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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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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More VS work

January 26, 2010

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Last night I spent a little bit of time rearrange (cleaning) out the workshop. Now, I’ve got a little more room to maneuver. (Mostly, I just moved my second workbench a little left, and moved the shop vac over by the compressor, now the walkway to get into my workshop area is a little more open.)

Slightly different layout for the workshop. I like this.

Tonight, I started by disassembling the vertical to start the deburring, dimpling, countersinking, cleaning, priming, and then reassembly dance. Here I am set up in front of the UNC game for some deburring.

Ready to deburr some holes. Don't judge me for drinking white. We had red snapper for dinner.

After what seemed like a thousand holes to deburr, I broke out the 3/32″ tank dimple dies and the 1/8″ regular dimple dies (for the rear spar) and got ready to dimple. Dimpling is much easier than deburring, and fun, too. I know deburring is important, but I feel like I’ve made progress after dimpling.

Ready to dimple.

Then, I started dimpling the ribs and spars. Here are the 3/32″ tank dies in action.

3/32" tank dies in action.

Here I am using the 1/8″ regular (shallower) dimple dies on the rear spar. I had to triple check both the holes and the direction before proceeding. This is correct, I think. (Flush rivets on the forward side of the spar.)

1/8" dimples on the rear spar. These are my first 1/8" dimples.

After finishing dimpling, I grabbed the skin and brought it inside to devinyl. Devinyling is a lot easier indoors, where the vinyl is room temperature. I tried pulling off the horizontal stabilizer vinyl in the garage when it was near freezing, and it kept tearing and was very stiff.

Waiting for the soldering iron to heat up.

After using the soldering iron and a wooden straight edge (the metal straight edge carries heat away too quickly, and you don’t get a melt line), I got to pull off the vinyl. For some odd reason, I find devinyling very cathartic. I love pulling off the blue to see the shiny aluminum underneath.

Pulling off the vinyl on the inside of the skin.

Ready to pull off the blue vinyl on the exterior of the skin.

Ready to devinyl the outside of the skin.

And finally, the vertical stabilizer skin devinyled (and everything carried back out into the garage).

Pretty skin. Also, that's me in the reflection.

Here are the ribs and spars all deburred and dimpled. (I still have to countersink the front side of the VS-803PP.)

Ribs and spars deburred and dimpled.

Next up, countersinking the rear spar reinforcement then deburring, dimpling, and scuffing the skin. Then priming, then I get to put this sucker together.

I can’t believe how much faster the vertical is than the horizontal. Part of it is the learning curve, but I think they should have you start with the vertical. Much easier, in my opinion.

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Matchdrilled Right Side of Vertical

January 25, 2010

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No pictures tonight.

I broke out the cordless drill (quieter than the air drill) and finished matchdrilling the right side of the vertical stabilizer.

Same routine. Drill every other hole, mark with a dry-erase marker, move clecos, drill remaining holes. Because the root forward rib gave me a little trouble when clecoing during initial assembly, I had 100% clecoed it. For this area, I removed one cleco, matchdrilled, then replaced the cleco. I just didn’t want it to move around on me at all.

Since I forgot to take a picture, here’s another picture of Jack and Ginger.

Ginger all up in your business, Jack in the background.

Half an hour. Not bad for a night I wasn’t planning on working on the airplane.

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Left HS Riveting

January 10, 2010

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Today I started left HS skin riveting.

The big takeaway is that I hate squeezing AN470AD4- rivets. For some reason (it’s gotta be user error), I keep bending them over. Finally, I broke out the gun and got some rivets set. I think I may need a better bucking bar. The fact I set some really nice rivets with the crappy bar means that a tungsten bucking bar will probably be my favorite tool.  Anyway, first picture is me riveting HS-710 and HS-714 to the left HS-702 front spar. You can see the two rivets in the upper right side of the picture needed to be drilled out. Oh wait. They all needed to be drilled out. See how I put the manufactured side on the thicker material here? Wrong, drill them out. That’s one of the reasons I drilled out 11 rivets today. I didn’t get all of these reset, but I did get the ones that would be inaccessible once I started riveting on the skin. In the picture below, I set the six behind the HS-404 rib, and six of the ten in front (lower right) of the HS-404 rib. A few of those bent over again, so I called it quits on this part and moved on. I’ll have to drill out more rivets tomorrow. Ugh.

