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Started Left Elevator

May 24, 2010

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Well, it’s monday. And even though I have a couple things remaining on the right elevator, I am going to follow the flow of the directions and move on to the left elevator before coming back to finish both of them.

In addition to the items they want you to do to both at the same time (roll leading edges, install rod-end bearings, etc.), I’ll have to come back to do three things on the right elevator:

  1. Fix a few over-driven rivets (and a couple that bent over that I didn’t catch at the time.)
  2. Figure out how to add RTV to the trailing edges after the fact (anyone have any ideas?)
  3. Trim down the counterbalance. I elected not to do this on purpose.

Anyway, on to the left elevator. Here’s the obligatory changing-of-the-plans shot.

On to the left elevator (and trim tab).

As I only have about a half an hour tonight, my plan was to just cover the basics. First, lay out all of the left elevator parts.

It doesn't look like a lot of work...

Devinyl the skeleton parts.

This picture is almost identical to the one before it, except for the missing blue vinyl on the skeleton parts.

Then, on to real work…kind of. The manual wants me to attach the hinge reinforcing plates to the spar, then move to the outer ribs.

Here you can see the two outer ribs fluted. I haven't straightened out the rib flanges yet, will get to that soon.

Blah blah blah, assemble the skeleton. For now, I didn’t do any match-drilling. I do that hole-by-hole as I take the thing apart.

This one will be more interesting due to the trim spar.

Finally, I found one more of the stiffener angles. I got that devinyled and then cut from hole to hole to form some of the smaller stiffeners.

More small stiffeners. These go between the main spar and the trim spar (ahead of the trim tab).

With that stuff done, I headed inside and caught someone with their hands in the cookie (doggie-treat) jar.

That bottom shelf has the doggie-treats on it. (We have really patient dogs. /sarcasm off)

Lucky you, I got some video.

Anyway, a short half hour of left elevator prep.
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Rudder Skin Prep, Skeleton Riveting

March 20, 2010

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In between some yardwork, watching the sprinklers, and cleaning up the house, I made some good progress on the airplane.

First thing, I found a stiffener rivet that was sitting a little proud. (Drilled rivet #1 today.)

Off with your head!

Silly me, though, I didn’t get any pictures of it after it was reset. I was being lazy with the camera today. Sorry.

Next up, skin deburring and dimpling.

The holes on the right are the tip rib #40 holes. The ones on the left have been drilled to #30.

After deburring, scuffing and dimpling, we are ready for priming.

The top of the right rudder skin after deburring, scuffing and dimpling.

Then, more deburring, scuffing and dimpling.

I didn't forget the hole on the bottom of the picture. This hole is match-drilled with the rudder tip and then dimpled to #30.

After cleaning, I shot a little primer on the skin.

Primed right rudder skin.

I had a very specific order here. First, deburr, scuff, dimple and prime the top, forward edge, and bottom edge. Then, while the primer is drying, devinyl the aft edge (vinyl used as masking for the primer), deburr, scuff and dimple the aft edge. This edge doesn’t get primed, as we’ll use the fuel tank sealing instructions with Pro-seal to glue the trailing edges together.

After scuffing the aft edge, I started pulling off the blue vinyl from the interior of the skins.

This just looks so nice.

Another shot of me devinyling.

Then, I spent a couple minutes making the slot at the bottom of the skin a little bigger. One of the flanges from the control horn fits in here, and during initial assembly, there was some interference.

Notch enlarged.

And the left skin, primed.

Got the left skin primed and ready for devinyling.

Ame thing on this skin, while the primer was drying, I devinyled the trailing edge, scuffed, and dimpled.

Scuffed and dimpled the trailing edge.

Here’s the left skin after devinyling. I’ll store this skin until final riveting. Now, back to the skeleton.

Shot 1 of 2 of the prepped left rudder skin.

Shot 2 of 2 of the prepped left rudder skin.

In the middle of the day, I ran out of primer and scotchbrite pads, so I ran out for both.

Napa 7220 Self Etching Primer.

Maroon scotchbrite pads.

They didn’t have any maroon on the shelf, but they had some grey. I asked the guy out front, and he went to the back and grabbed 3 unpackaged pieces. Usually, there are $5 or $6 for the three. He gave them to me for a couple dollars, which was nice.

I like them cut in about 2" x 2" squares. Good to go until the end of the tail kit, I'm guessing.

I had some trouble with dimpling the last three holes in the rudder bottom rib. I drilled and countersunk a hole in a spare piece of steel I had, then realized it was too far from the edge to work. Awesome. Here’s a shot of my second attempt.

