Dimpled Right Aileron Leading Edge

September 15, 2011

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One picture today.

All I did was deburr and dimple the right aileron leading edge.

Shiny leading edge.

All I need to do now is edge finish and get the mating surfaces primed.

Then, cleco it to the spar, and get the right aileron skin in a place where I can start riveting.

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Deburred Right Aileron Spar

September 12, 2011

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Tonight was, once again, kind of a boring night.

After getting both ailerons mostly matchdrilled, I have a long road of prep ahead of me.

In about an hour tonight, all I managed to get done was the disassembly of the right aileron, plus some edge-finishing, deburring, and dimpling of the right aileron spar and reinforcement plates. (I started with those, because I can get those prepped, primed, and riveted before diving into more boring deburring. Getting pieces riveted together really re-motivates me…even if it’s just a few rivets.

Got the right aileron disassembled.

After edge finishing ALL OF THE LIGHTENING HOLES….jeesh, I looked through the manual and all over the plans for any clue on whether to countersink or dimple the aileron spar.

All I could find was something that said, “disassemble, deburr, dimple, and prime the components. Oh, and countersink the counterbalance pipe.”

So, it SOUNDS like dimpling the other parts are correct. What about the internet? Not much help there. Thanks a lot, Google.

Anyway, I gave the dimpling a shot on one of the #30 holes on the bottom of the spar, and stuck a CSP-4 (is that the rivet number?) in there. Looks pretty good to me. What do you think?

Looks good from here.

So, carefully watching for any flange distortion (there wasn’t any), I dimpled the bottom flange with a #30 dimple die and dimpled the top flange with a #40.

All done for the night.

That was about an hour, and while I could have started on the other one, I decided to pay a little attention to my family.

Puppies, here I come!

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Riveted Aileron Stiffeners

September 5, 2011

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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.

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I Hate Dimpling Stiffeners

August 24, 2011

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Well, can you guess what the airplane-building activity was? Maybe from the title?

Yup, you guessed right. Deburring and Dimpling stiffeners.

Here are the tools of the trade. An oversize drill bit, spun in the fingers to deburr. And, my normal dimple dies in my economy squeezer.

After one stiffener...

After 32 stiffeners.

For some excitment tonight (since otherwise, it would be a little lacking), let’s break out the calculator.

2 ailerons, 2 sides per aileron = 4 aileron sides.

4 aileron sides, 8 stiffeners per side = 32 stiffeners.

32 stiffeners, 7 holes per stiffener = 224 holes dimpled.

224 holes dimpled, 2 sides per hole = 448 deburred hole sides

448 deburred hole sides, 2 spins per hole = 896 spins of the drill bit.

My thumb and fore-finger hurt.

0.5 hour.

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Dimpled Right Upper Wing Skins

July 31, 2011

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Holy crap I got a lot done today. If you remember from yesterday, I forgot to attach a wire for the float fuel sender. Instead of ordering an appropriate sized wire, I used some of the only aircraft grade wire I had laying around, which was some 16 AWG. I know that is way too big (we’re just measuring a resistance), but it’ll work so I can install these tanks for the last time today.

Some people run two wires, but I checked the resistance through the tank, and I’m getting a nice solid reading from the tank itself, so here’s my one wire to the center conductor.

First official aircraft wiring. Done.

After reinstalling the tank, I held the wire to the negative lead and held the positive lead against a few different points on the tank.

All read between 38Ω and 240Ω or so, so I’m good.

Sweet. I don't have to unseal the tank to attach another wire to the sender body.

I’m flying through these skins right now. Pretty soon, I’ll have nothing left to do other than install the upper wing skins.

On tap for today is some dimpling and priming.

Here’s the inboard skin, ready for dimpling.

...on the nice vacuumed workbench.

Oh yeah, don’t forget your scarf joint. (A nice transition from the inboard skin to the outboard skin by the tank so there isn’t a big step.)

Looks good from this angle.

