66 hours of work for this stage.
For the uninformed....all the bits at the back!
This is my version of how the commercial guys do the large diameter folds used on the airfoil leading edges. In the factory they use a large sheet of heavy plastic that is laid over the aluminium sheet which then uses a high tech vacuum pump.....a vacuum cleaner from the op shop! How ever I didn't have a large sheet of plastic, but I did have a cupboard full of plastic shopping bags that I thought would work just as good. I simply taped the bags over the open ends of the aluminium sheet with electrical tape, this was after I had inserted a suitable diameter pipe into the leading edge so as to form the right size radius and sealed the end of the vacuum cleaner hose where it wouldn't jam up. The process takes about 3 seconds from the time you turn on the vacuum cleaner to when the sheet of aluminium is pressed flat onto the bench with a beautiful curve. Its so simple and very cool to something that seems difficult but is not.
These are the completed skins. As you can see, I cut them out and drilled the holes after folding. It is certainly easier to cut out and drill first but I was scared that if I allowed the bending die to move, or I just stuffed up I would end up with a larger scrap pile. I just couldn't face it, it does make it harder to measure out all the holes though.
This is showing me just starting to join the various bits and pieces together.
Here are the completed tail plane spars being assembled with the ribs. In the kit everything is pre drilled which I imagine would make this step take about 5 minutes to clecoe together. However, us crazy scratch builders have to carefully lay it all out, measuring a few hundred holes......
.....so that when you get to this step, a small quiet prayer to the aviation gods and voila! It all lines up. A quiet cup of coffee is always required when it all lines up, rivet holes line up with ribs and the whole thing is square and flat. It is a bloody good feeling of accomplishment when it all works.