Riveted Half of Main Ribs to Right Main Spar

January 9, 2011

Prev | Next

Well, I needed a break from all of that rib preparation, so I took the seven ribs I had done for the inboard half of the right wing and got started riveting them to the main rib (Most people start with the main rib, because you can bend the ribs a little out of the way of the rivet gun while you shoot and buck.)

Here are the first two rivets in place, ready for shooting.

Per the general builder consensus, you should start with the 3rd rib. (3rd, 2nd, and 1st rib flanges all point inboard, so having the 2nd and 1st in the way would not be fun. If you start with the third, you can easily reach the forward flange.)

The right spar here is upside down.

After the first five rivets…

(That mark above the 2nd from the top is a tape mark.)

Whoa, that bottom rivet head doesn't look to good.

Let’s get a little closer…

Crap. This was the first one, too. Bummer.

After drilling out and re-setting, the rivet is now great. (I scratched the primer off the flange a little. I'll clean that up with a scotchbrite and re-shoot it with primer.)

Of course, it wasn’t until the second rib that I remembered my tape trick to keep from marring the manufactured heads too much.

This works great to keep everything looking nice.

See, this head looks a lot cleaner after shooting.

Here's two done.

Shop heads...

Three ribs down.

More shop heads.

Then, I did the 4th, 6th, then 5th, and finally, the 7th.

The first 7 ribs attached to the right main spar.

1.0 very fun and rewarding hour. It’s nice to see something big take  shape for the last time in the garage.

5 rivets times 7 ribs equals 35 rivets, two of which were drilled out and replaced. (The first rivet, and the last rivet. Boo.)

Prev | Next

Now, back to rib prep.


10 Rivets on the Left Elevator

October 10, 2010

Prev | Next

Well, I was outside working on the floors, trim, and shoe molding for the house today, and I had the urge to set some rivets. I got out the left elevator, and located a few candidates.

I had left a few of the trailing edge area rivets unsqueezed on the left elevator, because I didn’t have any way to reach them. now that I have my no-hole yoke, I could squeeze them.

No pictures, but they went in okay.

I moved on to the trim tab, where I squeezed two more on the inboard side, and then decided to try the last 4 rivets of the empennage…the trim tab outboard riblet I made.

3 of them went in no problem. The 4th? Nope. Drilled out twice, screwed up the hole, drilled to #30, used an oops rivet, still messed it up, drilled again, finally set, but it’s pretty ugly. I know it’s not structural, but that in combination with a couple other things means I’m probably going to join the “multiple trim tab” club.

[sigh].

But, the good news? Napa is having a sale on their MS7220 Self-Etching Primer.

[after walking into local Napa store]

Me: Good morning. I am looking for a can of 7220 Self-etching Primer. I usually use about a can per month, but I’ll buy a case if you can give me a volume discount.

Napa lady: No.

[awkward pause]

Lady: But I’ll sell you however many you want at the super sale price of $5 a can.

Me: Whoa! sweet! What’s the deal? Is Napa discontinuing this stuff?

Lady: Nope, they just choose to discount stuff every once in awhile.

[bought two cases]

Anyway. 10 rivets set, 3 drilled out. (This is not helping my average.) Half hour.

Prev | Next


Leading Edge/Tank Cradle, Right Tiedown Bracket

September 28, 2010

Prev | Next

A few days ago I had the circular saw out, and I saw (pun intended) a 16″ wide piece of 3/4″ MDF sitting around, so I took a quick look at the plans, and decided that 16″ x 16″ might be a good starting point for the leading edge/tank assembly cradle.

The plans (second picture down) show 13″ x 15″, but I’ve heard that some people break the cradle at the thinnest point.

Anyway, it took me all of 30 seconds to cut the 2 big square pieces and the four triangular pieces also pictured.

Tonight, I pulled those out for assembly (a quick night in the shop).

16" x 16" cradle walls, with 4 triangular supports.

Van's wants you to mount them on a 36" long 2x4, but I decided to go another route. Read on.

I used a thick magic marker to offest from a tank rib (room for pipe-insulation to protect the skins).

After the cut.

Tada!

After the cut. (Déjà vu)

Tada! (Déjà vu)

After both were cut out with the jigsaw, I laid (layed? Em, help me out here) the tank rib into the cutout to make sure I had offset the cuts enough.

Looks good to me.

So, here’s an expplanation of my “alternate route”.

Because Van’s specifically states that this just helps in assembly, and is not an alignment jig, I decided I didn’t really need to take up a lot of space with a 3 foot wide cradle that would undoubtedly get in the way. Instead, I am making the two halves of the cradle independently, and will use them (approximately 3 feet apart). I also figured they would be stable enough with one of these triangular pieces on each side, which they were.