I also filed down the inboard side of the outer skin (the one I’m holding below).

Okay, this looks like it will work.

For some reason, you can see a little of the edge on the left side of the picture, but I didn’t notice this with my naked eye.

I’m very happy with it. It is a great transition from tank to skin.

I'm very happy with this.

After the scarf joint, I spent about 2.5 hours dimpling.

I've been using the male die on top with great success.

More dimpling.

After a little prep, I shot these with self-etching primer.

I sprayed them outside, then moved it back inside to dry.

For the outboard skin, I actually hung it inside-out on the wing.

More priming glory.

The wingwalk reinforcement skin.

And finally, the exterior side of the inboard skin where it will underlap the outboard skin.

3.0 hours of dimpling fun. All I have to do now is deburr and dimple the skeleton. Then, skin riveting!

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Deburred Right Upper Outboard Wing Skin, Right Leading Edge Rivets

July 29, 2011

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Tonight was only mildly more exciting than last night!

After taking the right upper outboard skin inside to deburr and scuff (AND VACUUM THE LITTLE ALUMINUM SHAVINGS OFF THE COUNTER, SORRY GIRLFRIEND!!!), I brought it back outside, and stored it (like the inboard skin), upside down (or inside out) on the left wing.

The two upper right wing skins, stored on the left wing for now.

For some reason I am paranoid about alignment, so I clecoed the right lower skins in place, although only 25%. I’ll come back with more clecos when I start riveting to make sure things are perfect.

The lower side of the right wing.

After looking at the clock, I figured I had about 30 more minutes.

Time to look at getting the right leading edge riveted to the spar (I had done the skin rivets, albeit out of order, a few days ago.)

From Brad Oliver’s site:

Oh boy, what a night. I riveted the left leading edge to the spar tonight. I used blind rivets to do this job, MSP-42, -43 and -44 rivets from Aircraft Spruce to be exact, but that isn’t the end of the controversy. I riveted (pulled) these rivets from inside the leading edge. Why use blind rivets? Why from the inside? Well, first of all, in my opinion certain blind rivets blind rivets are completely acceptable here. Van’s has said to many builders that the use of LP4-x rivets is acceptable here, and the LP4s are pretty soft as rivets go. I decided to step it up a bit and use MSP rivets here. They have a Monel (M) head, with a steel shaft (S), and a protruding head (P), and by my calculations are very similar in strength to solid rivets. I am likely to catch flack for that statement, but do your own calculations and see for yourself. Don’t take my word for it, and I am not recommending this method, only documenting what I did.

Why use blind rivets here in the first place? Because riveting the LE ribs to the spar involves grinding down a rivet set and you need two people for the job. These certainly aren’t big issues, but I wanted a easy method I could do myself.

Why from the inside? That one is easy, I wanted the factory head of the rivet to be on the thinner material (aft flange of rib). This was slightly painful, but I am proof that it can done. I also did this because even with the face of my cheap-o rivet puller ground down, I was having a hard time getting the puller on the shaft of the rivets due to their close proximity to the aft rib webs.

From Mike Bullock’s site:

No way to squeeze them. You could buck and shoot them, but you have basically no room to get a rivet set onto these rivets with the rib interference. The only purpose for these rivets are to keep the spar from bluckling. The way I see it, the chance of that is NIL, and there is a main rib set right next to each leading edge rib with the proper rivets in it. It doesn’t say it in the instructions, but builders have been told by Van’s to use LP4-3 blind rivets here. I did one better and used Cherry MSP-4? rivets. I bought a bunch of them from Spruce in the MSP-42, 43 and 44 sizes. They are very comperable to solid rivets.

I had some MSP-42 rivets in stock, so I grabbed 5 of them to try it out.

Once I got the ribs pulled into alignment, it worked great.

See? Great.

And any day you weren’t planning on contributing to your rivet total but you do…it’s a good day.

