Started Banging Rivets on the Right Leading Edge

April 22, 2011

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OH MY GOSH!

ANDREW’S

BUILDING AGAIN!

Well, even though my last post said I was getting back into the mood of airplane building, it’s been almost a MONTH since I spent time on the project.

Yikes.

Anyway, I had a day off today, and I managed to spend a couple hours in the airplane factory.

Let’s see if I remember how to take and post picture.

After a little garage cleanup, I got the right leading edge out and got back to deburring all of the holes. I think deburring took about 30 minutes.

My hand hurt after deburring all of these. I need to deburr more often.

Once done, I took the cradles off the skin and opened her up to do some scuffing.

I haven't totally finished the leading edge light installation, but I can do that after the ribs are installed.

Then, I broke out the c-frame and started dimpling. This actually takes awhile, because you have to be careful not to punch any extra holes in the skin.

Even though I can reach these dimples with my squeezer, I think you get better, crisper dimples from the c-frame.

Here's me doing the forward-most hole in the top of the leading edge skin.

AHHHHHHHH!

THE DREADED

FIGURE-8!

Well, after 242 hours, and thousands of dimpled holes, I finally joined the club.

To tell you the truth, it’s really not that noticeable, except for the fact that it is on the top of the wing (AND YOU’LL ALL NOTICE IT)!

Anyway, I used some flat sets and pounded it flat, then filed it down a little, and dimpled the primary hole.

Here's the extra dimple pounded flat.

And the orginal hole dimpled. still needs a little filing here.

I could throw a fit and order a new leading edge from Van’s, or I could just build on, and cover this with filler and paint.

(I don’t think I can polish the wings anymore.)

Well, in the interest of building on, I decided to do a little riveting today. I had a couple ribs prepped (my legend: R2 and R3), so I got them prepped, primed, and clecoed in place. (Making sure to cleco one rib on either side of those so the leading edge was perfectly straight.

Here are the ribs clecoed in place.

Of course, I use my normal tape-over-each-rivet-head trick to minimize scratches, dings, and marring.

I shot and bucked every other one (no mistakes) and then replaced the clecoes with rivets, moved the tape over, and finished the row.

(Needless to say, I started with the bottom of the leading edge, so any mistakes due to out-of-practice riveting wouldn’t be so obvious.)

Gratuitous shop head shot on the lower surface of the first rib.

Gratuitous shop head shot on the lower surface of the second rib.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. (Crap, I meant flip, cleco, rivet, repeat.)

Gratuitous shop head shot on the upper surface of the first rib.

Gratuitous shop head shot on the upper surface of the second rib.

Umm, did we not have enough shop head shots today?

Andrew, STOP TAKING PICTURE OF SHOP HEADS.

Here’s the “club” rivet. I think I’m going to leave it like this, and just watch it for cracks, but someone will probably tell me I need to drill this out and replace it with some other solution. We’ll see.

(big. depressed. sigh.)

Seriously, I need to control myself with this camera.

Oh, and I was having trouble counting rivets today, which was weird.

So I just started writing them down. Can you guys check my math?

3 hours, 58 rivets, 1 figure-8. Boo.

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Started Matchdrilling Right Wing

February 8, 2011

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Well, after 50% clecoing the right wing yesterday, I finally broke out the plumb bobs and measured my wing twist again. It was within a millimeter (sorry, I could only find my metric rule tonight).

After a quick celebration dance (I must have misplaced the video of the dance, sorry), I fired up the air compressor and put a drillstop on my #40 bit.

First, I matchdrilled every other hole on the top side of the right wing, then moved all of the clecos over one hole and matchdrilled the remaining holes. Keep in mind that I have about 600 clecoes, 500 of which are in the right wing right now. That’s a lot of drilling and cleco-moving.

I then moved to the bottom side and drilled all of the open holes, then started moving clecos, and got tired. Later this week, I have to finish moving clecoes on the bottom side of the right wing and matchdrill the remaining holes.

