Drill Press!!!

April 26, 2010

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After the other day’s sucesess with fixing my dimpling errors, I need to run to the aviation department of my local big box store and grab a 6′ long 2×8 to cut in half and some hinges to make my homemade bending brake.

Instead of making it there, I had to stop by Harbor Freight to grab this drill press. Normally $90, I got a coupon in my email for $49.99. I can’t pass that up.

The box is a little damaged, but everything inside was okay.

A blurry shot of me starting to assemble.

Another in-process shot. This is surprisingly nice quality.

I had to install the little yellow knob to help open the lid. After this shot, I moved the belt down to the lowest speed (650 RPM, which is still pretty high).

I also bought these cool long pliers. I didn’t need them for the airplane specifically, but rather my girlfriend needed them to help clean out a hair clog in her sink in the bathroom. Good excuse to buy tools, and they don’t get accounted for on the airplane budget. Wuhoo!

Pretty nice pliers. I have a feeling I'll be using these often.

In the same email for the drill press, they wanted to sell me a (normally $15?) drill press vice for $7.99. Who am I to say no. I was a little disappointed that this one was only 2.5″. There were 4 sizes above it that looked nicer, but they exceeded my value-for-the-money threshold.

Drill press vise, also had via sale.

The allen wrench the drill press provided to help with assembly got filed away with my other extra allen wrenches.

You can see I am a little short on allen wrenches.

Back to the drill press vice. After a little cleaning, this thing doesn’t look half bad.

I'll have to find some bolts to mount this. Except I'll have to move it for different pieces. Maybe I'll just use clamps.

After a few minutes of trying to figure out where to put the drill press. This is what I settled on for now.

Notice I'm drinking sunset wheat tonight. Mmmm.

No hours tonight on the airplane, just tool assembly. Maybe I’ll grab some wood in the next few days to continue on the right elevator.

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Dimple Dies and Tungsten Bucking Bar

April 1, 2010

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I finally came across a couple places that needed a #6 dimple die set, along with a #8 dimple die set.

I surfed over to the The Yard and looked around. I swore they also had a #10, but they didn’t online tonight.

Anyway, they offer free shipping on orders over $100, so of course I had to buy something else.

How about a bucking bar? Sure.

Tungsten? SURE!

I’ve been wanting one for awhile, and I think it is going to improve my riveting quality and workmanship.

I’ll add pictures when they show up.

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Empennage Hardware Inventory, Tools

January 23, 2010

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After a quick morning stop to Harbor Freight for the pictured stuff below and NAPA for two more bottles of self-etching primer, I got home and decided to finish inventorying the empennage hardware.

$24 shopping spree!

I found a coupon in Men’s Journal (or Men’s Health, I can’t remember) for a whole bunch of stuff from Harbor Freight. One of the coupons was for $1.99 12″ clamp, and the other was for a FREE flashlight. (3.5 inch 8 LED flashlight). I was surprised to get it home and discover it already had batteries in it.

Holy crap, this FREE flashlight is bright.

Also, I found some 8 inch welding pliers for $4.99. After some edge finishing and smoothing of the interior surface, these should end up being nice hand seamers, for $15 less than the cheapest aircraft tool company.

"Welding Pliers" + smooth surfaces and edges = Hand Seamers

Then, I used a 15% off coupon and a 20% off coupon for each of these two, usually $9.99 each. I love these things, we use them at work for all the aircraft hardware. Highly recommended.

19 Piece storage containers.

Most of the hour was spent taking the empennage hardware out of the bags. The bags worked just fine for me, especially since I kept the hardware inventory sheet handy, but this will work even better, and really only cost me about $17.

Rivets in this one...

Sorry about the blurry picture. You don’t really need to read the names, do you?

Miscellaneous hardware in this one...

I can stack them, and they just fit on the top shelf of my 2nd workbench.

Like a glove.

One hour. I’m going to log this one under inventory and tools, just so people will find it.

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LH skin dimpling, some HS riveting

January 9, 2010

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This morning, I snuck out into the garage and starting dimpling the left hand HS skin with my new (borrowed) c-frame.

After thinking about the setup and trying a few things, I quickly realized I wanted the female dimple die underneath and the male dimple die on top.