I predrilled the cradle, but not the gusset, and it cracked as I assembled with some coarse-thread drywall screws. Bummer (I never thought I would put a picture of my crack on the internet.)

For the other ones, I pre-drilled the gusset, too.

After everything was all said and done, I am pretty happy with them (damn crack!).

I need to grab some pipe insulation to protect the skins.

Best part, they nest nicely for storage before (and after) use.

Then, I looked around for something I could get done with the half hour of attention and “eyelids-open” time I felt I had left.

I shot a quick coat of primer on the right tiedown bracket (and spacers), and then waited for the first sides to dry before flipping them over and hitting the other side.

While the whole thing dried, I needed something else to do, so I grabbed the  T-715 Anti-Rotation brackets (which come all connected like the old plastic models used to. Remember you had to use a pocket knife to cut off the little tabs after bending and twisting one model piece from the rest of the pieces.)

Anyway, after getting them apart, I edge finished all four on the scotchbrite wheel. Maybe 10 minutes, and for the record, I am going to log this time under Spars, because I’m waiting for the tiedown brackets to dry. I don’t feel like adding an entry under tanks just yet.

When it is years and years from now, and you ask me how my hours it took me to finish my tanks, and I say “xx hours,” remember to add 10 minutes to that to get the real answer.

Edge finished anti-rotation brackets. (How do I edge-finish the inside edges of these? Hmm.)

Okay, now that the tiedown bracket is dry, let’s find those AN426AD3-7s – HOLY CRAP THESE THINGS ARE LOOOONG!

Whoa. Long rivets.

4 of 8 rivets set (squeezed).

Tada! (That's three "tada"s today. Aren't you lucky!?) Don't forget the nutplates on the other side. I almost did.

Oh, and by the way. Don’t prime and then wait 10 minutes for things to dry, the primer really hasn’t cured, and it will scrape off with a fingernail. After waiting 24 hours, or better yet, a few days, this stuff gets rock solid. I need to remember that.

I shot another coat on these after they were riveted. I was too ashamed of the first coat to take a picture. Sorry.

8 rivets and 1 hour. 0.5 in “Wing” and 0.5 in “Spars.” (I’ll put the log in both places. We’ll see how that works.)

Prev | Next


Finished Right Rear Spar

September 14, 2010

Prev | Next

So on the scale from “no help at all” to “girlfriend built the plane all by herself,” we made a few steps last night.

After dinner (thanks Mi Pueblo!), I convinced the lady friend to come outside and help me finish up the last few rivets on the right rear spar.

I talked her through going to the plans, looking at the rivet callout legend, and then putting the rivet in the appropriate holes, making sure to avoid the “rivet later” holes.

We were planning on having her actually squeeze the rivets, but the AN470AD4-6s (and -8s) were too much. She ended up holding the spar steady for me and helping with rivet layout. (See, I told you it was a small step toward “girlfriend built the plane all by herself.”)

I’m working towards being able to call from a business trip across the country and tell her to do something offhand like, “Hey honey. Can you hang the engine for me tonight while I’m away? Great. Thanks. Bye!”

Here's the plans shot for the reinforcement fork.

Of course, we were too busy being in love (with each other and the airplane) to take very many pictures, so you just get the end result. The main squeeze did a great job reaching all of these rivets (mostly due to the 4″ no-hole yoke).

Final rivets in the fork-only area. 38 rivets here.

Closeup of the fork and doubler plate together.

Final rivets in the doubler plate. 7 more rivets here.

Finished product.

0.5 hours (thanks, girlfriend), and 45 perfect rivets.

For those of you paying attention to the totals, that brings me to 175 hours (after 261 days) and 2409 rivets (of an estimated 20,000). Still a long way to go.

Prev | Next


Primed and Started Riveting Right Rear Spar

September 12, 2010

Prev | Next

Well, after a $15 stop at Napa ($10 for primer, $5 for sensor-safe RTV), I got back to work on the rear spar.

I spent a lot of time just kind of staring at everything today. The instructions are careful to point out that at the inboard part of the spar (where the reinforcement fork is), you can’t reach the spar flange holes with dimple dies for later dimpling, so you should do it now.

With that in mind, I wanted to make sure I got everywhere that may need dimpling later, so I also dimpled above the two (middle and outboard) doublers. You can see in this picture (the middle doubler) where I decided it would be a good idea to dimple (drill, deburr, then dimple, of course) the flange holes. I did this for both the spar and the doubler plates, which also have flanges on them.

