Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving From Prowler Aviation

Hello Again,
Thanks for stopping by to watch the progress and Happy Thanksgiving (yesterday - sorry it's a little late).  I hope you all had a great holiday.  It's been raining this past 4 days that I had off of work, so no concrete work this trip home.  I did get into the shop a little and tied up a few loose ends with the plane building.  I also figured I could use the time to work on a blog update.  In addition, last week I had the opportunity to visit Ray for a few days and we ran his airplane both days while doing some troubleshooting.  So, I don't have a lot to include in this update, but here's what I got:
1.  Retaining Wall Project Is Rained Out
2.  Finishing Some Wing Jig Work
3.  Rib Smasher Hydraulic System
4.  Running Ray's Airplane
5.  Bryan's  Latest Update
6.  Fracis and Robert (Kit #11) Update

1. Retaining Wall Project Is Rained Out - Well, it's now officially winter weather in northern California.  When it rains more than 2 days in a row, it's winter!  That means that the ground turns to "Marshmallow Fluff" and you cannot walk on it or work with it.  If you don't have it packed down and graveled by now - you will pretty much have to wait for spring for it to dry out and become manageable again.  Before the rains started though, I did get most of the first tier of wall poured.  Here's what it looked like then with one section of cap put on:
Then, I got 2 more sections of cap poured on it.  Here's the cap poured on the south end of the wall:
In the second tier phase, I'll be going up with another 18 inches all along the back of the 1st tier cap.  Eventually, it will look like this cross section  along the entire retaining wall:
I also got 3 more sections of cap cut out of the bank and formed up, but couldn't get it poured before the rain started.  Here's what that currently looks like (notice the mud that has already sloughed off the side of the hill behind the forms):
I also managed to get (finally) the rain gutters and downspouts on the roof in the back of the shop.  Here's that:
 So, that's what's been keeping me tired and sore for the past several weeks!  However, since the rains are now upon us, I moved back inside and started to get a few airplane related things done again.  I had to walk around and stare at things for a while to help me remember where I was at with most of these projects (before I dropped everything to work on retaining walls).

2. Finishing Some Wing Jig Work - When I was fabricating the wing jig, I left some work to be done with the posts.  Namely, fabricating some "L" shaped reinforcing plates and putting them in place on the posts.  Here's the plates that I fabricated from 1/4" steel plate:
These just help stiffen the 90 corner from the jig feet to the posts.  Here is a pic showing where they will go (approximately):
On the wing jig there are supporting posts in three places: 1) at the wing tips;  2) at the wing junctions; and  3) in each MLG wheel well.  On my wing jig the wing tip posts and the wing junction posts are welded in place.  But, the post in the MLG wheel wells have to be made removable so that you can test the MLG once it is installed into the wing.  Here you can see the center posts with the plates drilled, tapped and bolted on (center) and the wing junction posts with the plates welded in place (front and back):
Finally, one more small job done that has been "hanging fire" for a while.  These plates really made a big difference how rigid the wing jig is now, compared to without them.  Excellent.  On to the next job(s).

3. Rib Smasher Hydraulic System - It's time to get going on the hydraulic system for the 100 ton rib smasher.  I started by spending an evening trying to figure out the most simple way to plumb all the parts that I laid out in this system schematic that I posted in the last update:
Here is the hand-drawn version of what I came up with:
The check valves come as double ended 1/4" MPT (Male Pipe Thread), so they will just screw into each of the 4 ports on their respective manifolds.  Then, the two TEE's will have female connections on all 3 sides, except that one of the opposing sides will have a swivel fitting.  That one swivel will allow everything to thread together and make one complete rigid unit (2 manifolds, 2 TEE's, and 4 check valves) to mount onto the side of the press between the reservoir and the pump.  (You can see the tank and pump mounted to the press as you read further below).

I decided that the most economical way to get this system built would be to order some parts and make the rest.  The parts to order are: five 1/4" hoses, 2 adapter fittings, two 1/4" TEE fittings and four 1/4" check valves.   The next morning I headed out to the local hydraulics shop and ordered everything but the check valves.  For those I went online and ordered them from Motion Industries - I'd previously researched them online.  The items I will fabricate include a hydraulic reservoir and 3 manifolds. 

