Riveted Aileron Stiffeners

September 5, 2011

Prev | Next

Happy Labor Day, everyone. Luckily, it was kind of crappy around all day, so along with some house chores, we basically stayed inside (and worked on the airplane!)

If you remember from yesterday, I had only gotten one aileron totally dimpled. Today, I got the other one dimpled, then cleaned up the skins and set them outside for a little rattle-can primer.

It was slightly windy, but it worked out okay.

Then, I took all of my stiffeners inside to do a more thorough washing, then set them outside on a piece of cardboard for drying.

I'll leave these outside for a little to dry.

After a few minutes, I primed them, let them dry fully, then brought them back into the garage.

Then, I spent about 45 minutes just putting rivets in the holes and taping them in. This felt like 2 mindless hours.

When I started to lay stiffeners in place for riveting, I realized that I didn’t get enough of the blue film off at the trailing edge.

Not a big deal, but I don't want that blue vinyl getting stuck under the stiffener.

So, I got out the soldering iron, waited for it to heat up, and trimmed up the aft area of each stiffener. After another shot of primer, I was ready to go.

Stiffeners are ready!

Okay, I’m pretty sure I have plenty of backriveting pictures on here, but I managed to get some action shots today. For most of the rivets (when the other half of the skin is not in the way), I use a short, skinny (~1/2″ dia.) set.

I got six of the seven rivets on each stiffener this way.

For the aft-most rivet, I use my double-offset backriveting set. I had to crank the psi all the way up to 60 psi, and it was still about a 3 second pull on the gun (instead of the more ideal 1.5-second pull), but it works.

(I change these up because on the elevators, I was bending the skin out of the way too much, and ended up tweaking the aft edge of the elevators. This backrivet set lets me get in there without bending the skin as much.)

Fits perfectly.

Also, remember to push down REALLY hard with your steadying hand so you minimize any tendency for the skin or stiffener to jump up. You want everything FLUSH against the backriveting plate.

I’m only stressing this because I’m having bad flashbacks to the elevators. These all turned out beautifully.


Okay, I was having trouble counting the rivets today, so I just wrote it down.

Notice the last line!!! (Also, please check my math.)

Now, for some glory shots.

Nice shop heads. The last rivet is gray because I had to re-shoot primer after I had taped the rivets in.

Finally, I pulled the blue vinyl off the insides of the ailerons.

Man, these things really stiffened up.

So, 2.5 hours, 224 rivets, and none drilled out.

Next up, bending the aileron skins and then getting the skeletons together for some matchdrilling. (Also, I have to figure out whether I want to put the right wing in a cradle while I’m working on the left wing, or just leave it where it is on the stand. Hmm.

Prev | Next

Riveted Right Tank Drain Flange and Fuel Cap Flange

June 9, 2011

Prev | Next

Tonight was supposed to be easy. All I wanted to do was set 6 rivets in the drain flange, and 10 rivets in the fuel cap flange.

If that sounds ominous, it’s because it is.

Just like yesterday, I cleaned everything up, then goobered up the drain flange and clecoed it to the skin.

Then, I dabbed some sealant in three of the six holes, covered them with tape, and squeezed them.

The first three went fantastically. (Still sounding ominous?)

Then, on the second three, I really messed up. I was setting these with the shop heads up, so when I accidentally let the squeeze rest on the shop heads a little before really starting the squeeze, the manufactured heads pushed out of the countersinks (worse than any rivets I’ve ever set before).

Oh man, I don’t want to have to drill out rivets with proseal on them.

Oh man, I don’t want to have to drill out rivets with proseal on them.

Oh man, I don’t want to have to drill out rivets with proseal on them.

Oh man, I don’t want to have to drill out rivets with proseal on them.

Oh man, I don’t want to have to drill out rivets with proseal on them.

Oh man, I don’t want to have to drill out rivets with proseal on them.

I wrote that six times for a reason. I drilled out the three (!@#$), reset them, had to drill out two of those (!%$^&@#$%), then had to drill out one of those ($^#@*(@!^%$*#^@*&#%$&@^) and finally got an oops rivet out to fill the enlarged hole.

You can see here, the oops rivet is the bottom one, and the lower left one is not really set correctly, but it’s not structural, and for however much I WANT to drill it out to make it perfect, I’m leaving good enough alone.

4 perfect rivets, one horrible one, and 1 oops rivet. (sigh)

During this whole ordeal, there was proseal everywhere, so I had to get an MEK-soaked towel out and start cleaning up. It broke my rule about not cleaning with MEK until it’s cured, but I couldn’t leave it the way it was. After cleaning everything up, I made sure I had fresh MEK down on both sides to prevent leaks.

Oh, remember yesterday when I promised you my rivet encapsulation was improving? Check these out!

How awesome are those!?

Wash, rinse, repeat on the fuel cap flange (except I went back to backriveting).

I had to remember to use different sized rivets on different thickness areas of the flange, but I copied Brad Oliver.

On the top and bottom rivets, 2 total, (skinniest part of the flange), I used AN426AD3-4, the adjacent ones (4 total), I used -4.5 rivets, and on the middle 4, I used -5 rivets.

Easy as pie!



Of course, I had already broken my rule once, so I went ahead and cleaned the top  of the skin up.

Looks sooooo good!

The drain flange ended up being okay, too.

Not the prettiest, but you'll never notice while I'm flying.

1.0 hour. 16 rivets. 6 drilled out. (boo!)

Oh, and how great is my girlfriend!? While I was outside slapping sealant all over the garage, she was inside making spaghetti with meat sauce (and fresh basil!).

Life is good.

Prev | Next