To help you understand how tedious it is to move all of these clecos, I’ll leave you with the following pictures.

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1.0 hours.

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Continuing to Level Right Wing Skeleton

January 30, 2011

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Well, I keep chugging along on this right wing skeleton.

Except by “chugging,” I really mean “don’t seem to be making any progress.”

First thing, I wanted to free up one of my clamps, so I drilled and bolted the outboard rib’s special angle to the support of my wing stands.

Here’s my first mistake. I was really careful to line everything up the first time so I wouldn’t have to notch the support angle to accomodate the skins (which overhang the spar end). I didn’t remember this on this go around, so now that they are bolted in, I’m going to have to notch the supports.

No big deal, but just annoying that I forgot.

A couple of 1/4" bolts will do just fine here.

Unlike everyone’s very pretty lower outboard support, I made an ugly one.

See? More ugly. (Functional, though).

After getting it clamped to the rear spar, I used my air drill and a 3/8″ bit to drill a hole for a 3/8″ bolt.

I'm not sure why I took this picture.

Here’s the inboard rear spar support.

Inboard rear spar support.

And the outboard rear spar support.

I'm using the clever clamping trick that many builders before me have used.

Then I spent some time leveling the spar to 0.0°. After that, I dropped some plumb bob’s and carefully measured from the plumb bob string to the top of the rear spar. The outboard side showed 2 1/4″, and the inboard side showed 2 3/4″. A half inch of twist doesn’t sound like a lot, but of course I wanted this to be perfect.

I chose to split the difference. I pulled the outboard edge of the rear spar down (aircraft axes) and clamped, then pushed the inboard side up and clamped.

Here’s my problem. It seemed like I really had to push the spar to get it exactly where I wanted it, and there was plenty of (what I’ll call) springback force.

After clamping the rear spar in place, I remeasured the spar, and it was now no longer square. (Of course, moving the spar edges moves the ribs, which twists the main spar.)

I releveled the main spar and really tightened up the clamps. I’m now level with the main spar and within 1/32″ on the rear spar.

I’m sure I can get it even closer, but I’m worried about how much force I’m holding with the clamps.

Here's a picture of just the skeleton, squared up within 1/32" (I want to improve this).

To see if I was close with the skins, I clecoed them on. They fit great.

Another picture with the skins clecoed on.

Anyone have any thoughts? Have any other builders seen a lot of force required to straighten the wings?

Jan 31st update:

Oh man, I love the forums. bkthomps had the following to say:

did you put skins on yet? you’re on the prepunched kit like i am, the twist thing is a null issue- once you cleco both sets of skins on, it will be dead on, other than the slant of your stands/garage floor.

and

I followed jamie painter’s blog and decided not to spend countless hours with the lasers/bobs/etc that I had and I just built the wings doing only the basic level checks and a string down the spar length to get rid of the droop, after finishing them, they are dead level in every dimension, if that helps w/ encouragement.

1.5 frustrating hours. (After talking with bkthomps, I am much happier. I’ll push on now and verify straightness after clecoing both sets of skins on. Wuhoo!)

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Started Leveling Right Wing for Good

January 25, 2011

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Well, tonight was kind of crappy. I started leveling the wings and ended up undoing all the work I did last time (clecoing on the skins felt productive!).

First, I set up my two new plumb bobs with some string.

Exciting picture, huh.

Then, I hung the plumb bobs and realized that with the skins clecoed to the wing, I wasn’t going to be able to easily clamp the skeleton into perfect alignment. Instead of messing with it, I quickly made the decision to backtrack and get to a bare wing skeleton for alignment adjusting.

After pulling off the skins, I played a little with my adjustable stands and realized I’m going to need my lower braces before going any further.

I cut two 8-inch pieces of angle to use for the lower braces. One of these will need an additional piece of aluminum before clamping to the outboard rib.

I didn’t have time to mount up my angles, so all I did before going inside was to more accurately measure the wing twist.

At the inboard edge, looks like I have 2.25".

The outboard edge is pretty much at 2.75."

