Rudder Counterbalance and Tip Rib

March 29, 2010

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I didn’t have a very good night in the shop tonight, mainly because I ended up not being able to use the castle nuts on the counterbalance. Read on.

Here's my large order from ACS. Lots of stuff here.

One thing I noticed was that the bolts ACS sent me were not the same size as the bolts that vans sent me. I need to look into this before using any of them. It might be something obvious, but I need to research this a little.

While I was packing stuff away, I found this bearing in my hardware box. Notice anything funny? Like the NUTPLATE THAT IS SUPPOSE TO BE INSTALLED ON THE RUDDER?

AHHHHHHH!

But hey, those are the two rivets that didn’t give me any trouble before, so maybe they’ll be easy to drill out and replace. (Yeah, right.)

Uh oh, spaghetti-O.

Anyway, after much fiddling around with castle nuts, I re-read AC 43-13 and decided these locking nuts would be sufficient for the very permanent installation of the counterweight.

Counterweight installed. Looks like a lot of threads left over, but I double-checked, and it's right.

Before installing the tip rib, I snagged a picture of the RTV I installed on the last rivet of each stiffener set.

Looks weird because of the reflections, but you get the idea.

Another shot, just for fun.

I'm ready to install the tip rib now.

After squeezing 30 of the easy to reach rivets, I snagged this picture of the top of the rudder.

Tip rib mostly in.

Then, out of order from the manual (supposed to do the blind rivets first), I pulled the LP4-3’s out and got those in.

First one...

All done.

I still have some things to do on the rudder:

  • Let the pro-seal dry and rivet the trailing edge.
  • drill out rivets and install missing nutplate.
  • Drill out bad skin rivets (2, I think.)
  • Tips

But, I’m getting close to another dog picture, which is always good.

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More Trailing Edge Work

March 28, 2010

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After last night’s bad fitting trailing edge, I decided to mark where the dimples weren’t sitting properly, and enlarge the countersink ever so slightly.

The problem is that if you make the countersink large enough to accept the dimple perfectly, you create a knife-edge on the wedge. I guess that is why they have you use the aluminum as a drill guide for the countersink bit. After deburring the few knife edges that I got, it ended up working pretty well, but some of the holes are enlarged a little. With the pro-seal and the double-flush rivets, I am not too worried, but it still bugged me a little. It appears other builders have run into this issue as well.

Another shot of the not so good trailing edge before enlarging the countersinks.

Before I thought I would be able to tackle the rest of the trailing edge today, I got some of the “not-reachable-with-the-squeezer” rivets. here’s a shot of some shop heads for the counterbalance skin to skin rivets.

Decent shop heads.

I also finished up the rivets for the counterbalance rib.

More shop heads.

Then, I installed and removed the counterbalance enough to be able to file away some weight so the lead cleared the shop heads of the interfering rivets.

Nice tight fit today.

Here's the counterbalance. The best file for this left big cutouts, so don't judge me for these.

I also finished dimpling the tip rib and got it edge-finished, cleaned, and primed.

Waiting for primer to dry is like watching a pot of water boil. I can't complain though. It's dry to the touch in about 15 minutes.

Even though that was plenty of work for the day, I decided to tackle the trailing edge. I had everything I needed (Lowe’s didn’t have any RTV, but then I remembered I had some at home from my motorcycle habit, so I was in luck).

Here's me attempting to design a way to keep the trailing edges apart. This sucked, and I ended up using scrap 2x4 in between the stiffeners.

Here’s my tools. RTV, MEK, gloves (I used about 8 pairs) and the tank sealant.

Tools.

Don the gloves, and get ready to mix. I had to read the directions about 15 times before I understood. The hardener (I think) is in the tube part of the plunger. You stick the black piece (behind the big tube) into the hole in the plunger, and as you push the plunger from the bottom to the top, you push the black part so the hardener in the plunger is expelled into the larger tube. Confused yet?

Ready to mix. (I've already cleaned all of the parts.

After pushing the black piece (back on the table now) up to start the mixing process, you twist the plunger head while moving up and down, which starts to mix.

This is after about 75 strokes, which is what the directions say you have to do. I had to keep going. (I may have been doing something wrong, I don't know.) I kept going after this to get a more uniform "black death" color.

Then you unscrew the plunger shaft and screw in the nozzle. Okay, where is my caulking gun? I don’t have a caulking gun. OH MY GOD I FORGOT A CAULKING GUN.

