Right Tank Inboard Rib Work

June 5, 2011

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After another full weekend of housework, errands, etc., I managed to fit in some work on the right tank’s inboard rib.

First thing, I fished out some parts. Here, Vans has punched out three parts, T-407 and T-410.

Hmm...where are my snips?

I decided to pull both assemblies(?) out and get them all deburred at the same time.

Here are the two access hole doubler rings and four rib reinforcement plates after deburring.

I put two of the reinforcements and one of the rings away until needing them on the other tank.

Then, I took one of the rings, centered it over the stiffener bump on the inboard rib, and used a straightedge to find the center of the circle.

"x" marks the spot.

I know I’m not really working on the left tank right now, but  I decided that since I KNOW the circle cutter is going to be a PITA, I’ll just go ahead and do the left rib, too.

I fished out the two end ribs for the left tank and marked them so I knew which is which.

L1 and L7.

Before mounting the ribs up on the drill press, I needed to find some wood backing. How’s this tank-rib-shaped piece right here?

Pepsi should pay me for the product placement.

Whoa. That sucked. It sucked so bad, I didn’t even take any pictures. Among other things, the circle cutter 1) wouldn’t stay in one diameter, 2) shook so badly I thought my workbench was going to fall over, 3) almost killed me twice.

But, I finally managed to get a decent looking hole.

Phew, I'm glad that's over.

See? Nice hole.

Oops, looks like the hole was a little big. No worries, edge distance for the rivets is just fine.

The hole in the rib is a little big...

After some more cursing, cheating death, and general unhappiness, I managed to get a better (appropriately sized) hole on the left inboard rib.

I think I'm going to throw away the fly cutter now. Stupid piece of crap.

Okay, I’m straying from the instructions a little here. Normally, they want you to take this access cover, hold it against the rib, and use the prepunched #19 holes to drill holes in the rib. Then, hold the stiffener right aligned with those holes, and drill the nutplate attach rivet holes. Clear?

Instead, I’m going to eyeball the clocking of the access cover (so the flat part doesn’t interfere with the indentation in the rib), then just use the stiffener ring for all the drilling. (I need to order a new access cover with no holes in it because I’m using flop tubes (don’t need the small hole), which means I need to move the float sender to the second bay (don’t need the large hole).)

You can see in this picture, the stiffener ring is laid in place, and it looks like the access cover is clocked correctly.

Access cover in the foreground, stiffener ring in the background.



Dimpled the rib, and countersunk the ring.

clecoed some K1000-8 nutplates in place.

Here’s where things got frustrating. Because I wasn’t paying attention, I just started riveting the nutplates in place.

Clearly I didn't countersink enough.

Another view. Yikes.

I drilled out six nutplates (didn’t enlarge any holes in the rib or stiffener), but couldn’t get the rivets out of the nutplates. They got THROWED AWAY!

Sorry, nutplates. You are going in the trash. It's not worth my time to fix you.

Okay, more countersinking, then try again. Still not deep enough? Ugh, more countersinking again, and finally, they were deep enough.

I got frustrated, so I stopped taking pictures. Sorry.

After much cursing and angry mumbling, I got all 24 rivets in for the 12 nutplates.

I had to drill out two more rivets because they were sitting a little proud. In the end though, I’m happy with the results.

These didn't need sealant because the access cover will be sealed over them.

A shop head shot.

24 rivets, 8 drilled out. (one third!? Ugh.)

2.0 glorious hours today.

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Rolled Right Elevator Leading Edge

July 31, 2010

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How exciting! I get to roll the right elevator leading edge today!

Okay, if you couldn’t sense the sarcasm there, I’ll lay it out for you. I hate rolling leading edges.

This first section actually turned out nice after the roll. It was pretty easy to squeeze these together and rivet.

See? EasY!

Then, I took a picture of how I tape, which I have since ammended.

Now, I put tape along the entire edge, overlapping once piece with another.

Of course, since things started going badly, I forgot to take more pictures, but rest assured, I have some unintentional puckering between rivets on one of my rolled sections. The crappy thing is that once you roll and remove the pipe and tape, it is really hard to go back and re-roll.

Anyway, I moved on to installing the rod-end bearings.

Here is my rod-end bearing tool.

You can see how the rod-end just fits right in there. (The purpose of the tool is to help turn the rod-end in the nutplate without putting any pressure on the actual round bearing in the center.)


They want you to install the elevator rod-ends to 13/16″.

That's 13/16".

Right on the money.

After getting those in, I set the elevators aside and moved back to the trim tab. Here, I’m using wood backing (so the pilot of the countersink cutter has a good guide) and countersinking the holes on the top of the spar only (you can’t dimple the top, because the hinge sits just underneath the spar flange).

I'mi using a scrap piece of wood flooring here.

Then, it was time to dimple the skin. I only got the tab to a place where I can cleco it back together. I still have to fabricate some trim tab riblets.

Dimpled tab skin.

Then, I dragged the horizontal stabilizer out of the storage room and installed the elevators. Once I realized I had to drill out the hinge brackets to #12, the bolts went right in.

