Started Leading Edge Landing Lights

January 16, 2011

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Well, after receiving my “install only” leading edge landing light kits from Duckworks, I was kind of eager to start fiddling with something other than rib preparation.

Today, I opened up the kits and started in on adding the leading edge landing lights.

This is from my design page, where I’ve been collecting ideas for stuff (I was originally planning 2 small MR16 (2″ sized) lights in each wingtip, one taxi, and one landing):

After reading a little more, I’ve found that people who do the two lights in each wingtip dance aren’t happy with the amount of light they are getting from their landing/taxi lights. Then, I figure out they are talking about the regular halogen bulbs provided with Van’s wingtip light kit.
The people who are using the HID wingtip lights are generally very happy with the light output.

November 2010 update: After even more reading, I’ve decide that the leading edge light is really the way to go.

Now, I think I am going to put a single HID (PAR 36 style) in each leading edge for landing lights. These won’t wig-wag.

Then, I’ll use the wingtip lights for taxi/recognition, with wig-wag. I can use the smaller MR16s in the wing, and point one set wide, and one set toward the centerline. If I use regular halogen bulbs in these, I won’t have to use a warm up circuit, which is good, considering that when up at cruise and ATC calls with a traffic alert, I’ll be able to immediately start wig-wagging them for recognition. That gets rid of my need for an automatic warm up circuit (won’t be using HIDs for wig-wagging).

I’ll figure out the mechanics of the wingtips taxi lights later (single light in each wing? 2 MR16 halogens in each wing?)

Anyway, I made the decision to go with the dual landing lights in the leading edges. I plan on flying at night, and I want the most light possible.

From Duckworks, I ordered two of the round install kits, and two H3 enclosures (spot, instead of flood). I could have ordered one spot (for landing) and one flood (for taxi), but since I’m going to do something in the tips for taxi, I want both of my leading edge lights for landing.

Anyway, here are the two kits. Very obvious are the two mounting plates, the bulb retainer, the lens retainers, a bag of hardware, and the leading edge lenses.

Duckworks was kind enough to send me a spare lens. Much appreciated.

Here are the two PAR 36 style, spot enclosures for an H3 bulb. My soon-to-arrive HID kit should have H3 bulbs that will fit nicely in here. I’ll do a separate write-up for those.

I left the bag on them to prevent getting any skin oils on them.

A closeup of the H3 part of the enclosure. I had never seen one before, so this was a learning experience for me.

Also included in the kit are the instructions, an exploded view, and the templates for the cutting and drilling.

Good documentation. Well done.

Anyway, I decided to just bite the bullet and cut into the leading edges. Here is the template with the middle cut out.

Template, ready to go.

First, I cut out the rib template and used a sharpie to mark the hole locations.

Exact positioning here isn't too important because the holes in the mounting plate are huge, and you can adjust these a fair amount.

Back to the cutout, I measured the 2.5″ from the edge of the cutout to the row of rivet lines.

Special note here, I cut the paper off on the left edge of the following picture so I could leave the ribs clecoed in. This just meant I had to measure from the cutout instead of using arrows on the side.

I also measured per the plans (18.75″ from the aft edge of the top of the leading edge skin to the top part of the opening here) and taped everything in place.

Tracing with a sharpie.

Same trace, no paper.

Other wing.

Before jumping into the actual cutting, I moved on to some of the metal preparation for the other stuff. I wanted to be able to cut the leading edge openings while the primer was drying for some of these smaller parts.

Here, I’ve run a #40 bit through all of the nutplate attach holes and enlarged the middle holes to 5/32″ per the instructions.

Then, I clecoed all 4 pieces together to countersink the nutplate attach holes for regular AN426 rivets. I could have used “oops” rivets here, but the lens retainers are thick enough that it wasn’t necessary.

4 lens retainers, clecoed together to give the countersink guide a good path.