Hmm. That’s a 1/2″ of twist.

I think after clamping the aft spar in place, I’ll be able to minimize the twist. Maybe more tomorrow.

1.0 hour.

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Right Wing Top Skins Clecoed to Skeleton

January 23, 2011

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Alright, I was having a bad day with the rear spar, so after I got most of it riveted on, I moved on to the skins.

I jumped the gun a little and clecoed on the top outboard skin (jumped the gun because the spar wasn’t re-leveled and the inboard skin outboard edge actually underlaps the outboard top skin.

Anyway, with just two clecos in the skin, I was able to thread some string around a cleco on either end of the spar to jack up the center of the rear spar.

The string is supposed to line up with the top of the smaller holes on the right.

After some jacking, the spar is now perfectly straight.

Nice and straight.

Next,  I pulled out the top outboard skin. This is the right version (they are actually the same from Van’s, but I had pulled off the vinyl on the side I intended to be the interior side for the wing walk doubler.

The devinyled part in the foreground is where the wingwalk doubler will sit.

Many builders before me have complained that Van’s wants you to trim the provided doubler from 10″ to 9 3/8″.

Many builders have left it at 10″, then matchdrilled to the skin, then found out there is a matchdrilled hole that violates edge distance.

It would probably be okay, but why include that extra 5/8″ strip of 26″ long aluminum if you don’t have to?

IT’S WEIGHT SAVINGS!!!

Anyway, my snips do a great job with this aluminum, so I got to it and started edge finishing.

”]Then, you line up the forward edge of the doubler 9/16″ from the forward edge of the top skin.

 

See my little sharpie mark?

Then, tape that bad boy up, assuring that the inboard edges are flush.

Taped!

Then, you flip the skin over and start matchdrilling. I used clecos every so often to hold everything together nicely.

About halfway through, I lifted up the assembly to check on progress.

Looking good.

After more drilling…

Done!

I pulled apart the skins to clean everything up. Lot’s of aluminum shavings everywhere.

Sorry for the blurry picture.

Then, I spent a few minutes getting the top skins clecoed on.

Wuhoo! it's starting to look like a wing!

This is the less exciting under side.

This was a nice positive finish to counteract my riveting blunders earlier. I’ll talk to Van’s about the rear spar.

I hope I don’t have to replace it.

0.5 hours of clecoing fun.

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Finished Riveting Right Wing Main Ribs to the Main Spar

January 21, 2011

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Well, after a quick workout, I manage to get a few rivets set in the main spar.

I quickly got 6 of the 7 remaining right main ribs riveted to the main spar (the outboard rib doesn’t get riveted to the main spar because it shares rivets with the leading edge outboard rib…the rest of them are slightly offset from their leading edge rib neighbors.)

Anyway, after 30 rivets set, I decided that 6 of them needed to be drilled out. Here’s a good example.

Those are called "smileys."

I know exactly why it happens. It’s because I am watching the bucking bar and shop head form. When the shop head is set appropriately, I’m subconsciously lifting the bucking bar away from the shop head before letting go of the rivet gun trigger. The rivet set bounces on the head and creates the smiley.

Of course, when I concentrate on letting go of the trigger first, all goes well.

Anyway, I’ve been trying a new technique with drilling out these AD4- rivets. I’m actually drilling them out from the shop head side. Assuming the shop head is centered over the hole, it is easier to center-locate the drill bit on the flat shop head than the rounded manufactured head. Here are a few pictures of my good results.

I didn't get any oversized holes at all.

Here either.

Here’s what the drilled out rivet looks like.

I started from the shop head side (left here) and finished just prior to hitting the manufactured head. This worked great for me.

After re-setting those 6 rivets, I snagged a picture of all (except for the outboard) ribs riveted to the right main spar.

Wuhoo! Big pieces permanently together!

I flipped the spar over on the stand and clecoed on the rear spar.

One cleco in the rear spar for each rib.

I may get to riveting the rear spar tomorrow…we’ll see.

