Riveted Right Tank Drain Flange and Fuel Cap Flange

June 9, 2011

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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.

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Drilled Right Tank Drain and Cap

May 28, 2011

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Well, admist going to work, running some errands, and doing a MILLION things in the yard, I managed to do two really fun things today.

First, I drilled the VA-112 (Drain Flange) to the lower inboard part of the right tank, and also drilled my fancy new deluxe fuel caps to the upper outboard part of the tank.

The actual quick drain will screw into the drain flange, but for now, I’m just using a rod end bearing lightly threaded in the flange to make sure it’s centered in the drain hole already in the skin.

The drain flange is pre drilled and pre countersunk, so I’ll use that to matchdrill holes in the skin.

The drain flange and quick drain. I don't need the quick drain, so it went back in the storage bin.

VA-112 and CAV-110.

You can just barely see the tip of a rod end bearing being useful to me here.

Once I had two clecos in, I removed the rod end bearing.

All six holes drilled.

Next, I pulled out my deluxe fuel caps. (This is where you go “oooooooh, ahhhhh.”)

Van's even underlined the name to signify how AWESOME they are.

I had to pull off the outboard right tank rib for good clamping access. Looks like I already made a vinyl-removal circle.

I love it when I've already done stuff.

For the cap, the skin is already drilled, so you have to align the cap, then clamp, and use the holes in the skin to matchdrill the cap.

After a good 10 minutes of clamping, checking, reclamping, girlfriend helping to hold, clamping, checking, rechecking, I finally got an alignment I (WE!!!) was (were) happy with.

That's about as good as I'll ever get it.

1 hole drilled. Can't breathe yet.

I was drilling really well today. See this curly-cue? That’s some good speed/pressure during drilling.

That's some good drilling right there.

Finally, I got all...(counting)...10 holes drilled.

A closeup of the alignment (looks like I have some aluminum shavings to clean up).

So, wouldn't it be funny if I hadn't edited this picture, you could see my key number on the lock, you made a copy of the key, and then stole all my Avgas? That wouldn't be funny, so I made sure to edit the picture.

I'm very happy with how this turned out.

It was only 30 minutes worth of work, but having the deluxe fuel caps in there made it look really good.

Possibly more tonight.

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