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  #31  
Old 10-23-2013, 08:02 AM
60av8tor 60av8tor is offline
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Harrisburg, Pa
Posts: 759
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Bruce,

Thanks for putting together such a great builder page. I bought a flying RV unsure if I was a builder or flyer. I've discovered I'm both, as owning my RV has made my desire to build stronger and stronger. I am not in a hurry and am taking my time reading and learning (waiting for a local EAA workshop to pop up) before ordering the first kit of the 8 I want to build.

I have made contact with a few local builders and hope to gain some hands-on experience as well before beginning, but I have primarily been scouring the web for the last 18 months reading and observing.

Sites like yours are great for beginners like me who have yet to "jump in the deep end" and may have some trepidation about doing so. Your good attitude about your build is very evident in your blog and it is very well put together. It is obvious that it took time and effort on top of your build to put together such a great page and I wanted to publicly thank you for doing so.
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Jon
RV-7A purchased flying - Sold 6/16
RV-10 empennage delivered 1/22/14 (325JT)

Build: http://hhav8or.blogspot.com/
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  #32  
Old 10-23-2013, 04:13 PM
Jim F Jim F is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canby OR
Posts: 119
Default Sikaflex

Bruce
Yes, Sikaflex is amazing! I used it to glue on my windscreen, and wish
I had done the canopy with it too.
Jim Frisbie
RV-9A
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  #33  
Old 10-24-2013, 12:03 AM
BSwayze's Avatar
BSwayze BSwayze is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Molalla, Oregon
Posts: 955
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geico266 View Post
Is that your daughter sitting in the canoe with you in post #1?
Larry, all I can say is, when I show your comment to my wife, she's gonna nearly faint. It's true, I robbed the cradle, but that's the nicest compliment. Thank you!
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Bruce Swayze
RV-7A Standard Build
First flight November 3, 2019!
http://www.BrucesRV7A.com
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  #34  
Old 10-24-2013, 12:08 AM
BSwayze's Avatar
BSwayze BSwayze is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Molalla, Oregon
Posts: 955
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60av8tor View Post
Bruce,

Thanks for putting together such a great builder page. I bought a flying RV unsure if I was a builder or flyer. I've discovered I'm both, as owning my RV has made my desire to build stronger and stronger. I am not in a hurry and am taking my time reading and learning (waiting for a local EAA workshop to pop up) before ordering the first kit of the 8 I want to build.

I have made contact with a few local builders and hope to gain some hands-on experience as well before beginning, but I have primarily been scouring the web for the last 18 months reading and observing.

Sites like yours are great for beginners like me who have yet to "jump in the deep end" and may have some trepidation about doing so. Your good attitude about your build is very evident in your blog and it is very well put together. It is obvious that it took time and effort on top of your build to put together such a great page and I wanted to publicly thank you for doing so.
and thank YOU, too, Jon! Comments like yours make all the work and time spent on the site so worthwhile. I've had so much help from others. It feels really good to be able to give something back and help someone else.

My advice to you is, just order that tail kit and jump in! You'll be wondering what you were waiting for. This is learn-as-you-go, you can't possibly get ready enough beforehand. Surround yourself with local friends, stay tuned here online, and you'll be fine.
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Bruce Swayze
RV-7A Standard Build
First flight November 3, 2019!
http://www.BrucesRV7A.com
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  #35  
Old 11-16-2015, 10:25 PM
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BSwayze BSwayze is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Molalla, Oregon
Posts: 955
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Well, it's been a long time since I posted some updates here and it's about time! So I have some highlights to report, to bring things more up to date here on VAF. Much more is available on my web site, found here: http://www.BrucesRV7A.com

First, after putting a lot of effort to get as much work done as possible behind the baggage bulkhead (all the wiring, the pitch servo, ELT mounting, etc.), I had a very good experience finishing up riveting the aft fuselage top skin. Here are a few highlight pictures. First, my good friend Mark Cattell drove all the way over to my shop that day to hammer rivets, while I slid down into the fuselage to buck them. I was obviously very happy to get this done! Thank you again, Mark, for your help!



The rear window was just slid into place at this point. But here's how it looks with the blue vinyl finally removed from most of the skin. It has been my habit to remove the vinyl when final riveting has been finished.



My page describing this in much more detail, with lots of pictures, can be seen here: Riveting the Top Aft Fuselage Skin

Next big milestone, with that skin finally riveted in place, was to install the rear window. As with my tip-up canopy, I used SikaFlex exclusively and there are no holes drilled in my window. There's more to this process than meets the eye, but you can see it all on this page, with a lot more pictures:

Rear Window Installation

The block of wood and the popsicle sticks were placed under the yellow strap to fix a problem area. The skin wants to pull away from the window and bulge out along this stretch, and this pushes it in against the window. Once the Sika cures, it's not a problem.



