This photo is of the prototype during the
earlier phases of construction.
December 30 2015 2.5hrs - 2569.0 total. Prepped areas to be glued a little more.
Glued in 3 of the 4 cove pieces, the bottom concave piece, and also the little piece of
skin on the port side.
December 31 2015 3.0hrs - 2572.0 total. Removed clamps. Sanded down glue
joints on new skin piece. Sanded all surfaces on three new cove pieces and prepped
area for fourth piece. Its ready to be glued in now. The two little strip I'd made for
the rudder hinge areas ended up get warped out of shape (long story) so this time I
wrapped them tightly onto a can with nylon rope and steamed them again. While
waiting for them to cool, started making a hatch cover from some scrap aluminum.
Made a paper template, traced onto scrap piece, cut out with snips and started
shaping with sander. Buffed up both sides of scrap piece with wire brush.
|3 of 4 cove pieces, bottom
blocking and small skin piece
glued onto fuselage.
|Clamps removed and all
surfaces sanded. Ready for
4th piece to be glued in.
|Making paper template for hatch cover. I use
a piece of rusty tool steel to make rubbing.
|Starting to shape cover
from scrap aluminum.
|Small strips wound onto can and
steamed to restore proper shape.
|Hinge area side pieces glued in.
January 1 2016 2.5hrs - 2574.5 total. Scarfed areas on nose of rudder to prep for gluing in side pieces. Scarfed side pieces, marked
location, glued in place. Also glued in 4th section of cove molding on aft of fuselage and put second coat of sealer over all areas
recently sanded. Worked on fitting new hatch cover. Fine tuned paper template, marked metal piece and sanded to shape. Fits well
now. Had to bend it a little to get it to lay flat. Started marking locations for screw holes.
January 2 2016 5.5hrs - 2580.0 total. Marked, drilled and counter sunk holes on panel cover. Had to enlarge holes in wood holding
nut plates to allow them to shift around enough to compensate for slight misalignment of holes in cover. Also trimmed back outer edges
of fuselage skin to get cover to fit better. Primed both sides of cover. Sanded down glue on scarf joints of rudder hinge area side
pieces. Doesn't look very pretty, but its smooth, solid, and fits on the fuselage very nicely now. When covered with fabric and painted
it will be fine. Once finished sanding it all down, applied coat of sealer. Also sanded down cove piece number four and adjoining areas
and applied coat of sealer. Spent about an hour trying to figure out what to work on when the rudder is done and decided to put in the
ribs between the firewall and the control panel bulkhead. Dug out the rib pieces I made long ago for the SB side. Sanded down the
contact points in prep for gluing. Also dug out the skin piece I had previously marked and pinned for the forward SB side. Clamped it in
place to help align rib placement. Still need to finish rudder and elevator, but I'm finding it more efficient to have two separate areas
going at once so I can shift between them if I have to wait for glue to dry, or steamed parts to set, etc.
January 4 2016 3.5hrs - 2583.5 total. Sanded down all of the area just sealed on the rudder plus most of the rest of the side skins to
get out bubbles from first coat and irregularities in other areas. Prepping for final coat of sealer. Spent quite a bit of time adjusting all
three hinge bolts and installed appropriate washers under AN-44 bolt heads to get all three lined up. Rechecked rudder swing range.
Needs to be 28 degrees each direction. Am able to get 30 before rudder binds against fuselage skin. Made up a jig to balance the rudder
so I can get the counterweight sized, positioned, and installed. Have a 5lb bag of lead shot to put in nose horn of rudder. First rough
test it looks like Its not going to be enough unless I can get more of it further forward. Printed out plans for rudder pedals, brake
cylinders, and associated mounting hardware etc. as well as door handle, latch, etc. Took out to machine shop and asked him to get
started making up these parts. Plan to fabricate a couple of rudder peddles that look like originals. The ones in the Tally-Ho plans are
functional, but look like they belong in a Cessna.
