Drilled E-701 (Left Elevator Skin) to Skeleton

June 17, 2010

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Wow, it’s been a week since I’ve worked on the airplane.

I have an excuse, though. I’ve been installing wood floors. Here’s the living room, almost done.

Anyway, if you remember from the last post, I had the left elevator skin clecoed to the skeleton. I went ahead and match-drilled the skin to the skeleton. Instead of using my cordless drill (because it’s quieter), I broke out the air drill and went to town. I love the way that thing sounds.

Forgot to charge the camera battery, so it charged while I drilled.

After matchdrilling both sides, this picture is me in the middle of removing all of the clecos.

Then, because I felt like I would be short-changing you if I didn’t have two pictures for you, here’s another one.

After disassembly.

Here’s the catch, though. I have a lot of thinking and pondering to do about some things.

First of all, I am planning on cutting off the elevator tab (and elevator) bent ears and just making a rib out of them. Jason Beaver did it pretty successfully here and here, so I’m basically going to copy him.

The question is whether to prep and rivet the left elevator now, the cut off the “ears” after riveting, then try to fabricate a rib, matchdrill, dimple, prep again, etc., or should I re-cleco everything together and do all of that fabrication now.

Many people use blind rivets for the extra tab fabrication, but I think I am going to try to use solid rivets. I have had some success in the past with solid rivets in tight spaces using a special bucking bar (namely, the end of a BFS (“big-freakin-screwdriver”). The question will be about dimpling.

Also, I can probably cut the ears off, but leave a little extra material. I need to make sure I line up the cuts on the elevator and tab to minimize the gab between the two, and I don’t want to cut to much off of either side. Maybe I’ll mock them up, cut one side to where I think it should be, and make sure the other side can be cut more precisely to match the first cut.

Also, many people use blind rivets for the four trim spar rivets on both sides (per the plans), but I think I can assemble in an order that allows me to use solid rivets, especially since I’m going to cut the elevator bent tab ears off; I should be able to reach in there with a bucking bar.

See how much thinking I have to do?

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Riveted Right Elevator Skeleton

May 13, 2010

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Well, I’d been waiting for a couple days for an order from Aircraft Spruce to come in. I ordered a whole bunch (~60) #6 screws and nutplates to use to attach the emp tips, and added a couple 1/4″ nutplates to attach to the elevator counterbalance spars so I can add more weight later for fine elevator balancing.

Here’s the deal. When you initially balance the control surfaces (without paint), you can either leave them a little heavy (which some do), or balance them exactly. Given that I might leave my empennage polished, I thought I would go ahead and balance them perfectly for first flight, then rebalance (pronounced “add weight”) after paint. While the forward tooling hole in the counterbalance ribs would work for a straight up bolt and nut, I’d prefer a nutplate. Also, since the two counterbalance ribs are butted against eachother, I’d prefer to drill for the nutplate now, so I can deburr both sides of both surfaces.

(I wonder how people deburr holes drilled through two permanently attached skins. Maybe just the inside and outside of the two skins and not the middle two surfaces?)

Anyway, here’s the order.

screws and nutplates.

Both size #6 screws in their new home.

I'll definitely be able to tell the difference between the two sizes.

Here are the 1/4″ nutplates. I bought one-lug because I thought the second lug might interfere with the An509 screw and nut used to attach the elevator counterweight. I’ll point it out again later.

MK2000-4 nuplates.

Then, some of the smaller MK2000-06 nutplates. I bought these for some of the tight locations on the emp tips.

I forgot to take a picture of the 60-odd 2 leg nutplates.

Okay, now on to real work. Here I am trying to figure out how to get this thing in a place where I can drill it. I don’t have any 1/4″ clecos, so I had to just eyeball it. That was a bad idea.

After one of the #40 holes drilled.

Here's the second hole drilled. You can see I had to enlarge the tooling hole to much bigger than 1/4" because I am lame and didn't have a 1/4" cleco to located the two attach holes. Lame me.

After taking those apart and deburring the holes, I scuffed everything up, leaving only the four rear-most holes on the E-703 End Rib. Again, I use the rivet in the hole into the countersunk steel bar trick.

Ready to flush rivet to form this dimple.

I have a 5/8" flush set, which comes in handy in some places.

Both done.

After cleaning those two ribs, I set them aside to dry before priming. Then, I moved on to the WD-605-R-1 Elevator Horn.

Let's see. AN470AD4-4 rivets. I might have some of those.

A small smiley on the lower left rivet, but according to the diagrams, it is okay.

6 nice rivets. The shop heads are very nice.

See? Told you.

Then I shot the six on the other side of the horn.

I love this new tungsten bucking bar.

6 more down.

Back to the paint booth.

E-703 End Rib and E-704 Counterbalance Rib being primed.

And now, a big pictures shot of the elevator horn on the skeleton.

It's starting to look like an airplane.