Looking on the inside, my friend Bruce Hill gave me these flexible "push up" sticks after finishing his own window installation. They work perfectly to apply just enough pressure to the window to push it up against the skin, so the SikaFlex can cure and hold it in place, Thanks, Bruce! Also note the cut piece of plywood laying across the longerons, with the blocks screwed in place to hold the sticks. I wish I could take credit for thinking of this. I shamelessly stole the idea, and this board was given to me by my friend Trevor Conroy after he did his window. I have since passed it on to someone else. This is simple stuff, but very clever and it works very well.





So how did it turn out? Well, take a look. Here it is later on, all cleaned up. Let's see the inside first:





Very nice. I'm totally thrilled! Here's the outside, all cleaned up with the plastic removed from the rear window:



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Bruce Swayze
RV-7A Standard Build
First flight November 3, 2019!
http://www.BrucesRV7A.com
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  #36  
Old 11-17-2015, 12:27 AM
BSwayze's Avatar
BSwayze BSwayze is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Molalla, Oregon
Posts: 955
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Switching gears a bit here, I have also posted several new pages on my site regarding my Panel! I'm excited to have my panel design finalized and some significant updates to report. Many of you probably already know that I decided to go with Advanced Flight Systems, and working with Rob and Jeffery at Advanced has been a totally delightful experience. Those guys are the best! So I created a sub-menu for all my Panel update pages here:

Instrument Panel - Construction Log The first page gives a lengthy discussion of my thought process and decision-making. I went through quite a few iterations before landing on this one.

To save money and savor the experience (rolling the eyes a bit... it's really all about the money), I'm cutting my own panel. With everyone doing fancy CAD designs and having things laser cut or precision water-jetted, I dreaded this idea at first and wondered if I'm crazy. I don't have easy access to all of those things, wonderful as they are. Then, I remembered that thousands of RV's are finished and flying, and my guess is that many of them, if not most, were probably hand-made by their builders. So I dove into this. Cutting your own panel is not as bad as I thought! The layout wasn't that hard either. Just use full-size drawings and tape them to the panel blank. I did use a software program called XPanel for the design, and the result is the graphic you see here. But I digress...

Here's my finalized panel design, showing the AFS-5600 screen, and the other components. It will be a VFR panel at first, with room enough to install a second screen down the road, if I choose to. I installed a map box, because I don't think you can have too much storage space for small items. You will also notice that I love rocker switches. More on that in a moment.



Next to the main screen, I have an Advanced Flight Systems Intercom, and I will have the Advanced Com Radio, the Autopilot seen below that, and a Garmin Aera 500 GPS. I already have the Aera 500, so I may as well use it until if/when I install a second Advanced screen. I very carefully measured and laid things out so a second, smaller screen will fit if I take out the GPS. The AF-5500 will fit perfectly. I can also mount an iPad or something similar, if I choose to, in place of the GPS. So I have options without having to redo the entire panel. At least for now. My transponder will be remote mounted. Over to the right of the map box, you'll see the control for the ELT transmitter, which will be mounted behind the baggage bulkhead. And below that, I have installed two 12-V power outlets; one is switched to the Master, the other one is unswitched. I'll use it to check/charge the battery without having to pull the cowling.

You will also notice the absense of any fuses, breakers, etc. I have installed a Vertical Power VPX-Pro for all of my wiring. So it's a nice clean panel, simple VFR but with a LOT of capability.

I mentioned my switches. I have always favored rocker switches. I just really like them. Vans is now using them exclusively in the RV-12, the RV-14, and lots of other builders are coming onboard with them as well. The trouble for a do-it-yourselfer like me is, I'll be cutting my own panel. Cutting all those precise rectangular holes in the panel is not only a lot of work, but trying to get them all exactly lined up with each other so they look good and not like some amateur hatchet-job is a real challenge. And then... there's all the labeling. Well... Advanced Flight Systems has taken care of all of this, by using switch panel plates that have been custom cut and powder-coated, labeled, and ready to go. They're fantastic! They're using them in their Advanced Quick Panel design, and all I have to do is cut out one rectangular hole for each switch panel, and put them in. Done! So I'll have three of them... one just to the left of the EFIS, above the key switch with 4 rocker switches in it, another one just to the bottom right of the EFIS, with 5 rocker switches in it. Then, I'm installing a third one below my Map Box on the right of the Panel. This will have 2 switches in it.

So here's a shot of the panel-cutting job. I used a sharp needle-like scribe and a straight-edge ruler to scribe the lines precisely where I'll be cutting. These scribe lines are much more precise than a sharpie or some other marker.



