Wing Stand 2.0, Drilled Out Some of Left Rudder Skin

February 9, 2018

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Well, here I go.

First thing, you are seeing some work from the last few weeks. When I got home from the long XC road trip with the RV, I had to immediately reassemble the wing cradle.

No biggie, just a few 8-foot 2x4s, and a quick redesign of the spar side support.

Not exactly per the plan, but I had 2×4 laying around, but no 3/4″ plywood.

And yes, I splurged for four 4″ locking casters. So nice.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to have 4 nice big casters on this thing. Don’t scrimp here.

Anyway, given that the left wing hasn’t been started, but the skeleton and skins are clecoed together for transport, I knew I needed somewhere to store some skins once they come back off the skeleton.

So, I ripped some 12″ pieces of 8-foot long oak paneling I had laying around, and screwed them to the long support on the bottom of the cradle.

Bad angle. Sorry.

I ripped a 2×4 in half (because I’m cheap) and screwed it into the top support.

I’ll call this the “upper” skin support.


A better angle?

Now that I have some skin storage, let’s find something to store!

The interim owner of the kit (Jim) had purchased some replacement rudder skins (remember this?) but never opened them. After opening the package, I foudn two brand-spanking-new skins.

Far less damaged than the current rudder skins.

So, here they are now, in my new skin-storage area.


Okay, now. Let’s get some actual building going on.

(Well, not building, but un-building.)

Remember this post?

The partically drilled out rudder from 4 years ago.

So, I dug out some #40 drill bits, and started drilling.

Here’s a gratuitous shot of some aluminum shavings.

After drilling out some left-skin-to-spar rivets and the bottom rib rivets, I attacked the upper left stiffener.

11 for this stiffener.

It was 25 rivets for the spar, 20 for the bottom rib, and 11 for the upper stiffener.

56 rivets drilled out, and a whole lot more to go.

(for the record, it took my overall average from 4.28% to 5.19% of rivets drilled out. That’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. (I’ll need to set about 1000 more rivets before the average returns back to below 4.28%. Sigh.)

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Constructed Wing Cradle

December 11, 2011

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Well, I needed something exciting to do on the airplane, so, instead of starting in on the right flap, I decided to work on the wing cradle.

Even though the right wing is the only one complete (well, kind of complete), flipping it over into a cradle will free up some room.

Let’s take a look at the intended final product.

Leading edge traces.

First up, I need two 3′ by 2′ end pieces.

Below, you can see I have one of the end pieces on my workbench with a couple leading edge traces. Since the spars are about 8″ wide, I used simple math (well, simple if you aren’t an engineer; I made it complicated) and left five inches from the edge, 8 inches for each spar, then 10 inches in the middle.

Leading edge traces.

After some master woodworking...

Then, I laid my other endpiece underneath that one, and marked the edges of the cutout so my spar reinforcement bars would fit well.


Per the plan, we need a little reinforcing at the top, and a 2×4 for the bottom.

Done and done.

Then, with a little more woodworking, I used my aileron bending brake and cut six two-foot-long angled support pieces, assembled pretty obviously per the plans and picture.

Whoa, this thing looks serious now.

With a little carpeting...

Then, I spent about an hour getting the right wing into the cradle all by my lonesome. I was extrememly methodical, and thought through long and hard about how I was going to do this.

Yes, I could have had a buddy over to do it in 5 minutes, but no, I had to make it difficult for myself.

Anyway, if you remember, my wings were supported by two pieces of angle supported by a 3/8″ bolt through the actual stand, and a threaded rod supporting the other end of the angle. The outboard side of the wing was bolted to the angle, so all I had to do was unattach the threaded rod portion, stand at the wing root, and rotate the wing. The outboard side pivoted around the wing stand bolt, and I was able to gently set the inboard side of the wing in the cradle as shown below.

Then, I moved to the outboard side to undo the last two bolts, and gently lower that side.

Easy peasy. (Next time, I’m getting a buddy to help.)

Before moving the stand back onto the MDF piece on the floor, I took the other spar off the stands, tipped each side of my stands up and took off the right wing stands.

Now both wings are a little closer to the center of the stall, giving me more room by the workbench, and the girlfriend a little more room with her car door. (That’s always a good thing.)

I know the garage is messy, but here's the right wing in the cradle.

One last shot.


Time to get working on the lower skins. Well, let’s do the aileron gap fairing and flap brace first.

2.5 hours with all the construction and moving around.

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Started Prepping Right Leading Edge

March 25, 2011

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Jeesh, I can’t seem to get a minute away from our third puppy to head outside and do any work on the airplane.

Tonight, finally, during halftime (go UNC!) and just after the game (wuhoo UNC!), I managed to go outside and do a couple things.

I didn’t want to do anything major; I really just wanted to go out there and get back up to speed. I’m kind of in the middle of rib prep on the leading edge, so I disassembled a few of the leading edge ribs and worked on what I labelled R3, or the third rib from the inboard side.

After deburring (back up, looks like I forgot to matchdrill some of the holes….sigh). Okay, after drilling, deburring, edge finishing, and scuffing, I now I have two right leading edge ribs ready for primer.