January 6 2016 2.5hrs - 2586.0 total. Poured the lead shot into the nose horn cavity and messed around with stacking and pushing it
as far forward as possible, and can't get it even close to balancing. Decided to make up a cardboard and duct tape mold of the nose
horn, dump the lead into it, and see if a solid lead nose piece would be enough. This is what Steve had to do on his, and also is how the
original Spitfire's did it. With the cardboard mold holding the lead shot placed in the same position it would be if it was installed, the
rudder just balances. Melting it down into solid form would remove a lot of air space created by the shot being round, shifting the total
weight forward a little more. I need a little extra weight to work with as there still isn't the weight of the fabric and paint, plus I'd be
cutting off the existing nose, and some other variables. So spent some time watching U-Tube videos of people melting down lead.
Looks pretty straight forward, its just that I need it formed into the shape of the nose. So I can either try to make a mold out of
something, or get it close and then carve it down to shape.
|Hatch cover drilled,
countersunk and primed.
|Hinge area side pieces sanded
down. All areas sealed.
|New skin piece clamped in
place on forward SB side.
|Bag of lead has to set far forward
to get rudder to balance...
|Rudder pedal in original MK-IX.
Plan to make a set that look as
close as possible to this.
|Rudder horn cavity I had
hoped to fill with lead shot.
|Mold made from cardboard and tape full
of 5lbs of lead shot. Balances like this.
January 8 2016 1.0hrs - 2587.0 total. Experimented with melting lead and pouring it into different things to see what would work.
Was able to easily melt a small amount of lead with a mapp gas propane torch in about 5 seconds. Then poured it into a small test
mold made out of cardboard and duct tape. The cardboard smoked and the tape boiled and melted a little, but it held together and
cooled within about 2 minutes into a solid, and in about 5 minutes I could handle it with no gloves. Gave me an idea about how to
make a mold out of wood. I think I underestimated how much air space is in a pile of spherical shapes. The melted shot pieces take up
a lot less space than they did as spheres. Sorry, my calculus skills are a little out of date or I could figure out how much volume will be
reduced. Just by eyeball, its more than I expected. Good news because it will shift the weight further out onto the horn and maybe
even reduce the total amount of weight I'll need to use. I'm still hoping I can make it fit inside the exiting nose horn, so I won't have to
cut it off.
January 9 2016 3.0hrs - 2590.0 total. Made a mold out of three pieces of 2 X 6 . Center one cut to shape of the nose of the rudder
horn. Went and bought a used cast iron skillet and melted down the lead shot with a mapp gas torch and poured it into the mold.
Scorched the wood a little, but worked pretty well. Mostly a "proof of concept" but it also condensed all the shot down into a single
smaller block that I could use to test for balance. I thought I might be able to shape the block by beating on it with a large hammer,
which works, but its a lot of work and really needs and anvil or something. Next test will be to make a plaster mold of the actual
rudder horn. To do that I'll need to finish covering the nose area and get it sanded down to final shape. Prepped area and glued piece of
skin on horn. Also put 2nd coat of sealer on areas on port side of rudder that was sanded down earlier.
January 10 2016 2.5hrs - 2592.5 total. Removed staples and sanded down new piece of skin and excess glue. Sanded down most of
top of rudder on both sides in prep for 2nd layer of sealer. Mixed up a batch of sealer and applied to top of rudder, both sides,
including new skin piece. Went to store and bought some plaster of Paris. Mixed up a small sample batch and suspended paper/duct
tape form of rudder horn nose into it a little. Put plaster sample into oven at 200 degrees for several hours to attempt to remove as
much moisture as possible.
January 11 2016 2.0hrs - 2594.5 total. Dried the plaster sample for a while longer in the oven as well as leaving it overnight inside the
house, which in the winter has about 2% to 5% humidity. Melted a small blob of lead and poured into plaster mold with no issues.
Was not able to remove lead without breaking mold. Looked around for a suitable bucket or bin to hold plaster for mold and decided to
just make a box for it. Joints turned out fairly tight, but sealed some of them with duct tape on the inside to minimize leaking before the
plaster thickens. Thought about putting a plastic bag inside the box, but was worried it might get too hot while drying the plaster, or
later when the lead gets poured in. Rigged some rope to hang the rudder at the appropriate depth and position in the mold box. I'm a
little concerned that the nose of the rudder may be slightly wider and becoming narrower as it moves toward the aft. Might make it
impossible to get the rudder out of the mold! Plan to use some type of mold release. Read somewhere to use talcum powder?
