Devin W.C. Ryan

Building 4 Star 60 Day 3: Fuselage + Stabilizer

This morning I was up early, odd for a weekend, and off to Peters for what turned out to be a 2.5hr building session which flew by!  No pun intended, lol.

Forgot to take a picture of this step but I glued the sheeting to the fin I built and prepped last day and basically looks the same as the sheeting pic but just one of them.  Peter did finish off the fin after the glue dried by gluing the trailing edge for me so we were ready for sheeting today, thank you.  While John was tracing out the fuselage pieces to make templates, as he needs to build one from scratch, I worked one the stabilizer.

Since the glue had dried for the stabilizer I pinned through the sheeting approximately an inch from the frame edges and then used a ruler and pencil to make guide lines for cutting the bulk of the excess off with the bandsaw.  For some of the angles had to get creative and learn that I don’t have to cut along the line the first time but can cut further away and work my way in.

Once I had the general outline cut out I used an exacto knife to cut away more of the excess getting me relatively close.  Using a hand sander I sanded away what was left of the sheeting overhanging the edges of the framework, making a heck of a mess!  John kindly demonstrated how to more efficiently sand as it was looking like I was going to be their for days!

While sanding have to make sure the top and bottom ‘overhang’ are getting sanded by just sanding one at a time when necessary and/or angling the sander appropriately to not over sand parts.  Once smooth with the framework edges and the burning from the laser cut pretty much gone you’re done.  I ended up with the following and will have to round the leading edges later:

Stabilizer + Fuselage doublers
Stabilizer + Fuselage doublers

To wrap up the session I started assembling the fuselage by gluing the fuselage front to its side.  Before any gluing took place we spent a good chunk of time eyeing the pieces and the plans to see how everything was going together, including what will likely need to be glued next which is the doublers pictured above (their are 2 stacked on top of each other) and how they’ll fit on the inside of the fuselage side.  Good thing we double and tripple checked as we had the top and bottom of the fuselage side mixed up!  We also made sure we understood where excess spacing was allowed for the top and bottom plates to fit along with other pieces.

Once we had it all figured out as to how the sides will come up, doublers eventually fit in, and front pieces fit in I sanded where the front fuselage joins the side fuselage pieces, glued and placed them together followed by placing weights over wax paper to keep everything in place to dry as seen below.

Fuselage Sides / Front
Fuselage Sides / Front

That concluded another day of building and planning to get in another session tomorrow!  I’m still really enjoying building; however, if I was to make an adjustment for next time it would be to wear some sort of face mask when doing large quantities of sanding (i.e. as I mentioned for the stabilizer above).  Peter mentioned their won’t be much more sanding left now.

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