Tiger Moth 80%

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Brian Clayton

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Time for a new project....

Ragwing 80% Tiger Moth replica.

Why? Well, I wanted a biplane before I built my UL, but just felt it was too complex for a first airplane project. So....here we go!

I was able to get some really nice D Fir, 18' full 1" x 12" boards. 30-36 grains per inch average. Really nice and straight. Plus it was free.... Ply for the sides of the fuse will be some Okume (okoume) I picked up for another project. T-88 for the glue.

Sawed up some stock, built a rib jig, and have already made 6 ribs for the top wing... no pics of those right this minute.
 

Brian Clayton

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Both sides of the fuse glued up in the jig. Total time so far? Uhh...about 4 or 5 hrs and 300.00 or so. Have enough materials to build the fuse, tail and most of the wings except for the spar ply and nose ply. Got to dig around at the shop and round up some landing gear tubing and figure out something for wheels and tires....

DSCF0050.jpg
 

Brian Clayton

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Fresh out of the jig, cleaning off the table to put on the ply sides and start assembling the boat. The only change from plans i am making on the fuse is at the tail post area. The plans call for the ends to be pulled together and a wedge sanded and installed to fill the "gap". I am going to put a 1" wide wedge in, making the tail post 2 1/4" wide instead of 1 1/4 wide. I want to use AN eyebolts for the rudder hinges, instead of a "captured" flat hinge. The plans way doesnt leave enough room (or material) to put the AN eyebolts in. My UL was done the plans way, and I really dont like the hinges on it. They dont leave much gap to be sealed, but since you epoxy the heads of the mounting screws in and the hinge body, they are not really serviceable. Plus they were a major pain to line up and secure the pins, and I had to bevel the edges of the fin/rudder and stab/elevator to get enough movement. I will have to make gap seals, but I think it will look much better and be more durable in the end.

Yes....I sat in the chair and made airplane noises while moving the imaginary stick and pedals.....

059.jpg
 

Brian Clayton

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Well.....the best laid plans....

Halfway through the first sheet of ply my stapler decided to give up. I got out the bag of brass coated nails I bought to do my ultralight. I made the mistake of telling the salesman at spruce to "oh, just give me a pound", now I have enough little nails to build 1000 airplanes. I stopped at one. Those who will remember, I lost half my left thumb last year......hard to hold little 5/8 long nails....well, without hitting whats left with the hammer. So, in a desperate search in a hangar full of lightweight airplane parts, I managed to find enough weights to put on one fuse side and push up tight to the ply.

060.jpg

Time to go home to GA for a week or so.... I guess I will take my rib jig with me and build some more ribs while I am gone. If I am not too lazy, I may try to finish all my top wing ribs while I am off work next week.
 

Brian Clayton

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Back to work in TN this morning....so that means back to work in my hangar...

Got the ply on the other fuse side. Once the glue stiffened up, I put both fuse sides upside down on the bench. Squared them up and had planned on putting in the spar carry thrus I cut the other day....till I realized I left the main spar carry thru at the shop. Oh well, something for tomorrow.


fusepic.jpg
 

Brian Clayton

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Put in the tail post block and one of the rear fuse bays diag supports and crossmembers (station 132). There is probably a technical term for it, whatever it may be. The rear half of the fuse was about a 1/4" out of square (and both sides did not bend even when I pulled the tailpost together), so I put in the center most bracing in the rear of the fuse to hold it after I pulled it around with blocking and straps. Have to wait for it to dry to continue or risk knocking it out of whack while installing the other bits. Camera batteries dead, so no pics tonight....you will just have to take my word for it. Happy 4th everyone! I guess I will drag my chair to the hangar door and watch the fireworks for a bit....
 

Brian Clayton

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Moved the fuse onto some sawhorses to make it easier for me to work on. My workbench is just right when working in flat pieces, but trying to crawl all around to get in the other gussets and bracing.....well, this makes it much easier to get 360deg around it.

