Boot Cowl Sides

by | Jul 12, 2020 | Rans S20 Build, Rans S20 Fuselage

For me, working with aluminum is very challenging. The material, although it’s flexible, it’s not very forgiving. Meaning, the holes you drill must be exact. If I’m slightly off, nothing appears to fit properly. This part of the project required a lot of time. There are three hidden rivet holes on each side. Hidden, meaning that I could not get to the back of the metal tab on the frame because a metal plate is in the way. As a result, I aligned the aluminum panel and simply drew lines and measured the distance from the edge of the aluminum to where the hole was and drilled. I only made one minor mistake but it turned out fine.

The next challenge was figuring out a way to bend the bottom portion of the side boot cowls around the frame and align properly with the bottom boot cowl. Considering that I basically KNOW NOTHING ABOUT working with sheet metal (bending, cutting, etc), this was a big challenge. The Rans manual recommends using a 1″ metal bar and to hand-bend the aluminum as needed to fit. The manual also recommends buying a piece of aluminum to practice with, which I did and that was a big help. To make the project more complicated, where the bend occurs, the radius on the front end is larger (more rounded) than on the small end. As a result, the amount of bending on the different ends, and in the middle was different. Using the practice sheet, I did begin to figure it out. However, as I started in on the actual piece, it was impossible to even figure out where to begin the bend. Even though the manual provided some high-level approach by marking the edge of the aluminum where the bend is supposed to start on both the front and the back of the piece, it was very difficult to set up properly. As a result, I decided to use the green tie-down straps to pull the bottom of each side boot cowl around the bottom of the frame. This worked out very well and allow me to have my hands free to move about and properly mark where the bends should begin and end.

Time Spent- Sanding: 28 hours, 30 minutes
Time Spent- Sanding: 28 hours, 30 minutes

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