Left Elevator Riblet, Day 2

June 29, 2010

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Captain’s Log: Day 2. Great success with the riblet.

So after yesterday’s wasted (I know, it wasn’t really wasted) time making two FAILURES of riblets for the elevator trim cutout, today’s worked out much better.

I had actually woken up at 3am in a cold sweat; “Oh my gosh, I need to tie the front of the riblet into the elevator trim spar.” (Warning: Cold sweat may be exaggerated.)

Anyway, I got out the jigsaw with a fine metal-cutting blade and found that this technique was far superior to the snips, which leave little ridges along the cut.

So, more measuring, tracing, and drilling/cutting.

This is try #3.

Then, after judiciously edge finishing (which is a must before bending aluminum…ask me how I know.)

Okay, Those bends are pretty good, let's work on the front.

Hey pups! (I took about 15 pictures of them for your viewing pleasure, but this is the only one that wasn't too blurry.) Jack and Ginger, curious about the airplane.

Also, I had picked this surface conditioning kit up at Harbor Freight. 1-inch diameter, and blue is finer (I think) than maroon.

This worked pretty well for quick finishing. I want to try the larger sizes, too.

You can see from the paper template on the right that wasn’t going to tie in to the spar. I cut out the corners on the piece to the left pretty roughly.

Old template on the right, current work piece on the left.

So then I edge-finished and bent the three tabs that tie in to the spar. Because there was a dimple already in the bottom flange of the spar, I went ahead and drilled and dimpled that one ear on my new riblet.

How do you like the nice sharp picture of my set of needle files and permagrit block? (And very blurry pic of my riblet being dimpled. The yoke and die just barely fit.)

Here’s the almost finished product.

It's kind of cute.

So it doesn’t fit “perfectly” in the openeing, but this is close enough that I don’t need to remake it. I’ll tweak it a little and reduce some of those gaps you see in the coming days.

Pretty darn good.

The big gap on the left is actually the elevator skin bowing locally that I need to fix. The riblet is actually straight.

I'm so happy this one worked out.

Maybe later this week or this weekend, I’ll get this tweaked and drilled/dimpled. Then, I can move ahead with prepping the elevator for prime and riveting.

An hour of wuhoo!

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Primed Some Left Elevator Stiffeners

May 29, 2010

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Not too much today. I got the lower left elevator stiffeners deburred, dimpled and primed.

Here are some of the stiffeners on the priming table.

Then, I turned my attention back to the skin to start devinyling.

Left elevator, ready to be devinyled.

Here are a couple lines showing my devinlying process. These are made with a soldering gun held against a wooden straight-edge.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I stumbled across another Harbor Freight coupon. I bought this ~$10 storage container for wing hardware.

I have two already, one for rivets, and one for Empennage hardware. I assume I'll need a third for wing hardware (I'll combine the rivets from wing and emp if need be).

Okay, back to the project. I’ve pulled off some of the vinly strips.

Pulled off some of the vinyl strips.

Here, my devinyl line overlaps the tracing a little.

Another angle here.

So I put the trim spar in position, and realized I could move the line back a little, so that's what I did.

Next, I deburred and scuffed the skin in preparation for dimpling. (It’s easier to scuff before dimpling.)

The lines to the right have been scuffed, the trim spar reinforcement area has not.

A closeup of scuffed versus not-scuffed.

To scuff an area (in preparation for priming), I scuff in one 45° direction…

45° to the right.

Then, 90° from that.

All done. You can sort of see the two directions.

Finally, some dry stiffeners, ready to be backriveted to the skins.

Pretty stiffeners.

I always like to take a big picture shot at the end of the day.

Left skin, ready for dimpling.

Tomorrow, maybe a little skin dimpling, priming, and backriveting stiffeners.

One hour.

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Drill Press!!!

April 26, 2010

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After the other day’s sucesess with fixing my dimpling errors, I need to run to the aviation department of my local big box store and grab a 6′ long 2×8 to cut in half and some hinges to make my homemade bending brake.

Instead of making it there, I had to stop by Harbor Freight to grab this drill press. Normally $90, I got a coupon in my email for $49.99. I can’t pass that up.

The box is a little damaged, but everything inside was okay.

A blurry shot of me starting to assemble.

Another in-process shot. This is surprisingly nice quality.

I had to install the little yellow knob to help open the lid. After this shot, I moved the belt down to the lowest speed (650 RPM, which is still pretty high).

I also bought these cool long pliers. I didn’t need them for the airplane specifically, but rather my girlfriend needed them to help clean out a hair clog in her sink in the bathroom. Good excuse to buy tools, and they don’t get accounted for on the airplane budget. Wuhoo!

Pretty nice pliers. I have a feeling I'll be using these often.

In the same email for the drill press, they wanted to sell me a (normally $15?) drill press vice for $7.99. Who am I to say no. I was a little disappointed that this one was only 2.5″. There were 4 sizes above it that looked nicer, but they exceeded my value-for-the-money threshold.

Drill press vise, also had via sale.

The allen wrench the drill press provided to help with assembly got filed away with my other extra allen wrenches.

You can see I am a little short on allen wrenches.

Back to the drill press vice. After a little cleaning, this thing doesn’t look half bad.

I'll have to find some bolts to mount this. Except I'll have to move it for different pieces. Maybe I'll just use clamps.

After a few minutes of trying to figure out where to put the drill press. This is what I settled on for now.

Notice I'm drinking sunset wheat tonight. Mmmm.

No hours tonight on the airplane, just tool assembly. Maybe I’ll grab some wood in the next few days to continue on the right elevator.

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Tools from Harbor Freight, Van’s

March 3, 2010

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I didn’t get any work done on the airplane tonight, again.

I did manage to stop by Harbor Freight and receive an order from Van’s. Just for effect, I’ve taken a picture of the only two adjustable wrenches I own.

So sad...

I found a coupon for these adjustable wrenches, except when I got back home, I saw the coupon didn’t take. Is it work the $2 to drive all the way back there? Probably not.

OH YEAH, look at these bad boys! $10 from Harbor Freight.

Next, I grabbed a new utility knife. I have a couple from 1963 or something, so this should be a good upgrade.

nice blue locking utility knife.

Here’s my modest order from van’s. I had drilled out a lot of An470AD4-6 rivets on the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, and I had to use AN426AD3-3.5s instead of AD3-3s on the rudder stiffeners, so I ordered 0.1 lb of each to kind of replenish my supplies. Also, there is the 3.5 oz container of fuel tank sealant to use on the trailing edge of the rudder. It’s coming up, you know.

The Van's order.

Finally, at HF, I noticed this furniture dolly. It’s not very big, but for $7, I figured it was worth it given that it would take me more money to buy the supplies to make one.

A furniture dolly for some future aircraft-related need.

I need to actually create some aluminum dust soon. It’s driving me crazy seeing the rudder skin with the beautiful stiffener riveting just sitting on the workbench, all lonely and such.

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