I forgot to take any pictures of the rest of the prep for the lens retainers, lamp retainers, and the mounting plates. Anyway, they got prepped, cleaned, dried, and taken outside to prime.

I headed back in and got out a variety of dremel tools to cut out these openings.

There’s no turning back now.

I started near the bottom (least visible) and very far away from my line. As I gained confidence, I moved closer to my line (less finishing later).

Yikes, that's not a pretty cut.

After a little cleanup, they look a little better. Still need to do some final cleaning.

I didn’t take a picture of the other cutout, but it turned out equally as well. A lot of people really stress out about cutting these holes.

I can see where they are coming from, but I think the leading edges are great with these light openings in them. (I’m going to look like a 747 coming down final, which is exactly what I want (visibility and recognition).)

Pretty leading edges. (Oh, and this was the first time in a long time I've been able to work with the garage open. It was almost 40°F today!)

Okay, back to the primed parts. I had the urge to set some rivets today, and I nailed all of them. I finally feel like I’m starting to get into a groove (although squeezing really isn’t that hard.)

Here, I’ve clecoed the provided nutplates to the lens retainers.

Ready to start some riveting.

A closeup of some AN426AD3-3.5 rivets.

24 rivets set (beautifully).

Equally beautiful shop heads.

8 more rivets set (I did use "oops" rivets here).

More shop heads.

I got out one of the bulbs and just placed it in the mount just for kicks.

Looks like it will fit.

Found the screws and actually screwed them in. These things are going to look awesome.

Finally, I found all the pan-head screws and lightly screwed them in place.

Sweet.

I don’t think I’ll do any further painting of these. I like the primer grey.

I’ll do some more on the landing lights soon, but for now, I need to get back to rib prep. Hopefully this week I’ll have a writeup of the HID kit that arrives.

3.5 hours, 32 rivets. Wuhoo!

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Left Elevator Skin Riveting

July 23, 2010

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I wasn’t very good with the pictures today, but I did get a significant amount of work done today. I basically did a lot of skin riveting, and all went well, with a few exceptions.

First up, try to use solid rivets on the outboard part of the trim spar where they instructions say you can use blind rivets.

"Blind rivets? We don't need no stinking blind rivets."

The top row (actually the bottom of the elevator) turned out well.

These aren't the prettiest or most perfect shop heads, but they are within spec, and will do the job.

Then, I flipped the elevator over and did the top (which was harder, but actually turned out better than the bottom). I forgot to take pictures though.

I moved on to the counterbalance skin and set have the rivets, then removed the clecos and set the other half.

Here's every other one set.

Wait a minute! I’m going to need that trim tab hinge (forward half) primed so I can rivet it on the elevator.

Up on the priming table for some self-etching primer.

Moving on to the rest of the skin, here are half of the rivets set in the leading edge and inboard edge.

Halfway done with one side.

Then I removed the clecoes and finished up the first side (except for the trim tab area).

After the hinge dried, I clecoed that in place and got to it.

Clecoed in place...

Half the rivets set, clecoes removed...

All done, with the tab half of the hinge installed to make sure I don't have any binding.

Then, I flipped that bad boy over and finished the other side.

IT LOOKS LIKE AN AIRPLANE PART!

Wow, big day today. 172 rivets, four of them drilled out. (Notice how I just glossed over the riveting of my trim riblet? That’s because it was about an hour of my two hours outside. What a pain in my aft.)

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Riveted Elevator Horn and Trim Tab Spar

July 7, 2010

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I don’t really love working in short bursts like this, but I do what I have to. Let’s do the elevator horn tonight.

I first clecoed every other hole. The left elevator horn was actually easier to cleco on than the right. I can't figure out why.

Anyway, a few loud noises later, and I had the first six done for the day.

Nice shop heads.

And again, a few minutes after that….

Six more, for a total of 12 so far.

Then, I convince the girlfriend to come outside and try her hand at squeezing.

Looks great.

She did great, but one of the rivets split diagonally as it was squeezed. It wasn't her fault, but I'll have to replace it tomorrow.

