Right Flap Brace and Aileron Gap Fairing

December 12, 2011

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Alright, before we get too busy getting excited about two posts in a row, let’s talk a little about Christmas. This year, we decided to do a Christmas tree. A few Saturday’s ago, we ventured out into the cold (it was pretty warm) and cut down our own tree (no we didn’t, we bought it from the farmer’s market).

Anyway. There are three interesting pictures from the day.

Jack, incredulously watching us decorate the tree.

Ginger's falling asleep. OMG this is the closest she's been to feather's since FEATHERGATE.

Finally the tree.

Now it needs some presents. Send me some presents.

Just kidding.

Let’s get back to building, shall we?

Tonight, high on the excitement of flipping the right wing over, I decided to get some more aluminum down from storage.

These two pieces are the Aileron Gap Fairing and the Flap Brace.

Part numbers shown for the right wing.

Turns out these have been in the garage for over a year now, so when I pulled off the blue vinyl, there was some residual…well…residue.

A little acetone fixed this right up.

I scuffed these up quickly (I’ll do this more completely when I’m about to prime) and got out the right aileron brackets. The top of the inboard bracket was interfering on my wing (like everyone else’s before me), so like them, I ground down the top corner a little with the scotchbrite wheel.

Here's the corner I ground down.

And clecoed in place.

The outboard bracket clecoed in place.

Here’s the flap brace, looking inboard.

I'll matchdrill both sides, but only rivet the brace to the spar now, the skins will come later.

The flange on the inboard most section is sitting a little funny, so tomorrow, before matchdrilling, I’ll see if I can’t straighten this out a little.

Crooked flange.

Flap brace looking from inboard to outboard.

Then, I clecoed on the aileron gap fairing.

With no trimming, look at how nicely everything lines up. Man, this is easy.

30 short minutes tonight, but it’s better than nothing.

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Started the Left Flap

October 6, 2011

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THE CHANGING OF THE PLANS!!!! [triumphant music]


Okay, this time, I’m going to be smart, and start with the left flap (the one that’s depicted on the plans).

First, I found some parts, then pulled the blue vinyl off the spar and ribs.

That longer rib on the left is actually the wrong part. I assumed there was a L and R of the long ribs (forgot the part number), but those ribs actually are L-L for the left flap and R-R for the right flap. (The flanges of both ribs point outboard.) Weird.

Anyway, the directions have you mock the ribs up with the spar, then drill.

One thing that caught me was the #40 prepunched hole for the ribs, where they will be drilled to #30. Van’s doesn’t usually do this, but I confirmed on the plans (below) that LP4-3 blind rivets will go here eventually.

Weird, but okay...drill drill drill.

I love the very beginning of a new part because it goes together quickly.

See!? I'm already clecoing on the bottom skin!.

WHOA. Van’s basically tells you in the instructions that you will need shims between the “rear spar” and the aft end of the ribs. Why don’t I need any?

They must have tightened up the tolerances on the pre-punching.

I guess I don’t need to make those shims…

Anyway, after flipping it over…

It's starting to look like an airplane!

…I got a visit.

Ginger looking at the airplane, Jack sniffing.

Jack looking at the airplane, Ginger sniffing.

They also eat, sleep, and poo… (I can’t believe I used “poo” in my blog. Sorry, mom!)

Back to work!

I do need two spacers per flap, so I made four now.

Here's where they go. I'll drill the other hole later.

Next, they ask you to get the hinge out and start drilling it.

Hmm. I’m not quite ready for this tonight. I got it aligned with where I think it should be, but I want to sleep on it (and more importantly, surf some other build sites to make sure I’m on track.)

Hinge aligned, but not drilled yet.

Maybe tomorrow….

1.0 hour, and I feel like I got a lot done.

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Riveted Right Wing Top Skin Wingwalk Area

August 4, 2011

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I think we need a little non-airplane excitement in our lives. Let’s start with a little movie.

I never get tired of letting them howl at those sirens. Ginger does a pretty good job of matching the pitch. Jack’s just going NUTS.

Okay, back to building.

Well, I finally conned someone from work to come over and help me rivet some top skins. We’ll call this person Joe to protect the innocent.

Joe was eager to learn about the RV-7, so after a very quick tour of the shop, we got to work.

