24 Sept 04 - Starting work on the Duckworks Landing Lights

Measuring the template on the wing - it's nice to have a flexible measuring tape for this rather than beat the tar out of the wing with a metal tape measure.
Outline drawn on the wing - this is the right wing, and it's upside down.
Here we are after the first cut with the die grinder. That actually is a little closer than is ideal, but it should be okay.

The general process here is to make a rough cut with a die grinder or some sort of similar tool. Because these deform the skin somewhat, it's a good idea to not get to close to the edge. Hence, even after this step, there's still lots of cleanup work to be done. The general process that we followed was

  • Cut it with the die grinder for a rough cut.
  • Cut it with snips - you can get pretty close with these.
  • Use various and sundry files to get everything smooth and the corners the right shape.
  • Scotchbrite stuff to clean it up and deburr it.

This seemed to work pretty well. Most folks that do this have a dremel tool - we didn't, and I think we managed okay without one. It would make things easier but isn't strictly necessary.

One final piece of advice - measure everything a couple times, here. Then measure it again. After you start cutting, that's where your landing light is going. If you put in the wrong place, there's not really a way to fix it, so be careful.

After a bit of filing. I later learned that it's possible to get much closer than this with metal snips after a bit of practice.
Top half is almost done!
Here we are repeating the process on the other wing - for what it's worth, we're doing these more or less at the simultaneously instead of one wing at a time.

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