VS Assembly and Matchdrilling

January 24, 2010

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First thing after breakfast, I snagged the two VS spars and the spar reinforcement and headed into the kitchen to finish some surface prep. After about an hour, I had all three pieces scuffed up, cleaned, and back outside. Here is a shot during scuffing. You can see the top half has been scotchbrited and the bottom half is the raw part after removing the blue vinyl.

You can even see my hand and the camera in the bottom half.

Here’s the spar reinforcement before finishing.

Rear spar reinforcement.

All three after scuffing. (Along with the ribs from last night.)

Looking good.

Then, I bent the rib flanges to exactly 90 degrees using my new hand seamers, and fluted the ribs.

Fluted, ready for assembly.

I started clecoing the rear spar doubler to the rear spar, and then realized they want you to put the hinge brackets in now. I quickly located VS-410PP, VS-411PP, and VS-412PP, and got the Goo Gone out to help pull these stickers off.

These part number stickers are a pain in the butt to get off cleanly.

While I waited for the Goo Gone to do its magic, I decided to start clecoing the front spar and ribs together. You can also see the rear spar and rear spar reinforcement in the upper left corner of this picture.

Tip rib attached.

Then, I clecoed in the rear spar. Here, you can also see the hinge brackets waiting for the Goo Gone.

Middle rib attached.

Finally, I clecoed in the root ribs (fore and aft).

Root ribs attached.

Then, I cleaned off the hinge brackets, got them clecoed to the rear spar, and clecoed the rear spar to the front spar and ribs.

Looks like an airplane again.

I followed Mike Bullock’s advice and clamped the rear spar to a couple of 2x4s. This let me matchdrill the rear spar vertically, which helps a lot with getting a perfectly straight hole.

Rudimentary VS jig for matcdrilling the rear spar.

Here’s my process. Cleco every other hole, match drill, mark the drilled hole with a dry-erase dot, move the clecos, repeat. Here, you can see my dots.

Dry-erase dots help me know which holes I've drilled.

After finishing up the ones you can reach from the aft side of the rear spar, I flipped the whole assembly over and match-drilled the two remaining holes (that aren’t drilled in the upper half of the lower set of hinge brackets).

12" bit doing its thing...

Next, we get to cleco on the skin, wuhoo!

It looks like another airplane part.

Then, time to matchdrill the skin to the spars and ribs. Same process here. Cleco every other hole, drill, mark dots, move clecos, repeat.

Match-drilling the skin.

Here, you can see that I am in the middle of moving clecos. The one in the center of the picture gets moved one left (into the marked, already drilled hole), then the one to the left of that gets moved one left, and so on.

Example of brand new cleco on the left, and two used clecos in the middle. Eh, they work just fine, they're just not as pretty.

I got the left side of the vertical match-drilled, then flipped it over, took this picture, and then headed inside.

Ready for the second side of match-drilling. Maybe later tonight or tomorrow.

3.0 solid hours today. Good work all around.

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Edge and Surface prep for VS Skeleton

January 23, 2010

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Time to get started on the vertical. Drawing 6.

Time to start on the vertical stabilizer.

After finishing the Empennage Hardware Inventory today, I got started on edge and surface prep on the VS ribs and spars. Here are the components for the VS skeleton. I like to scuff up the surfaces and finish the edges before initial assembly. This prevents scratching, and frankly makes the parts look better in the pictures.

VS skeleton components.

After removing the blue vinyl on the rear spar, front spar, and reinforcement piece, I used my Permagrit block to remove all of the burrs from the spars and ribs. Then, I used my edge deburring tool and a scothbrite pad to finish the edges on the spars.

After that, I took the 4 VS ribs into the kitchen and used a soapy scotchbrite pad to scuff them up. Here’s one before rinsing.

So fresh and so clean, clean.

Here are all four after edge finishing and scuffing.

Scuffed up and looking ready to assemble for match-drilling.

Next up, fluting the ribs and scotchbriting the spars and reinforcement piece before assembling for match-drilling.

An hour and a half. Not bad.

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Horizontal Stabilizer Complete

January 22, 2010

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Well, except for the fiberglass tips. And the elevator horn cutouts. But you get the idea.

I spent a half an hour in the garage early tonight finishing the last few things up. One of which was setting the last 4 rivets on the horizontal.

I had forgotten about the 4 rivets (4 on the left and right edges of the picture).

Also, I drilled out 12 skin rivets that were sitting a little proud, and reset them. Here’s the HS with the fiberglass tips just taped into place (to see what it looks like).

Finished HS with the tips taped into place. Looks good.

Short night, but the dogs flew in the newly designated “airplane parts storage” room.

Believe it or not, this is the best picture I could get out of about 10 tries. Jack and Ginger doing what they do best...looking cute.

Up next, the vertical stabilizer.

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Preliminary Edge Prep on VS Ribs

January 5, 2010

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No pictures tonight, but I spent 30 minutes getting some preliminary edge prep completed on the VS ribs. Basically, I took a file to the edges, then used my edge deburring tool to knock down the edges. I didn’t do this before clecoing the HS ribs together, and it scratched the skins a little.

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