Sunday, June 14, 2020

Pushing Tin

 I had a very satisfying day on the kit today. Not only did I get the pedal box bracket finally mounted, but I also managed to make a lot of progress on getting sheet metal installed for the forward firewall.

The forward firewall is seven pieces of aluminum, all in shapes and sizes, that go together to form the barrier between the cabin and the area where the radiator lives. The build manual makes it sound like you are starting out easy, just doing the left half, but several of the pieces overlap, and they all depend on each other for positioning and fixing, so it turns into installing them all before you can install any of them.

At left is a picture of the entire firewall mocked up and just held in with clamps, but I actually did get three  pieces of the driver's side ready for mounting, and about halfway through the fourth.
 This bit is the inboard strip of the driver's side - you can see some holes in it that have to line up with matching holes in the pedal box bracket.

It's not really visible here, but every hole has to be thought through pretty carefully - not only do the pieces mesh with each other, but it's also important to consider tool clearance in planning - can I get a drill in that spot? Can I get a rivet tool in that spot?

For example, where this panel sits next to the pedal box bracket, I wanted to put a couple of rivets about 1/4" from the edge - but my rivet tool needs 1/2" of space to fit in there - and moving them would make the rivets fall outside of the tube I wanted to connect to. Overall, I ended up skipping a half-dozen holes or so. Would have been more except for a low-profile right angle drill I have.
And this is the piece that started the series of Catch-22s. it gets overlapped on both sides, so it's important to relate all the pieces to each other before drilling any holes.

But it's all coming together very well. Tomorrow or Tuesday, I should be able to pull rivets on the driver's side firewall.

The passenger side is a lot simpler.

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