The new hole is on the bottom right. After countersinking, I used a rivet and my flush set to dimple the rib. Not perfect, but it'll work.

Then, I moved on to some riveting.

This is the spar and one of the spar reinforcements.

While I was moving everything around getting it ready for riveting, I broke my first tool. Now, it was about $0.50 from Harbor Freight, but I was still upset.

RIP cheap plastic clamp. (I'm lying. I actually gut the orange part off the other side and threw the clamp into a box somewhere. I'm sure it will come in handy at some point, even if it doesn't have the orange pads.)

Rivets were looking good, until the one to the right of the nutplate. Doh!

Which one of these is not like the other?

After a successful drill out (#2 of the day), I finished setting the rest of the spar reinforcements and snapped these two pictures.

Middle spar reinforcement.

Upper spar reinforcement.

That’s 16 set so far.

Then I mocked up the R-405PD Rudder Horn, R-710 Horn Brace, R-917 Shim, R-902 Spar, and R-904 Bottom Rib. Some people need to use blind rivets in some of these holes, but I figured I could do it with all solid rivets.

This is what I need to end up with after riveting.

I figured out that if I take off the R-904 bottom rib, I can reach in from above (bottom right of the picture) and get the horn brace to rudder horn rivets here, then slide the forward flange of the bottom rib under the rudder horn and get those from the lightening hole. Here I am setting the horn brace to rudder horn rivets.

I think this is going to work out well.

Another shot from further away.

Here’s all four of those set (set nicely, if I may add).

Horn brace to rudder horn rivets.

20 rivets set so far. Then I moved on to the R-606PP Reinforcement plate to R-902 Spar to R-917 Shim to R-405PD Rudder horn rivets. These need to be AN470AD4-7 rivets, which are LONG. I did have to drill one of them out. That’s #3 for the day. Boo.

This is an AN470AD4-7 rivet after drilling out. This is a long rivet.

But, I managed to reset it okay and get the others in with no trouble.

R-606PP to R-902 to R-917 to R-405PD rivets.

23 set. I scratched the R-405PD horn a little, so I scotchbrited it out, and shot some primer in there.

Some primer to cover the scratch.

Next, I slid the flange of the bottom rib under the rudder horn and lined up the holes. Now I need to drop some rivets in here.

Ready for riveting.

First, I set the horn brace to bottom rib rivets.

26 rivets set so far. These are looking good.

26 set. Finally, I set three more which are reinforcement plate to spar rivets.

These are above the bottom rib, so they are only reinforcement plate to spar rivets. Easy.

I started to rivet the complicated stuff together and LOOK WHAT I DID!

I think this is hilarious. Think I should drill it out?

This happened because I was bucking from above and shooting from below. The gun jumped around cause I was supporting it’s weight instead of letting gravity help me. That’s a no-no.

It was pretty easy to drill out (#4 for the day), here’s an inside shot; back to square one.

Ready to try again.

After setting the first two, a picture.

These look good.

And after much consternation (including using my double offset set as a bucking bar), I got the two outside rivets bucked.

Finally done with riveting for the day.

30 rivets set, 4 drilled out. Lastly, I matchrdrilled the E-614-020 to R-912 rib. This was a piece of pie.

Rudder counterbalance matchrilled to the counterbalance rib. Also, there's the hardware that will be used to fasten these two together.

4.5 hours today. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon.

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Matchdrilled Right Side of Vertical

January 25, 2010

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No pictures tonight.

I broke out the cordless drill (quieter than the air drill) and finished matchdrilling the right side of the vertical stabilizer.

Same routine. Drill every other hole, mark with a dry-erase marker, move clecos, drill remaining holes. Because the root forward rib gave me a little trouble when clecoing during initial assembly, I had 100% clecoed it. For this area, I removed one cleco, matchdrilled, then replaced the cleco. I just didn’t want it to move around on me at all.

Since I forgot to take a picture, here’s another picture of Jack and Ginger.

Ginger all up in your business, Jack in the background.

Half an hour. Not bad for a night I wasn’t planning on working on the airplane.

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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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Finished drilling the HS

January 1, 2010

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Short, but productive day.

It was Jack’s birthday today (he turned 3), so I ran out to Chik-Fil-A to get him is once a year human food treat. A chicken biscuit. Of course, Ginger needed one too (“so she doesn’t feel left out”) and so on, which meant my girlfriend and I also got biscuits. Here are Jack and Ginger.

Jack and Ginger (Jack's on the right) on the beach last summer. Happy Birthday Jack. You're 3 now. Start acting like it.

