Pomodoro

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Little Scrapper

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I don’t know where to begin with this project. I hadn’t planned it, it was spur of the moment and it started in almost a state of mental stress and sadness.

I had welded up a V-Witt fuselage and finished the ribs for the wings when Coronovirus broke the news. It was weird. Still is. I never ever watch news but this drew me in. I was watching this Coronovirus overseas and watching how everyone was locking down and I swear I could see the future. I saw it coming in February and knew that the way we here in America panic and fight with one another that it was just a matter of time before we’d be doing the same.

Day by day I was watching this unfold and then I received a call from our daughter who’s in the Army. Soldiers had it, then her roommate had it. Then they were quarantined in a little 15’ x 15’ room.

I was sitting in my shop and I’ll be quite frank, I was in shock taking all this in. I sat on a stool for like 2 hours and the whole time I’m thinking “wtf is going on these days” . A lot of people around me look to me for advice and I had none. I was actually quite sad, not clinically depressed, just really in the dumps. My daughter was all I could think of.

So I started reflecting on memories of her and wanna know what I saw in my minds eye? A little tyke sitting in a Baby Ace fuselage on it’s gear in my old driveway. I had gotten rid of it years ago but that Baby Ace fuselage was a big memory for all of us.

Somewhere during this shop sitting thing I poured myself a glass of Russell Reserve 10 year bourbon. Did some more sitting. Did a lot more thinking and reflecting. It was maybe 9:00 pm I think? Hard to recall. It was late February, around the 20th I’m sure. Things were shutting down, Americans were choosing sides and I was in my shop with a bourbon. Lol.

This is where my project begins.
 

Little Scrapper

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Pomodoro is Italian for “tomato”. I think it means something like golden Apple, but it’s a tomato.
The photo in the first post is my tomato timer. It’s been with me a long time. My kids and friends laugh about it, I take it everywhere. It’s a productivity tool and helps you focus.

I forget the original story but it’s something like this............ A college kid had a hard time studying and staying focused so he came up with this idea that if use a timer and set it for like 20/25 minutes he could super focus without distraction and when the time was up he’d take a 5 minute break and do something irrelevant. Then set the timer and repeat it. 4 of these to a cycle? I can’t recall. Google “Pomodoro method” and you’ll get the scoop.

Anyhow. I read this years ago and tried it for various shop duties for my business and low and behold I literally tripled my productivity. I always use 20 minutes. It works well for me. After 4 cycles I take a 15 minute break.


So I’m sitting in my shop and it’s getting late. On a absolute complete whim I decided to gather all my 4130 and inventory it. I had enough to make all the Baby Ace fittings for the entire airplane.

The Pomodoro was in my truck. I pulled the plans out and dusted them off. I looked through all the sheets and they were in bad shape but seemed to be all present and good to go.

I live and die by note books. I write a lot. I’m business this has served me well. I had a fresh hardcover notebook and opened it up. I grabbed a pen.

I drew the easiest fitting in the whole plan set, the little mounting tabs. Once drawn I made a bullet list of the process in how I’d make it.

this all happened in one evening. From the phone call fr my daughter to making the first part. I went out to my truck and grabbed the Pomodoro timer and set it for 20 minutes. I’m talking about 20 minutes of hyper focus, not 20 minutes of racing or 20 minutes of stupidness, I’m talking about 20 minutes of pure clarity and flow. That’s 20 minutes of pure awesomeness that’s uninterrupted. You would not believe how much work can get done in 20 minutes when you don’t let the mind get interrupted.

20 minutes on, 5 minute break x 4.

I think it was like 3:00 am? And I was surrounded by all sorts of finished fittings. Three days later I had every single fitting built for the airplane.

Thimgs were shutting down. Schools. Business. And people were fighting about it Facebook. I eliminated it from my phone, screw that! I want no part of it. I told myself that when my daughter comes home to visit she’ll be sitting in another Baby Ace. That was my mission.

While everyone was quarantined and acting stupid I decided to use this rare opportunity in life to work on my dream, to finally finish a airplane.
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Little Scrapper

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We all kind of call the project “The Pomodoro”. Nickname I guess. Nicknames are earned and this truly is earned, that timer got things done. A few days later a fuselage was done. My business was running at about 30% capacity so that gave me some free time.

I would set the timer, clear my head and GO! It was like magic and bam, another fuselage was born.
 

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Little Scrapper

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After that I made a cheap
Rotisserie. The next week I welded the fuselage 100%. Then for some strange reason I started drawing the turtleneck in my notebook and built it. Then the rudder pedals. Then the seat. Then the control stick. Things just kept flowing! Set the Pomodoro timer, clear my head, GO!
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Little Scrapper

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I could show everyone a hundred progress photos but I’m not going to. Nothing you haven’t seen before.

Currently I built a rack on the fuselage so I can build my cabane. Unfortunately I discovered that there’s a square piece of 4130 CM I need for it and nobody has it. Backorder!!!! So here’s my rack and now I’m on to the landing gear.

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Little Scrapper

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Last post and I’m caught up.

I recently noticed I made a mistake on the turtledeck. I decided to remake it and haven’t done so yet. I did some destructive testing on the original one I made good use of it that way. No big deal.

