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It was back in June that I finally finished the wing spar. However there were numerous little details I found myself having to work through before I was able to finally start laying out the wing skins. While I wanted to have both wings setup together, even with the size of shop I have there just was not quite enough space to have both wings plus an additional table to work on the skins. The first wing I will work on is the left side.
One issue I had to figure out was how was I going to safely handle moving 12 feet of wing skin between the work bench and the wing. I do not consider rolling and unrolling the skin a good idea because you get into bending the skin in two directions at the same time when the skin is resting on curved ribs. I do not consider it practical to try to hunt a helper down to move the skin either.
The solution, which is still a work in progress is the spider looking assembly in the picture below.
It is a vacuum lifting frame so I can lift the skin all at once. I have already successfully picked up the skin, but I have not tried to place it on the wing yet. I am waiting for some parts so I can construct a temporary gantry to shuttle the skin to the wing and back. It looks a little spindly, but it does a good job of supporting the skin. When I get this finalized, I will do a more detailed post on this.
For a few little tips that others might find useful
1. Flexible clamps- I have seen these little fricton arm camera holders with a mount for a camera one end and a gripping clamp on the other. I had wonder what would happen if I put clamps on both ends. For the me, the results have worked spectacularly well. The first image is holding the spar tip because it does not really have any support and likes to flop around. The second pic is holding a 2 meter stick so I can verify rivet line locations for the ribs. I have also used the clamps to hold electrical connectors and cables while soldering them.
2. The second little tip, which may seem mundane, is how do I deal with keeping tools from getting scattered all around when I am working. All too often I will lay tools down that are actively being used, only to waste a bunch of time trying to find them again. I have found that AkroMills stacking bins work quite well for having a convenient place to put tools and then quickly find them again. It also works nicely when you are done working for the day, but do not want to put all the tools away when you know you will be dragging them back out the next day. The larger bins work well for tools and the smaller bins work well for holding smaller items like clecos and rivets.