More Right Flap Work

July 25, 2012

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Alright, another night in the workshop. And, tonight was a super-night. Not because I’m super-rv7-builder (I am), but because my cousin Taylor came over to learn about the airplane.

After a little talking, I put him to work.

First task, empty out the LP4-3s that just arrived from Van’s (my first airplane package in awhile) into one of my empty yellow bins.

Not off to a great start, Taylor.

He quickly started exceeding my expectations though. To get going on this flap, the next few steps are tedious, but the two of us working helped to lessen the pain.

We focused our attention on prepping the right flap lower skin deburring, dimpling, priming, etc.

Here’s the right flap lower skin. Not a really helpful picture. Oh well.

After showing him each of those “d” activities, We stuck the skin outside and proceeded with my new non-psycho masking prime job.

(If you remember from a few posts (months) back, I’m only going to do the straight-line vinyl trick with areas where someone can see. Parts that are closed off will get this treatment.)

Priming along the rivet lines.

Next up, the same trick on the interior ribs.

Deburr, dimple, scuff, clean, and prime.

It started to get dark out, and I needed the flash. Sorry.

Then, so we could end on a high note, we studied the plans a little, read the instructions (a novelty!) and started clecoing everything together to get a sense of how we should assemble this flap.

Here, the ribs and spar are clecoed to the lower skin to lock everything together.

It’s starting to look like an airplane!

Flipped over for some more clecoing.

We decided we could start by grabbing the four AN470AD4-4 rivets at the aft end of each interior rib.

Beautiful! (Stefan, look! another shop head!)

One of Taylor’s (damn, looks better than mine!)

Just to prove he was there, I took a picture of his toes. (And an airplane part.)

Since he was so productive and really saved me some time, I’m going to count his hours as straight hours.

2.0 hours (but logged as 4.0). 4 rivets.

I know 4 hours per week won’t be super speedy, but it’s a hell of a lot better than I did between January and July of this year.

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He’s Alive (Right Flap Rib Work)

July 20, 2012

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Hello everyone! I’m back! (But seriously, let’s not call it a streak or anything.)

I’m still here, I promise.

I’ve had a lot of crazy things happen in my life (all of them positive…I’ll mention them eventually) that have been keeping me away from the garage, but today after a nice dinner with the fiancée, I decided a little garage time was in order. The other day, I spent a few hours cleaning off my workbench, so really, the next step was to take the clecoed flap apart, and start prepping it for final assembly.

Here’s the right flap as it’s been sitting for about 6 months.

As I was disassembling, I started to remember where I had left off. Oh yeah, I had done the two half-hinges trick, and had cut away some eyelets.

I’ll be sure to clean these up when I’m prepping the hinge.

I decided that instead of just deburring a whole bunch of parts, I wanted a nice little chunk of work. So, I grabbed the end ribs and the inboard rib’s reinforcement plate (I gotta go back and study the plans to start memorizing the part numbers again) and got to work deburring, dimpling, etc.

Here are the ribs I’m going to focus on tonight.

After standard deburring and dimpling where I could reach, I grabbed my 1″ steel bar with the countersunk hole in it and did my flush-set flush rivet dimple trick.

Here’s the setup. Grab the flush set and let ‘er rip.

And, the final product.

Good end-of-rib dimples. I’ve still got it!

Then, inside for some cleaning, and back outside for the artistry.

By “artistry,” I think I mean “I got more primer on the cardboard than the part.”

While those parts were drying, I continued disassembly of the other flap parts, including trying to remind myself of the controversy about the right flaps internal ribs not having their flanges mirror the flap plans. I kind of remember that all the left and right flap internal ribs were the same part number, meaning that they wouldn’t be mirrored.

Just a picture to help me remember where I got them from.

After a few short minutes, the end ribs were dry.

I forgot how much I love primed parts.

After I whipped out the Main Squeeze and some AN470AD4-5 rivets, I had a little mini assembly. Wuhoo!

7 rivets! No drilling.

Then, I checked the plans for the nutplate callout, and started looking through my rivet and nuts and bolts bins.

A couple flush rivets and a K1000-4 nutplate, and we’re in business.

Whoa! nine whole rivets!

Just to show you it’s real, here’s the backside.

1.0 hour. 9 rivets. Not quite back on track yet, but at least still interested.

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Riveted Left Flap Lower Skin

November 25, 2011

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Whoa, Andrew’s building again. I realize that if I make that explanation every time I post, then someone clicking through the posts without seeing the date stamps is going to be a little confused. Anyway, I got a fair amount done today, and I’m feeling pretty motivated to keep some progress going.

