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Final Prep for Right Elevator

May 20, 2010

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Well, after deciding not to work out tonight (in favor of wine), I made it out to the garage pretty late for some final prep work before riveting the right elevator.

Tonight's build partner, 2004 Manyana (play on words) Crianza. A delicious tempranillo from Spain.

On with the building, you say? Fine.

One of the last real fabrication items I have left on the right elevator was enlarging the counterbalance skin dimples. To make a long story short, I don’t have #10 dimple dies, so I dimpled with #8, and then planned on using the AN507 screw head and a nut tightened down to enlarge the dimple enough for the screw to sit flush.

This did not work.

Okay, instead of waiting for a week for a $40 dimple die to arrive, let’s be creative.

Plan: matchdrill two holes in a block of wood, countersink the holes, then use a flush set to enlarge the dimples.

Here's my block of wood, later to be countersunk.

Well, I don’t really have any good pictures of my attempt, because that didn’t work either, and I was getting frustrated.

Finally, I told the girlfriend to come out and listen to me explain the problem. (I knew this would help me come up with a solution.)

Without even flinching. “Why don’t you use a bigger screw to make your dimple?”

my face = <deer in the headlights>

Of course! (Except I didn’t have a bigger countersunk crew, but it set me down the right path.)

This should work. (It's my punch set that came with my rivet gun.)

Setup recreated (I had a piece of tape on the skin to prevent marring.)

The hole on the left has been "enlarged." This worked great!

Okay, let’s move on. Next up, I needed to locally bevel the edges where the spar and tip rib are underneath the counterbalance rib (so the top skin doesn’t show the transition bulges. So I marked those, and also started thinking about how to attach these empennage tips. See the two undimpled holes to the right? Those are two (well, 4, two on top and two on bottom) tip attach points that will eventually be drilled, deburred, and dimpled. Might as well do it now so I don’t have to worry about deburring between riveted sheets.

Lining things up to wrap my head around this interface.

I flipped the pieces over and drilled them to #30.

The top two holes have been drilled and deburred, ready for dimpling.

After dimpling…this #6 screw fits pretty well. (Editorial note: I’m pretty locked in to attaching the elevator tips with screws. I know there is really no reason to take the tips off, but right now, I don’t want to commit to blind rivets.)

That #6 screw looks like it will fit pretty well.

Once the other side was done, I primed the interior (and taped off exterior) side of the counterbalance skin.

Priming. You can see the two #6 dimples at the top of the left side of the skin. (I'll do the rest later...the rest are all accessible in the future.)

While that dries…let’s devinyl!

Hooray for devinyling!

All done. (After using compressed air to blow the flaked primer off.)

Back to emp tip attachment, here are the #6 holes in the skin, dimpled the same way as the counterbalance skin.

Nice big dimples. (Whoa, I forgot to deburr that relief hole on the left there. Fixed after picture taken.)

Let’s get this thing clecoed together.

Those big dimples sit nicely in each other. Here you can see those two holes are the only holes that overlap.

Next, the manual has you rivet the following two holes (not accessible once the spar and tip ribs are in place).

Protected with tape, this rivets were set beautifully.

Without clecos, it's starting to look like an elevator.

Next, “loosely place” the counterbalance in the counterbalance skin and “partially” insert the screws.

The untrimmed (on purpose) counterweight in the counterbalance skin.

last, but not least, they have you insert the skeleton in the skin and cleco together.

Wuhoo! It really does look like an elevator!

Those screw heads are pretty flush. (They are not tight yet, so they'll sit a little better once I get them tightened down.)

A couple pictures of some of the interfaces.

Just behind the counterweight.

Trailing edge of the tip.

Inside corner of the counterbalance rib. (What's that stuff hanging from the top edge? I'll have to investigate later.)

Finally, the trailing edge of the inboard rib.

Ready to rivet!

One more shot.

1.5 hours, 4 flush rivets set.

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Ordered Wing Kit

May 14, 2010

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Well, I did it.

At 10:35am PST this morning, I sent in my wing kit order.