Here it is fully mixed.

That’s okay, I just stuck the handle of a large screwdriver down the tube and it worked great.

Here's one side, ready to be spread out. I put a dab between each hole, and then used a scrap piece of aluminum to spread it out nice and evenly.

Another shot. This seemed to be an appropriate amount of sealer.

After that step, things started getting messy, and I had to change gloves a lot (it gets everywhere), so I stopped taking pictures. After I got both sides covered, I laid it into the scuffed and cleaned trailing edge area of the skin.

Look how good that looks. (Also, you can see my 2x4 spacers.)

Another shot.

Of course, I did a marvelous job putting a perfectly penny sized glob of RTV on the last (aft rivet) of the stiffeners before I removed the wood spacers and closed up. (The wood spacer near the bottom of the rudder was a pain in my ass. I lifted up the trailing edge a little with the top skin, so it stopped squeezing the block, and of course the block slid down toward the front of the rudder. Of course now I can’t let go, but I’m too far away from the other workbench to reach all of my long-reach tools. Ever see one of those situations where a guy has one foot in a boat and one foot on the dock, and he’s stretching and stretching? That was me. Except I finally reached a BFS (big freaking screwdriver) and managed to get the block out without contaminating any tank sealant or RTV.

Here's a blurry shot of the bottom RTV glob. Glob is a technical term.

Then, I got the rudder clecoed to the angle, wiped off any excess sealant, and moved the hole thing to the top shelf of my workbench.

Storage, kind of. I'm going to leave this for a whole week while I start on the elevators.

I think it was 11 rivets.  2 hours before the trailing edge, one hour for the trailing edge. The next post is still from today, but I am tracking it in another section and in another column for total time, so it’s getting its own post.

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Trailing Edge Angle Work

March 27, 2010

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I didn’t get in a lot of work today, but an hour on the trailing edge isn’t too shabby.

First thing, unpack the Lowes bounty. I picked up a 6′ piece of aluminum angle (for the trailing edge work) a long (36″) backriveting plate, a 36″ 3/4″ diameter steel stake for leading edge rolling, and a smaller backriveting plate that I will be returning (picked that one up before finding the longer one).

Lowes bounty.

I grabbed the aluminum angle, and drilled both sides to the dirtier side of my MDF toolbench.

The cleco on either end will help it stay put.

Then I used the  trailing edge (pre countersunk) to drill the trailing edge hole pattern in the aluminum angle.

I lined up the trailing edge with the aft edge of the angle so I could ensure things were straight both left and right and forward and aft.

Here’s the angle after being Matchdrilled.

Let's do it.

Next up, countersinking the trailing edge wedge to accept the dimple of the skins. I grabbed a piece of stiffener (.016″) and used my standard dimple dies as a test piece. First, I measured the very outside diameter of the dimple.

0.2165"

Then, I conservatively deepened a countersunk hole in the trailing edge until it reached 0.2165″

Here's .187.

A little deeper...there we go.

After finishing both sides with this depth, I clecoed the skin together. Hmm, This doesn’t look that good.

There's a pretty big gap in some places.

I was frustrated this didn’t work out perfectly and I had some socializing to do, so I walked away. I’ll come back to this tomorrow.

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Riveted R-912 Counterbalance Rib

March 23, 2010

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After priming the R-912 counterbalance rib and R-913 counterbalance skin last night, I thought I would get those installed on the skeleton. First thing to do is check the plans for a rivet callout.

What!? No rivet callout? That means I have to think!

No rivet callout for the R-912 to R-902 spar attachment.

I grabbed the shortest AN470AD rivet I could find…AD4-4. That seemed to be good.

This one will work.

And an after picture. Wuhoo!

Successfully set rivets.

I squeezed these. I’m still not totally happy with my squeezers ability to squeeze AD4 rivets.

Not too shabby.

Then, I grabbed the counterbalance skin and clecoed it on. My squeezer is only a 3″ yoke, so I can’t reach any of these holes.

My squeezer isn't long enough to reach these holes, and the girlfriend is outside helping me with some deck chair refinishing, so no rivet gun tonight.

Another picture of those two clecoed on the skeleton.

It's nice outside, so I had the garage door open. Lot's of sunlight in the afternoons.