Squeezed, and then drilled out HS-710 and HS-714.

Next, I started some skin riveting, with the HS-707. You can see my first two skin riveting shop heads.

My first two flush rivets (well, first two on the skin).

Then I shot two more and took this picture. Sorry about the fingerprint smudges. Rest assured, the skin is nice and smooth.

First 4 flush rivets on the left HS. They look so good.

Finished up the top, and then riveted the bottom (except for the last bottom skin rivet, the bottom 1/8″ cleco prevented the bucking bar from getting in there, so I’ll set this after I remove HS-708). The second and third rivets on the bottom need to be replaced. They are probably okay for such a non-structural area, but I am a perfectionist.

After riveting the top and bottom skins (to HS-707). Except the most aft skin rivet on HS-707. (See the lower 2nd and 3rd rivet from the right? Those shop heads are too small. I'll need to replace those.)

Drilled them out, and replaced them. They look much better now.

Replaced with AD3-4 instead of AD3-3.5. I don't know why these needed longer rivets when every other rivet looked okay.

Next, I finished riveting HS-710 and HS-714 (front spar reinforcement angles) to HS-702 (front spar). Shop heads on the thicker material.

HS-710 and HS-714 successfully riveted to the front spar.

Here’s a closeup of the two replaced rivets.

Another closeup of the HS-707 rivets.

Next, they have you cleco in the front spar and cleco HS-708 (what I am calling the middle aft rib) into place. (Ha, the Yard gave me a long reach 3/32″ cleco in my bag of used clecos. You can see it on the upper left.)

Clecoed the front spar and HS-708 in place, ready to blind rivet.

One of the LP4-3 blind rivets set. I had to grind down my cheapo National Tool and Equipment blind rivet puller. Not hard, took about 5 minutes, and ended up working really nicely in here.

First blind rivet on the project. (I think it's an LP4-3.)

And all three complete.

All three blind riveted. Time to move on.

Here, I got a shot of my painter’s tape covered bucking bar just after bucking the lower tip rib rivet.

Riveting HS-706 (tip rib) to HS-702 (front spar). I think I could have squeezed these if I had unclecoed the skin a little, but I was feeling good about shooting them, and I'm not a fan of squeezing AD4- rivets since the "let's have fun squeezing and drilling out 9 rivets" fiasco this morning.

I like these rivets. They gave me no problems.


Next, I started setting the skin to front spar rivets. I shoudl elaborate on my technique a little here. I would remove a cleco, put in the AN426AD3-3.5 rivet, put some blue painters tape over the rivet, then shoot and buck it. The tape did wonders to protect the skin from any blemishes caused by the flush rivet set. I taught myself this trick after scratching the hell out of the practice kit. (note: I wish the practice kit had more AD4- rivets in it.) Anyway, these all look sufficient…

The first skin to spar rivets on the top.

I managed the rest of the HS702 (front spar) and HS-708 (aft middle rib) to skin rivets. There were 42 of them. On each side. I wrapped my bucking bar in blue painters tape to protect the skeleton from dings and scratches. Worked like a charm. I’ll replace all of the tape then next time I have a big rivet day.

I wrapped my bucking bar in tape. Here is the result after 113 rivets today. (Well, 124, I had to drill out 11 rivets.)

Here are some after shots. The HS is upside down, so even though this is the left HS, we are looking at the tip rib here.

All done. I may go back and see if there are any underdriven rivets in here. I was being rushed back into the house for dinner after I finished riveting.

Looking at HS-708 and the blind rivets holding it to HS-702 (front spar) and HS-707 (middle tip rib). It looks like the spar is scratched here, but it is really just a couple scuffs from my knuckles and the handle from the blind rivet puller.

More after pictures.

This is looking toward the center of the airplane (toward HS-405, aft inboard rib)

And again.

No closeups, because I didn’t clean off the skin yet, but still, it looks so nice. Also, I need to remember to stop dripping air tool oil all over my workbench.

Hooray for a riveted skin. It looks like it might fly one day.

