Sunday, March 23, 2008


I only want to accomplish one more thing before I die: get a good night's sleep.

It seems like years since I had one of those "out like a light all night" sleeps, probably because it has been years. Back in the '90s, one of the reasons I ended up taking an every-day second job delivering newspapers is because I'd wake up around 3:30-4 every morning no matter what I tried. I figured as long as I'm not going to sleep, I might as well get up and accomplish something.

I wonder if my RV airplane-building project is also part of the reason I don't sleep well. I'm writing this after a night of tossing and turning, thinking about a particular RV component, and not being able to get a Bruce Springsteen song out of my head (I listen to Springsteen on my iPod while I'm building).

Yesterday I started the process of attaching the engine mount to the firewall/fuselage. It's one of those pat-your-head-rub-your-belly processes because there appears to be no way to clamp the contraption to the firewall so you can drill the 3/8" holes that are required.

There are four pre-drilled holes on the firewall, but these need to be drilled through angle and steel gussets. I made a mistake by drilling all four out to a #12 (3/16") size and then realized while in one of my non-deep-REM moments that it was unlikely the 3/8" holes in the engine mount would center perfectly behind the 3/16" holes in the firewall.

"What would happen," I thought to myself as I tried to convince myself I was playing a hockey game (my best dreams come when I'm back playing hockey; don't ask me why). If they're off-center, how can I drill to full size without having the large bit wander into the off-center hole? How would I ever replace the entire firewall and components? Darn it, I should've just clamped it to the firewall and drilled it through the engine mount. I wonder how I would clamp it to the firewall, though?

This went on for hours until I finally gave up around 7, had some coffee, and headed out to the hangar to see if I had a problem. The answer? Maybe, but probably not. The center of the holes don't line up perfectly, but probably close enough that a large drill bit (ordered from Avery along with a 3/8" reamer) would be able to compensate.

Unclear, however, is how I can stabilize the darn thing on the firewall to drill anything? I tried placing a 2 x 4 across the front of the mount, and then used a pipe clamp to secure it to the rudder pedals, but that keeps it from falling off, but not secure enough to keep it from shifting.

I checked a few Web sites and found various solutions, including getting long 3/16" bolts and washers and tightening it down (guaranteed to keep it tight, but possibly making for an inaccurate hole, imho).

So I'm still not sure exactly how I'll proceed with this stuff. I guess I'll just have to sleep on it.

1 comment:

  1. FWIW, I have my doctor prescribe me a handful of generic Ambien every six months when I go in for my cholestoral check, aka blood letting. With only a few to last a full half year, I figure I'm not in any danger of becoming dependent on them, but on the nights that I just know I'm going to be too wired to sleep, I'll spend one of my hoard. I sleep like a log. I call them my eight-dot-zero pills: exactly eight hours of great sleep, and I pop wide awake and totally refreshed.

    I know this sounds like "Better Living Through Chemistry," but... well, it works.