Finally, I got the left skin clecoed on to check for fit and complete any remaining edge-finishing required before riveting.

Left rudder skin to counterbalance skin holes.

To be determined: whether I should edge-roll the forward edge of the rudder skin where it overlaps the counterbalance skin.

It looks good now, but might pull up when I rivet. I think I'll edge roll this. "Avery? Please send me your edge roller tool. Thank you."

Two rivets set today. Half hour total.

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Rudder Skin Prep, Skeleton Riveting

March 20, 2010

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In between some yardwork, watching the sprinklers, and cleaning up the house, I made some good progress on the airplane.

First thing, I found a stiffener rivet that was sitting a little proud. (Drilled rivet #1 today.)

Off with your head!

Silly me, though, I didn’t get any pictures of it after it was reset. I was being lazy with the camera today. Sorry.

Next up, skin deburring and dimpling.

The holes on the right are the tip rib #40 holes. The ones on the left have been drilled to #30.

After deburring, scuffing and dimpling, we are ready for priming.

The top of the right rudder skin after deburring, scuffing and dimpling.

Then, more deburring, scuffing and dimpling.

I didn't forget the hole on the bottom of the picture. This hole is match-drilled with the rudder tip and then dimpled to #30.

After cleaning, I shot a little primer on the skin.

Primed right rudder skin.

I had a very specific order here. First, deburr, scuff, dimple and prime the top, forward edge, and bottom edge. Then, while the primer is drying, devinyl the aft edge (vinyl used as masking for the primer), deburr, scuff and dimple the aft edge. This edge doesn’t get primed, as we’ll use the fuel tank sealing instructions with Pro-seal to glue the trailing edges together.

After scuffing the aft edge, I started pulling off the blue vinyl from the interior of the skins.

This just looks so nice.

Another shot of me devinyling.

Then, I spent a couple minutes making the slot at the bottom of the skin a little bigger. One of the flanges from the control horn fits in here, and during initial assembly, there was some interference.

Notch enlarged.

And the left skin, primed.

Got the left skin primed and ready for devinyling.

Ame thing on this skin, while the primer was drying, I devinyled the trailing edge, scuffed, and dimpled.

Scuffed and dimpled the trailing edge.

Here’s the left skin after devinyling. I’ll store this skin until final riveting. Now, back to the skeleton.

Shot 1 of 2 of the prepped left rudder skin.

Shot 2 of 2 of the prepped left rudder skin.

In the middle of the day, I ran out of primer and scotchbrite pads, so I ran out for both.

Napa 7220 Self Etching Primer.

Maroon scotchbrite pads.

They didn’t have any maroon on the shelf, but they had some grey. I asked the guy out front, and he went to the back and grabbed 3 unpackaged pieces. Usually, there are $5 or $6 for the three. He gave them to me for a couple dollars, which was nice.

I like them cut in about 2" x 2" squares. Good to go until the end of the tail kit, I'm guessing.

I had some trouble with dimpling the last three holes in the rudder bottom rib. I drilled and countersunk a hole in a spare piece of steel I had, then realized it was too far from the edge to work. Awesome. Here’s a shot of my second attempt.

The new hole is on the bottom right. After countersinking, I used a rivet and my flush set to dimple the rib. Not perfect, but it'll work.

Then, I moved on to some riveting.

This is the spar and one of the spar reinforcements.

While I was moving everything around getting it ready for riveting, I broke my first tool. Now, it was about $0.50 from Harbor Freight, but I was still upset.

RIP cheap plastic clamp. (I'm lying. I actually gut the orange part off the other side and threw the clamp into a box somewhere. I'm sure it will come in handy at some point, even if it doesn't have the orange pads.)

Rivets were looking good, until the one to the right of the nutplate. Doh!

Which one of these is not like the other?

After a successful drill out (#2 of the day), I finished setting the rest of the spar reinforcements and snapped these two pictures.

Middle spar reinforcement.

Upper spar reinforcement.

That’s 16 set so far.

Then I mocked up the R-405PD Rudder Horn, R-710 Horn Brace, R-917 Shim, R-902 Spar, and R-904 Bottom Rib. Some people need to use blind rivets in some of these holes, but I figured I could do it with all solid rivets.

This is what I need to end up with after riveting.

