius in the bend of the cable coming away from the brake pedal, it's a lot better, it feels like the same amount of tension is needed to apply the brakes through the full arc of the rudder pedal, and loosely tied to the frame, the cable doesn't "lean in" to the foot-well. I'm satisfied that it's functioning properly.

On the list of things to still do is re-check my tail spring mounting. My drilling prowess had led me to create another less-than-round hole, and I want to recheck the side play. My concern is that side loads exacerbate the issue and I'm not sure bolt tension is enough to keep it in place.

In striving to correct my mistakes, I think I've assembled each component two or three times now. When this kit is completed, if anyone asks how many planes I have built to date, I'll be able to say "three". :rolleyes:

In conjunction with a very smoothly working control stick, elevator pushrod and flaperon cables, as well as the flap handle (all with very little free play), I feel like the controls are all in order and can be "checked off the list" of things to do. (In a previous post I had thought there was an issue with the flaperon cable binding. As it turns out, I was "adding flaps" with the control stick well offset from center. As the aileron travel with full flaps diminishes, I was feeling the tension from the stick deflection.) Once the wings and rudder are on, I can make final adjustments to the cable lengths, cinch the jam nuts down and add some cross-check.

On another note, I had received a decent sized swatch of Oratex from Better Aircraft Fabric some time back and had a few minutes to spare, so I finally thought to bring it out to the plane and see how it would look. I intend to do with a "1/4 naked" look in Cub Yellow (an homage to the J-3). Against the matte black powder coat, I think it'll look fantastic. Down the line I may add some color beyond the yellow, but I think that decision will have to wait until I see the solid color and whether or not I have the weight to spare. (Since I'm building this as a UL, I need to stay under 254 pounds, and I'm hoping to have room to add a few gauges beyond the ASI.)

If it ends up looking half as good as some of the other builds I've seen here, I'll be happy.

(Very amateur rendering of my intended cover/color scheme included.)
 

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Peer Ebbighausen

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It's been a while since I've posted anything, but I haven't been idle. I made another run to Vegas and collected the engine mount, engine, firewall and rudder.

Rudder is now fit, along with cables, tail wheel springs, etc.

Tailwheel.jpg

I've also managed to fit the engine mount and adapter plate. The instructions provided by Polini were a bit vague, but Chris was an excellent resource, with lots of pics of his latest build supplementing the single image provided with the adapter.

EngineMount.jpg

With my wife's help I managed to hoist the engine into place for the trial fit.

EngineMounted.jpg

After ordering a throttle cable (for a scooter) from Amazon, I started fitting parts. I ran the cable to the quadrant via a small bracket I fabricated. The angle isn't perfect and it rubs slightly on the edge of the sleeve, but I'll be keeping a close eye on it, and may fabricate something a little more precise in the near future.

ThrottleQuadrant.jpg

Once the throttle cable routing was completed I began to run the fuel lines and mount the fuel pump. I fabricated a small bracket for the pump, as well as a mounting plate for the fuel valve. I wanted the valve within easy reach when I'm strapped in. (The rudder cable and turnbuckle are further away than they look in the pic.)

FuelValve.jpg

PumpBracket.jpg

Next step is to fabricate a bracket and pulley for the pull-starter, which I'm still undecided about - whether to run through the firewall or the side of the engine cowl. In the meantime, I had also stripped the primer I had used on the tailfeathers and re-primed with zinc chromate. (Apparently the zinc phosphate I had used doesn't "play well" with Oratex in terms of adherence.)

Once I have the pull starter sorted, I'll be ready to disassemble everything and prep for covering.

Fullview.jpg
 
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