Anyway, after the birthday festivities (a.k.a. Jack and Ginger inhaling their biscuits), I managed a couple hours on the project. Here, I clamped HS-404 in place after having first marked holes and drilled #40 pilot holes in the aft flange. The instructions have you mark and drill pilot holes in the HS-405, but why drill from aft to forward, hoping you don’t run into edge distance problems when you could drill from forward to aft? For the outboard holes, I did use the HS-405 for pilot holes. You’ll see.

HS-404, with two pilot holes marked and drilled prior to mock-up.

Here are the silver clecos after drilling from forward to aft with my 12″ bit.

Used the #40 pilot holes I previously drilled in HS-404 to drill through HS-702 and HS-405.

Then, I used the previously marked and pilot drilled holes in HS-405 to drill forward through the HS-702 (front spar) and HS-710/714 (reinforcement angles). The 12″ bit really came in handy here.

Then used the #40 pilot holes I made in HS-405 to drill through HS-702 and HS-710 (or HS 714 for the other side). Here, you can see the 12" bit really showing its stuff.

Then, I matchdrilled the rest of the HS-404, which had been clamped in place in the above pictures. After that, I finished match-drilling the rest of the skin for the right side. After you finish and pull the skin off, you can drill the remaining HS-702 holes using the HS-710 and HS-714 angles as guides. Here are the last six holes drilled after pulling off the skin.

Finished drilling HS-710 and HS-714 after removing the skin.

After the skins are pulled off, I’m ready to start prep for final assembly.

After match rilling both skins and finishing the HS-710/HS-714 to HS-702 holes, The skeletons lay ready to disassemble, deburr, dimple, edge finish, surface prep, and prime.

2.0 hours today. Not bad.
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More HS work

December 31, 2009

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First thing in the morning, I had to run some errands, one of which included a stop by Harbor Freight to exchange my Automatic Compressor Drain Kit that had a crack in it. While I was there, I used two coupons. One, for a free tape measure, the other for almost half off a 6″ digital caliper. Walked out the door with a new caliper, tape measure, and an exchanged drain kit for $10. Can’t beat that.

Free tape measure at Harbor Freight. Also a coupon for 1/2 off a $20 digital caliper.

I went ahead and scotchbrited all the HS ribs. I was sick of the aluminum dust on my hands during scotchbriting, so I took these inside and did them with warm water (only reason for warm was so my hands didn’t get cold) in the kitchen sink. Worked well with a lot less dust. (Also, I think showing pictures of my work with finished pieces looks a lot better than the original parts, which are all shiny and finger-printy after my grubby hands work with them.)

Surface prepped HS ribs.

Then, the directions have you cleco the left skeleton together.

It looks like an airplane! Kind of.

I did the right side too (mostly so I could take the next picture), then match-drilled all of the rib/spar attach points to #30, (except for 708/603), which they have you do later to a #21.

Both skeletons after match-drilling all of the rib to spar attach points.

Then you get to cleco on the skin (wuhoo!). I had trouble with HS-707 here. the very tip of the rib kind of caught on the  skin (vinyl); I had to really work to get it back into position and clecoed. you can see here I clecoed every hole on the HS-707.

Clecoed on the left HS-601 skin.

Then I inserted the HS-404 (front inboard) and HS-405 (rear inboard) ribs and clamp. Here, you can see the HS-405 clamped.

Inserted HS-404 and HS-405 for match drilling.

Then I match-drilled the HS-405 to the HS-601PP (skin). I didn’t do the top or bottom forward most hole, because I seem to be having edge distance troubles on the HS-405 and HS-702 spar. I checked everything and it seems to be right. I checked some other build sites to see if other people have run into this, no one mentioned it. Right as I was going to post a question on the VAF forums about this, a new thread popped up. Apparently this is a common problem, and the edge distance on HS-405 is not to be worried about. It’s a little confusing, though, given the prepunched nature of the parts.

I went ahead and match-drilled it. I’ll examine the edge distance a little more closely when I take apart the HS for prep. I repeated all the steps for the right side, then started in on match-drilling the skin to forward spar holes inboard of the 707. (Below, you are looking at the bottom of the stab, so the right HS is on the left in the picture. you can see the extra clecos from what I will call the “middle ribs” (708 and 707) inboard along the front spar. Those are not pre-punched on the spar, so you have to use the holes in the skin to match-drill.)

Then repeated for the right HS. Looks like an airplane!

11am to 6pm, with an hour for lunch. 6 hours today.

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