I think I’ll work on the landing gear and get it on it’s wheels. That’s my next mission.
 

Little Scrapper

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Incredible amount of yard work today. I’m so sore. Haha.

I did manage to do my planning for this coming week...... J3 Cub landing gear.

Sat at the kitchen table and made hand sketches of ideas on how I want to approach building this. I have all the material I just need to sequence everything. I do not have my final sequence but I’m getting close. Attached is one of the drawings that show my ideas.

I identified 2 key components in this sequence that can not be screwed up no matter what.

A.) First key is to anchor the fuselage level and stiff so it doesn’t move.

B.) Second key component is to somehow strap those 1-1/4” axles under the fuselage level, plumb and square to the world and the relationship between the two needs to be accurate and stable so it doesn’t move.

If I can do that this will be easy, at least that’s what I see in my brain. So, do I anchor it right to my shop floor? Or use weight? I don’t know, I’ll work on it after some family time but I will have that solution tonight because my goal this week Is to get this gear done. Tomorrow finish gear fittings? Tuesday mount gear fittings? Wednesday position fuselage and axles to shop floor? Thursday start fabricating the gear arms and keep fabricating until it’s done.

Seems like a tall order.

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Little Scrapper

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Wisconsin opened up. I can feel it already, phone calls coming in to my business non stop. I’m never going back to that, I don’t know how I’m gonna approach this but I’m never gonna “not build” again and trade that time for work/money. I’d rather be in my shop, I’ve learned that I like myself more when I can balance shop time with work time. We’ll see how this unfolds.

This week I found out a friend has terminal cancer. Boom, just like that. 51.

Don’t let time get ahold of your dreams. Pick up a tool and start cutting. The time is now, it’s always been now.
 

Little Scrapper

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So close to being done with the landing gear fittings. I’m really excited to build this J3 Gear. I have this pretty worked out in my head and on paper. After the landing gear it will be all effort on the tail section; stab, elevator, rudder, and tail wheel. Then it’s on wheels! Then the fun really begins. So pumped about this!!!!

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Little Scrapper

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I’ve been excited about this day, laying out and building the J3 Cub gear! Henry joined me and we had a good time thanks to Mr Pythagorean and his theories about 90* triangles.

I mopped the floor, drilled two 1/4” holes in the concrete at the ends, pinned the holes with lead drive ins, snapped a line, clear coated it, and 6 - 8 - 10 squares the world. The perpendicular line (axle line) is square within a 1/16” . Good enough.

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Little Scrapper

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Caulk, it’s all about the caulk. Easy to apply, dirt cheap, holds well and is removable later on.

The fuselage is mounted and caulked down over some struck lines. This will allow me keep things in alignment if I bump it and I can now build the landing gear, cabane structure and the tail group.

Photos.

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Little Scrapper

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After some service calls I went to the shop and figured I’d start grinding away on the axles and make something of them. I decided to double check the relationship of the landing gear fittings to the axle line (unistrut). The right side was off quite a bit. I’m like, wtf is going on here! I checked the plumb bobs. Both were off. Front and rear.

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I checked my fuselage itself, flawlessly perfect! I built it straight.

I checked the plumb bobs again. They were hanging crooked, so I took them apart.

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The way they attached was dumb, it holds the string crooked and the hole in the plumb bob is too big. I ran some heavy mason line on them. Fixed. Here’s the new result. After ripping off the blocks and readjusting the fuselage over the centerline.

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Here’s what happened. Because the plumb bob was off it would hang offset and slowly turn, I mean real slowly. So slow I never picked up on it when I set the fuselage. Over the evening and night it slowly settled to what’s in the photos.

That’s a lesson to never forget.
 

Little Scrapper

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Ran a couple Pomodoro sessions this morning. The plate fittings that get welded to the axle are very rough cut. It doesn’t pay to waste time on a welded edge like that.

Next step is to heat and bend the fittings to match the radius of the axle.

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Little Scrapper

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A haven’t posted in quite a few days. My plumbing business had this really odd post COVID surge in plumbing repairs, well, that’s what it seems like. Pent up demand and they all called during the last couple weeks. I’ve been busy but that seems to be rapidly dropping off so that great! Back to airplanes!!!!!

Because of that I haven’t made progress these last couple weeks. I hate posting without sharing something valuable for others or something helpful in aviation so I stopped at the shop and took some photos that some may find interesting if not helpful in their own journey to build airplanes.

Optical Center Punch

A optical center punch is a cool weapon to have in your bag of tricks. This is a tool that gets great accuracy and is pretty cheap. I believe I bought this from Grizzly but I’d need to verify that. Regardless, here is how it works.

1.) Scratch your mark to drill.
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2.) Set the base over the mark and drop the magnifier in the hole. It’s a very precise fit. The “X” lines up over the mark in the part and it’s literally accurate within a couple thou......not that that’s your goal to be this accurate but it is what it is.

3.) With your hand holding the base slid the magnifier out, drop in the punch and give it a tap. Done! Simple! I highly recommend this tool.

The following photos were taken with my phone. I tried to zoom in to show you the magnifier but it’s a bit fuzzy. Have a great weekend. Looking forward to some fab work this coming week.


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Probably a boring post. I wish I could show you something I did this week but man I was just busy. My next post will show actual progress.
 

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