HP-24 Project

Update 6 October 2003: Bob and Doug's excellent adventure

Well, we're back. The drive to the Riverside headquarters of Flying Foam was long, but it went fine. All of the foam fit inside Doug's van, even though some extras and packing material pushed the load up to about 120 ft^3.

The visit with Bob Mellen was very interesting. He showed us his fine CNC hotwire machine, and we even got to watch him use it cut a new set of elevator cores to replace the ones I had destroyed a few days before. The precision cores from Flying Foam have made this project very, very much easier than it would otherwise have been. I can strongly recommend them.

By the time we arrived in Riverside, we'd had enough of the L.A. basin for a while, so after loading the foam we made our escape up through Palmdale and Mojave. In Tehachapi we stopped at Precomtec R&D, and I showed Doug the finished forward fuselage and canopy transparency. We also saw the molds for some composite wing extensions that are going together in the same shop. I sure am glad I'm working with a shop where they know all the tricks and gotchas to composite wing molding - it would take me a long time to figure it out on my own.

One other fun aspect of the trip is that I got to see that San Dimas is not just a mythical place invented for the Bill and Ted movies that my daughters like so much. It's a real place, and I totally got to drive through it. No way? Way! and it was non, non, non non, non heinous!

On Sunday, Doug and I finished assembling the side trusses for the 26-foot long wing assembly table, and got the trusses bridged together and put up on wheels. In order to fit into my shop, the table has to straddle the wing spar mold, so it was a bit of a challenge. But we got it to the stage where all that's necessary is to apply the 38" wide particle board table top, and when it rolled into the shop it cleared the spar mold with inches to spare.

Next weekend, I'll try to get to the lumber store and get the material for the table top, so I can finish the table and get on with assembling the wing plug cores.

I think that we'll be making the wing plugs in 12-foot sections, and that the inboard and outboard sections will have no structural connection to each other. That will make it easier to make, handle, and transport the cores. When it's time to make the molds, we'll jig the inboard and outboard together on the table, putty up the seam between them, and then lay up the mold.

This morning, I realized that I'd been suffering from a protracted brain fart on the fin-to-fuselage fillet. I've been casting around for what to use to squeegee in a consistent 2-3/8" radius of bondo so that I can sand down to a 2-1/4" radius for the last Bondo fills. I'd resigned myself to cutting a bunch of acrylic disks on the lathe. And then this morning I arrive at my desk and finally finally notice the huge pile of defective CDs I'd mis-burned in the last half year or so. Problem solved! And now I know how to use that "free" thousand hours of America On Hold...

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page updated 6 October 2003 all text and graphics copyright (c) 2003 HP Aircraft, LLC