Let’s get to the pictures.

First up, I have a whole bunch of primed parts, and I felt like clecoing some together (always helps the motivation to see assemblies rather than parts).

Here’s the left lower flap skin along with the ribs. I was very careful to review the plans to make sure I got all of the flanges pointing the correct way.

And yes, the flap is upside down here.

Here it is right side up. The plans or instructions don’t really give you a lot of hints on when to set which rivets, so you kind of have to think ahead. More on that later.

It's starting to look like a flap.

Next up, let’s get the top skin ready. First thing, I removed the blue vinyl and deburred all the holes on this side (I may have de-blued last time, I can’t remember).

Deburred and edge finished. Piece of boring cake.

Next, I started to de-blue the top of the skin, but I wanted to put some clecoes in the aft portion of the skin so the skin wasn’t resting on the workbench. This worked out pretty well for me.

Scuffed and ready to flip for more deburring.

I'm about halfway through pulling off this blue vinyl. It was cold out (so why do you have the garage door open?) and the vinyl adhesive was extra sticky.

After more deburring, I broke out the hand squeezer and put some new blue tape on my dies.

Ready for action.

Of course, I didn’t get any pictures…I’m out of practice…

I did take the skin outside after some more prep and get a coat of primer on it. While that was drying, I turned my attention back to the ribs and the bottom skin built-in spar.

I set 4 of these AN47AD4-4 rivets. Pretty simple here to squeeze these.

Then, I riveted on the nutplate on the left side of this picture, and riveted each of the AD4- rivets shown.

Great manufactured heads.

Great shop heads.

Then, I backed up a few steps and riveted the other angle bracket onto the inboard half of the spar. The instructions have you do this pretty early, but I waited until everything was primed.

Same thing. Good manufactured heads here.

And good shop heads here.

Once the top skin was dry, I brought it back inside and got everything 50% clecoed.

This part is exciting, there's riveting coming soon!

After putting some of the AN426AD3-3.5 rivets in, I put tape over each of the heads, and riveted.

Ready to rivet.

Then, I took out the remaining clecos, put more rivets in, moved the tape to the unriveted heads, riveted, then removed all the tape.

(Also, I cleaned up the skin before taking this picture, because I want it to look good for you guys.)

Wuhoo! 100 rivets.

I followed the directions mostly, except I was able to buck the 3rd rivet up on the left side. The plans allow you to use blind rivets there if you want.

Blind rivets in the aft two holes.

Wuhoo. 2.5 hours, 100 rivets. I’m back at it!

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Primed Some Left Flap Parts

November 6, 2011

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Well, another week later, and I managed to get out in the garage just once. I guess it’s better than nothing.

I decided to get some of the parts finished up and primed. I always like priming parts, because that’s usually what happens just before final assembly.

I started with the spar, spending quite a bit of time deburring, edge finishing, dimpling the upper flange (remember, the lower flange was countersunk to accomodate the skin, but not intrude into the hinge), and finally, some scuffing.


You only get a picture of the scuffing. Sorry.

Then, I started in on the prep for the ribs, and I noticed that the aft flange of the interior ribs are only drilled to #40. As part of my normal prep work, I reread the plans to make sure I know which type and size of rivet goes in each hole. Apparantly, this one is supposed to be drilled to #30 for an AN470AD4- rivet.


So, to make some extra work for myself, I clecoed the ribs and spar back onto the lower skin (which has the “rear spar” built into it), and…

Clecoed back together.

Drilled the holes to final, #30, size.

I haven't deburred yet, so don't mind the burrs.

Finally, I spent another chunk of time prepping the rest of the ribs, and getting them cleaned up to take outside for priming.

It was a beautiful day for airplane building today.

Too bad I couldn’t put in more time….just 1.5 hours today. Blah.

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Finished the Right Aileron

September 17, 2011

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Wuhoo! As you can tell by the title, I got a TON of airplane work done today. I actually did everything in three 1-hour sessions. Worked out well for everyone.

In the first session, I unclecoed the work I had done last night, and built a little stand (like every other builder) to screw the spar to for riveting help.

I copied this from many builders.

Whoa, I guess the next picture I took was of some shop heads. Moving right along…

My old bucking bar (non tungsten) has an angled edge to it, so I could wedge it in here to buck. It worked perfectly.