The middle spar area, shown after drilling, deburring, and dimpling the flange area.

Same thing here. Also, I dimpled the 4 outboard holes (instead of countersinking), per previously approved builders who have talked to Van's.

I got back to thinking about the tank dimple dies, and whether they were really helping with skin-to-structure attachments. The idea is the the tank dies (which are deeper to account for pro-seal while riveting the tanks), when used on the skeleton, allow the regular dimple in the skin to sit better once riveted.

I got out some scrap, dimpled the “skin” with regular dies, and dimpled the “skeleton” with one tank and one regular die.

You can see on the left, those are the regular dies. The ones on the right is a regular die sitting in a deeper tank dimple. The tank dimples didn’t help anything sit better, because they were both fine.

A little blurry, but the "skin" sat equally well for both set of dimples.

The tank (deeper) dimple is on the right. You can see I'm not having any "seating" issues on the left.

Anyway, I think I am going to go back to using the regular dies on everything. Enough about that, though, let’s prime!

The rear spar components, getting primed after some more edge finishing, washing, drying, and positioning in my wood floors boxes.

Also, I went back and masked off the spar where I had countersunk.

Some of the nutplate attach rivets are not as flush as I would like them to be. I may get a rivet shaver and shave some of these down and reprime. We'll see how the tank skin sits on them.

Back on the rear spar, I posted a couple pictures of my edge finishing procedure. First, use the Permagrit block to smooth out the tooling marks. This picture is the resulting burrs that need to be deburred.

The permagrit is great, but it does leave some pretty decent sharp edges.

Then I used my “v” deburring tool to knock off the 45°.

After this, I usually use a scotchbrite pad to smooth everything out.

After blowing the aluminum dust off with shop air and a good wipe-down with MEK, I took the spar outside so I could paint the grass with my overspray.

I think this is the second side. Only one bug landed on my spar. I left him there for now. (He may be my first passenger.)

After a few hours, I returned out to the garage (workshop/mancave) to do some riveting.

First step: Ignore Van’s suggestions to tape off all of the holes that don’t get riveted now. (I know the warning bells must be going off right now, but it all worked out fine. Just have to read the plans carefully.

I left clecos in all of the “do not rivet now” holes. 6 regular AN470AD4-4 rivets on the left, and some AN426AD4-4 (I think) rivets in the dimples on the right.

SEP 14 UPDATE: WHOA! Those 4 on the right can’t be set now, because the W-712 outboard rib will get riveted to these holes, too. Glad I didn’t get to happy with the rivet squeezer.

These 10 can be riveted now. (Sep 14, 2010 Update: Nope. Just the 6 on the left can be set now.)

Same exercise here. Only 5 rivets can be set now.

I didn't really mark anything here, because I didn't really start on riveting the fork on yet. Next post, I'll be very careful about what to rivet.

Then, I actually started riveting. I love my new Cleveland Main Squeeze. Squeezing these An470AD4- rivets is so easy now.

Here are the 5 shop heads from the middle of the rear spar.

The same 5 from the manufactured side.

Oh, and I did 6 more at the W-707F doubler plate, but forgot to take pictures. 11 total. Also, I was mixing this and house projects over the course of a few hours, so I’m going to estimate it was about 2.0 hours today.

Prev | Next


More Right Tiedown Work, Started Right Rear Spar

September 5, 2010

Prev | Next

Whoa, it’s been awhile since I actually got any work done on the airplane. I’m going to blame my exploding lawnmower (long story), business trips, and the wood floors project.

Anyway, I managed to find a good bi-metal hole saw from the aviation department at Lowe’s, so I chucked that thing up in the drill press and started in on the spacer lightening holes.

Under all that mess is a spacer with a freshly cut hole in it.

I am not really a fan of cutting those things this way, but I don’t have a fly cutter (apparently the one from Harbor Freight sucks), so this was the best I could do.

They actually turned out really nicely.

Two spacers, that go against the spar web.

Like many other builders, I taped them down before putting the tiedown bracket in place, flipping the spar over, and matchdrilling the remaining 7 holes.

After everything has been matchdrilled, I pulled it apart. Looking good so far.

Then, I skipped a couple pictures, but basically You bolt the tiedown bracket, spacers, and nutplates in place and use the nutplates to backdrill the attach holes (small ones on either side of the bigger holes). They all turned out great, except for the upper left set, which for some reason are a little crooked. It doesn’t matter what the nutplate ear orientation is, I was just annoyed they didn’t turn out perfectly aligned.

Somehow that upper left one's alignment got away from me.

Then, you have to countersink the nutplate attach holes (this side of the spacers must sit flush against the spar web).