First thing, we pulled out my old practice kit, and we looked at some of my riveting, showing him where some where okay, some were perfect, and some were horrible.

After that, we got the rivet gun out, turned it on low, and I let him hold it against the bucking bar to get a feel for the feathering trigger, what it feels like to hold, etc. After a few minutes, we put some AN426AD3-4 rivets in the trailing edge of the practice kit, and practiced our shooter-bucker teamwork. After 3 or 4 rivets, we had the air pressure dialed in to something comfortable, and it clicked for Joe. 5 perfectly shot flush rivets.

Our practice setup.

Well then, let’s get started.

Note: I am totally ignoring the “start in the center rib of each skin” advise from Van’s. It supposedly works out to the tightest possible skin, but I don’t understand how anything will move around after precisely drilled these holes and dimpled (and 50% clecoed). I don’t know. Maybe I’ll end up with the world’s wrinkliest skin. Who knows.

Anyway, we stuck rivets into every other hole (remember, I’m crazy and 50% clecoed this beast) and got to working. We had a good “ready…go” system down, and we got a few good rivets in.

Joe's first rivet. Perfect.

The very next rivet? Not so good. I let the bucking bar slip off the shop head, and the rivet gun left the tiniest hint of a ding. Lucky for us, we decided to start in the middle of the wing walk rib, so any dings (polish or paint) would be under the wing walk nonstick strip. We are so smart.

Not two minutes after I explained that it’s a rite of passage to knock over the rivet container, and not to worry about it.

I look under the wing skin and what to I see?


Sorry, Joe. We’re laughing WITH you. I promise.

Okay, we got the 3 remaining wing-walk ribs 50% done…

Halfway done.

Look at these perfect shop heads!

Then pulled out the remaining clecos, put rivets in the empty holes, covered each head with tape, and shot the remaining rivets.

On the inboardmost trailing edge rivets, I totally butchered a shop head trying to use my tungsten bucking bar which slipped off the head. Luckily, the skin wasn’t dinged, but we had to drill out the rivet and reset it. It went great, and I finally got to use the $10 Harbor Freight Body Repair Kit I bought a year ago.

This bar worked perfectly.

Some more riveting… and we finished the wingwalk area.

This looks so sweet in person.

I can’t believe that some day I’m going to be standing on that. (I can’t believe someday some of you loyal readers will be standing on that!)

Only two mistakes tonight, and both of them were my fault. Joe 2, Andrew 0. Boo.

1.5 hours (I’m NOT going to count it as 3.0 man-hours). 72 rivets, only one of the drilled out. Thanks, Joe!

10AUG2011 UPDATE: I am going to count Joe’s hours. I’m changing the log to count it as 3.0.

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Preparing the Right Top Skins

August 1, 2011

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Well, what was supposed to be a few minutes in the garage clecoing the skins to the skeleton turned into 2.5 hours. I hate it when that happens. /sarcasm off.

First up, I need to “clean up” the dimples in the rear spar. I used my countersink for this, and just let it spin a few times in the hole.

Easier than it sounds, I promise.

Then, I started 50% clecoing some top skins on.

First the inboard skin...

(I didn't HAVE to removed the blue vinyl at this point, but I did.)

Then the outboard skin.

A view from the outboard side.

At this point, I had spent about 30 minutes getting the skins on. Nice easy day….uh oh.

I forgot about torquing on the tiedown brackets.

I have to admit. Early on, I waiting on installing these permanently because I thought I heard someone say that you have to take it back off to get the aileron bellcrank bushing in place. Well, that’s true, but you just have to take the bellcrank brackets off, which are the four bolts that screw into the nutplates (shown below) from the accessible side of the spar. You DON’T have to remove the whole tiedown bracket.


So, guess what I got to do AGAIN!?

Yup. Take off the tank so I could reach the tiedown bracket bolts with a torque wrench.

Tank off. Torqued. (I don't have any torque seal yet, so I'll have to do it from the bottom, which is the right way anyway, so the torque seal is visible.)

I think I wasted another hour getting the tank off and back on, especially since I put the z-bracket bolts in first on the way back on, and one edge of the tank skin wasn’t sitting perfectly, so I had to take all the skin screws back out, loosen the z-bracket bolts, then put the skin screws back in, and then tighten the z-bracket bolts.