”]

Given the 13 week lead time, it should arrive sometime in…(counting)…August.

Don’t worry, I still need to do a few things before it arrives:

  • finish up the right elevator
  • start and finish the left elevator
  • install the empennage tips
  • clean up some edges
  • build wing jigs (not jigs…”stands”)
  • paint garage ceiling
  • epoxy garage floor (maybe)
  • build garage shelves in the same manner as workbenches
  • buy and install wood floors on first floor (1000 sq ft.)

I think I can keep busy for a couple months.

Later Friday night, I heard back from Barb.

Andrew, you’ll have about 8 weeks to decide how to ship your kit, but you
will need to let me know before your ship date if you want to us any other
method other than by my normal freight company.  Thanks for the order.

Then on Monday morning:

Andrew, it will cost about $359 to ship the wing kit to your door by ABF.

Now I need to contact Tony Partain to get an estimate through him.

June update:

Apparently, if you order the deluxe locking fuel caps, Van’s will credit you for the caps they normally send with the kit. That turns $210 deluxe locking fuel caps into $150 deluxe locking fuel caps. Wuhoo!

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Fixed Right Elevator Trailing Edge

April 24, 2010

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I’ve been lacking in motivation recently due to some badly dimpled holes along the trailing edge of the right elevator. All last week, my error had been hanging over my head, and I was having trouble even motivating myself to fix them.

Saturday afternoon (writing this later) I mustered up some courage and drilled out 13 of the 14 trailing edge rivets on the right elevator. They are really not trailing edge rivets, but the aft-most rivets of each of the 14 stiffeners (7 on the upper skin, and 7 on the lower skin).

You can't even really see the damage in this picture...

Here’s a couple pictures of the damage.

You can see how the dimple kind of tweaked the skin. Boo damaged skin.

The above pictures was the worst one. This one was more typical.

A small ridge below the hole (in the picture) and a small dent above the hole (in the picture).

After getting them all drilled out (13 of them, one of them was good enough to leave alone), I set up the skin with a long backriveting plate underneath the offending holes and used a 2×4 laid spanwise on the stiffeners with some clamps to keep the skin surface flat. Then, I used 4 or 5 long pieces of tape to pull the upper skin back to allow plenty of room to work.

You can still see where the very trailing edge is starting to bend down. This is why I had the problem in the first place.

With no rivets in the holes, I used a small flush set (about 3/8″ diameter) and my rivet gun turned way down to flatten the dents (I’ll call them dents for dramatic purposes, but they were really just small impressions) and ridges (again, really just small high spots) flat. I put the flush set on either side of the existing dimple (which was okay, it was the area just outside of the dimple, where the edges of the dimple die set had tweaked the skin a little, where I was having my problem) and gave it a few taps.

After finishing one side, I took off the protective tape I was using and inspected. It ended up okay. I think if I were going to polish the empennage, it would bug me, but my latest paint scheme idea has me painting the elevators.

I did the other side, and then cleaned everything up, put some rivets back in the holes, and set up each side again with my fancy setup to actually backrivet the last hole of the stiffeners in place. It went perfectly, and I was really careful to hold everything very flat against the backriveting plate.

(By “perfectly,” I really mean “I messed up one of the holes, had to drill it out to #30 and use an oops rivet.” ) I’ll point it out.

Here are some examples of the replaced finished rivets.

This one looks great!

Pretty good. You can still kind of see where the damage was.

Holy crap, how did I do that to the rivet? This is the one that got drilled out again and replaced.

Here's the shop head for the oops rivet. This was my first real oops rivet. Not bad.

This one is okay.

Another very nice one.

It's not blurry in real life, I promise.

Whoa, who scratched my skin? It was probably the male part of the dimple die. That will hopefully polish out, (or it will get cleaned up and painted).

Another good one. In all of these, you can kind of see the larger diameter area that was dimpled.

This one is on the very end, as you can see the devinyling lines.

It looks the same as all the rest, of course, so you’ll never know, and I’ve already forgotten which side (top or bottom) it’s on.

