Posts Tagged rudder pedals
6.6 Hours –
I spent a lot of time in the garage today. There were some successes and some failures.
The failure came in my latest attempt at making fuel lines. I’m now trying to make the lines that run from the fuel selector out to each wing. The lines drop down from the selector, curve aft a bit, then make a turn outboard, then a turn forward and up, and, finally, another turn outboard where they go through the fuselage skin and out to the wing. I tried just bending by hand to get the shape, but I couldn’t even get the line correct this way. After about an hour of playing with the tubing, I finally gave up and crumpled my practice piece. I saw a post on vansairforce.com from another frustrated builder who said he was so frustrated with the fuel lines that he tried to bend the tubing into a noose, but couldn’t even get that right! That’s about where I’m at right now. I’m going to give it another go, but after that, I may seriously consider pre-built flexible lines. (Side note: I spoke to TS Flightlines and they’ll build these lines for about $60 each…right now, I think that will be worth it!)
Next, I moved on to something easy. I took the rudder pedals out from under my workbench, cleaned them off, installed the brake line fittings on the master cylinders, and installed the pedals back in the fuselage. Once they were bolted in the fuselage, I started installing the brake lines. The high pressure lines are braided stainless steel lines with -4 fittings, and the low pressure lines are plastic tubing.
After the lines were attached to the pedals, I re-installed the brake fluid reservoir with some firewall sealant and then attached the low pressure lines to the reservoir. Similarly, the high pressure lines were attached to the fittings in the firewall.
Finally, I decided to install the control column. Like the rudder pedals, I had to pull these out from under the bench and clean them off. I also had to attach the passenger stick. At first I was thinking about installing the stick with a push button release so it would be easily removable, but the grips I’m installing will make quick removable difficult and in-flight removal impossible, so I just used a bolt and lock nut to hold the passenger stick in place. Prior to putting the control column in the plane, I also made sure all the bolts were torqued and/or cotter pins were installed.
Installing the control column was more difficult than I thought it would be. I had done a common seat rib mod that allows the control column to be removed/installed as one piece, but it was still very difficult to install the lower bolts that hold the column to the F-704 bulkhead. It took a lot of patience just to get the bolts through far enough to where I could slip the washer on. Then, I had to get my wife to help me get the nuts on since I was having trouble holding them in place due to the limited access between the F-704 bulkhead halves. If I had to do it again, I would probably not do the seat rib mod and just install the control column in pieces, leaving the F-635 control column mounts in the fuselage from the start.
3.3 Hours –
The goal for today was to get the rudder and brake pedals wrapped up. All I had left to do was to install the rudder brace and master cylinders.
After finding the F-6118 rudder brace in the parts crate, I marked it for making a relief cut for the firewall recess. Using my band saw, I cut the relief. Then, I marked out a rivet line for the firewall rivets and drilled 5 holes to #30.
Once the relief cut was made and the rivet line drilled, I clamped the F-6118 brace to the firewall and center bearing block. At this point, I also clecoed the firewall recess into place so I could confirm that the relief cut was deep enough to compensate for the recess.
After confirming that the recess would fit, I double checked the F-6118 was clamped firmly against the center bearing block and the firewall stiffener. Once double-checked, I match-drilled the firewall angle using the holes I pre-drilled in the rudder brace as a guide. Then, I re-checked the position of the center bearing block and drilled the bolt holes in the rudder brace for the first rudder pedal position. This is when the process became tedious. I then had to unbolt the rudder pedals, move them to the next position aft, drill the next position in the rudder brace, move the pedals again, drill again…it felt like it was taking forever to bolt, unbolt, move, and re-bolt for each position. I was glad there were only three spots, but I feel like I’m doing this only for the potential next owner of this plane since I’m sure I’ll use the most forward position.
With the bolt holes drilled in the rudder brace, I was able to remove the brace and the entire rudder pedal assembly from the fuselage so I could finish it on the workbench. I trimmed the rudder brace to lighten it. Since rudder pedal positions vary by builder, lightening will also vary. I extended the brace about 6/8″ from the aft most bolt hole, cut an inch up the brace, and then made a cut that taped to the top corner. I also cut two lightening holes. One is 2″ in diameter, and the other 1.5″. I probably could have made one more hole, but I wanted to make sure I left plenty of room. The 2″ hole was made with my fly-cutter (scary), and the smaller hole was made with a hole saw (noisy). After the holes were cut, I spent some time deburring the part and prepping it for primer.