DSCF0062.jpg

The cockpit area looks a little "boxy" right this minute, but I have not trimmed the extra off with the router yet. It sure does sit on the sawhorses better with a flat bottom than curved though. I left it long for a reason. When I did my UL fuse, i ended up getting the side ply on a little missaligned. Not a big deal, but working by myself, if I am going to have to trim a edge anyway, why not trim it all? That, and when you have a 24" wide fuse, its hard to get 2 24" wide pieces out of a 48" wide sheet of ply. So this time, I shrunk the dimensions by 1/4 inch to make up for the saw kerf and to give me just a little wiggle room.
 

Brian Clayton

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And the bottom ply....DSCF0069.jpg


When this dries, I can sand and varnish the areas that will be covered by the internal ply double plates that go on the top and bottom of this bay. Lesson I learned from my UL, its much easier to do the inside ply BEFORE you put the ply on the sides of this area.

Since its not raining tonight, I can take a sheet of ply back to the shop with me and rip the strips and gusset material for the rear half of the fuse.
 

Brian Clayton

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Put the top decking ply on this evening. This creates the basic cockpit openings. If it looks funny, thats because it is upside down on the sawhorses.
DSCF0070.jpg DSCF0069.jpg

The black box strapped on the ply to to put pressure on the center of the ply. I nailed around the edges with 5/8 brass coated nails about every inch or so and clamped the rest. Flipped it upside down to keep "runs" to a minimum and let the epoxy "fillet" at the joints. Once the epoxy cures, I can sand the edges of the ply flush with the other members. I love a grinder with a flap disk. Takes a light touch, but you can remove most of the extra material/glue squeeze out quick and then finish up with a small sanding block. Since I am working in my hangar, I dont have a band saw here. Since I size the ply best I can at the shop and finish trim with a jigsaw at my hangar. Stuff like this, I cut it 1/8 or so oversize and then sand to fit once it is installed. I did manage to cut the ply strips for the gussets on the rear of the fuse today, along with ripping the 1/4" ply for the firewall, seats and lower front section of the fuse. So, those parts are next on the agenda, along with finishing the lower wing's spar carrythrus.
 

Brian Clayton

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Rear spar carry thru glued and clamped in and bottom of rear seat support glued in. The spar carry thrus are 5 1/4 x 3/4 Dfir plated on both sides with 3mm birch ply. 001.jpg

This pic is looking from the front. The front spar carry thru is in the foreground (not finished yet), next the seat support (still needs 1.5 ply on face) and the rear spar carry thru (the one with all the clamps).

A few more evenings.....I will finally get to "try out" the seats!!!!! I should have plenty of leg room. The inside width of the fuse is about 22" and from the floor to the lower most part of the instrument panels is almost 23". I am 6' 3", with long legs...so If I fit comfortably, I will be more than happy!!
 

Brian Clayton

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The front section of floor glued in. Firewall to station 58 1/4. 1/4 ply. Notice the custom homebuilder clamping system....works pretty good. Nailed around the edges every 1" with 5/8 brass coated nails, for where I dont have clamps to reach.

001.jpg 002.jpg

Took me a while to decide to do this. Its time to put the seats in, and the plans really dont show anything for the front seat. Sooooo..... after looking at a lot of pictures of original and reproduction Moths, I finally decided on a plan. So, seats are next on the agenda. Yes, I have already sat in it.....I could not wait.
 

Brian Clayton

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The beginnings of the front seat. Basic beginning structure for the seat back, front ply support for the seat bottom and the blocks on the side of the fuse to attach the top ends of the seat back with. The seat is 10" wide, with the seat back tapering at the top to full width, shaped like a "T". Since this is a 80% replica, the pilots rudder pedals are next to the front seat bottom. This will give about 6" on each side for foot room, about 5 1/2 or so after rudder cables are put in. I have really big feet..... I did clamp it up and sit the the back, seems okay to me....A little weird feeling, but better than some I have seen and sat in.
001.jpg 002.jpg
 
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