Next up was getting a start on the manual pump.  The manual pump that I bought online was apparently a project that someone started, but never finished.  One side of the pump had a 1/4"x2" angle iron that was used to mount the pump.  But the opposite side only had a "floating" plate that wasn't secured in any way.  So, for starters, I fabricated 2 angle iron clips to weld to the existing angle iron side of the pump to allow for easier mounting to the side of my press.  Then, I fabricated 2 pieces of flat steel with nuts welded to one side to mount on the back side of the pump that would hold the position of the plate on the other side.  After that, I aligned the "floating" plate and welded the ends of the flat steel to the far side plate to keep it in position and make it not "floating."  Now, two short 1/4" bolts hold the whole assembly together.  It worked well, check it out:
 Here is the unit installed on the side of the press:
 From there, I moved on to the fabrication of the reservoir.  I started with a piece of 3"x4" steel tube that I got for nothing from a local fab shop.  It needed some cleaning up, but the price was right.  I cut off two pieces that were 12" long each.  The first one looked like this:
Then I cut one side off of each of the two pieces so that it looked like this:
 Then I joined the two halves and filled in the holes to make the main body of the tank:
Next, I fab'ed the bottom plate and a 1/4" female pipe bung.  Here it is just before welding:
 Later, I fab'ed the top with a fill hole and added another 1/4" return line bung on one side near the top.  Here's the tank after welding it all up:
This was my first experience with building a liquid tight tank.  I figured that I should probably give it a leak test before mounting it.  Good thing I did!  When I first filled the thing with water - it leaked like a sieve.  It turned out to be quite a task in repetitively filling, checking, grinding, welding (many times) to find all the hairline cracks and get them patched up.  I am (admittedly) not the best welder, but I didn't think welding would leave so many hidden cracks.  I finally got it sealed up and I left it filled with water over nite to make sure that there weren't any slow leaks. It passed, eventually.   Here's the tank during final leak testing. 
And, here is the tank mounted to the side of the hydraulic press:
 Now, I am waiting for the parts to show up from the local hydraulics shop and the online order.  In a few weeks I should be able to get some time in the shop and start putting all the pieces of the hydraulics system put together. 

Schedule Sidebar - It will be a while before I get back into the shop.  I'm working the day job almost steadily until the 2nd week in Dec.  Then, my first 4 days off in Dec I'm going to take a truck and trailer down to Salinas and help Chuck's wife (Nancy) dispose of the stuff in Chuck's hangar.  Nancy has finally gotten the myriad necessary things done after Chuck's death and is now ready to tackle cleaning out the hangar. 
Several folks have spoken up and want to buy many of the tools and machines that Chuck had in the hangar.  I'm going to help her get the big things down, out of the hangar and delivered to the next owners - as needed.  Then, when everything is gone that everyone has spoken for, I'm going to purchase all that remains in the hangar from her.  It will be a lot of hardware, fittings, small hand tools, sheets of metal, shelves, etc., etc.  I will eventually be able to use all of that stuff in the Prowler business, so I'll load it all up and take it back to the shop.  And, it helps Nancy out so that she can turn the hangar back over to the city.  That project will keep me busy and I'll be "building the company" (so to speak), but not directly working on the airplane for a while.

4. Running Ray's Airplane - I was really fortunate to have a few days down in LA "on call" without having to actually fly and made it out to see Ray and his airplane again.  His wife was out of the county on a trip and we took advantage of the opportunity to hang out, talk Prowlers, and burn some gas with his airplane.  I took several videos of the engine runs, but my camera video lacks great quality.  Also, you'll see that my camera strobes the prop and makes it look like it's standing still, but it is really running at 62.5% of engine speed.