Anyway, I drilled out 13 of the 14 original rivets, then had to redo one of those, so 14 rivets drilled out and reset successfully in an hour today. Not bad. I’ll add pictures when I can get them uploaded. Sorry for the lack of work recently.

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Rolled Rudder Leading Edge

April 1, 2010

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All I came out to the shop today for was to roll the leading edge and set the 25 measly little blind rivets. This should be simple, right?

WRONG.

This was by far my worst building night so far in the project (although any night building is better than a night not building). So frustrating. There was a point where I thought I had mangled the skins so badly that I was going to have to build a new rudder.  Read on.

First thing, I’ve read to go ahead and drill all of the holes to #30 and deburr now, because if you wait until after rolling, you may enlarge the holes and/or have a very hard time deburring the holes you’ve matchdrilled.

An example of the original holes on the left, and the #30 drilled hole on the right.

More holes after drilling.

I had to play with the angle a little here to capture the edge rolling. You can see the bright section of the skin just right of the hole. The reflection is catching the overhead light above me and to the right. I used hand-seamers here with great success.

Then, I decided to try a method I found somewhere (although I can’t find it again today) to bend the skins. Here, I’ve got my steel rod ready to be taped to the left skin’s lower leading.You basically clamp around the steel pole to the table so that as you roll, the whole rudder slides toward you, but the steel rod stays close to the table and you don’t end up with a crease.

This would have worked, but my clamps were too big, and I only got to roll a half inch or so before they caught on the skin and prevented further rolling.

My setup. Later, I added longer pieces of tape along the whole length of the spar to minimize different tensions on the very edge of the leading edge.

Then, I put my camera down for almost an hour. I was so frustrated. Apparently, the 3/4″ pipe works great for the areas where the spar flanges is closer together, but not down here.

OMG OMG OMG OMG. I thought at this point that I was going to be building a new rudder. The bends aren’t really that good, and there is no way I’m going to be able to salvage this. You can see the skin rolled nicely near the tip, and then not as much near the spar. It should be the other way around.

After extensive (read: time consuming, careful, dirty-sailor-mouth-filled) working with my hand and duct tape, I finally got it clecoed together.

With the duct tape, I had a piece from the right to left side in between each hole. I would squeeze the skins together, and then use the other hand to go down the line and tighten all of the duct tape straps. back and forth about 10 times, and it finally started to look okay. Phew.

Okay, it’s not so bad now.

Here’s the first rivet (AD-41-ABS) going in. Once you set the rivet, you can see that it squeezed the area around it a little. I’m  okay with that. notice, though, that the edge rolling made the seam look really good. I am happy with that part.

After more blind riveting, I temporarily stuck the lower rod-end bearing in the lower hole. It’s starting to look like a rudder.

Lower rod-end bearing.

Then I finished up the other two sections of the rudder (with equal frustration) and got the rod end bearing in the middle hole.

Middle rod-end bearing.

Finally, I got the whole leading edge rolled and riveted.

Upper rod-end bearing temporarily installed.

It actually doesn’t look that bad.

Not too bad. There is some slight creasing just forward of the spar rivets in a couple places, but it’s nothing I can’t live with. 

Be warned about this part. It sucks, and I don’t want to have to do it again. (Can’t wait for the elevators!)

1.5 hours. 25 of the most difficult rivets I’ve set on the project. I’m looking forward to finishing off the last few missing rivets on the rudder and moving on to the elevators. Not before I bring down the VS and mock them up together. I’m thinking of even upgrading the site to accept videos and putting videos of the mock-up on here. We’ll see.

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More Trailing Edge Work

March 28, 2010

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After last night’s bad fitting trailing edge, I decided to mark where the dimples weren’t sitting properly, and enlarge the countersink ever so slightly.

The problem is that if you make the countersink large enough to accept the dimple perfectly, you create a knife-edge on the wedge. I guess that is why they have you use the aluminum as a drill guide for the countersink bit. After deburring the few knife edges that I got, it ended up working pretty well, but some of the holes are enlarged a little. With the pro-seal and the double-flush rivets, I am not too worried, but it still bugged me a little. It appears other builders have run into this issue as well.

