Wing - Left Fuel Tank

2004-03-20 - Fabricate the tank attach bracket. (5.0 Hrs).

I got to use the Smithy again today. The tank attach bracket is made from a large piece of angle aluminum. You need to cut the angle in half for one tank bracket, then you need to remove a lot of metal to form the tank attach bracket. I figured this was a perfect job for the Smithy, which I haven't had a chance to use very much (I've owned it for over 5 years and used less than a half-dozen times).

Before working on the tank attach bracket, I had to match drill all of the holes in the skins, and countersink the holes on the tank skin that attach the rear baffle. Normally, I avoid using the countersink if I can dimple the part. However, in this case, it is best to follow Van's instructions. The baffle is the last major part to be assembled on the tank, and you need to slide it into place with Pro Seal applied to the inside of the skins. Dimples would hinder its movement.
The countersunk holes leave plenty of metal for the rivet.
On to the tank attach bracket, better known as T-405. First you use muscle power to cutoff a hunk metal for the tank attach bracket. This is a pretty hefty piece of metal.
Next, you let the Smithy do it's magic. First, one side.
Then, the other side. This took about 20 minutes to cut out. I babied it a bit, since I wasn't sure just how fast I could safely cut aluminum with the Smithy.
After the part is cut out with the Smithy, you need to file it to the final shape. It took about an hour of filing to get to this.
The bracket fits inside the nose rib. Tomorrow, the other end of the bracket.
I went to Harbor Freight today and got some new toys. Someone on the RV-list suggested getting the $40 drill set, which contains all of the numbered drills, plus the lettered drills, and most of the fractional drills. I have already used a few drills that were not mentioned in Van's list of parts, so this is very handy. I also picked up the pipe bender for $5. It works fine.

Actually, the Pro Seal came from Van's last week. Anyway, I'm getting close to needing it.