Chapter 19/22/23 – More on wing lights

This blog post covers yesterday and today.  I had some personal stuff to do as well as a number of build related phone calls and research to do.

I started off the day with a conversation with GRT Avionics regarding compression fitting EGT probes to ensure that if I needed to go that route I could integrate the ones they sell in with my current set of probes.  As I thought, I can with no issues.  I also asked them how I would go about actually and specifically mounting their compression fitting EGT probes to my pipes: the bottom line is that I would need to acquire/provide a 1/8-NPT female threaded bung/fitting to then weld onto the pipe to secure the compression fitting EGT probe into.

I also asked Nick Ugolini what thickness of aluminum he used for the wing light mounting plate, to which he replied that it was very thin, about 0.015″ thick… obviously to save weight but also since there is no major stress on the mounting plate from these thin, lighter-weight light assemblies.

I was out and about picking up some hardware to test out on these light assembly brackets when I got Nick’s above reply.  I then pondered on it more as I ran my errands —including picking up the light lens plexiglass/acrylic at Lowe’s (they only had 0.080″, so I’m going to try Home Depot and/or some other places within the next day or two for some thinner 0.065″ plexiglass)— when it occurred to me that I might just press forward with using ABS plastic for the lens light mounting plates/brackets.  Hmmmm?

When I got home I started doing research on the best ways to heat and form plexiglass, as well as brushing up on my Fusion 360 CAD modeling kung-fu skills in creating hexagon grids for what my current mentally-pictured bracket looked like.

Now, Fusion 360 is obviously a powerful CAD/CAM/modeling program, but I equate it to a lot of other technical skills… very perishable.  If you don’t do it often your skills definitely atrophy.  Moreover, seemingly simple tasks like adding a side grid of hexagons shouldn’t be that difficult, but it took me deconstructing the info in about a half dozen videos and then over 2 actual hours to hamfist my way through.  But I figured it was another good tool to have in my CAD toolbox, so I “wasted” a few hours in figuring it all out.  Here’s the result after a nearly 3 hour print:

I put 0.6″ deep sides on the wing light mounting plate to reinforce the plate.  I guess now it’s more like a “bracket.”  Whatever you want to call the darn thing.  The hex grid is to ensure cooling air is free and unhindered to the light cooling fins, as well as to significantly lighten up the bracket of course.

And here’s a side shot of the hex grids on the new version of the wing light mounting bracket.  My plan is to make up a final version of this bracket and then machine an aluminum mounting plate to see if there is any significant weight difference, and then press forward from there.

If you’re wondering, Nick already did the heavy lifting on the heat generated by these lights inside the small leading edge wing pocket by doing a multi-hour long burn-in session with the light in the wing pocket and the lens taped in place.  He noted with the LEDs it was a bit warm, but nowhere close to any issue with high heat.

I also queried Nick on the steps he used to heat, mold and create the acrylic lenses.  He replied that it had been so long ago that I should ask Chrissi and Randi (AKA “The Cozy Girrrls”) about it since they just did this fairly recently.  So I did.  That kicked off about a 1.5 hour long phone call with Randi, with no appreciable new Intel in hand by the end of the call… although it was great catching up and discussing all things Long-EZ!

Finally, I’ll note that I had a quick discussion with my contact regarding the inner engine baffle forms, and I’m happy to report that they are being shipped to me (I have the tracking #!) and I should have them Saturday.

Now, that being said… for all you foreigners (ha!) this week is our American holiday, Thanksgiving.  Between that, a 2-day out of town trip and an airshow/dinner evening out, I’ll have quite the social calendar going on over the next 4-5 days.  I do plan, however, on getting what I can done on this bird when I can during that timeframe.

Pressing forward!

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