Fuselage Longerons Complete

I started on the fuse side skins sections of the plans today with the goal of completing the fuselage longerons.

This was a step that I wasn’t looking forward to, given some of the posts on the VAF forums. It turned out that the task was quite enjoyable, albeit slow.

I triple-checked everything and took my time making the bends and everything came out great. I continue to be blown away by how perfectly all of the parts line up throughout the assembly.

I started out by laying the longeron angles in their respective positions and carefully marked the orientation of each part. The left and right forward fuselage longerons differ because of the baggage compartment door. I then cut them to size on the band saw and cleaned up the ends to the precise size required.

I marked the aft fuselage longerons and bent both together. I lined the vise with the cutoffs.

I went very slowly with the bends to avoid over bending. I ended up bending them mostly by hand with a few taps from the rubber mallet.

After a bit of finessing, I got both aft longerons aligned nicely with the template.

I then clamped the the template into place to match drill the holes. A section of holes (for the baggage door) are skipped in the right longeron.

I match drilled the holes using the drill press to keep things nice and straight.

Two longerons complete, two to go.

I cut the forward longerons to size carefully and then made the necessary markings.

I then bent each longeron individually in the vise. This took a bit of time, especially as they wanted to bend in the other axis as noted in them plans. It took several hours but I eventually had both of them matching the template almost perfectly.

As with the aft longerons, I clamped the template into place on each longeron and match drilled the holes using the drill press.

The final step was to impart a 2 degree twist at the ends of the longerons.

After completing that step, I deburred them and set them into place in the fuselage. Everything fit beautifully and the holes matched perfectly with the mid cabin decks.

The fuselage structure is rapidly taking shape. I’ll have to build a fuselage cart soon to get my worktables back.