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Riveted Right Elevator

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Day’s like these are my favorite days. Lot’s of riveting. After a few minutes of reviewing the plans and construction manual, I grabbed the needed rivets from my hardware box.

-3.5s, -4s, and -4.5s.

I know this stuff can be boring, but my basic plan was to cleco every other hole, put a rivet in the other holes, tape, rivet, then uncleco, put rivets in the empty holes, move the tape over, then rivet.

Some rivets set, about to set the ones under the tape.

The first 8 rivets looked great.

Moving on to the leading edge area. Same dance. (Rivets about to be taped.)

Taped.

WHOA! I bet you didn't think you were going to get an action shot today!

Here's a nice row of rivets on the top of the right elevator. All the little blue dots on the rivets are from where the tape stuck after it was pulled off.

Of course, for anyone who is interested, some shop heads. (A few of those need another little squeeze.)

So I keep using the tape over and over to protect the skins from scratching from the flush squeezer sets. After about 7 rivets, I replace the tape.

I need a new piece of tape.

Everyone seems to have this picture. It’s a complicated intersection, but everything looks good here.

That rivet on the top is not set yet, and it looks a little short. I'll go one length taller.

I was humming along doing great on the counterbalance skin when I noticed this.

An undimpled hole! Luckily, the skeleton underneath was dimpled with tank dies (a little deeper), so I got the dimple dies out and just dimpled it as it sits now. (Forgot to take a picture, but it worked great.)

Okay, let’s move on to “permanently” mounting the counterbalance.

This screw is a little long. I better get out a washer or two.

This one should do.

No matter how hard I try, I always seem to mar the nuts.

The outboard screw torqued.

And the inboard hole torqued. (The nutplate in the hole on the left is for any future need for more weight.)

There were four rivets on the aft end of each side that I couldn’t reach with the squeezer. I think the girlfriend might be sleeping, and it’s in my best interest not to make any loud noises with the rivet gun.

I also pulled the blue tape I had on the stiffener rivets off. It looks wonderful now.

From the back. The right elevator, almost completed.

After a few errands and a couple hours passed, I snuck (ha, the rivet gun kind of gives away my location) back out to the garage to finish up. I have a pretty crazy setup of a few thin steel plates wedged against eachother with a blade screwdriver (something like this) to buck in tight places.

Worked like a charm again.

I did scratch the primer a little. I'll touch this up later. (And set the lower right rivet a little more.)

Last two rivets on the other side.

All I have to do now is roll the leading edges.

Oh. And figure out what to do about FORGETTING TO USE RTV ON THE AFT END OF THE STIFFENERS BEFORE FINAL ASSEMBLY. DOH!

2 hours

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72 rivets set per side, so 144 total. Good progress.

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