1.0 hours. 30 rivets set, 6 of them drilled out and re-set.

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Primed 3 More Main Ribs, Now 7 Done

January 8, 2011

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Today, I worked on ribs R5, R6, and R7. (Remember, this isn’t Vans’ number scheme, this is mine.)

First, I negotiated a larger cleco holder from the girlfriend.  I used to have two containers the size of the left one. Now, I have plenty of room for my clecos. (Until, of course, I have to order 200 more…)

I could fill the one on the right up if I didn't have all my clecoes in the leading edges.

Okay, back to the ribs.

The extra two on the right side needed a little touch-up from some water contamination prior to the first round of priming. Gotta let those suckers dry before spraying.

One hour to prep and prime those 3 ribs. I’m halfway done with the ribs on the right wing. I think I may start riveting the ribs to the main spar as I go to break up the monotony. We’ll see.

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Started on Right Wing Tie-down Bracket

August 26, 2010

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Wuhoo, the new squeezer showed up!

After a few minutes of messing around with it, I grabbed the two K1000-4 nutplates and studied the plans carefully on which side of the spar they go. A quick hint (other than just reading the plans) is that the nutplates go on the side that couldn’t possibly need to be flush (in between the spar cap bars).

Anyway, here, I’ve countersunk for AN426AD3-6 rivets.

The two larger holes are examples of where Van's (or Phlogiston) buffed out some spar scratches with some scotchbrite.

Oh yeah, I also flipped the spar over and deburred (you can hardly see the deburring) the backside of the holes I drilled to #40.

The little silver rings are where I deburred. Because these will be totally covered by the nutplate and the shop head, I'm going to refrain from spot priming them.

I used the new squeezer to set my only 4 rivets today.

Don't these look pretty? (There are small rings around the rivet heads. That is from the cleco I used to hold the nutplate on while riveting the other side.) It seems weird the cleco made that little mark.

Moving on to the tie-down bracket. First thing, I need to fabricate the W-726 spacers from this 1.25″ wide angle stock. I’m supposed to cut 4 of them, 2 for each wing/tie-down).

Why is this one on the ground? Is it because the light is good for the camera? NO. It's because it is @&*!@ hot after cutting. Ask me how I know.

Here are the other three.

Each of these spacers should have a 1″ hole cut in the center for lightening (not lightning). Since all of my hole saws are in sizes other than 1″, I decided to grab the W-731 tie-down bracket and get to work on that.

Okay, the manual says to cut the tie-down bar to length from the AEX stock.

Okay (…searching plans…), looks like 7  15/32″. Of course, I measured 7  7/32″ marked, and almost cut before my gut told me something was wrong.

The bar is actually 7 16/32" ( or 7.5"), so I'm not going to cut them 1/32" when I'm sure the edge finishing on the scotchbrite wheel will be more than enough. (Also, it doesn't appear the extra 1/32" will interfere with the top or bottom skin at all.

I keep walking by this sticker and laughing. I thought I would share.

Translation: "If something doesn't fit right, you've royally screwed something up."

Okay, back to the tie-down. After marking and drilling the one (of four) holes for the spar in the bracket to 3/16″, I stuck an AN3-7A bolt in there and just eyeballed the alignment.

(You are supposed to drill just one, then fit the bolt through the whole assembly. Then, you flip the entire assembly over and matchdrill the tie-down bracket from the back.)

I was a little concerned that there was some overhang on the right side of the bracket. (I measured and drilled very, very carefully).

Looks like there is some overhang on the plans, too. Sweet.

Anyway, I stopped there because I can’t really matchdrill everything until I get the spacers placed behind the tie-down bracket, and I can’t really do that until I have the lightening holes drilled (the spacers will be riveted to the tie-down brackets in four places, which in turn hold some nutplates on).

Here are my spacers for the right tie-down bracket.

1 hour, 4 rivets.

Now, I need to find a good hole saw or fly cutter.

