The way of ‘plumbing projects’

The last two days were somewhat frustrating in the workshop, but ended with getting my mojo back. I hate household plumbing projects because, for me, they typically go something like this. 

Make a plan. Go to the store to pick up parts. Start disassembly/modification. Clean up. Start reassembly/fabrication/installation.  Realize you don’t have parts you need for some unforeseen contingency or lack of prior proper planning. Go to the store. Get one step further. Need another part. Go to the store. Get two steps further. Need another part. Go to the store. Go two steps backward. Need another part. By this time the store is closed. Curse. The only toilet is out of service, so put it back to the way it was before you started. Move on to a different project, make a new improved plan for the plumbing project. Try again tomorrow. 

And so it went the last two days with trying to do fuel and oil plumbing. I thought that I had planned things out well. That I had the parts  and materials required to finish the oil cooler plumbing and fuel supply plumbing to the fuel distribution block. I even ordered extra fittings and materials for contingencies. No such luck. Even the local supplier who has ‘everything’ couldn’t help out. 

I spent a lot of time in catalogs and online locating the proper items. I am away from the shop so much I try to do this when I’m traveling so that I can be fabricating, assembling, and installing when I’m home. Turns out that for these items you really have to start routing things and making hoses to know what you need. 

Anyway, one thing that got done was deciding on the routing of the fuel injector lines from the distribution block to the nozzles. I used welding rod and bent up a ‘line.’ I referenced the installation manual to ensure that the bends coming off the nozzle were the proper radius and distance from the nozzle. Then I could simply measure my ‘line’ to order them from AirFlow Performance. 


The thing that got my mojo back was the throttle and mixture cables. They arrived from Metro Custom Cables. Which incidentally is an awesome supplier. I called them in the afternoon last week, and before the day was out I had an email saying that my custom length cables were already shipping. The cables are very high quality and operate smoothly. I had to drill out the mounting bracket to the final size to mount them. 


So far, so good. The cables appear to be in the proper location and a reasonable distance, and a reasonable angle from the control arms on the servo.  The cables need an extension for the rod end bearing to reach the control arm. So it was time to press the lathe into service. I always enjoy machine tool jobs. This is a simple one, just a rod that is drilled and tapped 10×32 on each end. 


Center drill, drill, tap, cut to length, flip, center drill, drill, tap, clean, done! 


No trips to the store, no catalog! I had everything required in the shop, even the rod ends and hardware. The planning worked out perfectly. And I get to got to go to the other end of the cable and actuate the mixture. 🙂 Repeat the process for a shorter linkage for the throttle and we are in business. Both control arms cable actuated. 


When you set out to get something done, like the plumbing, and get thwarted by Murphy it can be frustrating. But something so simple as making two drilled and tapped cylinders got my mojo back. Now to finish routing the cables and hook up the other end to the controls in the cockpit. (When I get back from work travel, of course.) That will add a new dimension to sitting in the cockpit and making airplane noises. 

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