Saturday, November 5, 2016

Progress report

Hey, sorry for the lengthy delay in updating this blog.  My work situation got terribly busy and the airplane projects took the brunt of it.  But rest assured, slow progress has been made.

As mentioned earlier in the blog, there are lots of tubing clusters to be welded.  Fresh tubing from the manufacturer is dirty.  There is oil, rust and scale on the tubes.  You can't effectively weld it that way.

So I wanted to show you how I solve the problem.  

I bought a cheap portable sand blaster from Harbor Freight.  When I decide which cluster I want to weld, I blast it clean.

One tip - I used ordinary play sand, the kind you get at Home Depot and found in a child's sand box.  If you use the sand right out of the bag, little bits of rock will clog the gun.  All you have to do is sift the sand though a kitchen strainer, the wire mesh kind, into a bucket.  the rocks get trapped and you have good blasting sand.

OK, back to work.  the fuselage was flipped over and the upper longerons were welded to the spider plate.

Using a big piece of angle iron, the upper spider plate was held straight as the upper reinforcement was set in place.

The reinforcement was welded.

Now that work has returned to normalcy, I hope that the Nieuport progress resumes it's previous pace.

Before I go, I wanted to share this awesome colorized photo of a Nieuport 17 posted on a Facebook website.  Hope you like it.

I also wanted to share with you a new book.  My friend Mark Wilkins recommended it to me and I wasted no time ordering a copy.

What I liked about this book the most was the "then and now" photos.  The author traveled to France and retraced the steps of my heroes in the Lafayette Escadrille.  I would highly recommend this book !!

You can get it directly from the author :

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lower Spider plate

Since Brian Eberle was not out looking for forest fires from the air today (his job), he offered to help work on the Nieuport.  We welded the lower spider plate reinforcement plate.

Also, I stumbled across a video of this Nieuport flying at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in 1994.

Here is the link :

It looks like a different paint scheme than the Chapman colors.  Perhaps ORA can shed some light on this.

More I keep welding.



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Out of the jig !!!

I must say, Wicks sure impressed me.  I ordered the 7/8 in square tubing online Sunday and a long box arrived here on Wednesday.  Not bad...

Anyway, the new tubing was quickly tack welded in place and the fuselage was ready to come out of the jig !

For fun, we added the turtledeck and tail feathers.  Who could not resist a chance to sit in the cockpit.

Now it is time to finish weld all the new clusters.  From there, the cabane struts need to be fabricated as well as the landing gear.

Another update soon.  It was a pretty exciting night.



Sunday, July 10, 2016

station 2

Made a lot of progress today.  The four tubes that make up Station 2 were fitted and tack welded into place.

This station will hold the rear mount for the LeRhone engine.

Also, the Station 2 cross member was fitted into place.  I would have kept going, but I underestimated the amount of 7/8 in square tubing I needed and I ran out !  Gotta call Wicks tomorrow.

It's beginning to look like an aeroplane!

More soon as the tubing arrives.



Monday, June 27, 2016

Lower cockpit area

This morning, the braces in the lower cockpit area were fabricated.

This is directly underneath the pilot's seat.  Previously, this area was wire braced.

More soon.  Enjoy


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fuselage structure

It was a very productive evening.

Reminiscent of the Jenny building days, my friend Brian Eberle came to the shop top lend a hand.  We spent quite a bit of time measuring, squaring and double checking the fuselage measurements.  Satisfied all was in order, the torch came out and the tack welding began.

The vertical tube at Station 3 was tacked into place.

You may be wondering why the tube is round.  After all, all the other tubes are square.  Well, the square tubes represent the square wooden structure of the original airplane.  At Station 3, the Nieuport designers had a round tube going vertically between the lower wing attach point and the rear cabane struts.

You can see the metal tubes in Mark Miller's excellent rendition of a Nieuport 11 cockpit.

Sorry, I know it's a steel tube replica, but if I paint the square tubing tan and the round tube black.......

Also Station 3 cross tube was tack welded in place.

One of the things that bothered me was the way the fuselage crumpled in the accident.  Ron and I looked it over for quite some time and made a few observations.

One of the things we noticed is that the fuselage buckled at Bay 2 but Bay 1 remained intact.  The difference was the method of bracing.

Bay 1 was braced with tubes. Bay 2 was braced with wire.

We decided the cockpit area needed to be braced with tubes.  I know, I'm painting tubes tan to look original but getting rid of an original style wire structure.  This decision was driven by safety.  Heaven forbid an accident happens again.  If it does, the cockpit area will be better protected.

The first cross tubes were fabricated between Station 2 and 3.

Looking ahead, tubes at Bay 1 were set in place.  We measured the old fuselage and the distance between the Firewall and Bay 1 was 11 inches. I'm hesitant to weld these tubes in place until the engine arrives.

More soon.  Enjoy


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Spider Plate welding

Sorry, it has been a while since my last post.  May was a busy month. But I'm happy to report the welding on the spider plate reinforcement is complete.

Here the .090 steel strips are shaped and tack welded on the back side.

Then the spider plate is flipped over and welded.

Now it is time to mate the spider plate with the fuselage.

More soon.  Enjoy