R2 and R3 (my numbering) ready for primer.

After pulling out the rest of the ribs (including the two outboard-ish ribs shown below), I went ahead and drilled pilot holes for the nutplate holes that are needed for the leading edge landing light installations. I had previously marked these while they were assembled with the leading edge using the provided template.

The two outboard ribs, now with pilot holes drilled for the bracket (the two small holes just above the lightening hole).

So here’s my thought. I really hate rib prep, so I’m basically going to do one at a time, then get it installed in the leading edge. To do that, I’ll need to prep (deburr, dimple) and prime the appropriate parts of the leading edge, and prep one additional rib. Generally, you want the surrounding structure in place for whatever you are riveting. Hence the need for the “next” rib to be clecoed in place while you are riveting a particular rib. If you don’t have the next one in place (have everything perfectly aligned), then the final structure may not be aligned. Make sense? No? Oh well.

So, I put the leading edge in my cradles and got to work with deburring. I got all the exterior holes deburred, did some edge-finishing with my permagrit block and my edge deburring tool and a scotchbrite pad, then started deburring the interior before my hand got tired.

Leading edge during some prep.

Oh, and out of laziness, I screwed the right tank loosely into position instead of taking it back upstairs. I think it’s going to be awhile before I get back to working on it.

It kind of has a funny shape with no ribs in it.

It was a short night, but got me back into the mood, so I’ll call it a success.

1 hour.

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Leading Edge/Tank Cradle, Right Tiedown Bracket

September 28, 2010

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A few days ago I had the circular saw out, and I saw (pun intended) a 16″ wide piece of 3/4″ MDF sitting around, so I took a quick look at the plans, and decided that 16″ x 16″ might be a good starting point for the leading edge/tank assembly cradle.

The plans (second picture down) show 13″ x 15″, but I’ve heard that some people break the cradle at the thinnest point.

Anyway, it took me all of 30 seconds to cut the 2 big square pieces and the four triangular pieces also pictured.

Tonight, I pulled those out for assembly (a quick night in the shop).

16" x 16" cradle walls, with 4 triangular supports.

Van's wants you to mount them on a 36" long 2x4, but I decided to go another route. Read on.

I used a thick magic marker to offest from a tank rib (room for pipe-insulation to protect the skins).

After the cut.


After the cut. (Déjà vu)

Tada! (Déjà vu)

After both were cut out with the jigsaw, I laid (layed? Em, help me out here) the tank rib into the cutout to make sure I had offset the cuts enough.

Looks good to me.

So, here’s an expplanation of my “alternate route”.

Because Van’s specifically states that this just helps in assembly, and is not an alignment jig, I decided I didn’t really need to take up a lot of space with a 3 foot wide cradle that would undoubtedly get in the way. Instead, I am making the two halves of the cradle independently, and will use them (approximately 3 feet apart). I also figured they would be stable enough with one of these triangular pieces on each side, which they were.

I predrilled the cradle, but not the gusset, and it cracked as I assembled with some coarse-thread drywall screws. Bummer (I never thought I would put a picture of my crack on the internet.)

For the other ones, I pre-drilled the gusset, too.

After everything was all said and done, I am pretty happy with them (damn crack!).

I need to grab some pipe insulation to protect the skins.

Best part, they nest nicely for storage before (and after) use.

Then, I looked around for something I could get done with the half hour of attention and “eyelids-open” time I felt I had left.

I shot a quick coat of primer on the right tiedown bracket (and spacers), and then waited for the first sides to dry before flipping them over and hitting the other side.

While the whole thing dried, I needed something else to do, so I grabbed the  T-715 Anti-Rotation brackets (which come all connected like the old plastic models used to. Remember you had to use a pocket knife to cut off the little tabs after bending and twisting one model piece from the rest of the pieces.)

Anyway, after getting them apart, I edge finished all four on the scotchbrite wheel. Maybe 10 minutes, and for the record, I am going to log this time under Spars, because I’m waiting for the tiedown brackets to dry. I don’t feel like adding an entry under tanks just yet.

When it is years and years from now, and you ask me how my hours it took me to finish my tanks, and I say “xx hours,” remember to add 10 minutes to that to get the real answer.

Edge finished anti-rotation brackets. (How do I edge-finish the inside edges of these? Hmm.)

Okay, now that the tiedown bracket is dry, let’s find those AN426AD3-7s – HOLY CRAP THESE THINGS ARE LOOOONG!

Whoa. Long rivets.

4 of 8 rivets set (squeezed).

Tada! (That's three "tada"s today. Aren't you lucky!?) Don't forget the nutplates on the other side. I almost did.

Oh, and by the way. Don’t prime and then wait 10 minutes for things to dry, the primer really hasn’t cured, and it will scrape off with a fingernail. After waiting 24 hours, or better yet, a few days, this stuff gets rock solid. I need to remember that.

I shot another coat on these after they were riveted. I was too ashamed of the first coat to take a picture. Sorry.

8 rivets and 1 hour. 0.5 in “Wing” and 0.5 in “Spars.” (I’ll put the log in both places. We’ll see how that works.)

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