Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Xmas time

Yes it,s that time of year again where thoughts turn to more relaxed tasks like Bbq,s pressies and alcahol consumption...Maybe not in that order..
Firstly I would thank the MAAF,Army History Unit,Oakey Army base personel,our loveable WO,s,Board Members,volunteers and well wishers for putting up with us for another year.Personally has been an up and down affair for progress but we have made forward steps.We all forget the huge task we are undertaking sometimes,the hours spent making one part or tooling,the endless discussions on how is the best way to make something.Every small part is a challenge but things are getting easier.
Up to the end we were in the process of skinning one side of the cockpit section.It is now over in the main museum down in the corner with two seats,one an early metal seat and the second a plastic seat on loan to us from Sir Bill.Our big news is the push to get our replica fibreglass wings from England.These have been purchased to hasten up the build time and to give us a more accurate understanding of the wing skins.The condition is fantastic and detail would make any model maker envious.A plan of attack is underway to get them tidied up and ready for display..More next year...
From moi and the Spitty Crew,MAAF,Army Aviation centre and anyone else who has helped..A Merry Xmas to you all and a safe holiday period where ever you may go..

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Photo essay

Work is continuing on the seat with Nathan drilling off and rivetting up the bottom stiffeners.With the thin material of the seat the countersunk rivets are dimpled into the sheet.Also the seat frames are being drilled off as the parts slowly come together to be assembled.The tropical "Lunchbox" is continued with all edges cleaned up and polished.With the paint tin out decided to restore the original radio tray we have been loaned.It has been bead blasted and now in it,s undercoat.Also gave me a chance to take some detailed pics to share with you of the lord mounts,latches and pins etc.Also the bolt detail with centrepopped nut locking.Anyway enjoy the pics..

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Well the 2010 MAAF Flyin has come and gone..Thank you to all that came and said hello..
Back in the hangar now with the seat progressing well for a first attempt.Getting wire edging done on such a compound shape has proved challenging.
also with the seat underway I guess it would be an idea to start getting the framework together for it.Pics show the main seat frame members in primer.
Also a new volunteer started so got him making the stowage for the Tropical survival rations etc.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sittn down

A few pics of the WIP seat assembly that we are attempting.Things have been hectic as I have been away with work a fair bit so spending time banging out Spit parts have been a challenge.The projecte missed out on attending Watts Bridge at the last minute but I drove up for an amazing event on my own.Anyway here are the good bits..

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Half a day

Never enough time to finish anything..Continuing on from last week is the priming and placing of the lower firewall gussets.Drilled off the two coaming angles and placed on the gunsight mount..The seat assembly is progressing with the sides being formed up.First is the bump to hold the harness buckle.
Off for a couple of weeks due to work but things are progressing..

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Back to basics

Just one of those days where you just want to sit down and bash metal.All this high tech stuff with CAD,Waterjet cutting etc is great but every once in a while you just want to take things back to basics.
Nathan is continuing on the seat assembly with the side pieces cut out and tooling made up to form the side relief.A test piece was hammered up on a piece of scrap to try the technique and also a strip bent up to make sure the seat pan will bend up ok.Looking promising so far...
With only a couple guys there today gave me a chance to get on and make up the firewall lower gussets that are mainly seen on the later series Spitfires.The cockpit section looks more like a MkVIII than a MkV with F8 and F11 so a MkVIII engine frame is being restored for it to go out on displays.
Back to basics I could have drawn the gusset up in CAD,got it waterjet cut then drilled off and cleaned up in two shakes of a dogs tail.But seeing we had a template already made and sitting in our templates drawer I decided to do it all by hand.Using the template I drew 4 copies onto the sheet,then using the guillo and tinsnips cut them out to a rough shape.The holes where centre popped and drilled with a Number 40 drill bit.The "blanks" were skin pinned together and drilled off,including all the radius holes etc.The blanks were seperated and the cutout removed using a shap chisel and vice as a cutting edge.Yes can imagine the woodworkers howling in disgust using a woodchisel on metal but we have a chisel special for the job and it was a Woodworking teacher who showed us the technique :)
With the gussets packed back together the cutout is cleaned up with a "file",yes the metal rods with the ridges,not the Computer thing that goes into folders,errr  hangon.....Thats not the sheetmetal folding machine...ohhh stuff it,you know what I,m talking about...Actually brings back memories of file terminollagy...The call of "OK WHERE'S THE FLAT BASTARD" usually gets a reply of "WHO YOU CALLING A  FAT BASTARD!!!!!!"
Anyway after file finishing and cleaning up the gussets are fitted up to the firewall and drilled off,skinpinning in place (The sheetmetal workers best friend).Then all to do is remove,clean up holes and prime gussets,ready to be riveted together...next week....maybe.....Anyway bored yet so here are the pics...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Is it spring time yet?

Another warmish today after a Saturday of wet stuff.
Progress is coming along well on all fronts with the seat developments being worked out off the MkI drawing.Going to be a great achievement with its wire beaded edging.
Also on the go is the display cockpit with the coaming angle and ribs being made and positioned.The MkVIII engine frame continues to undo itself,with a bit of help from Mick the sheety.Also the cutaway Merlins new prop cover continues to be assembled and looking good.Thanks to all the guys and gals who continue to support and make sure bits keep getting made..Anyway onto the pics...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend over already?

Back to work tomorrow..Damn,why can,t we have 3 day weekends :(
A good day as we reorganised a bit and moving forward.Nathan is continuing on his tinbashery skills by making the port side cockpit coaming angle.Mick our new sheety has started doing a pull apart of our MkVIII engine frame to do a corrosion assesment on it,s internals.This will be rebuilt as a static to go on our display cockpit but want to arrest the corrosion and save it for future generations of spitfires.
I,ve sneaked back onto the jig where I have started working out where F19 will sit as being the tail seperation point it is most critical to be accurate.Problem is it doesn,t sit at 90 up from the datum line but layed back several degrees off square.The top and bottom points have to be spot on for assembly or the tail wont fit.More working out needed.
Geoff has been working tirelessly on the cutaway Merlins prop cover and should be back doing normal work soon.Got a nice sheetmetal job all lined up for him :)Enjoy the piccies..

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Skinned alive

A busy day today.Guys were great getting motivated and learning all about the gentle art of skinning an aircraft.Problem is keeping the frames square and in line.Unless you want a line of rivets that looks like a worm down the aircraft.Trick I found was to draw the rivet centrelines on the skin to match up with the frames flange rivet centrelines.Just line up the lines through the holes and drill,skin pin and repeat.
another job we were umming and ahhing about was the cockpit coaming angle that goes around the windscreen opening.After looking at factory drawings and mucking around with 3d designs we bit the bullet and worked it out by hand.The shape is cut out to the s shape and the flanges hammerformed.The stretchers,shrinkers were then used to match the shape up under the coaming skin.Just hope the windscreen matches ..Eeek...
Well next weekend is QAM Open Cockpit weekend up at Caloundra so we will have a display up there.Not sure if I will be due to work but if you see the crew there say hello.We do have some nice stuff for sale...