Totally (Almost) Sealed Up Right Tank

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Oh man. Today was a big day. The other day I finally got my AN470AD6-10 rivets from van’s (along with some hole-less tank access plates, you’ll see those in a minute), so it’s time to start sealing up these tanks.

Here’s a AD6-10 rivet in the outboard rib’s aft tooling hole.

A little long, eh?

After cutting it to a more reasonable (1.5 times diameter) length, I went ahead and shot this rivet in. I think I used 70 psi. Worked well.

Not terribly exciting, but I better not forget to cover this one with proseal before closing up.

Only two things left before I can close up. The two anti-hangup brackets. Here’s one, made out of some 0.025.”

With clecos...

With some blind rivets.

This one is the access plate anti-hangup bracket. I had originally thought about making these removeable with screws and nutplates, but I don’t think I’ll ever take this out, so blind rivets it is!

Nice, right?

When I couldn’t think of anything else to do before closing, I took a final picture (then stared for a few minutes just to be positive).

Almost forgot, I wiped the whole inside of the tank down as well as I could and then vacuumed everything out.

Here goes nothing…

I cleaned every mating surface I could find with MEK then mixed up some proseal and filled a few of my 30cc syringes. I put a glob of proseal over the manufactured and shop heads of the AD6- rivet I just set, then put a bead just forward of the baffle rivet holes, and on each of the flanges of the ribs. I also left 4 big globs in each of the corners.

No turning back now.

Before dropping the baffle in, I smoothed some of the beads to a single layer.

Then, instead of letting my single bead on the skin act as my baffle seal, I also smeared some onto the baffle flange, and dropped that bad boy in place.

Pretty good bead just forward of the baffle.

Now, having read about all the trouble with proud rivets on some other build sites, I decided that instead of 100% clecoing, I’d 50% cleco, but only after I’d gotten some unset rivets into some of the holes. (The rivets fill the holes better than the clecos do, if it’s jut clecos, things can get a little misaligned).

This shot is after getting everything 50% clecoed with rivets in every other hole.

Whew. I

Before getting to the skin rivets, I threw the z-brackets in place with a layer of sealant and got them blind riveted in place. (This single sentence represents about 30 minutes of checking, rechecking, aligning, etc. with the z-brackets to ABSOLUTELY be sure they are in the right orientation. My final check was that the inner and outer brackets have their aft flange pointing inboard, all others point outboard.)

After getting the AD-41H and -42H blind rivets in place.

Solid rivets on the inboard and outboard brackets/ribs.

More solid rivets.

At this point, I set all 132 rivets on the skin to baffle joint. No pictures, though. Sorry. I have one rivet that is slightly proud, but there is NO WAY IN HECK that I am going to drill it out right now. I challenge you to come find it when my airplane is flying. (Ha. All of you reading this will have forgotten by the time I’m flying.)

Okay, time for a little clean…OMG! I’m out of MEK.

Pause for an hour…run out to Home Depot….NO MEK!?…run out to Lowe’s…stop by Target…

Little MEK, meet big MEK.

Oh. Don’t try to pour some MEK from a big can into a little can even with a funnel. It will go all over your garage floor, because it slurps out of the can and you’ve been working out in the garage for HOURS and you are a little tired, your hands are a little shaky, and even though you are wearing a respirator, you are pretty sure the proseal and MEK fumes are getting to your head.

Oh, also, don’t set a full MEK can with the cap off next to your fuel tank, then move the fuel tank so the MEK can knocks over, and spills MEK on the workbench, then drips off onto the floor where you just spilled (and cleaned up) the MEK from your earlier boo boo.

ASK ME HOW I KNOW.

Okay, back to work, you slacker!

Nice shiny new tank access plate.

More proseal here.

Then after putting the access plate in place…

(Don’t accidentally drop the access plate a hole-width or so away from your target, because then you have to kind of move the plate around with proseal everywhere while you try to find one hole to line up, then stick a screw in, and find another one…ask me how I know.)

Anyway, I twirled the very bottom of the screws in some proseal, then threaded them partway in. Once partway in, I took my syringe of proseal and put a glob on one side of the screw (see the right side of the following picture). As you tighten the screw, it drags around the screw head and makes a nice little bead (see left side of the picture.)

Perfect little bead.

I

Finally, I stuck the filler cap in place and stuck that bad boy on the wing.

WUHOO! It looks like an airplane.

“So,” you ask. “Why is this ‘almost’ closed up.”

Well, I’m not sure if you saw, but I didn’t install the float sender yet. Once I get that in, I’ll head to OSH, then come back in 10 days or so and leak test. (Although why should I leak test. I already KNOW that I have NO LEAKS.) It always helps to stay positive.

11:45am to 3:45pm, then another hour between 5pm and 6pm (after the Lowe’s run). What is that? 5 hours? Oh, and 185 rivets.

SWEET. Did everyone see my new charts? How come I’m not getting any emails with inflammatory engineer jokes in them?

I need a much-deserved adult beverage.

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