1.0 hour. 5 rivets. I’ll do the rest of the leading edge tomorrow. Also, someone PLEASE remind me to buy a balloon and a bicycle tire pump to test this darn right tank. It’s been two weeks, so the pro-seal better be dry.

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Started Deburring and Dimpling Right Wing Ribs

July 28, 2011

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Well, not much tonight, except a complete lack of motivation. I move the right upper inboard wing skin over to the left wing (just to hang there) while I started deburring and dimpling the right wing ribs.

I decided to only deburr and dimple the upper side of the ribs. I’m going to leave the lower side as-is so I can 50% cleco the lower skin (when able) to the skeleton while riveting the upper skin in place.

Action shot of me dimpling the ribs.

I was planning to be out in the garage for an hour and a half, but my boredom got the best of me and I quit after a (hot) half hour.

I told you it wasn’t exciting.

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Last of the Interior Right Tank Ribs

June 26, 2011

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Well, between a puppy run, mowing the lawn, and a run to Lowe’s to get some house-related stuff, I managed to fit in a good three hours on the right tank.

First up, I unfurled some of the -4 tubing that’s provided (the tape said the roll from Vans was 19’) and tried to bend it as straight as I could. I notice in other’s pictures, it looks perfectly straight, but I couldn’t get mine that good. When you actually see a picture of it, let me know if you think it’s straigh.

Anyway, slid it in the installed ribs (after putting in some snap bushings), and cut it about an inch too long. Right before I install the last rib for good, I’ll final cut this, and flare appropriately.

Today’s goal, though, was to get ribs #2 and #4 done.

Here is rib #4 after being lathered in proseal, clecoed in, rivets inserted and taped over.

I like this part, because it means I’m about to set some rivets.

Here’s a shot from the other side showing some fillets. On this rib, I did the fillets before I set any rivets. Hopefully, getting those done now will prevent some of the proseal from getting on my bucking bar.

Nice fillets.

After banging away for a little, here are the rivets on the top of the skin.

Oh man, I hope it’s easy to clean off that proseal later.

…and the bottom of rib #4.

Before starting in on rib #2, I need to fabricate a little trap door. Basically, it will all fuel to flow from outboard to inboard, but when I roll one way or the other, the door will close and not allow fuel back outboard. (Fuel will still trickle out through some of the smaller holes, but enough should stay in the first bay to prevent fuel starvation for the short time it will take me to roll back upright.

The anti-hangup strips can be added later, but the trap door would be hard to do later.

I’m making the door from the bottom of the picture.

So, I found some extra hinge stock laying around, and cut it to make it look like the plans.

Hinge stock.

Then, I bent the hinge pin and triangle piece (which stops the door from opening all the way).

After some drilling, deburring, and dimpling, I set some flush rivets (so the door would close) in the bottom half.

3 rivets here.

Since I didn’t want to up the rivet size just so I could use a universal head rivet, I drilled the upper half of the hinge along with the rib to #40, then deburred and dimpled both.

3 more here. Trap door closed…

…trap door open.

Then, after having a HECK of a time getting the inboard rib clecoed in place (because you want to have the rib on either side of the one you are working on installed to firm everything up while you are riveting), I realized I was trying to cleco a dimpled skin into an undimpled rib.


So, deburred, dimpled, then tried again.

Much better. Here’s a shot after getting rib #2 cleaned, lathered up, clecoed, rivets inserted, and ready to rivet.

It actually wasn’t too hot out today. Having the garage door open was nice, although I’m pretty sure the neighbors think I’m crazy with the hearing protection, respirator, and gloves.

Speaking of gloves. This is the last one.

Don’t mess up, you only get one shot at this one.

Okay, half the rivets set, insert new (cleaned) rivets, move the tape…

The grass on the other side of the driveway is nice healthy grass, I promise.

All done on the top of #2.

Bottom is done, too.

After taking a short break (to breathe fresh, instead of respirated, air), I pulled off the blue vinyl from inside the tank. This worked perfectly for me, even though some guys on VAF were skeptical and insisted everyone use electrical tape.