Then, I deviated from the plans (like many builders here.) It is easier to attach the E-704 Counterbalance rib to the spar if you don’t rivet it to the E-703 End rib first. I managed to massacre the left head, and the flange on E-704 didn’t sit flat against the skin on the other side.

Whoa. Take it easy, Andrew.

I don't like how the flange isn't flush with the spar web here.

Time to get the drill out.

Drilled first with #40, then #30 through the head only.

Pop the heads off.

Then re-set. This is a little better.

But not perfect. I think it's going to be good enough. I'd rather see them sitting perfectly flat, but the area around the rivet is sitting where it should be. It's just around the edges of the flange that are standing off a little.

Here are the new manufactured heads. Much better.

There we go. What's next?

Okay, now I need to attach the E-704 to E-703. Wait a minute! There is no rivet callout for these.

I see one for E-703 to E-702 and for E-704 to E-702. Where is the E-704 to E-703 callout? Well, I guess I'll just use AN470AD4-4 rivets.

Yikes.

The three upper middle rivets are all horrible. I can't figure out why the gun is jumping around so much.

Anyway, before drilling those out, I wanted to get that nutplate riveted on. Same deal here, though. I couldn’t figure out how to cleco it on for riveting.

Here are the two NAS1097 rivets ready to go.

I ended up shooting both of these at once. (How cool is that?)

NAS1097-4 (I think they are -4s)

I held the bucking bar on the other side and used my finger to hold the nutplate firmly against the web of the rib.

Is this a good method? No. Did it work? Yes.

Anyway, in the above picture, you can see one of the three rivets that I botched. After drilling all three out, I reset 2 successfully, but messed up this one again.

Grrr. It didn't really bend over, but it kind of shifted to one side.

Drilled it out, then did the exact same thing. This is the third time I’ve drilled out a rivet on this hole.

Grrr.

I figured out that during the first try, I had bent the rib web a little, so the rivet was pre-inclined to lean. I took my tungsten bucking bar and my 5/8″ flush set (without a rivet) and got everything flattened out again. Next try, the rivet set well.

Top middle rivet. Much better.

Finally, an upside down picture of the right elevator skeleton.

Tomorrow, I'll get back to work on the skin. Maybe this weekend I'll have an elevator!

2 hours, 26 rivets. 5 drilled out (3 of those was one hole!)

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I Love Tungsten (Started Riveting Right Elevator)

May 8, 2010

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Well, this morning, the girlfriend ran some errands, and I got my house chores done early, so I headed out to the garage to make some loud noises. Recently, I’ve been taking one component at a time from drilled through primed. It make my work sessions less boring (not a full day of deburring lots of parts, but rather one day of drilling, deburring, scuffing, dimpling, cleaning, and priming one part).

Anyway, today, it was the right elevator spar’s turn.

First, deburring. There's my oversize drill bit spun in my fingers.

Then I put a nice scuff on all sides and edges.

Scuffed and edge finished.

Then, I broke out the tank dies to do some dimpling.

I love these dies. Such high quality.

I know you guys have seen tons of dimples from me, but I still take pictures.

The male side.

And the female side. Apparently I have not edge-finished yet.

After finished dimpling, I grabbed this shot down the length of the spar.

Right elevator spar, dimpled.

I forgot to take a picture of the countersinking I had to do on the front (flanged) side of the spar. The spar needs to be countersunk to hold the flush rivets attaching the E-709 Root Rib Right. The elevator control horn fits over them.

Then, inside for cleaning and back outside to the paint booth.

One side primed.

While I was waiting for the back side of the spar to dry, I went ahead and pulled the vinyl off both sides of the E-713 counterbalance skin.

The vinyl comes off a lot more easily when it is warm out.

Then, I got the other side of the spar primed, and prepped for some riveting. I had already prepped and primed the two reinforcement plates that get riveted to the back of the spar.

There's my new tungsten bucking bar.

Here’s my setup for spar riveting.

You can't see the reinforcement plate, but those clecos are holding it on.


After 8 rivets, all I can say is…WOW. I love this tungsten bucking bar. 8 perfect rivets. With the older, and smaller, bar I was using before, things were always bouncing around, and my hand was vibrating, etc. With this bar, it is so easy to rivet. I should have bought this at the beginning of the project.

Wow, these are amazing shop heads.

Here's the other side.

I spent about 2 minutes just staring at the bar. Amazing.

I thought I would show you my grip.

8 more, also perfect.

Wuhoo, this bucking bar is great!

And, the other side of those.

I wanted to buck these, but I thought it would be better to squeeze them.

The spar to E-709 rivets.

These are the flush rivets I was talking about earlier. Of course, when the primer is only 30 minutes old, and you try to clean up some smudges with MEK, the primer will rub off. Duh.

I re-shot some primer over this right after this picture.

What a great day. I got to make loud noises, and I’m in love (sorry girlfriend) with my new tungsten bucking bar.

20 rivets in 1.5 hours. Good day.

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