STARTING VIDEO - In the starting video you will hear the airplane start and then die.  Ray says "This is what it does."  What he is referring to is that the engine is not (currently) idling very well at all.  The fuel control below about 1000 rpm is very unstable and non-linear.  The engine runs very rough below about 750 rpm (if at all).  The engine will start to die if you pull the throttle back much below 700 rpm.  You will hear that a lot through all of these videos.  When it's starting to die, you can try to tease a little more throttle in, and nothing will happen.  Then you try a little more, and nothing happens.  Then a little more, and nothing happens.  Then, you move the throttle just a bit and the engine will catch again and surge straight to 1200-1500 rpm.  Here's the aircraft starting:
video
There is a temporary aux fuel tank that is sitting on the ground (behind the RH main) that is tied into his fuel system in the wing.  Ray has it set up so that his fuel boost pump circuit runs the fuel pump that is tied to this aux fuel tank.  The fuel line from this temporary aux tank feeds into the same place that his main tanks feed into his normal fuel system.

WARM-UP VIDEO - The engine takes a while to warm up even on a fairly warm day in Ray's side alley.  Of course, the cowlings are off now, which helps keep the engine cool.  After about 3-5 mins of idle at or above 1000 rpm the water temp starts to rise.  Then about 10 mins in, the oil temp starts to come off the peg and eventually stabilizes around 140 deg.  In this video you will hear the engine spin down like it is gonna die, then it surges back up to high idle.  The fuel control technician thinks that the idle section of the fuel control head may have to have the idle springs, balls and diaphragms replaced in the system.  Right now, Ray is waiting to hear from the technician before he pulls the unit off and sends it back to the company to do this work.  Here is the engine running during warm-up:
video

CYCLING THE PROP VIDEO - Once the engine is warmed up, it will idle better at (and below) 1000 rpm.  We could get it to idle (rough idle) at about 750 rpm once it warmed up.  Then Ray began cycling the prop to warm up the hub and see what the effect was on engine oil pressure.  The prop control system seems to function nominally.  The change in rpm during this video is only due to the prop cycling from low pitch to high pitch and then back to low pitch.  These were all done at about 1000-1100 rpm. 

If you look closely the prop governor is located toward the back of the engine, just above two thick white ground wires.  As Ray is cycling the prop, you will see the prop control lever on the top of the governor (it lays on it's side) go downward (for the high pitch, low rpm setting) and the engine rpm will start to drop.  Then it will go back upward (for low pitch, high rpm setting) and the engine rpm will pick back up.  It takes a while for the rpm to drop on the first cycle, remember the oil in the prop control system is still pretty cool.  Then on the subsequent cycle, the rpm drop is much quicker.   Here is the video of cycling the prop:
video

HIGHER POWER RUN VIDEO -  In this video, the engine is already warm and Ray is starting again after a short shut down to chat about some observations.  After the engine starts, he runs it at a higher rpm for a while (about 1500rpm and 15" MP).  We found that when the engine speed is above about 1100 rpm, the throttle control and the engine response is pretty linear - meaning that if you advance the throttle a little, you will get a little increase in the engine rpm, etc.

This engine is powerful!  I didn't get it on video, but on one start the engine surged pretty harshly and the prop wash literally blew the gates open behind the airplane (you can see the gates on the last video).  The gates are steel framed and wood covered.  The prop wash bent a 1/2" steel pin that goes thru the steel frame and into the concrete drive to hold the gate shut!!  I began to imagine holding the stick behind that much power in the air.  Should be fun - someday.  Here is the start and a higher power run:
video

VIDEO VIEW FROM INSIDE - Here's some video from over Ray's shoulder while he's testing the LH and RH ignition systems.  The Dynon's are not on in this video (he turned them on later), so all you see is a reflection in the top screen.  The engine tach is on the upper right side and you can see it's pretty steady on about 1100 rpm.  You will see Ray changing the ignition from both, to LH to RH and back on the lower right side. I'm not sure what the black button is that Ray pushes in the video - I'll have to ask him the next time we chat.