God, I hope that’s the last time I have to remove the right tank.

Later that night, we opened some wine, and the puppies decided to be extra cute.

First, here’s Jack.

Awww. (Yes, she's holding TWO glasses of wine. But I know what you are thinking, and sadly, one of them is mine.)

Ginger was being the shy one tonight. (Hiding in the man-chair.)

Double Awww.

2.5 frustrating hours. Skin riveting next, though.

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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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Finished Matchdrilling Right Wing

February 12, 2011

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As far as YOU’RE concerned, it was a pretty boring night in the shop.

All I did was move about 500 clecos one hole over and then matchdrill the remaining holes in the right wing bottom skin. No big deal, but now the whole right wing is done being matchdrilled.

Per the instructions, I can remove the bottom skins and get to work on the tank.

Instead, I’m going to get back to work on the left wing, and then get to work on both tanks at the same time.

Because of all the pictures in the last post, I’ve decided to go easy on the repetitive picture thing.

This time, everyone who is reading is rewarded with this:

Jack and Ginger, walking each other down the street.

Half an hour.

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Tank Attach Nutplates, Left Upper Spar Flange

October 23, 2010

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After getting a ton of housework done, I managed a quick half hour in the garage to finish up the nutplates on the left spar.

I took some pictures, but they are just like the ones from the previous post, so I’ll be short with the descriptions.




I found it a little quicker (and less tiring on the drilling arm) to do 4 at a time. I’d countersink four sets of holes for the nutplate attach rivets, then cleco one side of a K1100-08 nutplate in, squeeze the rivet, and then take out the cleco and rivet the other side in. Then move on to the next four.

I’m sure it didn’t actually save me any time, but for some reason it seemed quicker.


Just squeezed the first four rivets on this flange.



Nice looking shop heads, if I do say so myself.



Another angle, I guess?



Remove the cleco.



Put in the other rivet (man, I was really camera happy today...)


Everything was going great until the VERY LAST RIVET.



For some reason I lifted up the squeezer as I set the rivet.



Another angle (except it's the same angle). Sorry.


After successfully drilling the rivet out. I was left with a crooked nutplate. Hmm.


Problem solving time!


I didn’t have a clamp small enough to hold the nutplate in place while I reset the rivet, so I grabbed one of the #8 screws (forgot the part number, sorry), and screwed it in gently.


Wuhoo! I think this is going to work!




(Screwed in gently) because I hadn't countersunk yet. This worked great.



See, I told you it worked great.


Last, but not least, I squeezed the AN426AD3-6 rivets for the K1000-4 nutplates near the spar root.


Flush side...



Nutplate side.


64 Rivets, ONE drilled out  in 0.5 hours.

Oh, and then I went for a run with the pups. (And by run, I mean rollerblade.)

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Tank Attach Nutplates, Left Lower Spar Flange

October 21, 2010

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With the girlfriend gone for the night, I managed to clean up all of the electrical stuff I had out messing around with my wig-wag experiment, and pulled the left spar out of the box. Here it is, in all of it’s golden glory.

Golden Glory!

First step is to countersink the tank (and access plate) nutplate attach holes. First, you have to run a #40 drill through the holes or else the countersink pilot won’t even fit in the hole. Here’s one of my first countersinks on the left spar.

I went back and cleaned this one up after testing with a AN426AD3-11 rivet (-11 because it's easier to get back out while testing countersinks...it's so long you can just push it back out from the back.)

These countersinks are a little better. (The one on the right is a tad deep, but should be okay because these are just nutplate attach holes.)

I left the door to the house open so the pups could come out to visit.

Hey guys (Jack and Ginger).

Hey Andrew, how about one of those artsy shots down the spar after countersinking the nutplate attach holes?

Sure, here you go.

Then, I pulled the K1100-08 nutplates out for the tank attach holes and the K1000-06 nutplates out for the access plate holes, then clecoed one side in, and put the required rivet (AN426AD3-4) in the holes.

Where’s my squeezer?

It's right there on the table, dummy.

Then I squeezed some rivets and removed the clecos.

Squeezed (repeated 41 more times.)

