Started the Right Flap

December 29, 2011

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So I’m writing this a few days in the future, so bear with me if I can’t recall everything in detail.

Today, Joe came over to assist in some airplane building, and I figured it would be a good time to start in on the right flap.

First, though, I spent a little time with the aileron bellcrank and pushrod. I adjusted the rod ends to equal length on the screw ends, then turned each a turn at a time until I got the aileron perfectly aligned with my “alignment stick.” (BTW, “alignment stick” reminds me of a disciplinary tool used by catholic school nuns…shudder.)

Here's the large view.

And a closeup. Can't get much better than that.

Oh, and with the rearrangement of the exercise room and guest room upstairs, I’ve been…”strongly encouraged” to get the airplane parts out of the living spaces.

Notice she waited until after I put a ring on it to tell me to get my airplane crap out into the garage. Just kidding, she’s wonderful, and I’ve been meaning to get things hung up in the garage for awhile.

Here’s the horizontal stabilizer hung (very securely) with some red hooks through the pegboard and into some 2x4s.

That's the largest piece that was upstairs.

Joe showed up, so we started gathering the left flap parts. Here are the skins, the spar, and some of the ribs.

We pulled the blue vinyl off everything instead of worrying about doing lines with the soldering iron. I think I've given up on that for good.

We followed the directions carefully (except for the part where they want you to edge finish first. I like to do it before final prep) and started clecoing parts together and matchdrilling.

Here's an action shot of Joe working the cleco pliers. (I'll need a second pair if he's going to come over and help a lot.)

When we started working on the interior ribs, all hell broke loose. I had been carefully explaining that we’re building the right flap, so everything is reversed from the plans. All of the flanges on the left flap pointed left, so we assumed the all the flanges on the right side faced right. Well, the holes weren’t lining up correctly. We sat for a few minutes and finally figured out that maybe I built the left flap with the right flap’s interior ribs, and that I could probably swap them here, too. I made a mental note to confirm this with Van’s support after the holidays when Joe noticed this note RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLAP DRAWING.

Whew. That explains it. Glad I didn’t mess this up, too. We flipped the flanges over (so they faced the left) and all the holes magically lined up again. Build on!

A big note, right under my nose.

After matchdrilling the ribs and skins to the spar, we moved on to the hinge.

Picture below is the same procedure I used on the left flap, carefully constraining the flap to make sure there was perfect alignment.

I used the four clamps in between each hole to maintain perfect alignment. After a few holes, we'd remove the clamps and verify we had good hinge movement.

As we progressed down the flap, we got a little braver, and stopped using the sideclamps. I had C clamps about every 10 holes, and drilled a hole next to the previously drilled and clecoed hole. We maintained perfect alignment the whole time, and it saved a ton of time not having to remove 4 clamps, check movement, add 4 clamps, drill 4 holes, cleco 4 holes, and then remove the 4 clamps.

In no time, we had the right hinge drilled.

We're moving right along.

Finally, we stuck the top skin on and Joe got busy matchdrilling.

Nice shiny top skin.

While he was busy doing that, I started fabrication on the flap angles (I forgot the part numbers, sorry).

I didn't make the final cut on the angle yet, I'll do that later.

After a little marking and bending…

Marked and bent. (Aiming for 6.3┬░ is silly. It's much easier to bend it a little, then check fit against the flap.)

The first try, I overbent it a little.

See the wedge-shaped gap there?

After a few more tweaks, it was perfect, so we started matchdrilling the angles to the ribs/spar.

I don't remember the significance of this picture. Must be the matchdrilling...

Then, we positioned and drilled the holes for the K1000-4 nutplate.

Nicely done, Joe.

Then, we disassembled everything and THOUGHT about started preparation for priming.

Want to start the tedious prep work?

No way, it’s lunchtime, and Joe had to go meet his better half.

3.0 hours with Joe today. Since we really didn’t work simultaneously on anything, I’m going to count it as straight time. I’ll count his time as double when we aren’t watching each other work. See you guys next year!

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Finished Riveting Right Wing Top Skins

September 3, 2011

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Well, today was an excellent day.

Joe was planning to come over to finish up the right top skins, so while I waited, I started in on dimpling the aileron skins (just the stiffener holes) with the c-frame.

All went pretty well, except for a place where I dropped the c-frame die on the skin (top surface, of course). It made a little dot impression, so I flipped the skin over on the MDF and gently tapped with a hammer until it came out.

(NOTE: do not put a bucking bar behind it thinking that will be better. The wood has a little give to it, so you don’t deform the skin. If you use the bucking bar, you’ll squish the skin. Ask me how I know.) I think I have to paint the ailerons now (instead of polishing).

Anyway, nice dimples.

Before Joe and I got started, I snapped this picture of the “every other” method I’m using.

The rivet row we're working on here is at the bottom of the gold spar flange.

After a whole bunch of bucking and shooting, we came up with this.


For the last three rivets, we switched places so Joe could get some experience bucking and I could say I shot a few of the rivets on the skins. Turns out, I like bucking better and Joe likes shooting better.

If you look really closely, towards the foreground on the inboard top skin, I wrote 38, 5, 80, 43. That’s how many rivets we bucked. 166.

0.5 hours on the aileron skin, then 45 minutes (or 1.5 man-hours) on the skins. 2.0 total.

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Riveted Some of Right Wing Top Skins

August 10, 2011

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Well. I managed to get Joe over to the house again, this time over a long lunch break.

This is a horrible picture, but you can sort of see that we got about half of the right wing’s top skins riveted.

We moved the tape off the rivet heads to air in inspection, but I'm going to reuse them later when I put the rest of the rivets in.

We’ve got my rivet gun (4x) set to about 32 psi (really hard to tell) and Joe’s getting good at pulling the trigger to get about 8 hits. Sometimes 7, sometimes 9. About once every 20 rivets, we’ll need to add a few hits, and once in another 20 rivets, it’ll be about 2 hits too much. Slightly flat, but within milspec, and not worth drilling out and making it worse.

It was an hour’s worth of work, but there were two of us, so I’m going to start counting it as man-hours instead of just my hours.

In the next few days, I need to put rivets in all the remaining holes and get tape over them. Hopefully just one more hour until I have the right top skins completely on!

2.0 man hours. 173 rivets (I counted three times), and none needed to be drilled out (Nice job, Joe!).

(I’m going to go back and change the other post to include Joe’s hours.)

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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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