Chapter 22 – Lightening the Load!

I started the day off by finalizing and pulling the trigger on both a Mouser order and a quick ACS order (it appears that someone –ha!– forgot to order some 22 AWG shielded wire…).

I then got to work on the Triparagon vertical plate.  I stripped off the cross plate, diagonal support struts and the Schottky diode/heat sink and got to work for the last and final serious round of lightening holes.  The starting weigh-in this round for the Triparagon vertical plate, with the grommets and cross shelf brackets including 6 x K1000-3 nutplates, was 0.82 lbs.  My goal was to get the weight down by another 0.2 lbs.

After drilling a 1″ lightening hole and 10 each 5/8″ holes, it weighed in at 0.78 lbs.  At this point it was really time to get work.  As you can see, I Swiss cheesed this thing like no tomorrow to drive the weight down to its possible lowest, without sacrificing strength.  I used an 11/32″  (0.344″) drill bit to get all the in-between spots that I could while, again, still leaving enough meat on the bone for this thing to be as strong as it was before.  It is an interesting concept that you can remove so much material, but when I flex it, it feels as strong as when it was a solid panel.

Making Swiss Cheese!

After squeezing in as many 11/32″ holes as I could (I have about 3-4 more places I can get with a slightly smaller bit), and drilling 3/16″ lightening holes on the upper arms of the cross shelf mounting brackets, I’m sitting at 0.68 lbs. for these components.  Obviously, this isn’t quite as low as my 0.62 pound mark, but I’ve squeezed just about all the weight out of this thing that I reasonably can.

When I weighed the entire Triparagon assembly as a whole, it weighed in at 1.18 lbs, including hardware.  Since I have just a handful of lightening holes to drill, if I add in the weight of the aircraft-side mounting tabs and the hardware, I’m right around, or just a hair over, 1.2 lbs.  My initial goal was a pound or less for the entire Triparagon’s added total weight, so an extra 3.2 ounces ain’t bad… I can definitely live with that.

Thus, as Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”  Clearly I didn’t reach my ‘perfect’ requirement, but I got pretty close.  In putting in a lot of effort to get as much weight off these components as possible, I feel like I’ve definitely achieved excellence in that regard.

Tomorrow I’ll spend a few hours chamfering the myriad of lightening holes I drilled today. I’ll then rivet the cross shelf mounting brackets in place, drill lightening holes in between the rivet locations and call the Triparagon build complete!


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