He has installed UMA gauges for all his engine parameters.  The lower row of gauges on the RH side are (from L to R):  Oil Press, Oil Temp, Water Temp, and then LH and RH fuel quantity.  Between the LH and RH fuel quantities is a switch to switch the fuel quantity indicators from the aft main tanks to the forward tanks in each outboard wing section.  Above the RH fuel quantity gauge is the Aux fuel quantity gauge (but you can't see it in the video as the canopy handle blocks it out).  All of them are currently not hooked up and showing off scale above full.

Then, above the LH fuel quantity is the the Fuel Flow gauge.  It used to be Fuel Press, but Ray replaced it.  The fuel control technician recommended the fuel flow, as having fuel flow indications will help them map the engine and finish the set-up of the fuel control system.  It's a very handy gauge to have!  The small UMA gauge above those two is the alternator/battery volts.  Then, the larger instruments to the left of that is the Engine RPM (above) and MP (below).  Here is a view from the inside:
video

FRONT VIEW VIDEO - I took some video off of the tripod, so it's not as steady and I move around.  You can see the gate that I mentioned earlier in the background.  Just forward of the firewall you can see the intake for the supercharger.  That mates up to a NACA scoop on the engine cowling when it is installed.  And, here is a view from the front:
video

It turned out to be pretty productive time doing these engine runs.  Fortunately, Ray was able to arrange to get the local technician for the fuel control system out to see the airplane run.  I got to jump in and run the plane while Ray and the technician discussed what was happening.  As I mentioned earlier, he has decided that there is something that needs replacing or rebuilding in the idle control section of the fuel controller. 

Before the technician got out to work with us, Ray wanted to check his advance on the ignition systems to make sure that they were working correctly and not something that could be compounding the problem.  Here's a pic I took when we were putting the RH ignition back together:
Update - since I wrote the information above about running Ray's airplane, he has updated me a couple of times.  He has now sorted out the rough running ignition.  Turns out that there was a missing bushing on the right distributor that was allowing the ignition to get much to retarded at low idle speeds.  He's replace the bushings in the distributor and reduced the high rpm advance to about 27-28 degrees BTDC.  He reports that the stable idle speed has dropped about 200 more rpm and there now is no noticeable difference between the L and R ignitions.

He also has taken his hydraulic pump out and is working on reducing the output pressure that the pump puts out.  It was making a lot more pressure than was necessary to swing the gear, and he wants to get the pressure output more closely matched to what is actually needed to operate the gear.

The fuel control body will come off of the airplane soon to send to the manufacture to get rebuilt and adjusted for this application.  While that is happening, Ray is going to begin prepping the aircraft for paint and coordinate with the fella that is going to paint the airplane.  They're going to work out what paint, the paint scheme, and logistics to get the job done.  More to follow as Ray approaches his first flight sometime next spring.  Nice work Ray!

5. Bryan's Latest Update - I am constantly astonished at how fast Bryan continually makes progress on his airplane.  His latest creation was a forward baggage compartment in his Prowler.  Since he is building his airplane around a diesel engine option, it provides him with some opportunities to do some things that the typical V8 engine project will not allow.  The two most notable of these are:
1.)  The ProwlerD only uses one wing radiator for water cooling, the other is used for oil cooling.
2.)  Because diesel engine fuel consumption is so much lower than gas, Bryan doesn't need nearly the same amount of fuel capacity as a conventional Prowler.  That alleviates the need to have an aux fuel tank in front of the instrument panel, like the conventional Prowler does.

Since Bryan doesn't need to have his aux tank in the fuselage (his is in one of his main inner wing tanks) - he has that room available for a good size baggage compartment up there.  That's important because he significantly reduced the baggage compartment behind the cockpit by placing the first aft fuselage former at a reclined angle.  He was able to provide quite a bit more room in the aft seat in the cockpit by reclining the back of the cockpit, but the trade-off was less baggage space, until now:
Nice metal work Bryan!  That makes a really nice baggage compartment space.  In addition to reclining the aft wall of the cockpit, Bryan added "cut-outs" in the sides of the cockpit where the aft pilot's legs will be when seated with the feet in the foot wells.  The will significantly increase the room near the forward pilot's hips where the aft pilot's legs normally "squeeze in there."  This was a very crafty solution to that problem.  Here' a look:
Here is a look at the latest revision of his instrument panel plan:
In addition, Bryan got his hydraulic unit back from the manufacturer and they didn't find anything out of specs with it.  So, it appears like the system is being "resistant" to a thorough bleeding.  More on that as it develops.