After I got all the riveting done, I started peeling off the blue vinyl from the interior. The primer on the vinyl flaked off as I peeled, and it got everywhere. I don’t know how to prevent this, though, and after a quick sweep with the vacuum, it looked wonderful again. Before I close up, I’ll probably wipe off the unprimed aluminum with acetone or similar to make sure I have all the fingerprints (oils) off.

Removed the blue vinyl on the interior. Me likey.

I also got a half hour of right HS skin deburring tonight. We’ll see.

Noon to 1pm, 1:30pm to 4:30pm, then 9-9:3pm while watching the UNC/VT game. Go heels. 4.5 very productive hours.

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More tools before starting

December 11, 2009

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Ordered some more tools today.  The Yard has graciously offered to send me the following after taking some of my money:

  • Fluting Pliers
  • Microstop New
  • 5-Piece Set 100 degree Countersinks
  • 4  Side-Grip Clecos Clamps 1/2″
  • 4    Side-Grip Clecos Clamps 1″
  • 25   K Series Spring Cleco 1/8″
  • 50   K Series Spring Cleco 3/16″
  • 2    #21 Cobalt Jobber Bit – 135 degree
  • 2    #12 Cobalt Jobber Bit – 135 degree

They should arrive sometime next week. I’ll update the post when the come in with some pictures.

Tools arrived!

Dec 25th update:

I bet some of you noticed I ordered 3/16″ clecos instead of 3/32″ When the box arrived, I was sure that the Yard had made a mistake, but I quickly realized the mistake was mine. After some research, I figured out I won’t need that many 3/16″ clecos, so it owuld be best if I could exchange them. Luckily, I was headed to Wichita the very next day for a wedding, and the Yard is conveniently located in Wichita.

Note: It is possible to bring a bag of 50 3/16″ clecos in a carry-on through airport security. Be prepared: the TSA will ask you why you are trying to bring bullets on the airplane. Ask me how I know.

When I was able to sneak away from the wedding festivities and make it to the Yard, the guy behind the counter didn’t have any problem with me exchanging for the right size. He even pointed out that I might want to go with used. Skeptically, I inspected a bag of 100 used 3/32″ clecos, and was satisfied with their quality. (Only saw a few with pro-seal on them.) at $0.25 a piece, I saved a bunch of money. Ha.

January update: Later, I saw that some of the clecos are stubby clecos, and some are unusable. I’ve gone through every one and thrown out about 10% of them.  I will probably stick with new clecos from now on. If nothing else, they look better in the pictures for you guys.

Anyway, let me get back to my Christmas. Oh, and Merry Christmas.

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Ordered some more tools. Again.

September 15, 2009

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Ordered some more tools today. I’ll update the post when they come in. I’ve been ordering from The Yard, given the price advantage. Until I run into bad quality, I’ll probably just continue along that route. I’m sure some of you may have some comments about that.

Here’s the list. So far, project costs is $596 dollars. I have a spreadsheet I keep with estimated cost for each tool, then my actual costs, including shipping (free if order is over $100 with the yard). Then I calculate how much I save for each tool or item. I’m estimating I’ve saved about $678 by shopping around vigorously.

K Series Spring Cleco 3/32″ (0-1/4″)
K Series Spring Cleco 1/8″ (0-1/4″)
Cleco Pliers with Grip
#30 High-Speed Jobber Bit – 135 degee Split Point
#40 High-Speed Jobber Bit – 135 degee Split Point
Auto Center Punch Large
Safety Glasses Clear
Plastic Spring Clamp Small
Plastic Spring Clamp Medium
12″ Drill Bit High Speed #30 AED
12″ Drill Bit High Speed #40 AED
Dimple Die Set 3/32″ Male/Female
Dimple Die Set 1/8″ Male/Female

9/18/09 Update: The above ordered tools arrived, and I am again happy with their quality. I added some more spaces to the right of my rivet/squeezer/dimple set tool holder of sorts. Here are a few pics of the tools and their new home.

A closeup of the first of many clecos.

A closeup of the first of many clecos.


Clecos and Pliers. I sprung for the pliers with handles. High class, huh?

Clecos and Pliers. I sprung for the pliers with handles. High class, huh?



Dimple Dies.

Dimple Dies.

Everything in the order.

Everything in the order.

And a punch.

And a punch.

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