I set up the skin on 3 2x4s (I haven’t built a dimpling table yet because I wanted to see how I liked doing it) which was less than a 1/4″ above the female dimple die. Then I basically moved the c-frame around until the male dimple die was lined up (this way I don’t scratch the skin with a male dimple die while trying to locate the hole from underneath, like some builders do). Then I held the male dimple die down into the hole and…WHACK! Perfect dimple. I am far happier with these dimples than the pop-rivet dies. Keep in mind here, I am dimpling with the standard spring-back dies here, not the tank (deeper) dies.

Here's my setup for now. I like this because you move the c-frame, not the skin.

After finishing each row, I put a line of blue painters tape on the outside of the skin. I learned on the practice kit to protect whatever I didn’t want to scratch. The tape will come off just before riveting.

Blue tape on the outside of the skins. Hooray protection!

After I finished both sides, I scuffed up the internal lines, cleaned, then primed the inside of the left HS skin.

Here's the inside of the left skin, all suffed up, ready to prime.

While I waited for skins to dry, I riveted together HS-705, HS-702, and HS-704, but only the middle two holes. The rivets didn’t bend over, per se, but set a little crooked. (My fault for not keeping the squeezer steady.) I drilled them out perfectly, and then decided shooting them might be a better idea. After practicing with a piece of scrap for a minute, I actually ended up shooting these rivets. They look really good.

Shop head picture. Rivets 7 and 8.

Machined head picture. This just looks good.

This is not the order the directions has you rivet, but I was getting antsy to get some primed pieces together. Notice I didn’t slide in the HS-710 and HS-714 yet (still need to finish those), as you can set HS-404 to HS-702 to HS-405 without them. Then, it is off to run some errands.

When we got home from running some errands, my latest Avery tool order had arrived. Finally, a scotchbrite wheel! 6″x1″x1/2″ CP-7AM “Cut and Polish” Medium wheel. Also, I’ve heard some good things about the Permagrit line of products, so I picked myself up one of the 12″(?) ones. Fine on one side, coarse on the other, flat (I heard not to get the curved (convex) one.. Much better for making a straight edge than my regular file.

More tools!

First thing after mounting the scotchbrite wheel, I finished the edges of HS-710 and HS-714 with the wheel. So easy. I should have ordered the wheel at the beginning. (Serves me right for trying to piece together a toolkit instead of buy one all at once. I thought the scotchbrite wheel was a luxury. It is not.) Then I countersunk the holes in HS-710 and HS-714. I had done this before, but sized the countersinks perfectly for a AN426AD4- rivet. When you cleco the dimpled HS-702 front spar to either piece, the spar doesn’t sit flush, so you have to enlarge the countersinks.)

Enlarge countersinks. Check.

Then I finished surface prep, cleaned, and primed those two.

While waiting for the primer to dry, I clecoed HS-707 (leading edge “middle” rib) and HS-706 (tip rib) to the left skin to get in the mood for riveting. The girlfriend and puppies are taking a nap, so I’ll have to come back to this later, but I’m getting excited to start skin riveting.

HS-707 and HS-706 all clecoed to the left skin and such.

Anyway, I put in a few minutes of right HS skin deburring, scuffing, and dimpling before coming in for the day. (Notice I decided to scuff the interior of the right skin before dimpling? It’s easier to scuff the skin without all of the dimples getting in the way. It’s these little things that will save me time the second time around.)

Let’s see. 9am to 11am, 2pm to 4pm. 4 hours today.

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Another Avery tool order

January 5, 2010

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I ordered the following from Avery today:

Part # 3753 – 6″ Scotchbrite cutting and polishing wheel

Part # SB280 – Perma-grit Sanding Block – Flat – 280mm x 51mm course/fine

I only make a special entry for these because they come so highly recommended. An F1 Rocket builder said he wouldn’t build again without his Permagrit block, and another RV-8 builder really convinced me yesterday that I am not going to get the edge finishing final product that I want with a scotchbrite wheel. I’ll add pics when they show up.

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First Avery tool order

December 25, 2009

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Dec 25, 2009

I made another tool order last night. This time from Avery. I’ve heard really good things about them, but they tend to be more expensive for some things. Merry Christmas to me (and all of you…).

POP RIVET DIMPLERS – 3/32″ – These dimple dies are for hard to reach places in the aft end of ribs. You can also use them on the skins, if you don’t really want to buy a c-frame, (or are planning on borrowing one, and haven’t gotten around to it.) I know a few people on the forums who have done all of their skins with pop-rivet dies. I definitely need them for the ribs, so if they work out, I’ll try them on the skins. Otherwise, I’ll get the c-frame.