Next, I decided to install brake master cylinders. There isn’t anything tricky about installing the master cylinders. The only gotcha is that the master cylinders set the position of the brake pedals. Other builders seem to go to extreme measures to get the brake pedal position set to a spot that they think is just right. While I want my pedals in a good position, I decided that each pedal should be set independent of the other since the rudder pedals aren’t on the same plane…they are angled. So, I wanted to set the brake pedal position relative to the rudder pedal it was on, not at the same angle as the other brake pedal. Hopefully this works out, but, if it doesn’t, I can always make some rudder pedal extenders to compensate. Also, check out the brake pedal position the next time you are in a rental Cessna 172. I’ll bet you the pedals aren’t in alignment with each other. Some of the Cessna’s I flew had spongy brakes at best, so the pedals didn’t seem to matter anyway!
Once I figured out where I wanted the brake pedals positioned, I simply marked where to drill and then drilled a hole for an AN3 bolt. After that, all I had to do was insert the bolts and washer stacks and add a castle nut. I was pretty happy with the positioning of the pedals, so I went ahead and installed all the cotter pins too. Hopefully, I won’t have to remove the brake pedals or master cylinders for any reason, but cotter pins are cheap (only $0.02 each at Aircraft Spruce), and I should probably go ahead and order a bunch extra just to have around anyway.
With the master cylinders installed, the rudder/brake pedal assemblies could be stored away. For now, they are stretched across the top of the parts crate. However, they’ll probably have to go back under the workbench since I would really like to get the remaining parts out of the crate soon and get rid of the crate in order to make some more space in the garage!
The last thing I did was to clean up the workbench a bit and then spray the rudder brace with some primer. Next work session, I’ll drill the forward fuselage floor stiffeners, complete some work in baggage area, and hopefully be ready to break the fuselage down for final prep.
1.5 Hours –
Tonight, I was able to get the rudder pedals installed in the fuselage. The position of the pedals is left up to the builder, with the only guidance on the plans being that the bearing blocks must be at least 3 inches aft of the firewall. However, the rudder pedal position can be made adjustable by drilling several sets of holes for attaching the bearing blocks to the F-719 skin stiffeners. Since I’m 6’2″, I decided to use the 3 inch minimum as my forward position. I also drilled two more sets holes. So, my final positions for the pedal bearing blocks are 3″, 4-1/16″ and 5-1/8″ aft of the firewall.
To drill the holes, I marked the F-719 side skin stiffeners at 3″ aft of the firewall and then removed them from the fuselage. I figured they would be much easier to drill on the workbench. I then clamped the bearing blocks in position, drilled both holes, and then repeated this for the two other positions. After all the holes were drilled, I reinstalled the F-719s in the fuselage and then set the rudder pedal assemblies in position.
Tomorrow, I’ll work on the F-6118, which hold the center bearing block, but it needs some modification and I didn’t feel like starting on it tonight.
1.7 Hours –
Tonight was another night where I wasn’t planning on working on the plane, but then decided to go into the garage to do one quick thing. Of course, this one quick thing always turns into several quick things, and, as well all know, several quick things take almost two hours to finish!
After doing some research I decided to go ahead and drill the second, lower, hole for attaching the F-796A forward fuel tank attach brackets. Other build sites were mixed about when to do this, and I couldn’t find it anywhere in the plans/instructions. However, after studying the plans, I did see that the outboard portion of the bracket gets bent slightly so it fits tightly against the bracket on the fuel tank. Seeing this, I figured I could drill the hole now, and bend the part later, if needed, to get the fit perfect.
Next, I went back to work on the rudder/brake pedals. I started by making the rudder pedal bearing blocks. These are made from pre-cut pieces of plastic that have already had the relief holes for the rudder pedals cut. All I had to do was drill two bolt holes in each block, and then cut the center block in half. Pretty easy, and I even remembered that plastic has to be drilled with a #10 drill, not the usual #12, for the proper fit on an AN3 bolt.
The last thing I did was to install the brake pedals on the rudder pedal assemblies. This was the easy task that I originally went into the garage to complete. For now, I just loosely tightened the castle nuts, and I didn’t install the cotter pins since I wasn’t sure if I would need to remove the pedals again. Finally, I pulled the brake master cylinders out from under the workbench and studied them a bit to figure out how to install them. However, actual install will have to wait for another day.
1.0 Hours –
I didn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to the plane tonight, but I figured I could quickly finish up the brake pedals. Last night, I made frequent trips into the garage to prime and paint the pedals. I wanted to do this prior to assembly, but I also realize they may get scuffed up and have to be redone later. However, since the paint was dry, I went ahead and riveted the parts together. All of the rivets could be squeezed, so it was pretty quick work.
After the brake pedals were assembled, I pulled the rudder pedals out from under the workbench where they have been stored since receiving the fuselage kit. Needless to say, they had a pretty good coating of dust! I also located the brake master cylinders and the rudder pedal bearing blocks. I then spent a little time studying the plans to try to figure out how everything was going to go together, but that’s where I left things for today.