To paint or not to paint

Science will help me know how I should prevent rust on steel bits inside the plane that no one will see? Here’s my experiment.

Here’s one issue that I hadn’t considered until it came up on a Zenith discussion group: Do I need to paint steel parts that no one will see, like push-pull tubes for flight controls? Surely bare steel will rust, but do I need to go to town on paint or powder coat, or will a simpler solution work?

Three pieces of steel, hanging from a wooden fence.
Painted, left; WD-40, center; control, right.

I’m kind of science-y, so set up an experiment today. I cleaned up three pieces of hot-rolled welder’s stock, painted one with Rust-Oleum enamel, coated one with WD-40 Specialist Corrosion Inhibitor, and left the control piece untreated. They’re hanging on the fence, and we’ll to see over time how the different treatments hold up.

My money’s on WD-40. But no wagering, please.

Traveling back in machine-shop time

The basics-of-machining class ended today, and I had a chance to do some work on a lathe. Renton Tech has a lot of equipment that dates back to its start as a training center for Boeing’s B-29 plant in Renton. The lathe I worked on was some of that gear.

American Pacemaker
Logo

I was learning how to handle a four-jaw chuck, which is kind of a pain. Nonetheless, I was able to get my work dialed in within a tolerance of a tenth, or .0001″. Not that I’m slick or anything, but that was 10 times more accurate than the work you would do with this lathe. It’s pretty amazing to see the degree of accuracy that is possible with tools from 80 years ago.

There’s been no new progress since completing the first take at a rudder and getting empennage parts delivered. Now that I’ve wrapped up machinist training it’s time to focus on nailing the checkride and making a few changes in the garage to make room for airplane stuff.

The un-checkride

I had the last lesson before the checkride today, and the instructor and I agreed that I’m not there yet. It’s not that the maneuvers elude me — flying the plane is not an issue — it’s assembling the specific maneuvers within reasonably tight tolerances with a consistency that remains a bit of a pickle.

I’ve scheduled three lessons before the next opportunity for the checkride, and will be working like mad to align my abilities to match the checklist. I never had confidence that I was prepared for Tuesday’s test, but kept working toward that as a goal, so I’m not disappointed. Lindy willing these two (no, three) tactics will help me get there by the end of the month:

1) Fully utilizing the checklist
2) Talking through each step in the checklist
3) Using the checklist

Perhaps there will be more promising news this week on the assembling-the-rudder front.

… just in case you have missed it in the past …

(Added: Discussion on Facebook)

Attention Oshkosh family

Wouldn’t it look great pulling into Camp Scholler in this bad boy?

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