Some More Right Wing Lower Skin Riveting

November 4, 2012

Prev | Next

Well, I decided that with an hour to kill this afternoon after the Bears game (they whooped up on the Titans), I would go outside and see if I could do something productive.

I managed to get a few more rivets set in the bottom skins.

Let me apologize in advance, the pictures are in a weird order.

First up, I peeled back the skin to make sure I could get to the rivets I was interested in. But also, AND THIS IS KEY, you have to make sure that once you set those rivets, you won’t back yourself into a corner where you can’t reach another set of rivets, so I checked (what I’ll call) “future” rivets.

Basically, I reach through the lightening holes and then up with the bucking bar.

I can reach both sides for about 4 rivets before I have to reposition a little.

Also, be sure to be carfeul with the skin. Even the manual warns about creasing it.

After spending so much time cleaning, I was amazed at how quickly the workbench started filling up again.

I’m going to make an effort to keep everything clean at the end of each work session.

After 30 minutes of (loud) shooting and bucking, I called it quits on the loud stuff for the day.

I did the last wingwalk rib, and the main and aft spar rivets just outboard of that rib. I colored the heads black where I set them, just to help me count. This was 40 rivets.

Since the skin doesn’t have to be peeled back as much anymore, I set another 13 rivets of the hinge. (I’m getting good at installing and removing the flap. Not that I have to, I just like to store it on the wing. Seems the safest there.)

I also pre-loaded the next bay of rivets.

If you’re counting ribs, I am now halfway (4 of 8) done with the lower inboard skin. It’s going to get easier moving outboard, too.

I like seeing the clecos slowly disappear.

1.0 hour. 53 rivets. It’s not really a streak until it’s three days in a row, so don’t jinx me.

Prev | Next

Almost Done with the Right Flap

July 29, 2012

Prev | Next

Taylor and I came SO close to finishing the flap today, but my amazing fiance had some chicken parm in the oven, and by the time the clock struck 6pm, we had to head in to get cleaned up.

Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. (The chicken parm was SO good.)

Anyway, I started the day off by finishing up some dimpling, cleaning, and priming of the two very small shims that go on the aft two holes of each end rib.

Not very exciting, but here they are.

Then, I clecoed on the top skin.

I”m so excited it’s going together for the final time.

While Taylor worked the cleco pliers to get the flap assembled to “every other hole,” I grabbed the flap side of the hinge from the wing and prepped it.

Deburred, and filed down the stump where there used to be an extra “eye.” Yes, that’s Dentyne in the background.

Gotta have fresh breath while building.

Here’s Taylor putting some rivets with tape in every other hole.

Nice action shot. I don’t get many of those when I’m building solo.

After blazing through the lower skin and ribs (goes really fast when one person is doing the clecoing and rivet-placing).

I love this part of building.

I did run into a small problem though. On the left flap, I waited to rivet the nutplate on the backside of the inboard rib. On this flap, I did it early, but then got stuck with one of the rivets. not enough room for a bucking bar, so I reverted to a blind rivet.

That one right in the middle. No big deal.

After flipping over the flap and getting all the top side rivets done (including getting the spar blind riveted into the ribs and the top skin rivets to the spar…

Oh man, we’re so close!

We don’t have that many more rivets to do. (Most of the outboard rib rivets, then the hinge-spar-lower skin rivets. That’s it.

1.5 hours today, but Taylor was so productive, I’m counting all his hours, too.

3.0 hours on the clock, 179 rivets.


Prev | Next

More Right Flap Work

July 25, 2012

Prev | Next

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.

Prev | Next

He’s Alive (Right Flap Rib Work)

July 20, 2012

Prev | Next

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.

Prev | Next

Aileron Mounting and Flap Seal

December 28, 2011

Prev | Next

Well, I have all week off this week, and due to travel, random other activities, and general stay-at-home-dad responsibilities, I only managed to start working on the airplane today, Wednesday. My original plan was to get in 40 hours on the airplane this week, but I don’t think that’s going to happen, especially since I only managed to fit in 4 hours today. Anyway, I (we) decided that I’m going to start cleaning out some of the airplane parts from our workout room. In that light, I decided it was about time to start storing the right aileron on the right wing.

So, I pulled out the aileron plans and started studying the hardware callouts.

This is for the outboard end. No spacer needed.

Here's the inboard side.

I think this is the hardware for the outboard side.

And the hardware for the inboard side, plus the AT6-058 tubing to make a spacer.

I did need to enlarge the weldment bolt holes to the proper size, so I grabbed an AN3 bolt and measured it’s diameter.