Other side done. (Repeated 41 more times.)

Under the hood, things look good. I still like this new Cleveland main squeeze much better than my economy squeezer.

Pretty shop heads.

Down the row.

I then laid the spar down and saw this guy.


Whoa. Scary.

After a little internet research, I think I’ve figured out he (actually she due to her size) is a red-back.  I’m going to keep looking though. I don’t want it to be a red-back.

1.0 hour. 84 rivets.

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Prepped Right Wing Main Ribs, Clecoed Skeleton

September 18, 2010

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I’ve been at a little bit of dilemmna the last few days trying to figure out what direction to take with the project.

I still have the left rear spar to work on (until the left main spar shows up from Van’s…shipped yesterday…should be here Wednesday), or, I could move ahead with some rib prep on the right wing.

For the sake of  seeing something cool at the end of the day, I think I’ll move ahead with the right wing, and hopefully I’ll be able to get it onto a wing stand (yet to be designed) by the time I can get the left spar caught up to this point.

With rib prep, I’ve decided not to follow the suggestion to do all the ribs at once. I’m going to do them a few at a time to save my sanity.

First thing, let’s find some ribs.

I've pointed out to you before that I am at a little bit of a disadvantage building the right wing first, from the plans that only show the left wing.

Notice here that of the three different kinds of main wing ribs, there are both left and right versions in each of the wings. From what I can tell, the flanges face left or right based on what will be easiest/accessible to rivet.

So here are some main ribs (I count 11 in the picture, there are really 14 main ribs in each wing).

My goal today was to get the ribs clecoed to the spars, so I’m only going to finish what I have to (out of efficiency, not laziness). This means I’m going to edge finish most of each rib, then move on to fluting and flange straightening.

The edge finishing (except the little crevices) only took about 30 minutes on the sanity-saving scotchbrite wheel.

The fluting and flange straightening took 2 more hours, though. Ugh.

I took all 14 right main ribs inside and watched the UNC-GT and the Vandy-Ole Miss games.

Here's a rib, halfway fluted.

After fluting (holes are straight), but before finishing up the flange-straightening (to 90° from the web).

After a little while, my hands were hurting from all the fluting, so I took a picture of what I have done so far.

Looks like 5 done, 9 to go.

My "to go" pile. {sigh}

And after another couple of hours, I had the main ribs edge-finished, fluted, and flange-straightened enough to cleco them to the spars.

I really didn’t think I’d get this far tonight. (I have to keep in mind there is still a lot more prep on the ribs before I can actually prime them and get them riveted to the spars.

Pretty. (Pretty big!)

And of course, here is the obligatory “down the lightening” holes shot.

Every other builder on the plant has taken this picture.

But that’s not all! I have variations on a theme.

It's Ginger!!!

And Jack!!! (I promise he is there, just hard to see.)

After sending the dogs back inside for their Saturday afternoon nap, I just stared at this thing for awhile.

It just looks so cool!

3.0 hours today.

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Low point of the build

August 10, 2010

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Well, today was the low point in the build so far.

I was fiddling around with the empennage, trying to set it up to look like a tail for the “completed empennage” picture everyone posts, and I dropped the rudder.

[horrified silence]

It hit on the bottom aft edge, bounced a little, and then hit in the top rear edge.

Oh god, oh god, oh god.

I was (am) devastated.

First bounce.

Second, and worse bounce.

Top of the rudder, aft, looking forward. Yikes.

After staring at it for a good ten minutes, and flashing through all of the days and hours I put in on the rudder, I finally figured out o could probably drill out all the skin rivets and replace just the skins.


I’ve also always wanted to put the smaller RV-8 rudder back on the airplane, which should save weight and bring the CG a little further forward. I’m going to find a copy of the RV-8 preview plans tomorrow and see how hard it will be to build the RV-8 rudder from what I have.

Here’s the thing that really stings. While I was messing around with the vertical stabilizer and rudder, I was even thinking about how much effort this was for a stupid picture, and that a second pair of hands would be helpful.

The good news I that the wing arrives this week and I can busy myself with the inventory while i think about what to do.

In the mean time, I need a happy picture. How does this one do?

Ginger (some call her "princess"...I wonder why) and Jack, taking over the bed.

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