7.7.23 Cut fuel tank access holes

A little bit blurry following the new years’ celebrations but thought I would have a go at cutting the access holes in the inboard ribs. These holes are used to access the fuel tanks if any work is needed on the fuel pickups or fuel gauge sensors. To tackle this job I needed to use a very dangerous fly cutter. These things have been known to cause serious injury so maximum concentration and precautions needed.

I purchased a hole cutter from Toolstation which had two blades. I decided to remove one of the blades as the chances of having both precisely located enough for them to share the cutting workload was so slim. Instead I decided to use 1 blade for each rib expecting to wear out these blades very very quickly. I also rigged up a piece of plywood underneath the rib on the drill press so that if the fly cutter shot through the aluminium it wouldn’t catch on the steel table of the drill press. I’d read that it was a good idea to really clamp the workpiece down so I did everything I could to make sure it wouldn’t move.

I ran the drill on the slowest possible speed and just scratched away as slowly as possible and with the lightest pressure on the drill arm. Slowly, slowly I made progress and god the rib access hole cut. It was a satisfying feeling to get them both done.

It was a great start to the new year getting this job done. One of the more scary jobs now out of the way.

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