Looks like .186"

I tried a few bits and found that the proper drill bit for a AN3 bolt is a #12. Later on, I found out that the proper drill bit for an AN4 bolt is a 1/4".

One of the things I have on my list of things to do is to countersink and set the lower inboard rivets on each of the aileron hinge brackets.

At first I was kind of skeptical that you needed a flush rivet head here, given all the room in the picture…

There isn't anything even remotely close.

…but, after swinging the aileron through its full motion, I noticed that full up (trailing edge up) aileron has minimal clearance there.

Those Van's guys are smart.

Back to the hardware. One of my stocking stuffers from the girlfriend FIANCÉE was this wonderful double-drive ratcheting screwdriver that you’ve all seen on the commercials recently. I have the snap-on one, which is REALLY nice, but this one is great for fast (double drive!) fastener insertions. I’ll use the snap-on when precision counts, and the Kobalt where speed is my friend.


Anyway, I used that with a socket on the end to quickly secure some of the aileron attach hardware.

I’m not sure what order these pictures are in. Here’s me cutting some of the aforementioned AT6 tubing for a spacer.

Action shot!

I don't think I got the edge of the spacer just right when deburring. I might redo this. (This was also the only place I had to make a washer substitution. I used a skinny washer to the right of the aileron attach bracket.

Here's the after shot of the outboard end.

Hey, look at that! It looks like an airplane!

Okay, here, the ADD set in, and I needed to so something else. Time to pull out the flap seal. After edge finishing and scuffing…

Tada! Time for cleaning and priming.

Don't let the sun fool you. It was freezing out today.

Serisouly, there pictures are way out of order. Here are my rivet counts after I was done with riveting the flap seal on.

29 total rivets set, 1 drilled out.

I didn’t get a good picture, but I didn’t get the rivet gun lined up right, so the edge of the set just chewed through the rivet head.

Anyway, a nice clean drill-out.

Here’s the finished product.

29 rivets closer to the end.

Next, I was trying to figure out how to line up the aileron, so instead of copying some other people’s cleco and a straight edge trick, I decided to do it by the book. Grab a straight piece of wood, drill the holes for the tooling holes in the wings, then line up the aileron with two tangential lines.

Easy enough, right?

Well, kind of. Turns out, I had used one of the tooling holes as the attachment hole for the angled bracket for the wing stands.

See? 1/4"

The upper one is still #21, though.

So, I drilled two holes at the appropriate distance for an AN3 bolt, then drew my tangential lines, then enlarged the lower one to 1/4″.

Worked well for me.

But I quickly realized that with the wing nose-down, the aileron is NOT neutrally balanced. Since there is a moment on the aileron, if I clamp it to my piece of wood, it’s going to bend the piece of wood for a false reading. Looks like I’ll have to actually construct the bellcrank and pushrod.

So, I fished out the bearing from beneath my workbenches and cleaned off the tag.

Also, I found the bellcrank attach brackets.

And cleaned off more tags.

I was trying to locate the AN3-6A bolts that are called out for the bellcrank attach brackets, and I couldn’t find them anywhere.

After about 30 minutes of build time wasted, I remembered that I had one more bag left. I thought this was just the close tolerance bolts, but alas, there were plenty of other AN bolts in there.

This bag hid from me for 30 minutes.

So then I spent about 20 minutes sorting though these bolts.

There are some AN3-6A bolts on the left there.

I have some residual confusion about bolt length, though. Here’s a known -4A and -7A.

Makes sense.

Here's the -6A. This is all good.

Oh, I guess we’re jumping around in pictures again. I’ll bring up my confusion later.

I got the brass bushing out of my storage box and deburred the edges a little.

Shiny is scotchbrited, dull is out of the box.

After inserting into the bellcrank….

Looking good, needs to be drilled to final size, though.

It just barely sticks out both ends of the bellcrank as designed.

Perfect length out of the box.

I did need to drill them out to a #21, though, for the long bolt that goes through them.

This was more difficult than I imagined it to be. I did use wood to clamp these in the vise, and lots of cutting oil for the drill bit.

So here’s where my confusion came back in. I was supposed to use an AN3-32A bolt, but when I held up the longest bolt I could find, (and after verifying that the longest bolt was the appropriate size for the assembly), I held it up to the bolt gauge thing, and it told me it was an AN3-28A. Hmm. I’ve got my three threads on the outside of the nut, so I guess I’m okay, but I’m still confused.

Anyway, now that I’ve got the bellcrank available, I need the pushrod.