In terms of shooting the rivets from the outside, I copied Mike Bullock (about 3/4 the way down this page), but instead of building a little wood stand, I just stacked 3 2×4 blocks. It worked for me with my gun size/flush set, etc.

I'm about halfway through the top skin-to-spar rivets here, demonstrating the technique.

To buck, you reach up, around, and under the lower skin to hold the bucking bar in place.

After you buck, you slide both hands down a few holes and do it again.

I’m glad I’m pretty strict about edge-finishing skins.

This is NOT a cry for help. Well, maybe it is, but it would only be for some sort of arm-hair control product. (I could braid that if I wanted to...)

Alright, moving on, here’s an eerily blue (LED flashlight) picture of the top spar rivets done.

Left side of the picture for the interesting bits.

I didn’t shoot and buck the inboard- and outboard-most rivets. I could easily squeeze those, except for the very edge ones, which tended to sit up from the underlying skin. I devised a little trick to hold the skin down while leaving enough space for a rivet set (of the squeezer) to do it’s magic.

If my side clamp would have been a little longer, I wouldn't have needed the washer, but this worked out okay. (Okay = perfect.)

42 rivets done with no mistakes!

Next up is to get the nose ribs and main ribs riveted on the top side of the aileron.

And thus starts the second session of the night.

CRAP, I forgot to prep the main ribs.

Deburr, dimpl- CRAP, I can’t use a regular die on the aft-most holes. Out comes my steel bar with a countersink in the edge. You remember this from my empennage posts however many years ago…

You stick a rivet in the hole to be dimpled, then put the underside in the countersink, and give it a few pulls from a rivet gun with a flush set.

Not very pretty, but it works great.

I love it when I already have solutions to problems.

This are going mighty smoothly.

So smoothly, in fact, that I HAD to mess something up. Can you see what’s wrong with this picture?

Yup, the two flush rivets on the right side of the picture shouldn't have gone in yet, they should wait for the rib. Dumb Andrew.

While I’m waiting on the ribs, let me set the nose rib rivets on the top side.

5 here, and 5 on the other side. (The two bad rivets are still in this picture, I can't remember when I ended up drilling those out.)

After those nose rivets, they want you to set the top rivets in the other ribs, then cleco everything together and flip it over.

I’m not quite ready for the main rivets yet, but I think I’m okay to cleco everything together.


I remembered this for my first elevator, but then forgot it on the second one. I’ve been reminding myself for A YEAR AND A HALF to not forget it on the ailerons.

I bet I forget it on the left aileron.

Just a dab, behind the...stiffeners.

These pictures might be out of order. After the RTV, I clecoed the bottom part of the skin to the spar and then went outside to fetch the ribs, which were dry (although not primed in this picture below. Weird.)

Right Inboard and Right Outboard. Pretty complicated, right?

Okay, I think we’re back on track now. The ribs are dry, and they are now riveted to the top part of the skin.

16 more flush rivets. 8 on each side.

Then, the third session of the night, and the last few steps of the aileron!

First, flip that bad boy over and make sure it’s flat. I used the MDF workbench, an extra piece of MDF, and some stones.

Things were flatter than Kansas.

They first want you to set all the counterbalance pipe ribs.

This went great, and I didn't feel like I had to round off the rivet heads with a hammer after setting them like other builders...

After those 14 rivets, you’re supposed to set the 6 nose rib rivets, 3 on each side.

6x check.

This is a really long post. Are you guys still with me?

I hope so, this is the fun part.

After those, you set the main rib-to-skin- rivets (16 there, too), which are partially hidden by the top piece of MDF here, then move on to the skins-to-spar blind rivets.

Halfway done here.

A closeup after pulling those. Looks pretty good, right?

That was 42 more rivets.

Then, you step back and cheer!

Or don't cheer, and just take another closeup picture.

Okay, have you guys been counting rivets with me? I couldn’t keep track very well, so I started just writing them on the skins.

My final number for the evening?


With about 10 minutes left before the next half-hour tick (cause I only log time in 30 minute increments), I decided to get the aileron brackets attached. All went well (with the usual AN3-4A bolts, some AN960-10(regular and/or L) washers, and AN365-1032 nuts, except there was one hole that wasn’t quite perfect. It was fine, but just stubborn enough that my pinky (the only finger I could use to slide the bolts in) couldn’t push hard enough.

My solution? Take my economy squeezer with no die in the yoke (the black part), and squeeze the bolt in. Since there is no die back there, the bolt just slides into the hole in the yoke as it’s squeezed.