6. Fracis and Robert (Kit #11) Update -   I have exchanged a few emails with Francis recently.  You may remember that he and Robert are the new owners of Kit #11 that they purchased from Nicolas in France.  Here is one of the emails from Francis (with my changes in [ ] ).

Hello Todd, some news of (Kit) n°11
The "hangar" is finish but no electricity (7weeks that we wait) it's long!!  We need electricity for the jig and air compressor!

I have finaly find rivets in -7 for deriveting [re-riveting?] the spar (some rivets are not very nice).


For alodine I find some alodine in "gel"condition (for the main part it' s perhaps a solution for you).  When i make [built] my Skyote, there have a big spool [pool?] of alodine at my job (Air France) 6foot wide, 6 foot deep and 20feet long! Same one for deoxidine for the "hydraulique" aluminium tube of jet liner. 
But, they discard it!  So I find alodine in gel condition!

The french law for experimental autorized may be more than 200hp if we dont class in voltige.  We have bought a 200hp oldsmobile engine whith reduction unit and rear accessory box.  Do you now if there are bolt on on 350 chevy or rodeck?

Sorry for my english!
Francis


Thanks for the update Francis.  Please keep us posted on your progress.

That's it for this update.  I want to get it published and it's already a day later than I'd planned.  Thanks again, as always for stopping in to see how things are going here at Prowler Aviation.  I'll plan on one more update before the end of the year.  Until then, I hope you all have a very happy holiday season.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ray Has Started His Prowler!

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for stopping to see what's going on @ Prowler Aviation.  I don't have a lot to report this update, but a few goods things are happening and I am trying to keep my promise to update more often.  So, in this update:

1.  Ray has started his Prowler
2.  Bryan's Build Update
3.  Building More Retaining Wall(s)
4.  Start on the Low Pressure High Volume Hydraulic Pump
5.  Getting Materials & Tools For Tip Ribs
6.  Also Looking Ahead To Spar Completion


1. Ray has started his Prowler - Ray started his airplane for the first time on Oct 13th.  He reports having to sort through some issues, but the engine is running fairly good.  Here is a video he sent me:
video
Initially, the oil pressure was high and temperature was low (as expected). But, in a normal manner the oil temp came up to about 140 deg F and the oil pressure reached a steady state of about 30-35psi.  His coolant temp took a while to come up, indicating good cooling in the radiators - even with only prop wash through the radiators.
The biggest bug of the engine runs is the fussy fuel control.  The system seems to be very sensitive to throttle changes and the mixture has to be adjusted constantly for every throttle movement to keep the engine running.  Ray has contacted the fuel injection manufacturer and is now working with a representative to get the system set up correctly.  The first issue is to add a fuel-flow meter system to the airplane.  Apparently, in order to properly map the fuel to air, the system has to have a fairly accurate fuel-flow indication.
After the engine runs, as not unexpected, he found a few small leaks that have been corrected.  He also found that the prop was not completely snug down to the prop flange on the reduction gear cause by a slightly over-sized o-ring.  So, that will be corrected when the prop gets removed soon for other work that will need to be done.
Congratulations Ray!!! That is a major milestone in your project.  You are going to have one awesome (running / flying) aircraft soon!

2. Bryan's Build Update - Just a quick update from Bryan.  The hydraulic pump that Bryan and I were having a problem bleeding has been returned to the manufacturer.  They are still working on the pump/motor.  in the meanwhile, Bryan has installed the roll bar (AKA the windscreen frame). Here's a pic:
Great work Bryan!