Here's a closeup of the pushrod I'm going to make.

Here's the rest of the W-818 assembly.

After carefully measuring and cutting, here are my two pushrods.

One left, and one right.

After drilling two 90° #30 holes…

You can also see an AN470AD4-12 rivet.

Then, after some rivet squeezing and priming, I propped it up on my handy-dandy cleco storage units for drying.

It's like watching paint dry.

A picture of the rivet shop heads.

Oh, and one more spacer for the actual attach point for the aileron.

More spacers!

Here’s the attachment for the aileron.

This angle is weird because I've flipped the entire aileron up and around its axis.

But, after I got the pushrod installed…

Looks like an airplane!

Here’s the bellcrank area. Looks like I dripped some primer in there.

Van's tells you to prime the inside of the pushrods, too. So I poured some in there, then tried to pour it out. None came out until I installed it here, and some seeped around the edge of the pushrod fitting. Oops.

Hey, not to far off for the first try.

Within a degree or so...I'll fix this first thing tomorrow.

4 hours total today, 3 of which were on the ailerons, 1 of which was for the flap brace. 29 rivets set, one drilled out. Yahoo!

Prev | Next

Finished the Left Aileron

October 5, 2011

Prev | Next

Okay. I’m writing this the next day, and you’ve already seen all these steps, so the description that goes along with the pictures is going to be a little sparse. Of course, that’s better than the opposite, where there would be lot’s of description, but no pictures. (Except then, you get puppy pictures, so it’s kind of a win-win all around, right?)

Okay, stop blabbering, Andrew. Let’s get to work!

First up, let’s get those reinforcement plates onto the spar.

3 rivets on each side, plus two for the nutplate...

Then, a couple blind rivets on the nose ribs-to-counterbalance pipe.

The Main Squeeze making a cameo!

Then, They have you rivet the nose ribs to the spar, and cleco on the leading edge skin.

My right skin kind of bent like that too, but when you cleco it to the spar, it all straightens out, I promise. 6 more rivets here.

Then, even though I was sure I’d forget…I remembered to put some RTV at the aft end of each of the stiffeners.

Had to use the flash for effect. Sorry.

Of course, I needed to get both sides of the aileron skin riveted for the rtv to set up at the right angle (probably not that critical), but nevertheless, I was comitted.

I got the assembly up on my previously-built 2×4 stands…

50% clecoed, with rivets and tape in the every-other holes.

In case you didn't believe me, I took another picture. (Really?)

I guess this picture is after I got the 42 top skin rivets done. I did this the exact same was as last time….see the link from above.

No dings, scratches, dents, etc.

Umm, this next picture looks like it’s after I squeezed some nose rib and main rib to skin rivets.

That would be 5 rivets on the nose, times 2, plus 8 rivets for the main skin to main rib, plus two flush rivets on each side...then the whole thing gets flipped over an weighted down.

Next, let’s do the counterbalance pipe to skin rivets.

Nice dimples, nice rivets.

Then, the main ribs rivets (no pictures), and last, nut not least, the 42 blind rivets across the skin on the bottom side of the aileron.

O.M.G. my hand is so tired. 7 more to go...

All done!

(Oh, I also hand tightened the aileron brackets on with the AN3-4A bolts and associated hardware. I still need to buy an in-lb torque wrench…

Pretty left aileron!

I love days like this. I feel like I accomplish a lot.

2.5 hours. 166 rivets… (and my rivet count on the left matched the rivet count on the right. That’s a good thing.)

Prev | Next

Finished the Right Aileron

September 17, 2011

Prev | Next

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.

Prev | Next

Totally (Almost) Sealed Up Right Tank

July 17, 2011

Prev | Next

Oh man. Today was a big day. The other day I finally got my AN470AD6-10 rivets from van’s (along with some hole-less tank access plates, you’ll see those in a minute), so it’s time to start sealing up these tanks.

Here’s a AD6-10 rivet in the outboard rib’s aft tooling hole.

A little long, eh?

After cutting it to a more reasonable (1.5 times diameter) length, I went ahead and shot this rivet in. I think I used 70 psi. Worked well.

Not terribly exciting, but I better not forget to cover this one with proseal before closing up.

Only two things left before I can close up. The two anti-hangup brackets. Here’s one, made out of some 0.025.”

With clecos...

With some blind rivets.

This one is the access plate anti-hangup bracket. I had originally thought about making these removeable with screws and nutplates, but I don’t think I’ll ever take this out, so blind rivets it is!

Nice, right?