It looks like an airplane. And it's huge.

I’ll take more pictures of it for you sometime, but for now, I’m just going to leave this assembly on the workbench for a few days and admire it.

3 hours today.  22 more rivets.

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More work on the Counterbalance Skin

July 20, 2010

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Things have been slow with the airplane recently, right? Well, after a few weeks of letting the garage slowly spiral into a mess of hall closet items (while I’m redoing the floors), saw dust (while I’m redoing the floors), and aluminum dust/shavings (I am working on the plane a little), I decided it was time to get things cleaned up. After an hour of cleaning and organization, I snapped this picture of a nice clean workbench and floor area. Doesn’t really do it justice, but something about a clean workbench makes me happy (notice how I am not showing you a picture of my second workbench!)

(Don't tell the girlfriend I had the vacuum cleaner up on the table going back and forth. It works pretty well, but I accept no blame if you try this at home.)

Okay, finally on to the project. My replacement E-713 came the other day. instead of trying to cleco it on to the already-dimpled skeleton and matchdrill, I am going to trust Vans’ pre-punches and just run a #40 bit through the appropriate holes before deburring and dimpling.

After that was complete, I taped the outside of the skin that I want to protect from primer and scuffed everything up.

Ready to prime...almost. I'm still waiting on a #10 dimple die from Avery. Should be here any day.

Because this part of the exterior side is under the main left elevator skin, I'm going to prime it. Those two smaller holes need to be drilled to #28 before dimpled for #6 screws.

After that, I grabbed my two trim tab horns, and deburred, scuffed, and dimpled the flange holes.

I still need to trim these down per the plans for the electric elevator trim, but I also haven't ordered my electric elevator trim kit yet.

Finally, I disassembled the trim tab to get a little start on that. Here’s the spar, deburred, scuffed, and dimpled on the bottom flange.

The top flange (on the left side of the picture) needs to be countersunk for the upper trim tab skin, because the hinge sits just below the flange, and can't accept a dimpled flange.

2 hours in the shop today, but only 1 hour counts as build time. Hooray clean shop!

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Started Riveting Left Elevator Skeleton

July 5, 2010

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After the last couple work sessions priming various parts, I was getting all hot and bothered to rivet something. I thought I would tackle the spar reinforcements. I also forgot to charge the camera battery, so I’m using the new phone. Hopefully they turn out okay.

Here's the left elevator spar and reinforcement plates.

I got out a few rivets. AN470AD4-5 and -6.

Let's get riveting.

I clecoed the reinforcement plates and nutplates onto the spar, and riveted the four corners and one ear of the nutplate, then took out the clecos and riveted the rest.

The tape is a trick I have been using out of vanity. The rivets look better when they haven't been marred up by the rivet set.

After doing both plates, I put the spar back on the table.


And just to show you AGAIN how much I love my new tungsten bucking bar, here are the perfect shop heads.

The inboard shop heads.

The outboard shop heads.

Next up is to continue riveting on the skeleton, so I pulled E-705 out of the “recently match-drilled” pile and got it deburred, dimpled, edge-finished, and prepped for priming.

Ready to prime.

This is the other side after being shot with primer.

16 rivets set in 30 minutes of building after 30 minutes of shop cleanup (cleaned out the shopvac, etc).

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Drilled E-714, Clecoed Left Elevator Skin

June 10, 2010

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Hey Look! Andrew’s not dead! Yeah, I’ve been working on some house projects. Back to the left elevator tonight, though.

I managed to catch myself up with where I was and push on today. I need to get that counterweight drilled.

Here you can see the counterweight, counterbalance skin, and the two end ribs around which the other parts reside.

After placing the weight in position, you cleco on the skin (difficultly) and get ready to match-drill. Of course, I met the same challenges I did on the right elevator…namely, I broke a drill bit (#40 size). After getting a pilot hole drilled, I took everything apart and separately enlarged them all to #21. Air tool oil was used with great success after the pilot hole was drilled.

Ready to start drilling.

I didn’t take any pictures, though, because I was getting frustrated. (At first, I was dipping the drill bit into the oil, which meant I had to take the lid off. Then, after stepping away a few minutes later, I placed the screw lid (with the flip-up spout) back on the oil bottle and immediately flipped it over to aim oil into the pilot hole. Guess what! I forgot to tighten down the lid. There goes the lid, and about a 1/2 cup of oil…all over the counterweight, table, and floor.)

Now do you see why I forgot to keep taking pictures?

Anyway, after that debacle (which of course gets counted in the build time…it’s time spent building, right?)

Anyway, here is that same assembly (sans weight) before clecoing on the skin.

In preparation for clecoing on the skin, I needed to handle E-606PP, which is the trim tab hinge spar. Since I was looking ahead earlier and dimpled the hard-to-reach holes (you can see in the skin below), I need to do something with the spar to accept those dimples. If you read ahead in the directions, the spar is countersunk on the top flange (because the hinge is riveted beneath the spar flange, it can’t be dimpled), and dimpled on the bottom flange.