Another shot of the not so good trailing edge before enlarging the countersinks.

Before I thought I would be able to tackle the rest of the trailing edge today, I got some of the “not-reachable-with-the-squeezer” rivets. here’s a shot of some shop heads for the counterbalance skin to skin rivets.

Decent shop heads.

I also finished up the rivets for the counterbalance rib.

More shop heads.

Then, I installed and removed the counterbalance enough to be able to file away some weight so the lead cleared the shop heads of the interfering rivets.

Nice tight fit today.

Here's the counterbalance. The best file for this left big cutouts, so don't judge me for these.

I also finished dimpling the tip rib and got it edge-finished, cleaned, and primed.

Waiting for primer to dry is like watching a pot of water boil. I can't complain though. It's dry to the touch in about 15 minutes.

Even though that was plenty of work for the day, I decided to tackle the trailing edge. I had everything I needed (Lowe’s didn’t have any RTV, but then I remembered I had some at home from my motorcycle habit, so I was in luck).

Here's me attempting to design a way to keep the trailing edges apart. This sucked, and I ended up using scrap 2x4 in between the stiffeners.

Here’s my tools. RTV, MEK, gloves (I used about 8 pairs) and the tank sealant.

Tools.

Don the gloves, and get ready to mix. I had to read the directions about 15 times before I understood. The hardener (I think) is in the tube part of the plunger. You stick the black piece (behind the big tube) into the hole in the plunger, and as you push the plunger from the bottom to the top, you push the black part so the hardener in the plunger is expelled into the larger tube. Confused yet?

Ready to mix. (I've already cleaned all of the parts.

After pushing the black piece (back on the table now) up to start the mixing process, you twist the plunger head while moving up and down, which starts to mix.

This is after about 75 strokes, which is what the directions say you have to do. I had to keep going. (I may have been doing something wrong, I don't know.) I kept going after this to get a more uniform "black death" color.

Then you unscrew the plunger shaft and screw in the nozzle. Okay, where is my caulking gun? I don’t have a caulking gun. OH MY GOD I FORGOT A CAULKING GUN.

Here it is fully mixed.

That’s okay, I just stuck the handle of a large screwdriver down the tube and it worked great.

Here's one side, ready to be spread out. I put a dab between each hole, and then used a scrap piece of aluminum to spread it out nice and evenly.

Another shot. This seemed to be an appropriate amount of sealer.

After that step, things started getting messy, and I had to change gloves a lot (it gets everywhere), so I stopped taking pictures. After I got both sides covered, I laid it into the scuffed and cleaned trailing edge area of the skin.

Look how good that looks. (Also, you can see my 2x4 spacers.)

Another shot.

Of course, I did a marvelous job putting a perfectly penny sized glob of RTV on the last (aft rivet) of the stiffeners before I removed the wood spacers and closed up. (The wood spacer near the bottom of the rudder was a pain in my ass. I lifted up the trailing edge a little with the top skin, so it stopped squeezing the block, and of course the block slid down toward the front of the rudder. Of course now I can’t let go, but I’m too far away from the other workbench to reach all of my long-reach tools. Ever see one of those situations where a guy has one foot in a boat and one foot on the dock, and he’s stretching and stretching? That was me. Except I finally reached a BFS (big freaking screwdriver) and managed to get the block out without contaminating any tank sealant or RTV.

Here's a blurry shot of the bottom RTV glob. Glob is a technical term.

Then, I got the rudder clecoed to the angle, wiped off any excess sealant, and moved the hole thing to the top shelf of my workbench.

Storage, kind of. I'm going to leave this for a whole week while I start on the elevators.

I think it was 11 rivets.  2 hours before the trailing edge, one hour for the trailing edge. The next post is still from today, but I am tracking it in another section and in another column for total time, so it’s getting its own post.