When I couldn’t think of anything else to do before closing, I took a final picture (then stared for a few minutes just to be positive).

Almost forgot, I wiped the whole inside of the tank down as well as I could and then vacuumed everything out.

Here goes nothing…

I cleaned every mating surface I could find with MEK then mixed up some proseal and filled a few of my 30cc syringes. I put a glob of proseal over the manufactured and shop heads of the AD6- rivet I just set, then put a bead just forward of the baffle rivet holes, and on each of the flanges of the ribs. I also left 4 big globs in each of the corners.

No turning back now.

Before dropping the baffle in, I smoothed some of the beads to a single layer.

Then, instead of letting my single bead on the skin act as my baffle seal, I also smeared some onto the baffle flange, and dropped that bad boy in place.

Pretty good bead just forward of the baffle.

Now, having read about all the trouble with proud rivets on some other build sites, I decided that instead of 100% clecoing, I’d 50% cleco, but only after I’d gotten some unset rivets into some of the holes. (The rivets fill the holes better than the clecos do, if it’s jut clecos, things can get a little misaligned).

This shot is after getting everything 50% clecoed with rivets in every other hole.

Whew. I

Before getting to the skin rivets, I threw the z-brackets in place with a layer of sealant and got them blind riveted in place. (This single sentence represents about 30 minutes of checking, rechecking, aligning, etc. with the z-brackets to ABSOLUTELY be sure they are in the right orientation. My final check was that the inner and outer brackets have their aft flange pointing inboard, all others point outboard.)

After getting the AD-41H and -42H blind rivets in place.

Solid rivets on the inboard and outboard brackets/ribs.

More solid rivets.

At this point, I set all 132 rivets on the skin to baffle joint. No pictures, though. Sorry. I have one rivet that is slightly proud, but there is NO WAY IN HECK that I am going to drill it out right now. I challenge you to come find it when my airplane is flying. (Ha. All of you reading this will have forgotten by the time I’m flying.)

Okay, time for a little clean…OMG! I’m out of MEK.

Pause for an hour…run out to Home Depot….NO MEK!?…run out to Lowe’s…stop by Target…

Little MEK, meet big MEK.

Oh. Don’t try to pour some MEK from a big can into a little can even with a funnel. It will go all over your garage floor, because it slurps out of the can and you’ve been working out in the garage for HOURS and you are a little tired, your hands are a little shaky, and even though you are wearing a respirator, you are pretty sure the proseal and MEK fumes are getting to your head.

Oh, also, don’t set a full MEK can with the cap off next to your fuel tank, then move the fuel tank so the MEK can knocks over, and spills MEK on the workbench, then drips off onto the floor where you just spilled (and cleaned up) the MEK from your earlier boo boo.


Okay, back to work, you slacker!

Nice shiny new tank access plate.

More proseal here.

Then after putting the access plate in place…

(Don’t accidentally drop the access plate a hole-width or so away from your target, because then you have to kind of move the plate around with proseal everywhere while you try to find one hole to line up, then stick a screw in, and find another one…ask me how I know.)

Anyway, I twirled the very bottom of the screws in some proseal, then threaded them partway in. Once partway in, I took my syringe of proseal and put a glob on one side of the screw (see the right side of the following picture). As you tighten the screw, it drags around the screw head and makes a nice little bead (see left side of the picture.)

Perfect little bead.


Finally, I stuck the filler cap in place and stuck that bad boy on the wing.

WUHOO! It looks like an airplane.

“So,” you ask. “Why is this ‘almost’ closed up.”

Well, I’m not sure if you saw, but I didn’t install the float sender yet. Once I get that in, I’ll head to OSH, then come back in 10 days or so and leak test. (Although why should I leak test. I already KNOW that I have NO LEAKS.) It always helps to stay positive.

11:45am to 3:45pm, then another hour between 5pm and 6pm (after the Lowe’s run). What is that? 5 hours? Oh, and 185 rivets.

SWEET. Did everyone see my new charts? How come I’m not getting any emails with inflammatory engineer jokes in them?

I need a much-deserved adult beverage.

Prev | Next

Right Leading Edge Joint Plate Nutplates

July 13, 2011

Prev | Next

Wuhoo! Got my latest Van’s order. Below, you can see my two T-411 tank access plates, two tiedown rings, a tenth of a pound of AN470AD6-10 rivets, and the left inboard leading edge rib.

I love getting orders in.

First thing, I ran over and screwed in the tiedown ring.

Uh Oh.

