First Construction Post

February 17, 2014 and the Cave is ready, so today I start the construction of the Panther.  The first thing I do is get all the hardware that came with the Tail Kit and store it in bins properly labeled.


Now on to the Builders Manual.  There was a newer version of it available on the Builders site, but I was unaware of it until I got to a page referencing photos that were not there.  So check for the latest version before you start.  On to the first component, the Right Elevator.  They say it is the easiest and you will soon find out why.  I started it this day and finished it the next.  Well, finished up to what I am going to call DDR for Deburr, Dimple, and Rivet.  I had to stop on this to wait for tools.


At first, I found it challenging to round up all the parts and identify then and relate them to the tasks in the manual and the plans.  So I laid them out on the table and began preparing them as stated in the manual.


Using my edge deburring tool, I made short work of this.  Then I tried using my new power hole deburring bit, but as you can see, I can not get in there.  I asked for a better way and Dan suggested the Burr Away.  These are about $80 each and Dan suggested ordering it from ENCO.  Their web site is and the part is  619-1310, made by Cogsdill and the price was $49.67.  So, I am waiting for that to arrive.  Now to start adding hinges.  This is the Elevator hinge.  This is how I set up the spacing for punching and drilling.


Here is my first component with the hinge installed.  Then to updrill to #30 and cleco again.  Hands and fingers are starting to cramp.  I hope that power cleco gun arrives soon.


So, on to the Left Elevater, you know, the one that has the trim tab on it.  Adding another challenge.  First, I had a little difficulty getting the end rib aligned.  Using the edge deburring tool to catch the part by the small hole in the end, I was able to get it in the right location for drilling.  The next challenge was how to get to the hinge for the trim.  I had to remove the end rib and make this little tool out of wood to give support to the hinge assembly for drilling as shown below.


So, now both the R and L elevators are ready for DDR and time to move on to the rudder.


I did not follow the procedure in the manual or the one on Tony’s site, because I just did not understand what they were trying to tell me.  I did know that the rib had to fit snug to the back of the rudder, so figured that if I got it in place, pressed down and back, I could get the rivets into the back side of the rudder and rib.  That worked OK, but I don’t recommend it as I am sure there is something wrong with that process that I will find out later in this project.  I then aligned the front of the rib and cleco clamped it into place while I drilled and clecoed the rest.  From there is was pretty much the same as the elevator, with the exception of installing the stiffeners.  Oh, this one is not to DDR yet, because I messed up the hinge for the trim and borrowed some from the rudder, so am now waiting on a replacement hinge from Aircraft Spruce (AS).

February 28 and I have the new hinge.  These are some of the tools that I will be using.  I now have a new one.  It is the black one and will be saving my hand and fingers from all the cleco pulls.  It is a pneumatic cleco gun.  So, I got a 3 port manifold from Avery along with some 12′ light air hose so I would not have to change the air supply each time I needed a different tool.  20140228_SM_01This shows the jigging block that was sent in my kit.  In the past, this was made form a piece of plywood.  It is only about 1/4″ thick, so was not very stable sitting on the 2X4 support.  I added a wad of hot glue all along the bottom edge, pressed it down to the wood, then ran a bunch more along the edge, so it would be secure to the support, which I have clamped to the bench.  This worked very well and kept the component locked in place while I got it ready for DDR.  There will be a separate post on DDR because I had a lot of questions and want to document what I did in a separate post.  20140228_SM_02Riveting in the hinge and then finished for the day.20140228_SM_0520140228_SM_04








Jumping back to February 24, 2014 and I am starting the Horizontal Stabilizer (HT).  When I read that I had to round out the lower edge of the spar stiffener, I just about flipped out, thinking that I had no way to do that.  Then I spent time studying Tony’s pictures and narrative and was convinced that I could do it.  I started with the belt sander, but that did not move along very quickly.  The other option was the vixen file and it went much better.


Then after using the file, I took a piece of 80 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the edges created by the file.  Now you can see that it fits inside the aft spar, perfectly.

20140224SM_16_StreightEdgeAlignHTSpar 20140224SM_17_HTSparReadyForDDT

The BM says to put a straight edge on it to be sure that it is straight as you assemble the stiffener to the spar parts.  The spar sections butt together in the center of the stiffener.  Now, I am asking myself, with all these holes drilled and clecoed into that stout stiffener, if the holes are in the right place, it has to be straight, and if they are not, the only thing I can do, is complain and you know how much good that would do me.

So, not having the #30 120 degree counter sink, I have to put the spars up until that bit arrives.  I am thinking that I am done for the day, but then I see the VT standing up on the other bench, saying, “what about me”.  Well, OK.  I did get it started, but only worked on the spars.  I will finish this after getting back to the rudder and horizontal stabilizer ((HT).