Worked great!

After some fiddling, I got all of the nuts on, just past finger-tight. I need an in-lb torque wrench and some inspection lacquer.

This is the outboard end. The inboard end is similar, but a little different.

Then, I had to take a step back and look at my completed aileron.

(Triumphant music playing...)

Good day today, and I got to take an airplane part up to the airplane storage room, I mean, the exercise room…

3 hours. 150 rivets, 4 of them drilled out because I’m dumb and didn’t pay attention.

Time for bed.

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Clecoed Together the Right Aileron

September 16, 2011

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Tonight, my main goal was to get the right aileron to a place where tomorrow I could start riveting on it. The last two paragraphs of the aileron section in the manual are pretty confusing, and you have to read them over and over to make sure you stick to the very specific order of riveting. I don’t want to get started on any of the confusing tonight, so I’m going to concentrate on prep work.

First up, get the right aileron skin deburred, dimpled, cleaned, and primed.

I wasn’t too good at taking pictures of the boring stuff up front, but here are the leading edge and aft aileron skins back inside (from the driveway) to dry after priming.

I had previously pulled the internal blue vinyl off the skins, so my priming lines weren't as neat as they usually are. That drove me nuts, but I resisted the urge to tape them off. Build on, Andrew!

While I waiting, I clecoed the right wing bottom skins. Now the right wing can be removed from the stand and moved to the cradle (once I decide how to build it/use it while I’m building the left wing).

I like how it looks like a wing.

After some drying time, I started following the instructions for assembly. First up, lay the counterbalance pipe and nose ribs inside the leading edge skin.


Then, rivet the nose ribs to the spar. (6x check, although no pictures, sorry.)

Then, cleco the nose skin to the aft skin to the spar.

I was very careful to remember to use my edge roller to put a little bend in the edge of the overlapping skins. See where the cleco is missing? I used this (and the clecoed section to the right) to illustrate how well everything will pull together  once rivets are set.

No gap there between skins to the right. Sweet. You can barely make out how I rolled the edge of the nose skin a little.

Once I got clecos in the top half of the aileron…

Whoa, clecos!

I flipped the aileron over and started clecoing the bottom. I know the first step when riveting tomorrow is to take all of these out so I can reach under and around for the top rivets, but I wanted to mock it up to confirm the bottom skin was going to lay together as nicely as the top skin.

I got to the last hole on the bottom skin, and reached in my #30 cleco bucket.


Worked out pretty well, I guess.

Okay. I'm going to leave off here.

The whole aileron is looking really good. All the skins are laying together nicely.

1 hour, 6 rivets.

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Riveted Aileron Stiffeners

September 5, 2011

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Happy Labor Day, everyone. Luckily, it was kind of crappy around all day, so along with some house chores, we basically stayed inside (and worked on the airplane!)

If you remember from yesterday, I had only gotten one aileron totally dimpled. Today, I got the other one dimpled, then cleaned up the skins and set them outside for a little rattle-can primer.

It was slightly windy, but it worked out okay.

Then, I took all of my stiffeners inside to do a more thorough washing, then set them outside on a piece of cardboard for drying.

I'll leave these outside for a little to dry.

After a few minutes, I primed them, let them dry fully, then brought them back into the garage.

Then, I spent about 45 minutes just putting rivets in the holes and taping them in. This felt like 2 mindless hours.

When I started to lay stiffeners in place for riveting, I realized that I didn’t get enough of the blue film off at the trailing edge.

Not a big deal, but I don't want that blue vinyl getting stuck under the stiffener.

So, I got out the soldering iron, waited for it to heat up, and trimmed up the aft area of each stiffener. After another shot of primer, I was ready to go.

Stiffeners are ready!

Okay, I’m pretty sure I have plenty of backriveting pictures on here, but I managed to get some action shots today. For most of the rivets (when the other half of the skin is not in the way), I use a short, skinny (~1/2″ dia.) set.

I got six of the seven rivets on each stiffener this way.

For the aft-most rivet, I use my double-offset backriveting set. I had to crank the psi all the way up to 60 psi, and it was still about a 3 second pull on the gun (instead of the more ideal 1.5-second pull), but it works.

(I change these up because on the elevators, I was bending the skin out of the way too much, and ended up tweaking the aft edge of the elevators. This backrivet set lets me get in there without bending the skin as much.)

Fits perfectly.