3/32″ TANK DIES – This is for dimpling the understructure (ribs, etc.) with a slightly larger dimple (dies were made for dimpling the fuel tanks, where the pro-seal required to seal the tanks prevents the rivet head from sitting flush). I’ve decided, after reading Brad Oliver’s post on the tank dies here, and then confirming that many builders have gone this route, that this will be a good idea.

EXTRA LONG DOUBLE OFFSET BACK RIVET SET – I need a backrivet set anyway, so instead of ordering the cheap (pronounced “great value”) one from the Yard, I decided to just get one…one that will work when I need to backrivet something (in the wings?) with a double offset. People rave about backriveting the wing skins, and while I am a long way from those steps, at least now I’ll only need one backrivet set instead of two.

DRILL STOPS – #40 Drill Stop – I tried to make my own drill stops out of tubing, but it didn’t work. I hope these are nice.

DRILL STOPS – #30 Drill Stop – Needed the #30 size, too.

MONOGRAM AIRCRAFT SHEET METAL FASTENERS (CLECOS) – 1/8″ CLECO – Ha. I bought 18 of these to bring my subtotal to $100.02. Free shipping over $100! I’m so clever.

Avery tool order that came in. Wuhoo! Apparently I had already put away the pop rivet dimplers. Sorry. They come in a little plastic baggy about the size of the drill stop bags with about 6 extra nails in it.

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More tools before starting

December 11, 2009

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Ordered some more tools today.  The Yard has graciously offered to send me the following after taking some of my money:

  • Fluting Pliers
  • Microstop New
  • 5-Piece Set 100 degree Countersinks
  • 4  Side-Grip Clecos Clamps 1/2″
  • 4    Side-Grip Clecos Clamps 1″
  • 25   K Series Spring Cleco 1/8″
  • 50   K Series Spring Cleco 3/16″
  • 2    #21 Cobalt Jobber Bit – 135 degree
  • 2    #12 Cobalt Jobber Bit – 135 degree

They should arrive sometime next week. I’ll update the post when the come in with some pictures.

Tools arrived!

Dec 25th update:

I bet some of you noticed I ordered 3/16″ clecos instead of 3/32″ When the box arrived, I was sure that the Yard had made a mistake, but I quickly realized the mistake was mine. After some research, I figured out I won’t need that many 3/16″ clecos, so it owuld be best if I could exchange them. Luckily, I was headed to Wichita the very next day for a wedding, and the Yard is conveniently located in Wichita.

Note: It is possible to bring a bag of 50 3/16″ clecos in a carry-on through airport security. Be prepared: the TSA will ask you why you are trying to bring bullets on the airplane. Ask me how I know.

When I was able to sneak away from the wedding festivities and make it to the Yard, the guy behind the counter didn’t have any problem with me exchanging for the right size. He even pointed out that I might want to go with used. Skeptically, I inspected a bag of 100 used 3/32″ clecos, and was satisfied with their quality. (Only saw a few with pro-seal on them.) at $0.25 a piece, I saved a bunch of money. Ha.

January update: Later, I saw that some of the clecos are stubby clecos, and some are unusable. I’ve gone through every one and thrown out about 10% of them.  I will probably stick with new clecos from now on. If nothing else, they look better in the pictures for you guys.

Anyway, let me get back to my Christmas. Oh, and Merry Christmas.

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Purchased Practice Kit from GBI

September 27, 2009

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I am a lucky guy. I live about an hour away from George and Becki Orndorff of GeoBeck, Inc. See their website at fly-gbi.com. Last night, after a wonderful day of flying a Cessna 310H to Gilliam McConnell and having lunch at the Pik-N-Pig, I drove down to see George and Becki and purchase a practice kit. After graciously forgiving me for bothering them on a Sunday evening, George showed me their RV-7A (N289GB). It was immaculate. I asked George about a few things, the answers to most of which were expected. Example: Why shouldn’t I build? (“You should!”) Do you love it? (“Absolutely!”) Everyone I ask has nothing but wonderful things to say about their RV. Sounds like I need to go ahead start!

Two of his answers were more interesting. I asked him about tip-up versus slider, noting that everyone seems to like what they have. His simple response: “I’ve built both, and the slider is better. I won’t build another tip-up.” I was sold, but I pushed to find out why. Basically, he explained that the slider was more sturdy, cooler (both hero-pilot style and temperature style) and easier to build. Easier to build? That’s contrary to what I’ve heard, but George is obviously trustworthy in the RV expertise area, so I’ll take is word for it.