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More work on the Counterbalance Skin

July 20, 2010

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Things have been slow with the airplane recently, right? Well, after a few weeks of letting the garage slowly spiral into a mess of hall closet items (while I’m redoing the floors), saw dust (while I’m redoing the floors), and aluminum dust/shavings (I am working on the plane a little), I decided it was time to get things cleaned up. After an hour of cleaning and organization, I snapped this picture of a nice clean workbench and floor area. Doesn’t really do it justice, but something about a clean workbench makes me happy (notice how I am not showing you a picture of my second workbench!)

(Don't tell the girlfriend I had the vacuum cleaner up on the table going back and forth. It works pretty well, but I accept no blame if you try this at home.)

Okay, finally on to the project. My replacement E-713 came the other day. instead of trying to cleco it on to the already-dimpled skeleton and matchdrill, I am going to trust Vans’ pre-punches and just run a #40 bit through the appropriate holes before deburring and dimpling.

After that was complete, I taped the outside of the skin that I want to protect from primer and scuffed everything up.

Ready to prime...almost. I'm still waiting on a #10 dimple die from Avery. Should be here any day.

Because this part of the exterior side is under the main left elevator skin, I'm going to prime it. Those two smaller holes need to be drilled to #28 before dimpled for #6 screws.

After that, I grabbed my two trim tab horns, and deburred, scuffed, and dimpled the flange holes.

I still need to trim these down per the plans for the electric elevator trim, but I also haven't ordered my electric elevator trim kit yet.

Finally, I disassembled the trim tab to get a little start on that. Here’s the spar, deburred, scuffed, and dimpled on the bottom flange.

The top flange (on the left side of the picture) needs to be countersunk for the upper trim tab skin, because the hinge sits just below the flange, and can't accept a dimpled flange.

2 hours in the shop today, but only 1 hour counts as build time. Hooray clean shop!

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Drilled E-714, Clecoed Left Elevator Skin

June 10, 2010

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Hey Look! Andrew’s not dead! Yeah, I’ve been working on some house projects. Back to the left elevator tonight, though.

I managed to catch myself up with where I was and push on today. I need to get that counterweight drilled.

Here you can see the counterweight, counterbalance skin, and the two end ribs around which the other parts reside.

After placing the weight in position, you cleco on the skin (difficultly) and get ready to match-drill. Of course, I met the same challenges I did on the right elevator…namely, I broke a drill bit (#40 size). After getting a pilot hole drilled, I took everything apart and separately enlarged them all to #21. Air tool oil was used with great success after the pilot hole was drilled.

Ready to start drilling.

I didn’t take any pictures, though, because I was getting frustrated. (At first, I was dipping the drill bit into the oil, which meant I had to take the lid off. Then, after stepping away a few minutes later, I placed the screw lid (with the flip-up spout) back on the oil bottle and immediately flipped it over to aim oil into the pilot hole. Guess what! I forgot to tighten down the lid. There goes the lid, and about a 1/2 cup of oil…all over the counterweight, table, and floor.)

Now do you see why I forgot to keep taking pictures?

Anyway, after that debacle (which of course gets counted in the build time…it’s time spent building, right?)

Anyway, here is that same assembly (sans weight) before clecoing on the skin.

In preparation for clecoing on the skin, I needed to handle E-606PP, which is the trim tab hinge spar. Since I was looking ahead earlier and dimpled the hard-to-reach holes (you can see in the skin below), I need to do something with the spar to accept those dimples. If you read ahead in the directions, the spar is countersunk on the top flange (because the hinge is riveted beneath the spar flange, it can’t be dimpled), and dimpled on the bottom flange.

June 10 Update: After countersinking these four holes, I later did some more research and realized that the countersinks called for (due to the hinge) don’t really apply here, because the hinge stops short of these four holes. I could have (and wished I’d ) dimpled. Boo.

Here are the two parts that need to fit together nicely.

Finally, I got the skeleton and skin clecoed together.

Wuhoo. It looks like an airplane.

A solid hour. Maybe more this weekend.

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