3. Building More Retaining Wall(s) - Since building my shop, I've been ignoring a problem with the steep bank that was cut into the hill where the building pad was cut.  Here's a composite pic of what it looked like after the pad was cut and before the slab was poured:
If you click on the pic, you will see the bank in the back left corner that was created when the building pad was cut into the hill.  After the shop was built, there was about 36" of space between the back wall of the shop and the base of the bank.  Below is a pic of what the area behind the shop looked like when I was installing the drain pipe and gravel (as I built the shop).  But, over the past 6 years, the weather has caused the bank to erode down and build up against the back of the shop. This spring, the mud had finally built up until it was touching (actually above the bottom of) the siding. So, it's time to fix the problem and build a retaining wall:
Here is what the same area looked like recently after I pulled the drain pipe back out, cleaned out the gravel and mud, then started to cut into the bank more to provide space for a poured concrete wall:
 Here's part of the first 20 feet of the 1st tier of the wall after forming.  I'm actually using the same form boards that I used to form the slab for the shop.  I doubled them up one on top of another and then scabbed them together to make an 18" high form section that is 16ft long:
The first pour was 20 feet total, 10 feet on the south wall and 10 feet on the west wall.  Here's the 10 feet of west wall (looking south) - notice the 2"x8" dam to stop the pour @ 10ft from the corner:
As you can tell, this was the end of a long day.  I just got this first 20 feet in the corner mixed and poured before sunset.  Here's the 10 feet of south wall (looking west):
Because this is such a long wall, and it's such a tight area to get into - I've been using my concrete mixer and just buying bags of sack-crete to build the wall.  I would spend too much for forming materials to try to form the entire wall up at one time and then get premixed concrete trucked in.  Plus, I'd have to get a concrete pump truck that would be more costly than the concrete itself.  So, I've elected to just do it myself, on the cheap.  Here's the mixing station with a pallet of covered concrete bags:
Here's the second 20feet of wall completed:
Here is the 3rd section of the wall poured and forms removed:
The end of this wall will also get an angled section attached to it that is similar to the section in the picture below.   And, here's is that other angled 10ft section of wall on the south end of the shop that is formed and ready to pour:
After this section and the other angled 10 ft section are poured, I will have the first tier completed.  Then next order of business will be getting (finally) rain gutters on roof in the back of the shop.  After that,  I'm going to pour a thin sidewalk behind the shop in the area between the shop foundation and the bottom of the newly completed wall.  That area gets just soupy and muddy in the rainy winters and grows weeds in the spring/summer - so I'm going to form it up and pour a thin sidewalk back there to keep things neat and clean.
In addition to all of this work, I also got 4 loads of fill dropped off to help expand my shop driveway on the north side of the shop.  This fill will settle over the wet winter time and provide a more permanent place to park the RV next summer (and beyond).  It will also provide back-fill for the "Great Wall of Prowler" as I continue to work on it (probably next spring).  Here's a pic.  You can see the partially complete north end of the great wall in the lower right hand corner:
Here's a pic of the same area from below - you can see the need for the wall from this view:
As you can probably tell, these retaining wall projects have been taking a lot of my time (and money) lately.  So, I haven't gotten a lot done with the airplane or the company.  But, it is on my mind. While I'm mixing concrete and I am using the time help solve some problems with wing spar and hydraulics that are coming up.  Then I use the down time (while I'm resting my aching back) to locate and order parts or pick up supplies, etc.