14 rivets. 0.5 hours.

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Started Riveting Left Elevator Skeleton

July 5, 2010

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After the last couple work sessions priming various parts, I was getting all hot and bothered to rivet something. I thought I would tackle the spar reinforcements. I also forgot to charge the camera battery, so I’m using the new phone. Hopefully they turn out okay.

Here's the left elevator spar and reinforcement plates.

I got out a few rivets. AN470AD4-5 and -6.

Let's get riveting.

I clecoed the reinforcement plates and nutplates onto the spar, and riveted the four corners and one ear of the nutplate, then took out the clecos and riveted the rest.

The tape is a trick I have been using out of vanity. The rivets look better when they haven't been marred up by the rivet set.

After doing both plates, I put the spar back on the table.

Pretty.

And just to show you AGAIN how much I love my new tungsten bucking bar, here are the perfect shop heads.

The inboard shop heads.

The outboard shop heads.

Next up is to continue riveting on the skeleton, so I pulled E-705 out of the “recently match-drilled” pile and got it deburred, dimpled, edge-finished, and prepped for priming.

Ready to prime.

This is the other side after being shot with primer.

16 rivets set in 30 minutes of building after 30 minutes of shop cleanup (cleaned out the shopvac, etc).

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I Love Tungsten (Started Riveting Right Elevator)

May 8, 2010

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Well, this morning, the girlfriend ran some errands, and I got my house chores done early, so I headed out to the garage to make some loud noises. Recently, I’ve been taking one component at a time from drilled through primed. It make my work sessions less boring (not a full day of deburring lots of parts, but rather one day of drilling, deburring, scuffing, dimpling, cleaning, and priming one part).

Anyway, today, it was the right elevator spar’s turn.

First, deburring. There's my oversize drill bit spun in my fingers.

Then I put a nice scuff on all sides and edges.

Scuffed and edge finished.

Then, I broke out the tank dies to do some dimpling.

I love these dies. Such high quality.

I know you guys have seen tons of dimples from me, but I still take pictures.

The male side.

And the female side. Apparently I have not edge-finished yet.

After finished dimpling, I grabbed this shot down the length of the spar.

Right elevator spar, dimpled.

I forgot to take a picture of the countersinking I had to do on the front (flanged) side of the spar. The spar needs to be countersunk to hold the flush rivets attaching the E-709 Root Rib Right. The elevator control horn fits over them.

Then, inside for cleaning and back outside to the paint booth.

One side primed.

While I was waiting for the back side of the spar to dry, I went ahead and pulled the vinyl off both sides of the E-713 counterbalance skin.

The vinyl comes off a lot more easily when it is warm out.

Then, I got the other side of the spar primed, and prepped for some riveting. I had already prepped and primed the two reinforcement plates that get riveted to the back of the spar.

There's my new tungsten bucking bar.

Here’s my setup for spar riveting.

You can't see the reinforcement plate, but those clecos are holding it on.


After 8 rivets, all I can say is…WOW. I love this tungsten bucking bar. 8 perfect rivets. With the older, and smaller, bar I was using before, things were always bouncing around, and my hand was vibrating, etc. With this bar, it is so easy to rivet. I should have bought this at the beginning of the project.

Wow, these are amazing shop heads.

Here's the other side.

I spent about 2 minutes just staring at the bar. Amazing.

I thought I would show you my grip.

8 more, also perfect.

Wuhoo, this bucking bar is great!

And, the other side of those.

I wanted to buck these, but I thought it would be better to squeeze them.

The spar to E-709 rivets.

These are the flush rivets I was talking about earlier. Of course, when the primer is only 30 minutes old, and you try to clean up some smudges with MEK, the primer will rub off. Duh.

I re-shot some primer over this right after this picture.

What a great day. I got to make loud noises, and I’m in love (sorry girlfriend) with my new tungsten bucking bar.

20 rivets in 1.5 hours. Good day.

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