Finished Riveting Right Wing Top Skins

September 3, 2011

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Well, today was an excellent day.

Joe was planning to come over to finish up the right top skins, so while I waited, I started in on dimpling the aileron skins (just the stiffener holes) with the c-frame.

All went pretty well, except for a place where I dropped the c-frame die on the skin (top surface, of course). It made a little dot impression, so I flipped the skin over on the MDF and gently tapped with a hammer until it came out.

(NOTE: do not put a bucking bar behind it thinking that will be better. The wood has a little give to it, so you don’t deform the skin. If you use the bucking bar, you’ll squish the skin. Ask me how I know.) I think I have to paint the ailerons now (instead of polishing).

Anyway, nice dimples.

Before Joe and I got started, I snapped this picture of the “every other” method I’m using.

The rivet row we're working on here is at the bottom of the gold spar flange.

After a whole bunch of bucking and shooting, we came up with this.


For the last three rivets, we switched places so Joe could get some experience bucking and I could say I shot a few of the rivets on the skins. Turns out, I like bucking better and Joe likes shooting better.

If you look really closely, towards the foreground on the inboard top skin, I wrote 38, 5, 80, 43. That’s how many rivets we bucked. 166.

0.5 hours on the aileron skin, then 45 minutes (or 1.5 man-hours) on the skins. 2.0 total.

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Riveted Some of Right Wing Top Skins

August 10, 2011

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Well. I managed to get Joe over to the house again, this time over a long lunch break.

This is a horrible picture, but you can sort of see that we got about half of the right wing’s top skins riveted.

We moved the tape off the rivet heads to air in inspection, but I'm going to reuse them later when I put the rest of the rivets in.

We’ve got my rivet gun (4x) set to about 32 psi (really hard to tell) and Joe’s getting good at pulling the trigger to get about 8 hits. Sometimes 7, sometimes 9. About once every 20 rivets, we’ll need to add a few hits, and once in another 20 rivets, it’ll be about 2 hits too much. Slightly flat, but within milspec, and not worth drilling out and making it worse.

It was an hour’s worth of work, but there were two of us, so I’m going to start counting it as man-hours instead of just my hours.

In the next few days, I need to put rivets in all the remaining holes and get tape over them. Hopefully just one more hour until I have the right top skins completely on!

2.0 man hours. 173 rivets (I counted three times), and none needed to be drilled out (Nice job, Joe!).

(I’m going to go back and change the other post to include Joe’s hours.)

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Started Riveting Right Top Skins

August 2, 2011

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So last night, I forgot to tell you about deburring and dimpling the rest of the ribs before clecoing the skins on. I don’t know why I forgot, or think it’s important, but I did.

Okay, tonight, I headed out to the garage after bedtime because I am too excited to get going on these top skins.

What can I do quietly? Maybe squeeze some of the more accessible rivets.

Here's the guide for wing skin riveting.

And the legend…

It's basically like paint by numbers, but for nerdy pilots.

So, I broke out the squeezer, sat down with some music, some rivets (of various sizes per above) and my cleco pliers and started in on it.

Here’s the first top skin rivet.

First top skin rivet!

The first three! (I'm such a dork.)

It turns out you can reach the bottom (rear spar) to skin rivets, and the inboard edge. I needed a closer look at the inboard edge part to make sure I didn’t rivet any of the holes that are supposed to be left open for the wing root.


A gratuitous shop head picture.

Nice, Nice, Nice, Nice, Nice, Nice, Nice.

After 140 squeezes (I lie, some of them were underdriven, so I squeezed them a little more), I had the whole rear spar (except a few) and the whole inboard edge (except a few).

In case you don't like this picture...

I took this one too.

I don’t know why I took both those pictures. The only two differences…I put the rear spar support back up (for kicks) and didn’t bend down as far for the picture. I think I’m tired.

I’m wrangling up my first riveting partner for some more skin riveting this weekend.

1.0 hour. 140 perfectly squeezed rivets. Boo. Yeah.

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