These rivets aren't set (I still have to prime all these pieces), but I just put them in there to see how my countersinks were. (The lower left one is a little deep, but this is thick spacer, so it shouldn't be a big deal.)

I don’t have any primer, so I decided to move forward (“aft”?…ha…airplane coordinate system joke) to the rear spar. After getting out the W-707A rear spar channel (make sure to grab the correct one, there’s a left and a right) and the W-707E and W-707F doubler plates, I took the blue plastic off of everything and started getting things clamped in place.

The W-707F is laterally aligned with the outboard edge of the rear spar channel.

The W-707E gets laterally aligned by measuring; the outboard edge of the doubler plate should be 50 3/4" from the outboard edge of the rear spar channel. Easy enough.

Then, I fired up the air drill for some matchdrilling.

{air drill noises} Whose finger prints are those?

{more air drill noises} Also, I traced out the aileron pushrod hole onto the doubler plate.

After some though about how to do this, I decided to forego the step drill (Unibit) trick (I don’t have a Unibit…how’s that for a trick!) and just drill some holes and then get the dremel out.

It turns out that all the little fancy metal saw and milling tools aren’t really as easy to use as the 1/2″ sanding drum . Save yourself some time and just get the sanding drum out. Very easy to control.

Looks pretty good to me. (This crazy little torture device that looks like a saw got away from me and cause that scratch. I'll have to buff that out.)

After clecoing back to the spar turns out the thickness of my line made my initial pass a little small. (Better small than big.)

More sanding, anyone?

Much better (still needs some edge finishing).

I totally forgot. Even though I don’t have primer to finish up the tiedown bracket, I can still tap the tiedown hole.

Here's the 3/16" x 16 tap.

After having a hell of a time getting started, they turned out really nicely.

1 full turn in, 1/2 turn out. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I managed to get both brackets done, even though I really haven’t started on the left wing yet.

I'll need to deburr the edge, but this should work just fine.

I ended up going to 1 1/4″, even though the directions tell you to only go 1″. Some other builders had to go deeper once they actually got their eye bolts, I figured it would be easier to do now than to wait until the brackets are in the wings.

2 productive hours today.

Prev | Next


Started on Right Wing Tie-down Bracket

August 26, 2010

Prev | Next

Wuhoo, the new squeezer showed up!

After a few minutes of messing around with it, I grabbed the two K1000-4 nutplates and studied the plans carefully on which side of the spar they go. A quick hint (other than just reading the plans) is that the nutplates go on the side that couldn’t possibly need to be flush (in between the spar cap bars).

Anyway, here, I’ve countersunk for AN426AD3-6 rivets.

The two larger holes are examples of where Van's (or Phlogiston) buffed out some spar scratches with some scotchbrite.

Oh yeah, I also flipped the spar over and deburred (you can hardly see the deburring) the backside of the holes I drilled to #40.

The little silver rings are where I deburred. Because these will be totally covered by the nutplate and the shop head, I'm going to refrain from spot priming them.

I used the new squeezer to set my only 4 rivets today.

Don't these look pretty? (There are small rings around the rivet heads. That is from the cleco I used to hold the nutplate on while riveting the other side.) It seems weird the cleco made that little mark.

Moving on to the tie-down bracket. First thing, I need to fabricate the W-726 spacers from this 1.25″ wide angle stock. I’m supposed to cut 4 of them, 2 for each wing/tie-down).

Why is this one on the ground? Is it because the light is good for the camera? NO. It's because it is @&*!@ hot after cutting. Ask me how I know.

Here are the other three.

Each of these spacers should have a 1″ hole cut in the center for lightening (not lightning). Since all of my hole saws are in sizes other than 1″, I decided to grab the W-731 tie-down bracket and get to work on that.

Okay, the manual says to cut the tie-down bar to length from the AEX stock.

Okay (…searching plans…), looks like 7  15/32″. Of course, I measured 7  7/32″ marked, and almost cut before my gut told me something was wrong.

The bar is actually 7 16/32" ( or 7.5"), so I'm not going to cut them 1/32" when I'm sure the edge finishing on the scotchbrite wheel will be more than enough. (Also, it doesn't appear the extra 1/32" will interfere with the top or bottom skin at all.

I keep walking by this sticker and laughing. I thought I would share.

Translation: "If something doesn't fit right, you've royally screwed something up."

Okay, back to the tie-down. After marking and drilling the one (of four) holes for the spar in the bracket to 3/16″, I stuck an AN3-7A bolt in there and just eyeballed the alignment.

(You are supposed to drill just one, then fit the bolt through the whole assembly. Then, you flip the entire assembly over and matchdrill the tie-down bracket from the back.)

