Wwalton Skybolt

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wwalton

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Okay well not sure where to start but here it goes. Nothing to show yet but I figured I would get this out and establish the origin story for our Skybolt. I guess I could show the plans which I have now, but really I don't have a working knowledge of them yet so not much information available about those. Except that they look great. My wife and daughters that are still at home have all agreed on this plane. 3 of the 4 of us are certificated pilots, so getting 3 pilots to agree on the same plane has got to be a first!

I ordered the majority of the 4130 tubing today. I'm going to drive 4 hours to Peachtree City GA and pick my steel up from ACFT Spruce East. Diesel is a lot cheaper than price of shipping. I'm also on leave till June from the airlines so time is cheap for now. The longerons of the fuselage are 7/8" .035 then spliced to 3/4" .035 intercostals are sized similarly. I didn't order all of the materials just the majority of the fuselage tubes and some .090 plate. But I would guess this is 80% or more of the total steel. And close to $2000 in today's dollars. I only checked ACFT spruce and Wicks. The distance to GA was the obvious winner.

Part 1 of this whole endeavor will be me learning to TIG weld .035 tube. I will be using the Scrapper method of learning to weld. Obviously I've already begun that part, but I will try to document my progress with Scrapper's practice jig. My plan will be to show evidence from my present abilities now then hopefully ACFT quality welding ability by the time my Skybolt fuselage is getting finish welded. Should also serve as a good demo to the DAR or whoever inspects the plane as to the quality of welding done.

I can't begin to say how much I appreciate the group of people on this forum, I've been here a while. I especially have to thank Little Scrapper for his support and undying energy to build and teach.

Okay that is the start. Oh yeah we named the project, it may stick or something like it. "Blue" as in Pale Blue Dot. One of my daughters said it pretty quick when I mentioned a name. She knows I'm a fan of Carl Sagan and those were his words about the view of Earth from Voyager as it was leaving the solar system. Also it may suggest a paint scheme...eventually.

Thanks for reading,
Walt
 

wwalton

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Well still not much to show for a "build" thread however I did say I was going to have to learn to weld first. So in that endeavor I have some things to show.

So after a few days delay for several reasons I finally made my way to ACFT Spruce in Peachtree City, GA and picked up some 4130 steel for the Skybolt fuselage. I also got some .035" ER80S-D2 welding rod. I actually tried to buy MIG wire in that spec. but the local welding supply needed to order it, figured I would just get it while I was in Georgia.

So that was pretty much a full day of driving but saved a lot of shipping costs and currently my time is cheaper.

Here is the pile in my van. 150' 3/4" X .035, 50' 5/8" X .035, 50' 7/8" X .049, and several smaller lengths of various other sizes.
20200528_151428.jpg
So after that I did manage to finish a practice weld that I had started the day prior and burned a few holes in the tubes. I did say I was new at this and so there is no point in pretending so I'll post some pics of what it looks like to be a rookie TIG welder on thin wall 4130.

This is 3/4" X .035" wall 4130.
20200526_162724.jpg20200526_170033.jpg20200527_200803.jpg
20200529_094415.jpg20200529_094423.jpg
First 2 pictures were of a great cope joint that I did NOT do, the next 3 pictures are my cope joint which wasn't too bad...I think.

So that's kind of where I'm at with this part of the story. Also I'm starting the practice Fabrication jig that Little Scrapper designed, which is building some new skills and dusting off some long forgotten things from A&P school 30 years ago. I'll post a picture of the first completed one of those soon...I hope.

That's about it for now. I'm going to post something on this build thread at least every week until I run out of money, time or material. Hopefully it is informative for other people going through this learning process.

Also look for threads started by myself with questions about these topics.

Thanks,
Walt
 

wwalton

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Well almost 3 weeks later and not really anything new to report. This is #10 and my best yet. Same pics I posted already on the other thread. I'm working on the next two now. But I didn't want to leave this too late, like last time, and go to work without any building logged. So I'll post a few pics of #10 and maybe add some of the next two if they are done in time.

Going back to work is great, considering the alternative, however it is going make progress a bit slower. Really enjoying the welding, spend a lot of time watching youtube and EAA videos while on the road trying to learn more. Now they make a lot more sense.

I'm gathering supplies to build a table with engineered lumber. My plan is to build it on top of the table I have and then move it on to saw horses. I want to make my shop a bit more flexible so the big table I have now may get dismantled.

Yes I will start the fuselage soon...I hope in the next two days.

allten.jpg1090.jpgtenagain.jpg
 

wwalton

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#11 and start of the table. Hope to have it ready for layup tomorrow.
11a.jpg11b.jpg11c.jpg11e.jpgtablestart.jpg
I added a radius to the fitting where the .090" meets the 3/4" tube. Gives me a bit more practice every time.
Decided at the last minute to make the top of the table 32" so I have to go grab another sheet of ply but still should be ready for layout tomorrow.
 

wwalton

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Well I started laying out the sides of the Skybolt. It's a box from station 0 to 51 then tapers to the vertical stabilizer spar at station 168...well actually 169 due to the loss of an inch in the bending of the sides to meet. Really enjoyed laying this out. Definitely out of my comfort zone, but it's fun and I will learn from the mistakes right? Like not reading the guide before marking the stations aft of 51. Those need extra length to compensate for the bend. These are centerlines for the tubes. I want to use aluminum angle for the jig blocks but I haven't found the angle and made them yet. Also I haven't decided what to do with the old table either. I may leave it intact and rearrange it to the adjacent wall. I couldn't wait to start the layout so I leveled on some saw horses and went at it. Back to work for 4 days then another break so I'll knock out #12 then and hopefully get some tubes layed out with jig blocks.
sidelayout1.jpgsidelayout3.jpgplansside.jpg
 

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wwalton

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Location
Hendersonville, North Carolina
No actual parts yet...
I spent a few days of free time rearranging my shop...again. I'm lucky to have a shop and room to do stuff, however I need to get a plane up in the air so it's not so crowded in there. I fought the leveling of the table for a while. I added weight inside the table and it stabilized it enough to get it right. I may use some liquid nails to fasten those wood saw horses to the floor, every now and then I kick a leg.
fuselagetable.jpg

So finally some time to work on the Skybolt. I decided to do some TIG practice with my time today. Specifically the splice joint between the 7/8" and 3/4" longeron tubes. The plans call for a 7" splice area. There are several angles called out for the 7/8" tube to be cut at to weld to the 3/4". The AC 43-13 (Bible) says 30 degrees, the plans 45, and the "Manual" calls for 60. I did 45 for practice.

EDIT: 30/60 are the same (duh) just reading from different directions.

longeronjointpractice.jpglongeronjoint3.jpg
I made the mistake of leaving all the gap on one side. My thinking was that having one side flush would be easier to hide when covered? I don't like it and will do the next one with the gap spread out. I tried to heat up the tube and close the gap after I tacked it, but it was not very successful. Good practice. The rosette welds are kind of fun.

That's it for now.
 
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