Chapter 23 – Final pipe shape?

I had a lot going on starting out today, and most of it wasn’t in the shop until mid-afternoon rolled around.  Late last night and first thing today, I reviewed my initial plans for pressure testing the fuel tanks for leaks.  No, I haven’t done that yet and before I move into adding more glass and micro to the tanks, I want the leak tests completed.

I’ll remind everyone that between my old hangar getting hit by a tornado, and thus destroying a lot of my historical note binders with water and wind, combined with Windows 7 no longer being supported so my instant access to One-Notes ended (I can go through a painful, convoluted process to get them… and some I’ve retrieved).  After these two events, my “instant info” access & retrieval was hampered greatly.

I note the above to explain why I spent a good half hour going through all my emails in performing some engine baffle data collection and consolidating pics, etc. into a PowerPoint presentation.  Yep, engine baffles are looming on the horizon!

In addition… since I haven’t capped the end of my wings or made provisions to mount the nav/strobe lights yet, I did a bit of the same data collection thing.  Only this time reviewing pics online and my own site in a somewhat impromptu design review.  I had a number of pics of my buddy Marco’s wingtips for his bird JT, but didn’t have any I could find for Mike Beasley’s “Scooter”… I texted Mike and thankfully he was at his hangar so within short order I had over a half dozen pics of his wing tip/nav light/winglet interface.  I’ll note I also did a good once over of Dave Berenholtz’s site as well, and hit up fellow builder Brian Ashton in Alaska for what he had for his configuration.

I then got out to the shop.

The first thing I did was set up my welding station: got the TIG welder all set up and plugged in, and then test welded some scraps of this 321 stainless steel pipe.  As per Clinton at Custom Aircraft Parts, 321 SS requires ER347 filler rod and I don’t have any on hand… nor does any welding shop in Eastern Carolina! (actually within an hour of me…).  Moreover, the cost of getting it shipped to me here within the next week wouldn’t be worth the money (not even Amazon has a vendor that can ship it within 2-3 days).

This 347 welding rod is important since my test runs at tack welding such thin-walled pipe was not working and serving only to melt the edges of the pipe segments being joined, no matter what amp setting I was using.

Thus I decided that I would simply mark the pipe configurations and take all the pieces to James and have him weld them up from individual pieces.

With my 321 stainless steel exhaust pipe welding stint cut tragically short, I proceeded to pick up where I left off last night in shaping the intersection of the new straight segment on the left inboard pipe.  After the initial slant cut to interface it with the 90° elbow of the slip joint mount tube, I realized that my 2.2″ extension piece of pipe was just a hair short and wasn’t going to pass muster.

I grabbed the outboard pipe, marked off 2.75″ inches (it came out to 2.7″ after cutting), taped the cut line and trimmed it down.

I then added the 2.7″ extension to the inboard pipe and prepped it for shaping to intersect (again) the 90° elbow of the slip joint mount tube.  It was early evening at this point and I had told Jess, who unexpectedly had the evening off, that we could go out for a bit and enjoy a “cool” mid-80’s (vs the recent mid-90s) evening.  Thus again, this task will be continued tomorrow.

I’ll add that I forgot to post this yesterday: the newly arrived brass 1/2-NPT 45° street elbow for the bottom engine sump oil heat OUT hose… to replace the current steel 90° one that is just way too big and reeking havoc with its zero clearance with the SCEET tubing.  Just as with the sniffle valve, I’m hoping a switch to a 45° street elbow will solve my clearance issues.

Again, I am seriously hoping and cautiously optimistic that my exhaust pipe clearance issues will be resolved soon!

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