So how do you cut a panel? My die grinder and this cut-off wheel from Vans did the trick! Just stay inside the lines, and file down carefully to the line. The round hole for the key ignition switch required extra time and care. It has a little tab that sticks in a notch in the switch body, to keep it from rotating in use. So you have to drill the hole undersize, then carefully file it to full size, leaving the little tab in place. A bit tedious and time-consuming, but easy enough if you're careful. I didn't have trouble with it at all.



I used a set of files of various shapes and sizes. Round, triangle, flat files, needle files. They were all useful. I was thrilled to see the ignition switch in place for the first time. Here you can also see the scribed lines much better. See how the switch panel will be a single rectangular cut-out, with the corners left in for the hardware? Incidentally, Jeffrey also gave me some PEM nuts. These are amazing! You drill a precise-sized hole, and they squeeze in with your rivet squeezer. They make a permanent "nut" in place on the back side of the panel, for the machine screws that hold all this stuff in place. Kind of like a platenut without the rivets. No messing around trying to get washers and nuts on the hardware behind the panel... just screw the items into the panel and you're done! And if you need to remove anything in the future for maintenance, it's a piece of cake. All you need is a screwdriver. All done from the front.



Most of the cut-outs are finished at this point. A friend loaned me a real Advanced Flight Systems bezel blank (without the EFIS screen, of course) for fitting purposes. This was extremely helpful to make sure I did the cuts accurately, and also to drill the corner holes for the machine screws that will hold it in place. Looking closely, you'll see the rectangular switch panel opening cut out on the left, the corners are drilled for the mounting hardware. Below that, you can see the ignition switch opening with the little anti-rotation tab left in place. To the right of the EFIS, the cut-outs for the Intercom and the COM can be seen, and below that for the autopilot (paper picture image in place). I still need to drill the 4 corner holes for the autopilot. Below that, I still need to cut out the switch panel that is marked with a black marker. I want to more precisely locate it, then use the scribe to make fine lines. Much more accurate than a sharpie. Finally, to the right of that, the Garmin Power/Data cable for the GPS is already cut, drilled, and installed. This will provide power for the unit (not dependent on its battery) and it will provide data to the main screen. The Aera 500 easily snaps in and out of this, and I'm extremely pleased with it.

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Bruce Swayze
RV-7A Standard Build
First flight November 3, 2019!
http://www.BrucesRV7A.com
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  #37  
Old 11-17-2015, 01:40 AM
BSwayze's Avatar
BSwayze BSwayze is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Molalla, Oregon
Posts: 955
Default More on the Panel

Well, with most of the panel now cut out, I have finally been able to put a few more things in the panel, so it's time for another update! Recently, I bought all my switches and the panel switch plates from Advanced Flight Systems. I was also able to buy my Intercom unit. So I went to work installing all of these things, and here are some pictures! Here's what my panel looks like right now, partially populated and un-painted. Some of the items below are just paper pictures, that I added for some realism and a bit of fun! The EFIS screen, for example, is really just the temporary bezel seen last time, with a paper picture in place. I did this for motivation, and so I could sit in the seat and visualize all of this in my mind.



I'll tell you, I just love these switches! See what I was talking about? Vans is now using them in the RV-12 and the RV-14's and you can buy the switches directly from Vans. But I'm glad I got them from Advanced Flight Systems. They were worth waiting for, and I'm glad Advanced developed these panel switch plates. The panel was easy to cut out for the switch plates, and they came nicely finished and already labeled. Just screw them in and you're ready to wire them up!

I still need to drill the holes for the autopilot (paper picture in place here), but that's about it on the panel itself. Here's with and without the GPS snapped in place, and a better view of the center switch plate. I like being able to put the GPS in and out so easily. Sit in a coffee shop or at the breakfast table doing your flight planning, then carry it to the plane and snap it in, transfer flight plan to the EFIS. Also, it has automotive functions, and I use it in my car every day. Use the touch-screen to switch between aviation and automotive modes. When we travel cross-country, it will easily pop out so we can find our way around town or whatever in a courtesy car.



Some of these are single on/off switches, but the ones for the lights are off in the middle position, and on for the top or bottom function. They will light up when they're on. You'll also notice the switch for "DEFROST" fans for the canopy. More on that in a minute. Advanced also makes a longer version of this switch plate, with one more switch for the flaps. But my flap switches are on my grips, so I don't need a panel switch for them, making it possible for me to have the shorter switch plate, leaving more room for a future second screen.