I figured out that if I take off the R-904 bottom rib, I can reach in from above (bottom right of the picture) and get the horn brace to rudder horn rivets here, then slide the forward flange of the bottom rib under the rudder horn and get those from the lightening hole. Here I am setting the horn brace to rudder horn rivets.

I think this is going to work out well.

Another shot from further away.

Here’s all four of those set (set nicely, if I may add).

Horn brace to rudder horn rivets.

20 rivets set so far. Then I moved on to the R-606PP Reinforcement plate to R-902 Spar to R-917 Shim to R-405PD Rudder horn rivets. These need to be AN470AD4-7 rivets, which are LONG. I did have to drill one of them out. That’s #3 for the day. Boo.

This is an AN470AD4-7 rivet after drilling out. This is a long rivet.

But, I managed to reset it okay and get the others in with no trouble.

R-606PP to R-902 to R-917 to R-405PD rivets.

23 set. I scratched the R-405PD horn a little, so I scotchbrited it out, and shot some primer in there.

Some primer to cover the scratch.

Next, I slid the flange of the bottom rib under the rudder horn and lined up the holes. Now I need to drop some rivets in here.

Ready for riveting.

First, I set the horn brace to bottom rib rivets.

26 rivets set so far. These are looking good.

26 set. Finally, I set three more which are reinforcement plate to spar rivets.

These are above the bottom rib, so they are only reinforcement plate to spar rivets. Easy.

I started to rivet the complicated stuff together and LOOK WHAT I DID!

I think this is hilarious. Think I should drill it out?

This happened because I was bucking from above and shooting from below. The gun jumped around cause I was supporting it’s weight instead of letting gravity help me. That’s a no-no.

It was pretty easy to drill out (#4 for the day), here’s an inside shot; back to square one.

Ready to try again.

After setting the first two, a picture.

These look good.

And after much consternation (including using my double offset set as a bucking bar), I got the two outside rivets bucked.

Finally done with riveting for the day.

30 rivets set, 4 drilled out. Lastly, I matchrdrilled the E-614-020 to R-912 rib. This was a piece of pie.

Rudder counterbalance matchrilled to the counterbalance rib. Also, there's the hardware that will be used to fasten these two together.

4.5 hours today. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon.

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Primed R-902 Rudder Spar

March 18, 2010

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I was getting the itch to work on the airplane a little, so I tackled the R-902 Rudder Spar today. First thing, deburring. I know I have plenty of pictures of deburring , but I took a closeup of a few holes.

Hole on the left is deburred, hole on the right is not. This is the topside, though, so the raw hole on the right doesn't even have really bad burrs. The weird crap on the left is just a piece of metal left over from deburring, it's not really messed up.

Here’s an action shot of me using the oversized bit to deburr.

Action shot!

Here’s the spar, deburred, and ready for scuffing, cleaning, and priming. Sorry for all the pictures tonight.

R-902 Rudder Spar

Here’s a picture of me scuffing with my maroon scotchbrite pad. For some reason, I like this step in the airplane building process.

Left half is the raw spar, right half has been scuffed.

Then, Ginger noticed I was in the garage working, and since the garage temperature was the same as the house tonight, I left the door open.

"Jack, come out here and let's see what dad is doing."

Jack came to see what was going on.

Jack and ginger, curious as always. (They are collarless due to the baths they just got.)

To scuff the inside, I decided to clamp the spar down to the table. It makes scuffing slightly easier, and I can use two hands on the edges.

Some of my nice (but cheap) clamps from Harbor Freight earning their keep.

Next up, dimpling. The construction manual warns to maybe grind down the dies to make sure not to gouge the spar web. I didn’t seem to have any issues with clearance.

Dimpling with #40 tank dies.

Then, I took the spar inside and cleaned it with dawn dishwashing detergent. Then back outside to dry for priming. Here’s the spar in my fancy paint booth setup.

Spar, ready to be shot with primer.

I did the forward side of the spar first. (Notice the open garage door, I’m trying not to kill too many brain cells with the priming.)

Forward side of the spar primed.

A shot of the lower portion of the spar.

Then, after going inside to refill the wine glass (to let primer dry), play with the pups (let primer dry), and hang out with the girlfriend (let primer dry), I went back outside to prime the aft side of the spar.

The bright orange thing on the spar near the right 2x4 support is the reflection of a warning sticker above the garage door. The primer is still wet. I didn't see this until I uploaded the pictures.

