My Wooden Airplane
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4/4/2011 - 4/18/2011

Assemble Fuselage

I now have a fuselage! I tried to glue all of the bulkheads at the same time, but it got too squirrely (kind of like herding worms), so I did them one at a time. (And that's why it's been so long since my last update!) I did run into a few problems, however. After gluing the horizontal cross members for attaching the fin and stabilizer, I tried them on to see how they'd fit. They were almost 2 inches too far aft! But I couldn't simply cut them out and move them forward 2 inches. They were glued where they were (just aft of the vertical pieces on the fuselage sides) so that I could put gussets on both sides of the fuselage longeron. Moving them forward by 2 inches would put them right in the middle of the fuselage side gussets. So, I ended up putting another horizontal cross member ahead of the fuselage side gusset, then filled the area between them with a solid block, and sandwiched the whole thing between two massive gussets. This will allow me to mount the fin and stabilizer where they need to go,
and still have them supported by gussets on both sides of the fuselage longerons.

In the pictures below, the cross member on the left is in the original location. It is located just aft of the vertical piece on the fuselage side so that it can have gussets on both sides of the longeron, and not interfere with the gusset already in place on the fuselage side. Since the fuselage side gusset is about 3 inches square, if I moved the cross member forward the correct amount for mounting the stabilizer, it would end up being right in the middle of the existing gusset. So to compensate for this, I added the cross member on the right, just ahead of the fuselage side gusset, and put a solid block between them. You can see how the bottom gusset spans both cross members, and also "hooks" around the longeron, giving support on both sides.

By the way, I think I figured out what went wrong. I had laid out all my dimensions while the fuselage side was still flat on the workbench. When it got pinched together at the tail, it actually shrunk by 2 inches! Simple geometry verified this. When you take something that is 144 inches long, then raise one end up 22 inches, the projected length is 1.69 inches shorter than when it was when it was flat. That's the exact amount that my tail surfaces were off by.

Total Time: 38.0 hrs.