January 16 2016 5.0hrs - 2599.5 total. Coated rudder horn with petroleum jelly. Was worried it might float in the plaster so added a
bunch of washers and bolts from stock into horn for weight. Mixed up a batch of plaster, poured into mold with horn in position.
Waited and hour and pulled it out of the mold very smooth and easy. Mold came out perfect! Put it in the oven at 200degrees. Plan to
leave it there for at least 24hrs. Cleaned up mess. Decided to make another hatch cover while waiting for the plaster to dry out. Made
paper template. Found that a carpenters pencil works very well for making rubbing of hatch holes. Transferred template to some scrap
metal, cut to rough shape with shears. Sanded to final shape. Marked hole positions. Drilled, countersunk, and de-burred. Buffed up
both sides with brass wire brush in drill press. Primed both sides, hung up to dry.
|Hi-tech lead mold. Little blob is
four shot pieces melted down.
|Excerpts, once again, from the great
Monforton book, showing the lead
counterweight in the nose of a MK-IX rudder.
|Gluing skin onto port
side of rudder horn.
|Test mold from three pieces of 2X6 and the lump of lead it made. Puddle
on top is some extra pieces I forgot, melted later and poured on the side.
|New skin piece sealed in prep for using it
to make mold for lead counterweight.
|Small sample plaster mold
being dried in the oven.
|Box for plaster mold. Rudder
suspended in position prior to
mixing and pouring plaster.
|Pouring plaster into mold. Rudder
horn coated with petroleum jelly.
|Rudder horn extracted from mold.
Turned out great!
|Making paper template. Carpenters
pencil makes a great rubbing stick.
|Trial fit of hatch cover after
holes counter sunk.
|Hatch cover with counter sunk
holes and a coat of primer.
January 17 2016 5.5hrs - 2605 total. Was going to melt lead with mapp gas torch, but decided to pre-heat cast iron pan to see if I could get more lead to stay liquid with hot pan.
Put in on the kitchen stove with all the lead in it on high, then googled how hot an electric stove gets. Very surprised it 1200 to 1500 F ! By the time I looked at the pan again, the
lead was starting to melt. Went ahead and let it melt completely then poured it into the mold. Either the lead was too hot, or there was still a LOT of moisture in the plaster mold
because there was lots of hissing and spattering. Poured in all the lead I had. Let it cool for about an hour and dumped it out. Mold is still fine. Lots of air pockets in lead piece, but
still pretty good. Marked locations on rudder and cut away top part of nose of rudder horn. Having to mess with shaping it a bit as the mold was made with the entire rudder horn,
but I'm leaving the 1/4 ply rib so the lead piece is actually larger than the hole I'm trying to put it into by 1/4" all along the bottom. Because of the shape I can slide it back a bit and
the shape is close. Drilled and counter sunk holes in bottom of rudder horn rib. Started drilling holes in lead for anchor screws. Need to pick up some long stainless steel screws.
|Melted lead poured into
mold on kitchen stove.
|Lead piece fresh out of the mold.
|Not exactly a smooth texture, but
as I plan to encase it in thickened
epoxy, its actually a good thing.
|Rudder nose horn before chopping
it up. Cutting up this beautiful
finished piece was not easy!
|Cutting and sanding back skin and top
laminates to allow lead to fit in position.
|Trial fit. Good news is it slightly
overbalances the rudder.
January 20 2015 1.5hrs - 2606.5 total. Ended up getting brass screws instead of stainless steel. Continued drilling mounting holes in
bottom of lead piece. Was having a very difficult time so googled "how to drill in lead" and found a recommendation to file the drill
bit down so it doesn't dig in and to use some liquid soap for lubricant. What a HUGE difference. Took about an hour, two broken
drill bits and a broken screw to get the first hole without the liquid soap. Took about 5 minutes to get the second hole with the soap.
With all the lead that was removed drilling the holes, with it mounted in place with the screws, it doesn't quite balance any more.
Added a little more lead just behind this big piece and it tips the balance. Will need to glue it in there when the time comes.