After another half hour or so, I put the spar back on the table and clecoed the R-606PP (Lower Spar Reinforcement) and R-607PP (Middle Spar Reinforcement) to the spar, along with the appropriate K1000-6 nutplates.

I'm getting close to riveting again!

A closeup of the nutplate

I always get so excited when I get to this point.

That was pretty much it, except for more experimentation with the “macro” setting on my camera.

Eh. No reason for this picture. Just experimenting.

1.5 hours today. It felt nice to get a big piece like the spar done.

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More Small Rudder Parts Priming and Devinyling

March 15, 2010

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First thing after today’s realization that I had forgotten to dimple before priming, I rushed home and grabbed the tank dies to prime the #40 holes.

Let's get ready to dimple...

No problem to dimple after priming. (There was a little bit of twist after dimpling, but no big deal, the rivets will hold this thing together.)

Slight twisting after dimpling.

The only way you can tell I dimpled after priming is that the dreaded dimple circle is visible, because the outer edge of the dies mars, (maybe polishes?) the primer a little. You can see it in the pictures.

Dimpling after priming worked fine. See the circle marks?

Here’s the other side.

Looks good to me.

After I finished both, here they are on the table. Crisis averted. (Not really, I would have just re-primed them.)

These will do.

Then, inside to grill some dinner, then back out to do more edge finishing, cleaning, and priming. I grabbed R-606PP and R-607PP  (lower and middle spar reinforcements) along with R-617 (shim) and finished the edges with the scotchbrite wheel.  Once complete. I took them inside, cleaned them with dawn detergent, and brought them back out to dry and prime. Here’s a priming shot.

From left to right: R-606PP, R-607PP, and R-617.

Next, I looked around and grabbed the R-912 counterbalance rib and did some edge finishing and dimpling. Here’s a dimpling shot.

Dimples!

Same deal with with the R-903 tip rib and the R-710 horn brace. Here’s the horn brace.

More dimples.

After the primer dried on the three pieces I primed tonight, I put them back on the table and examined my progress. Still a long way to go.

A shot of the "table of small rudder parts."

Enough work outside for the night. I grabbed the soldering gun, my wooden straightedge, and the R-913 counterbalance skin and headed inside to devinyl.

Pretty, but maybe overkill.

I decided to leave some of the vinyl on here to save on primer on the inside and protect the finish on the outside. I think the amount of primer weight I am going to save by masking with the vinyl is minuscule compared to the parts I will inevitably need to re-prime. But, if I pulled off all the vinyl, and primed the entire interior surface, I would always know I was carrying around more primer than I needed to be. (It’s all about figuring out what you can sleep with at night.) While I am sure I will add more than plenty of unnecessary weight in other areas (all of the nutplates I am going to add), not doing this would make me feel lazy.

R-913 Counterbalance skin interior.

Next, I grabbed the R-901-R (right rudder skin)0 and pulled it inside to devinyl. Notice on the left that I made the cuts on the trailing edge (rudder is upside down in this picture) but haven’t pulled off the vinyl? I am going to leave the vinyl on while I prime the rest of the bare metal areas, then remove the trailing edge vinyl. This area doesn’t need to be primed, as it will get scuffed up with a scotchbrite before using Pro-seal to glue the two skin trailing edges and trailing edge wedge together.

Look at me, I've thought ahead!

Another shot of the right rudder skin, this time right-side-up. (Also, my fancy-pants wooden straight edge and a glass of 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel.)

Next, I flipped that bad boy over and did the exterior. Here’s a shot before I’ve pulled some of the vinyl off.

I probably should have pulled more of the vinyl off of the leading edge, but it was just two more lines, and now I have a little protection on the leading edge while I am rolling and assembling.

Repeat for the left skin, and then I took both back outside and stored the left skin on the top shelf of my second toolbench.

I'm embarrassed that I don't have a one-piece shelf for the top shelf of my workbench. Don't judge me.

And a finished shot of the right skin, back out on the workbench.

I like these devinyled pieces. Can't explain it, but I like them.

I was using the clock in the kitchen to mark my progress, and decided I was going to stop at 9:30pm to head to bead…except (yeah, you know where this is going)…I forgot to reset that clock after the time change. It was actually 10:30pm and I had put in 2.5 hours. Great for airplane progress, bad for my sleep debt. I’m not going to put in any time tomorrow, need to catch up on sleep. See you in a couple days.

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