The other answer was to “What modifications should I do to the RV-7?”

He told me to put the RV-8 rudder on the RV-7 (instead of the RV-7/9, larger “uglier” rudder). I haven’t seen pictures side-by-side (to determine if I agree with the ugly part), but George said the larger rudder on the 7/9 is for spin recovery. I’ll need to think about this some more. I am not too concerned about spin recovery (he said it only improved the recovery from 1.5 turns to 1 turn), so I think the choice will come down to aesthetics, and the fact that the trailing edge of the 8 rudder is bent, while the 7/9 rudder is double-flush riveted.

Anyway, I got home with the kit, and had to join the girlfriend for dinner, so all I did was unpack the kit, and lay it out nicely so I can take pictures tomorrow before I get started.

Most importantly, the kit is a Van’s kit (some other builders were wondering what the difference was), but also comes with GBI’s sheet metal tools DVD. $55, which, with some subtraction skills, puts the DVD at $20. I watched the DVD last night, it runs about 60 minutes, and was really helpful with introducing me to some of the tools and techniques I am going to become intimately familiar with over the course of the project. He also walks through the actual construction of the practice kit. It’s worth the $20. I also bought the pre-punched empennage kit videos. Those should come in handy soon enough.

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Ordered some more tools. Again.

September 15, 2009

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Ordered some more tools today. I’ll update the post when they come in. I’ve been ordering from The Yard, given the price advantage. Until I run into bad quality, I’ll probably just continue along that route. I’m sure some of you may have some comments about that.

Here’s the list. So far, project costs is $596 dollars. I have a spreadsheet I keep with estimated cost for each tool, then my actual costs, including shipping (free if order is over $100 with the yard). Then I calculate how much I save for each tool or item. I’m estimating I’ve saved about $678 by shopping around vigorously.

K Series Spring Cleco 3/32″ (0-1/4″)
K Series Spring Cleco 1/8″ (0-1/4″)
Cleco Pliers with Grip
#30 High-Speed Jobber Bit – 135 degee Split Point
#40 High-Speed Jobber Bit – 135 degee Split Point
Auto Center Punch Large
Safety Glasses Clear
Plastic Spring Clamp Small
Plastic Spring Clamp Medium
12″ Drill Bit High Speed #30 AED
12″ Drill Bit High Speed #40 AED
Dimple Die Set 3/32″ Male/Female
Dimple Die Set 1/8″ Male/Female

9/18/09 Update: The above ordered tools arrived, and I am again happy with their quality. I added some more spaces to the right of my rivet/squeezer/dimple set tool holder of sorts. Here are a few pics of the tools and their new home.

A closeup of the first of many clecos.

A closeup of the first of many clecos.


Clecos and Pliers. I sprung for the pliers with handles. High class, huh?

Clecos and Pliers. I sprung for the pliers with handles. High class, huh?



Dimple Dies.

Dimple Dies.

Everything in the order.

Everything in the order.

And a punch.

And a punch.

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More tools arrive

September 5, 2009

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A few days ago I ordered some more tools from the Yard. Aquisitions include:

A Hand Squeezer
11 Piece Squeezer set
Edge deburring tool
Air gun (not RV related, but for the shop anyway).

Today, I think I’m going to build a small storage rack (2×4 with some holes drilled into it) for my rivet and squeezer sets. I built one the other night that I wasn’t happy with, so I’m going to try again. Here are a few pictures from the effort. Basically I laid out all the things that I thought could roll off the workbend when I needed them (plus the bucking bar, that won’t roll). Then I drilled the 2×4 to correct size, making sure to be sloppy with the drill (I want there to be some play for a loose fit).

Pictures from Saturday Sep 5 017 (Medium)

Here they are laid out.

Pictures from Saturday Sep 5 022 (Medium)

After sanding, priming, and putting the sets into my holder, here is the final product. The space to the right is reserved for drill bits and dimple die sets. (I originally stole the idea from someone talking about drill bits. They said they always grabbed the wrong one, lost them, etc.) This is my version of the solution.

I think I’ll put 3 or 4 of the most commonly used bits to the right along with some dimple die sets. I like it so far. We’ll see if I just leave it on the workbench or actually mount it somewhere. Maybe somehwere attached to the workbench, or maybe on the wall by the compressor. I’ll think about it.

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