Moving further to the right, I had my map box lid anodized recently when I had a batch of stuff to take in. I think when my panel is painted or powdercoated, this is really going to look good, and will match the interior nicely, with the other anodized items I have in place. To the right of the map box is the remote for the ELT. Below that is a pair of 12-volt power plugs. These are simple cigarette-lighter style plugs, one of them has a USB adapter insterted in place. So I should have plenty of power in the cabin for accessories. One of these plugs is switched on/off with the Master, and the other one is "always hot", directly wired to the battery with an in-line fuse for safety. My thinking here is to make a battery tester/charger with a standard cigarette-lighter style plug, so I can test the battery and charge it if necessary, without turning on the master and leaving it on, and without having to take off the cowling to get to the battery terminals. I will label it accordingly, as a reminder not to leave things plugged in when I shut the plane down. And finally, you see another pair of switches! These are not labeled yet, but one switch is for an APRS tracking system I plan on installing, and the other one is the switch to turn on my Seat Heaters! I have individual switches between the seats below, for each seat heater, but this will serve as a master switch for both of them, making it easy to quickly shut it all off. Here's a close-up of my power plugs:



Here's one more panoramic shot of the whole thing, in the plane! I'm really looking forward to getting the rest of the items installed, and the panel painted or powdercoated.



Now earlier, I mentioned defrost fans. In the picture above you can see the fans I installed in the glare shield. It will be simple wiring to the switch, and provide much-needed air to the canopy on those mornings when fogged windows are a problem. I've done a lot of reading about this, and it's not particularly a problem in every area of the country. But it is here in the northwest. Once the plane is underway, it never seems to be a problem and you can shut them off. It's just during taxiing and the run-up that it can be a problem. This will be nice for those moments. Here's a closer look:



Incidentally, I made a big mistake installing these fans. I'm not going to elaborate here, but you can read all about it on my web site if you wish.
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Bruce Swayze
RV-7A Standard Build
First flight November 3, 2019!
http://www.BrucesRV7A.com
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  #38  
Old 11-18-2015, 02:15 PM
rightrudder rightrudder is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Laguna Hills, CA
Posts: 1,853
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Great progress, Bruce! Your panel looks fantastic; very clean and logically laid out.
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RV-9A "slider"--sold in July 2021
Flew to Osh in 2017, 2018 & 2019!
Donation made for 2021
You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky -- Amelia Earhart
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  #39  
Old 11-18-2015, 02:59 PM
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wirejock wirejock is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 4,773
Default Fans

Bruce
Excellent work.
What was the issue with the fans?
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Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 12/01/2021, plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (3,000+ hours)
Empennage, wings, fuse, finishing kit done. Working FWF
Disclaimer
I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.
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  #40  
Old 11-19-2015, 07:44 PM
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BSwayze BSwayze is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Molalla, Oregon
Posts: 955
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wirejock View Post
Bruce
Excellent work.
What was the issue with the fans?
Larry, I'm embarrassed about what I did but I'm happy to post my goof-up if it may save someone else from repeating my mistake. Basically I jumped in and moved too fast without thinking. I measured carefully to see how much room I had on the underside of the glare shield between the canopy frame tubing and the forward canopy brace that's riveted to the frame. Where else are you going to put fans on a tip-up? It appeared that standard 80mm fans, commonly used in desktop computers, would fit perfectly under there. And they do! So I bought a pair of nice fans, cut the holes in the glare shield, drilled for the corner bolts, and installed the fans. I was so pleased at how they looked and seemed to fit perfectly. I put the canopy back on the plane and I was thrilled.

So fast forward a bit... my panel wasn't in the plane at the time. Now you know the instrument panel has a stiffener angle that's riveted across the top over the curve, to stiffen and strengthen the panel blank. When the canopy is closed, the top of the panel and that stiffener fit right behind the tubing on the canopy frame. There must be room under the glare shield for that, and when I tried to lower my canopy after putting the panel in, it wouldn't close. The fans were hitting it! There MUST be a gap under there for everything to fit in place when you lower the canopy.



It was a shock, and a huge disappointment, as you can imagine. I was literally sick to my stomach. Here is the canopy that I spent so much time on, so much attention, months of work and effort on every detail. And in a brief moment I cut holes that are too big and installed fans that won't fit! How am I going to fix that? There's no going back. Now I'm stuck and didn't know what to do. It took me a while to figure out a workable solution that still looks good. Otherwise, it's a rebuild of the whole canopy, or patch it up and be embarrassed about it forever. But I finally figured out a way to turn this lemon into lemonade. You can see the smaller 52mm fans that I settled on here. They turned out to be the perfect size. You can find endless fans and sizes by shopping online. Just google "computer fans". I ended up mounting them on square plates that fill the original holes that I cut, using the corner holes that I had already drilled. Looking closely above, you can see them. In the end, though, they're hardly noticeable and I'm okay with this. In fact, if I ever have to change them out, it may be even easier this way.

So that's the story. At the end of the day, I know I'm going to enjoy having these fans here in the foggy-windows humid Northwest. Just be careful and avoid my mistake.
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RV-7A Standard Build
First flight November 3, 2019!
http://www.BrucesRV7A.com
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