June 10 Update: After countersinking these four holes, I later did some more research and realized that the countersinks called for (due to the hinge) don’t really apply here, because the hinge stops short of these four holes. I could have (and wished I’d ) dimpled. Boo.

Here are the two parts that need to fit together nicely.

Finally, I got the skeleton and skin clecoed together.

Wuhoo. It looks like an airplane.

A solid hour. Maybe more this weekend.

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Backriveted Left Elevator Stiffeners

June 1, 2010

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I wasn’t feeling well today (sore throat, could harldy swallow), but after a nice long sleep-in and a nap in the afternoon, I went out to the garage partly because I wanted to sweat out some of the demons. I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but I managed a few.

I broke out the c-frame and dimpled the skins.

First up, skin dimpling.

I did much better on the trailing edge dimples than last time (see this post).

This is the worst one, but it still looks great, and is hardly noticeable unless you are really looking for it.

After dimpling, I wiped down all of the scuffed areas with MEK to rid them of fingerprints (oils) aluminum dust, moisture, etc., and then primed.

Primed interior. Notice how I leave a lot of the blue vinyl on the skins? This helps keep weight down (although undoubtedly adds to build time while I painstakingly trace around the stiffeners with a marker and use those lines to devinyl.

Moving back to the skeleton, I mounted a one-leg 1/4″ nutplate in the forward tooling hole of the counterbalance and tip ribs. This will hold any future weight I need to balance the elevator with paint.

I used an undersized countersunk screw in the tooling hole to help locate the nutplate, then drilled one hole and clecoed from the back.

Both holes drilled, and the main hole enlarged to something a little larger than 1/4"...I can't remember...maybe 5/32"?

Next, I moved back to the spar. I have read where a few people have added a hole in the lightening hole area of the elevator control horn/spar area. The right hole is for manual trim or for the (what I’ll call “retracted”) jack screw and wiring runs for the electric trim motor. I, like others, don’t like the idea of the wires and jack screw sharing the same hole, so I drilled another hole, in which I will add a 3/8″ snap bushing.

Pilot hole eye-balled.

Crap, I didn't even get a picture of the final size hole. (I drilled it to 3/8".)

After completed the extra hole, I noticed the skin was dry. Nothing to stop me from backriveting, now.

Rivets place in, and taped to, the first stiffener row.

Same thing with the trim reinforcement area.

After backriveting the trim reinforcement. Man, this makes me happy.

The next couple rows, done.

The bottom half went smoothly. The top half now has rivets taped in place.

Where are those stiffeners?

This isn't a very exciting picture, but they are all riveted.

Here's the inside.

I love this picture. This is the trim reinforcement plate area.

So nice. (That scratch at the top is very superficial. It'll buff right out, I promise.)

Biggest lesson today was about the aft-most rivet in the stiffeners. When bending the skin out of the way to reach that rivet, everything twists out of alignment. If you start with that rivet, it is easier to make sure everything is flush than if you rivet the forward ones first. Start from the back and move forward. You will get better results.

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Primed the rest of the Left Elevator Stiffeners

May 31, 2010

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Tonight, I moved on with the left elevator by matchdrilling the upper stiffeners.

Here are the upper left elevator stiffeners, after trimming, being matchdrilled to the skin. First, I drilled and clecoed the forwardmost hole.

The three forwardmost holes clecoed.

After finishing, I traced the stiffener outlines on the inside and outside of the skin.

These will help me devinyl later.

You can see I have already done the lower surface of the elevator (it's upside-down on the table).

And, of course, since I forgot to add RTV to the right elevator (still trying to figure out a way to get some RTV in there), I wrote a little reminder on the inside of the left elevator.

Hopefully I'll see this as I pull out the last of the blue vinyl just before assembly.

Next, devinyl along the traced lines and then deburr and scuff.

Left elevator skin interior after devinyling, deburring, and scuffing.

Next up, I deburred and scuffed the remaining stiffeners. (I don’t have any pictures, but after this, they got dimpled and then primed.)

Because the upper surface doesn't have the trim reinforcement plate, there are 4 (instead of 3) of the short stiffeners.

Next up, devinyl and deburr the outside of the skin.

Skin devinyling.

A small tip here. I decided that at the aft end of the elevator, i would leave a little blue vinyl instead of connecting the upper and lower surface bare spots. This way, If I need to rest the elevator on its trailing edge, I won't be damaging the finish on the trailing edge.

Because it was late, I couldn’t use the c-frame.

Instead, I grabbed the hand squeezers and dimpled anything I could reach.

Just for kicks, I held up the trim reinforcement plate (and cover, still covered in blue vinyl) which will be riveted underneath the skin to the right.

Here are the other sides of the upper stiffeners getting primed.

I toook these inside for a good washing with Dawn before drying them, wiping with MEK, drying some more, and then shooting with primer.

I had a few more minutes, so I started match-drilling the skeleton. Here is one of the spar reinforcement plates being drilled to the spar.

I used my 12" #30 bit due to cleco-clearance issues.

Finally, before heading in, I shot a coat of primer on the other side of the upper left elevator stiffeners.


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