Also, remember to push down REALLY hard with your steadying hand so you minimize any tendency for the skin or stiffener to jump up. You want everything FLUSH against the backriveting plate.

I’m only stressing this because I’m having bad flashbacks to the elevators. These all turned out beautifully.


Okay, I was having trouble counting the rivets today, so I just wrote it down.

Notice the last line!!! (Also, please check my math.)

Now, for some glory shots.

Nice shop heads. The last rivet is gray because I had to re-shoot primer after I had taped the rivets in.

Finally, I pulled the blue vinyl off the insides of the ailerons.

Man, these things really stiffened up.

So, 2.5 hours, 224 rivets, and none drilled out.

Next up, bending the aileron skins and then getting the skeletons together for some matchdrilling. (Also, I have to figure out whether I want to put the right wing in a cradle while I’m working on the left wing, or just leave it where it is on the stand. Hmm.

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Dimpled Right Upper Wing Skins

July 31, 2011

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Holy crap I got a lot done today. If you remember from yesterday, I forgot to attach a wire for the float fuel sender. Instead of ordering an appropriate sized wire, I used some of the only aircraft grade wire I had laying around, which was some 16 AWG. I know that is way too big (we’re just measuring a resistance), but it’ll work so I can install these tanks for the last time today.

Some people run two wires, but I checked the resistance through the tank, and I’m getting a nice solid reading from the tank itself, so here’s my one wire to the center conductor.

First official aircraft wiring. Done.

After reinstalling the tank, I held the wire to the negative lead and held the positive lead against a few different points on the tank.

All read between 38Ω and 240Ω or so, so I’m good.

Sweet. I don't have to unseal the tank to attach another wire to the sender body.

I’m flying through these skins right now. Pretty soon, I’ll have nothing left to do other than install the upper wing skins.

On tap for today is some dimpling and priming.

Here’s the inboard skin, ready for dimpling.

...on the nice vacuumed workbench.

Oh yeah, don’t forget your scarf joint. (A nice transition from the inboard skin to the outboard skin by the tank so there isn’t a big step.)

Looks good from this angle.

I also filed down the inboard side of the outer skin (the one I’m holding below).

Okay, this looks like it will work.

For some reason, you can see a little of the edge on the left side of the picture, but I didn’t notice this with my naked eye.

I’m very happy with it. It is a great transition from tank to skin.

I'm very happy with this.

After the scarf joint, I spent about 2.5 hours dimpling.

I've been using the male die on top with great success.

More dimpling.

After a little prep, I shot these with self-etching primer.

I sprayed them outside, then moved it back inside to dry.

For the outboard skin, I actually hung it inside-out on the wing.

More priming glory.

The wingwalk reinforcement skin.

And finally, the exterior side of the inboard skin where it will underlap the outboard skin.

3.0 hours of dimpling fun. All I have to do now is deburr and dimple the skeleton. Then, skin riveting!

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Primed Three More Leading Edge Ribs

May 12, 2011

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Well, having primed leading edge ribs R4 through R6, I decided I better get them primed.

Before I could get going on the fifth and sixth ribs, I needed to crack open the leading edge landing light instructions again.

I want to make sure I get the holes for the light bracket nutplates done first.

Okay, looks like I need to go find the 10-32 nutplates.

K1000-3 nutplates...

Found them, then got the #30 to enlarge the center hole, put a cleco in, drilled one of the ears to #40, put another cleco in, and drilled the last ear.

Not many pictures with both sizes of clecos in them.

After doing all 4.

Guess what size drill I had to go find.

Yup. A 3/16″ drill…

...for the center hole.

After getting those ribs washed and the first coat of primer on them, I moved my attention back to the leading edge light holes. I forgot to drill the lens attach holes before. I held up the template, marked some holes, and fired the #40 through there.

I should have used my drill stop. Looks like I left little circles.

Same on the bottom side.

Finally, the ribs dried enough for me to bring them in the garage.

Nice ribs.

Maybe this weekend I’ll get to set some more rivets.

0.5 hours.

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Finished Prepping and Priming Right Wing Main Ribs

January 18, 2011

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Well, not much tonight, other than me getting the rest of the right wing main ribs prepped and primed. Oh, and the Tar Heels pulled out a win against Clemson. Good game.

3 of the 7 that were left.

The other 4 of 7.

1.5 hours. I think with the right main ribs done, I may get them riveted to the spars and start working on some skins before returning to the hell that is rib prep for the left main ribs.

We’ll see.

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