Baloney! (Is that how you spell that? I’m not talking about the meat “bologna,” I’m talking about the “you’re full of it” exclamation.)

Well, I didn’t pull the first bay’s vinyl off yet. I’ll wait till the inboard rib is attached.

3.0 hours. 34 rivets on each of the ribs, plus 6 rivets for the trap door. None drilled out. I am a riveting all-star. (Only one rivet drilled out in the last 8 building sessions. Nice.)

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Two More Right Tank Ribs Sealed

June 18, 2011

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Today was a busy day! Even though I’m logging all the time today as on the fuel tanks, I did spend just a couple minutes on the leading edge.

First thing, I deburred and dimpled the inboard leading edge rib, then fit it back in place on the leading edge, this time WITH the joint plate.

Looking good.

Oh, while I was in autozone today, I grabbed a tubing bender and mini tubing cutter.

These should work.

After much reading, deliberating, gnashing of teeth, and hand wringing, I decided to bite the bullet and add a fuel return line.

Not very many fuel injection systems require it, and if I got with the ECI injection (which is supposedly very nice), they say you can just add a bulkhead fitting to the inboard bay, but I think I’m going to run a -6 line to the second bay.

As of a week ago, I had decided I was not going to add any injection system that required return lines, so we’ll see how I feel in another week.

Anyway, I was milling about the parts under my workbench when I came accross the standard rigid pickup tube that Van’s provides. Since I’m using flop tubes, this is scrap, so I held it up against the tank, and figured out it would just make it over to the second bay. Wuhoo!

I guess with the normal pickup, they crimp the end and you make saw cuts in the side of the tube as the actual pickup.

First, let’s get this thing cut in half.

Not bad. Needs deburring, though.

Then, let’s uncrimp the other side so the thing will fit into the cutter (I want a fresh cut on both ends).


Of course, I made a fresh cut on this end too, then deburred both sides, and promptly put the tubes away before taking any more pictures. Sorry.

On to some tank ribs.

After the usual cleaning and preparations, I buttered up rib #5 and clecoed it in place. Here are some undriven rivets with tape on the heads, ready to be set.

Ready for riveting.

I went light on the pictures today, sorry. Here’s rib #5 and #6.

I still don't like the proseal on the outside of the skins, but I'm trying not to have any leaks. I hope the razor blade trick works.

Then, I repeated the whole process for rib #3.

...and my trusty rivet gun.

A picture of the top side.

Nice, except for the very last rivet I shot, which is on the lower right corner. Ding city.

Starting from the (invisible) rib all the way to the left, I did ribs 2 and 5 today.

Still need some rivet encapsulation, but overall, a really good day. 34 rivets times 2, none drilled out.

Oh, and 3 hours. (It really only took me one hour per rib, but I was messing around with the leading edge and the fuel tube stuff.

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Right Tank Rib Prep

June 14, 2011

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Not much today, but here goes anyway.

I had approximately half a syringe full of proseal in the freezer from Saturday (I think), and it was going to go past its 4 days of freezer goodness, so I pulled it out and made my rivet encapsulation dollops (umm, spelling?) a little bigger.

I still have good pathways for water, but just wanted to be sure I sealed those puppies well.

Same thing on the cap flange, except these don't look as pretty.

Then, I spent some time deburring and dimpling tank ribs.

Two done.

Dinner time!!!

For extra credit, this picture has Jack and Ginger, too!

After some more rib prep, I have 6 of the 7 ribs clecoed in place.

(Still working on the inboard rib.)

My gameplan from here onwards will be to finish up the first rib, then work on the outboard rib (there’s a reinforcement plate I have to drill), then pull one (or two) ribs out at a time, clean judiciously, put sealant on the flanges, 100% cleco in place, then rivet.

Then, make fillets, do some rivet encapsulation, and celebrate with beer.

I’m planning on one rib per night, but might get in two. Just a few more nights of miscellaneous work, then I can get started.

1.0 hour.

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