I was a little concerned that there was some overhang on the right side of the bracket. (I measured and drilled very, very carefully).

Looks like there is some overhang on the plans, too. Sweet.

Anyway, I stopped there because I can’t really matchdrill everything until I get the spacers placed behind the tie-down bracket, and I can’t really do that until I have the lightening holes drilled (the spacers will be riveted to the tie-down brackets in four places, which in turn hold some nutplates on).

Here are my spacers for the right tie-down bracket.

1 hour, 4 rivets.

Now, I need to find a good hole saw or fly cutter.

Prev | Next


Primed Elevator Trim Tab

August 19, 2010

Prev | Next

Well, I got a few more things done on the tab tonight.

First thing was to prime the outside of the elevator tab where the surface mates with the tab horns.

Here's the mating surface, ready to be primed.

After reexamining my countersinks in the trim tab spar, I decided to re-countersink them. This time (after reading the guidance in the construction manual about how to do this on the flap), I used the trim hinge as a countersink guide. This worked much better than the piece of wood.

Nice countersink on the left. The old (wobbly) countersink on the right.

Then, everything was put up on the cardboard piece for priming.

Priming.

After the parts dried, I started in on riveting per the plans.

Everything was fine after 7 rivets, until I paused to re-fit the tab on the elevator.

4 of the first 7.

I was getting a little bowing (top skin concave, bottom skin convex) in the tab skin due to what appeared to be distortion of the tab spar. I drilled out the 7 rivets I had set and spent a little time re-tweaking the spar.

A fit check. You can't see any of the bowing very well, but it is definitely not satisfactory.

After re-tweaking (adjusting the spar flanges on the tab) and refitting a few times, I had things lined up much better. It’s not perfect yet (maybe more work on this tomorrow will get it right), but it is definitely improvable.

1 hour today.

Prev | Next


Started Drilling Out Rudder

August 14, 2010

Prev | Next

Well, after much hand-wrenching and a few sleepless nights, I’ve decided to dive into taking the rudder apart to assess the damage.

I’m guessing there are a few hundred rivets I need to drill out, which is going to ruin my drilling out average, but that’s okay. I want the rudder to be perfect. The pictures aren’t really that exciting, but here they are anyway.

About the first 25 after they've been drilled out.

I started drilling out the leading edge blind rivets. They ended up not being that bad, but not something I ever really want to do in the future.

Started drilling out leading edge rivets.

I ended up using a #40 drill bit for the blind rivets, even though they are really #30 sized holes. #40 allowed me to pry the heads off really easily. (You can see the heads of the blind rivets on the table.)

67 rivets drilled out, and I'm now dripping sweat on the rudder. Time to go inside.

But just for kicks, I took a picture of the rudder skin after pulling off one of the blue vinyl sections.

It's going to look really good when I take the vinyl off of the whole airplane. (You can see the outline, though, which means I'll still need to do a little polishing before first flight.)

It was about 30 minutes in the garage for just this part. I’m trying to figure out if I want to keep going on this or start in on the wing kit. For sure, I’ll need to finish the elevator trim tab before moving on to the wing. Maybe I’ll put the rudder away for awhile and move on.

Prev | Next


Riveted E-705 to Left Elevator Spar

July 6, 2010

Prev | Next

Well, I thought I would head out to the garage tonight to rivet 4 little rivets. I had the parts primed from the other night, and I just wanted to get something done on the plane tonight. I grabbed the elevator spar and admired how nice the countersinks looked.

Looks like I didn't get total coverage there on the spar, but that's okay, a light coat is all you really need.

Here are the AN426AD3-3.5 rivets that will go in those four holes.

Here's the first one set. Pretty nice, if you ask me.

I got the other outboard rivet set, then moved to the two middle rivets. Then, tragedy struck, and my flush squeeze set slid off part of the rivet as I squeezed. Boo.

"Well, this will be easy to drill out and replace." -famous last words.

My drilling wasn't perfect, but I didn't booger up the hole too badly...yet.

After resetting, I thought all was well, until I turned the part over.

That's not really flush, is it.

After 6…yes…SIX times of setting and drilling out a mis-set rivet, I finally gave up, drilled the hole to #30, cleaned up the countersink, dabbed some primer in the hole, and used an oops rivet.

OOPS! (Looks okay, though. And you will never see this.)

I can’t believe I had to drill out six rivets when trying to rivet four little AD3-3.5 rivets. Bummer. That’s not going to help my batting average…[calculator sounds]…yup…went from 5.7% drilled out to 6.0% drilled.

A frustrating half an hour tonight.

Prev | Next