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Riveted R-912 Counterbalance Rib

March 23, 2010

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After priming the R-912 counterbalance rib and R-913 counterbalance skin last night, I thought I would get those installed on the skeleton. First thing to do is check the plans for a rivet callout.

What!? No rivet callout? That means I have to think!

No rivet callout for the R-912 to R-902 spar attachment.

I grabbed the shortest AN470AD rivet I could find…AD4-4. That seemed to be good.

This one will work.

And an after picture. Wuhoo!

Successfully set rivets.

I squeezed these. I’m still not totally happy with my squeezers ability to squeeze AD4 rivets.

Not too shabby.

Then, I grabbed the counterbalance skin and clecoed it on. My squeezer is only a 3″ yoke, so I can’t reach any of these holes.

My squeezer isn't long enough to reach these holes, and the girlfriend is outside helping me with some deck chair refinishing, so no rivet gun tonight.

Another picture of those two clecoed on the skeleton.

It's nice outside, so I had the garage door open. Lot's of sunlight in the afternoons.

Finally, I got the left skin clecoed on to check for fit and complete any remaining edge-finishing required before riveting.

Left rudder skin to counterbalance skin holes.

To be determined: whether I should edge-roll the forward edge of the rudder skin where it overlaps the counterbalance skin.

It looks good now, but might pull up when I rivet. I think I'll edge roll this. "Avery? Please send me your edge roller tool. Thank you."

Two rivets set today. Half hour total.

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Primed R-902 Rudder Spar

March 18, 2010

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I was getting the itch to work on the airplane a little, so I tackled the R-902 Rudder Spar today. First thing, deburring. I know I have plenty of pictures of deburring , but I took a closeup of a few holes.

Hole on the left is deburred, hole on the right is not. This is the topside, though, so the raw hole on the right doesn't even have really bad burrs. The weird crap on the left is just a piece of metal left over from deburring, it's not really messed up.

Here’s an action shot of me using the oversized bit to deburr.

Action shot!

Here’s the spar, deburred, and ready for scuffing, cleaning, and priming. Sorry for all the pictures tonight.

R-902 Rudder Spar

Here’s a picture of me scuffing with my maroon scotchbrite pad. For some reason, I like this step in the airplane building process.

Left half is the raw spar, right half has been scuffed.

Then, Ginger noticed I was in the garage working, and since the garage temperature was the same as the house tonight, I left the door open.

"Jack, come out here and let's see what dad is doing."

Jack came to see what was going on.

Jack and ginger, curious as always. (They are collarless due to the baths they just got.)

To scuff the inside, I decided to clamp the spar down to the table. It makes scuffing slightly easier, and I can use two hands on the edges.

Some of my nice (but cheap) clamps from Harbor Freight earning their keep.

Next up, dimpling. The construction manual warns to maybe grind down the dies to make sure not to gouge the spar web. I didn’t seem to have any issues with clearance.

Dimpling with #40 tank dies.

Then, I took the spar inside and cleaned it with dawn dishwashing detergent. Then back outside to dry for priming. Here’s the spar in my fancy paint booth setup.

Spar, ready to be shot with primer.

I did the forward side of the spar first. (Notice the open garage door, I’m trying not to kill too many brain cells with the priming.)

Forward side of the spar primed.

A shot of the lower portion of the spar.

Then, after going inside to refill the wine glass (to let primer dry), play with the pups (let primer dry), and hang out with the girlfriend (let primer dry), I went back outside to prime the aft side of the spar.

The bright orange thing on the spar near the right 2x4 support is the reflection of a warning sticker above the garage door. The primer is still wet. I didn't see this until I uploaded the pictures.

After another half hour or so, I put the spar back on the table and clecoed the R-606PP (Lower Spar Reinforcement) and R-607PP (Middle Spar Reinforcement) to the spar, along with the appropriate K1000-6 nutplates.

I'm getting close to riveting again!

A closeup of the nutplate

I always get so excited when I get to this point.

That was pretty much it, except for more experimentation with the “macro” setting on my camera.

Eh. No reason for this picture. Just experimenting.

1.5 hours today. It felt nice to get a big piece like the spar done.

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