4. Start on the Low Pressure High Volume Hydraulic Pump -  I have been taking the opportunity [while NOT working on retaining wall(s)] to look for and buy parts for the hydraulic system I need to assemble for the pseudo-hydro forming press.  I was searching for a Low Pressure/High Volume (LP/HV) pump solution to add to the existing system.  I looked into electric motor driven systems, but they are usually expensive and designed to run full time.  I don't need that for this application.  I looked at 12Vdc hydraulic units used on dump trailers, etc.  But, they don't come up on eBay or Craigslist often - unless they're worn out or broken.  Also, they are not real high volume and new, they want $300-400 for the units.  Then, I came across an eBay add for a manual pump made from a Parker hydraulic double acting ram.  I liked that this idea was simple, fairly fast, and not too expensive ($50).  Here's a picture of the pump as it was in the auction ad:
This is what the same pump looks like stripped apart on the workbench:
I needed to take it apart to check that the seals were good, and to confirm that I can use it as a double acting pump.  It turns out that I can do it, but I will have to machine a few more ports into the cylinder end caps similar to the 90deg one that you see on the right side of the free end cap (closest to the black handle grip).  This piston has a 1" bore and a 2" stroke.  So, it will move 4 cu.in. of hydraulic fluid in one (double acting) stroke.  Doing the math on the ram, it will take about 12-15 strokes to move the ram into crushing position (approx. 2-1/2" inches up).  To me, that seems reasonable, reliable and controllable.  Here is the overall schematic that I am planning for the hydraulics system for the press:
This system will provide me with a quick way to get the ram moved up into position using a manual hydraulic pump.  Once I use the manual pump to get the ram and the lower press box into position, both the LP Isolation valves (both are 10,000psi valves) are closed.  Once both of those valves are closed, I will use the 10,000psi HP (air over hydraulics) pump to do the actual metal forming (rib smashing).  This design will also require 4 check valves to sequence the movement of hydraulic fluid from the reservoir to the ram.  If you look at the diagram you can see that as the handle of the pump moves one direction, one of the inlet check valves is opening to let fluid into one side of the piston and the outlet check valve is open on the other side of the piston to allow the fluid to move toward the piston.  (BTW - the single acting version of this is EXACTLY the same as what you have in any hydraulic bottle jack.  The only difference is that the check valves are integral into the base of the jack where you can't see them - but they're there!).

Here's how I envision the final system will work:
1.   Place die, blank, and rubber in the press box.
2.   Ensure LP Return Valve is closed.
3.   Ensure LP Supply Valve is open.
4.   Use manual LP/HV pump until rubber partially smashed.
5.   Close the LP Supply valve.
6.   Mark position of press box (vertical height).
7.   Step on the HP/LV air-over-hydraulics pump and press part.
8.   Step on the HP/LV pump pressure release and lower press box.
9.   Stop at same place marked in step 6.
10.  Open LP Return valve and lower press box to bottom.
11.  Remove rubber, part & die.

Here are the the 10,000psi isolation valves I and a short hydraulic hose that I bought so far:
The only parts I still need to finish the system are the 4 check valves, a few 1/4" hoses, and various hydraulic fittings (reducers, 90 deg elbows, etc.).  Oh yeah, I will also need to either fabricate a new 5-port manifold or expand off of one of the 3 ports on the 3-port manifold that I have already made.  Not sure which way I will go on that one yet.  More to think about while I'm mixing concrete.

5. Tip Ribs - Getting Materials & Tools Lined Up -  I have also been using the time while I'm building retaining walls to gather up some tools and materials for getting the tip ribs made this winter.  Here is some of the planning data, in no particular order: 
1.  I've decided to start making my dies from aluminum (at least for the time being).  Every part that will need to be formed from a die will have to be made using this process and will have to have a new die made from AL.  I haven't even tried to count them all yet - I'm afraid to.
2.  I have all of the CAD drawings of all of the parts to be formed completed already and the profiles can be CAM'ed and sent to the Ganesh CNC mill fairly readily.
3.  The flanges on the blank (as they are being formed) cannot hit the bottom of the press box, so the aluminum plate that the die is fabricated from has to be a min of 1" thick.  The dies must also be made individually for each part and the same die CANNOT be used for the opposite handed part (in other words, the LH die cannot be used to make the RH parts, and vice-versa.)  This is due to two reasons:
3.A. The sides of the dies have to have a rather large radius on the top edge to prevent the blank from cracking during forming, and:
3.B.  The sides of the dies have to be undercut by 9-10 degrees to allow for spring back during forming.  Here's a pic of what that will look like:
4.  The dies will have to be made using the CNC Knee Mill - in 3 separate steps:
4.A.  Cut the die profile (what you see looking from the top down).  Here is a sample of the tip rib CAD drawing that I recently re-designed and will use to cut the tip rib dies.  The top profile in the pic below will be the one used to fabricate the basic shape of the tip rib die.  Looks like I will need aluminum plate that is at least 25" long and 3.5" high:
You may recall that I have decided to re-design the outboard tip rib to work in the new press.  This new truncated design prevents the thin trailing edge from causing problems in the pressing process and make the tip rib fit lengthwise into the press box.
 4.B.  Cut the 1/8" to 3/16" radius in the top edge of the die (using the same profile).  This can be done using standard off-the-shelf radius end mills.
4.C.  Cut the "under cut" to allow the flanges to be "over-bent" to allow for spring-back.  Here is the tool that I had specially made by a local tool-and-die maker ($125):
Here is what it will (sort-of) look like when this tool will be used to "under cut" the profile on the die:
5.  I found a place in Sacramento that sells surplus odds-n-ends pieces of aluminum plate.  Here are several pieces that I got recently in preparation for cutting some of these dies.  You might be able to see a black dashed line on the right side of the old tip rib pattern.  That is the approximate length that the new tip rib die will be:

6.  Also Looking Ahead To Spar Completion -  Once I have the spar installed into the jig, I will have to take it back out to do the corrosion proofing (chromate conversion process - AKA "Alodine").  You may recall from a  previous post this early this year that I spent quite a while researching the chromate conversion process [(see it here)  Item 3. - almost to the end of the post]. 

Here are the  parts of chromate conversion puzzle (readers digest version):

1.  You have to have an etchant to clean the aluminum thoroughly before applying the chromic acid (Alodine, Iridite, etc.).  In the link above I learned that this etchant can be made from 1/3 phosphoric acid (75%), 1/3 ethylene glycol, and 1/3 water.  This makes a 30% etchant solution that can then be diluted further, as needed, to clean the aluminum parts.  So far, I've found and purchased the phosphoric acid from Sierra Chemical Supply in Sacramento:
The chemical supply place didn't have the ethylene glycol in stock when I got the acid.  They reordered it and called a few days later to tell me that it is now in stock, so I'm looking for an opportunity to pick that up on a future trip to Sacramento.

2.  You need to have the chromic acid.  Here is the 10lbs pail of Iridite that I got from a chemical supply place in the LA area.  I ended up driving it home on a family trip - shipping is complicated because it is a hazmat (oxidizing) substance.  This dry powder gets mixed with water and each pound of dry Iridite makes 5-6 gallons of chromic acid for the chromate conversion (AKA "alodining").
3.  You need to have 2 big tanks to do the chromate conversion process to your parts.  The best thing to make the tanks out of would be PVC.  But, having specially made tanks big enough for the wing spar parts would be fairly expensive.  I'm planning on making two tanks from 2"x 4" lumber for the sides and a 2"x12" plank bottom.  Then this will be lined with a layer of felt and then double layers of 6-8 mil poly sheet.  Here's my initial idea:
All this material is readily available from Lowe's or Home Depot. The biggest parts of the spar to put in the tanks are the center section main spar shear web and the outboard wing spar channels.  The main center section spar shear web is essentially 96"x10".  The outboard spar channels are 85.5"x 6.5"x 2.5".  So, a tank that is 100"L x 11"W x 2"D should suffice.  Doing some quick math, filling the tank above (assuming a 100" length) to a depth of 1" will take 5 gallons.  The outboard spar channel will have to be done one side at a time and rolled over.  The rest of the parts are all flat and can be submerged in 1" of fluid.

4.  When you have all this mixed and set-up the process goes like this.  Dip a part in the etchant and let it sit until it is dull in appearance and when lifted out of the water the etchant runs clean off and doesn't "stick" anywhere on the part.  If it sticks, it goes back into the etchant for a while longer.  Once it's clean, the part comes out of the etchant and then gets thoroughly rinsed with water.  As, soon as it is rinsed it it placed into the chromic acid tank and soaked until the surface gets a yellowish to brownish appearance.  Then the part is removed, rinsed again with water and hanged to dry.  Repeat for all the parts.  There are lots of YouTube videos to watch on how to do this.

 That's all for this update.  Thanks for stopping by again to check on the progress here at Prowler Aviation.