It was way loose. Hmm. I know I did the 1/2 turn in, 1/4 turn out with the tap.

After some thought (and a trip to work), some of the guys were convinced that 1) I didn’t ruin the part, especially since I had only tapped the 1″ shown on the plans (and the rings are like 1 1/2″ long), and 2) it must be the tap quality.

They lent me a really nice tap (as opposed to the $7.99 tap and die set from Harbor Freight.)

I screwed in the nice new tap, and once I got past the first inch, I immediately felt a difference. When I turned 1/2″ in, the tap felt like it was cutting, instead of just pushing material out of the way. There was significant resistance at the end of the 1/2″ turn. Once you start the 1/4″ back out, there is some more resistance, then a “release.” I could tell immediately that the release was the cutting of little chips from the material.

It was like I heard angels. This is what tapping is supposed to feel like.

(The old one was just steady increase in resistance in, then decreasing resistance out.)

Just one more reason why I should have bought the $80 tap and die set, instead of the $8 tap and die set.

Lesson learned.

From the following picture, you should be able to tell that the thread cutters on the left are nice and sharp, and the apex of each blade comes to a point. The one on the right is not sharp, and the apex is kind of rounded.

The nice tap on the left, the crappy one on the right.

So now, I have about 1″ of loose threads, and 1/2″ of perfect threads. I am okay with at least four threads perfectly engaged, and 16 threads mostly engaged. If I’m worried about 10,000 lbs of holding power versus 5,000 lbs of holding power, I have more to worry about than my tiedowns pulling out.

Let’s build on.

Here's the tiedown installed.

It was subsequently removed, and will be stored in my storage box until, I don’t know, a few years from now.

Next up, I needed a nice little project.

How does the leading edge joint plate nutplates sound. Good?

Good. I’ll work on those.  A quick check on the plans showed some hardware needs.

Some #8 screws and nutplates.

First, let’s cleco some nutplates to the previously dimpled holes. This worked great, and perfectly centered the dimpled nutplates over the dimples.

#30 clecoes worked great.

I drilled one ear of each nutplate, then clecoed.

After drilling both ears, I deburred, then started countersinking for NAS flush rivets.


Here’s one of the oops rivets, just holding it in place.

This will work.

Oh man, I'm making a mess.

Then, some riveting.

All done.

1 hour,  including the tiedown re-tapping, and 28 rivets in the leading edge joint plate.

Not much more in the way of sealing up that right tank.

Prev | Next

Sealed Right Tank’s Inboard Rib

July 4, 2011

Prev | Next


Well, after stopping by Lowe’s today to pick up some latex gloves (I picked up latex instead of nitrile…I like the latext better), I got to work on sealing the inboard rib in.

For this rib, things were a little different. First, I can squeeze all of the skin to rib rivets (which is nice). Second, I have to pay attention to the reinforcement plates that need to go in place, and third, I have some fittings that can be installed once the rib is in place.

After buttering up the rib and riveting the 43 inboard AN426AD3-3.5 rivets, I ended up with this.

The clever readers will see the uppermost rivet on the right side is NOT SET. I caught it when I ran back outside later to count how many rivets I had set. (I knew counting rivets was a good idea.)

After getting the rib riveted in, I can now slide the reinforcement plates into place. (Like it says in the instructions, if you install these first, you won’t have room to squeeze the skin to rib rivets in the nose.) There’s a thick angle on the outside of the rib (shown below) and a thin .032 plate on the inside.

After lathering that guy with some pro-seal, I snapped this picture and got it installed.

That fan I bought a few weeks back is worth its weight in gold. It was 95°F today.

Fast forward a few minutes and some loud noises, and I had 6 AN470AD4-8 rivets set in the nose reinforcement area.

Perfect. (Well. Not perfect, but once I cover those smileys with proseal, you will never know.)

Fast forward another few minutes, and I got the flop tube installed with the -6 fitting on the inside and the nut on the outside, then I installed the vent tube (just flared) to the -4 fitting on the outside, you can see the aluminum washer and nut on the inside here. I made sure everything had a good bead of proseal around it before torquing everything down.


All that’s left to do on the right tank is installed the anti-hangup brackets, rivet a An470AD6- rivet in the tooling hole of the outboard rib, and then close that bad boy up.

Oh, and fit the access plate with some stainless cap screws, instead of machine screws. More on that later.

2.0 hours. 43 rivets on the inboard rib. 6 rivets for the reinforcement plates. 1 drilled out (Easy as PIE!) Hope everyone had a good fourth. (It’s storming here. Boo.)

Prev | Next