New Trailing Edge and Skin Prep

I got home from a grocery run with the family and my replacement trailing edge was waiting in the driveway. Thank you, Van’s. Their shipping team is not taking any chances. The trailing edge was wrapped in paper, and sealed in a length of PVC pipe with PVC end caps. The end caps were sealed with that tape they use for packing everything. This is the stickiest tape ever. I’m thinking I might build a plane from it after the RV is done.

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I was just going to bring it down to the shop. But once I saw the packing job, I just had to open it.  …and since I was down there and the drill press was still set up for countersinking trailing edge, I clecoed it to the skin, marked it, trimmed it, and finished the outboard end correctly this time. And then I countersunk it.

…and while I’m down here, I might as well prep the skins for bonding, too. Same drill as the trim tab… Measure, tape, strip primer with isopropyl, sand, and wipe with acetone.

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Ready to start assembling the elevators!

Happy New Year!

Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Empennage Time (hours): 103.5
Total Time (hours): 103.5

 

Assembled Trim Tab

Bought a 3/4″ MDF panel at Home Depot. Leveled it out on the bench and shimmed the dead spaces with sheets of paper to create a flat surface.

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Prepped the skins, spar, and trailing edge with isopropyl.  Mixed up a small batch of fuel tank sealant and put a thin layer on each side of the trim tab ribs and set them in place. I used the 3M VHB tape on both sides of the trailing edge. Used clecos to align it with the bottom skin and set it in place. Then I clecoed the top skin in place along the spar and trailing edge. I peeled the paper from the VHB tape between the top of the trailing edge and the top skin removing clecos as I went to avoid tearing the paper. I replace the clecos to clamp the whole sandwich together while the tape sets up.

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The sealant is ridiculously sticky and smells like ass.

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I riveted the top skin and hinge to the spar.

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All done!

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Weighted down the skin with a board and some 2×4’s to ensure contact between the skins and the ribs until the sealant sets up. The spec sheet says there is a 6 hour cure time for the B 1/2 sealant I used.

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Today’s Time (hours): 1.5
Empennage Time (hours): 101.5
Total Time (hours): 101.5

 

Primed, Dimpled, and Started Assembly

Busy day of building today! Started off with a Home Depot run to pick up some paint pots and gloves. Then I got set up and shot all of the elevator part and skins with primer.

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That was a lot of stuff to prime. Didn’t mix enough and had to make a second batch to finish the skins.

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Once the primer was dry, I brought everything in the house and dimpled the skins and all the ribs, spars, and other miscellaneous parts. Clecoed the forward half of the trim tab hinge to the aft spar and  machine countersunk the portion of the aft spar that attaches to the hinge. Did a similar job on the trim tab spar later.

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Modified my female #40 dimple die to enable dimpling of the nut plates needed for the trim tab servo doubler. I just ground off a bit of the edge on the bench grinder.

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Here’s the modified die in action squeezing a dimple into a nut plate.

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And here are the nut plates installed in the doubler.

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I machine countersunk the parts of the trim tab pushrod and double flush riveted it together. The plans called out AN426-3-3.5 rivets but those were too short. I used -4.5’s and they came out perfect.

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Clecoed together the trim tab with the spar and trailing rdge and final drilled the holes in the closeout tabs.

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I machine countersunk the the trailing edges for the trim tab and left elevator using the tapered-pilot countersink cutter. I’m still waiting for the right trailing edge from Van’s to replace the one a screwed up.

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I riveted the trim tab horns and spar to the bottom trim tab skin.

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Taped off the places on the skins and spar where I’ll bond the ribs and trailing edge in order to prep for the ProSeal and trailing edge tape. I removed the primer with isopropyl. I scuffed with 150 grit sandpaper. Then cleaned the scuffed areas with acetone. Then I removed the tape.

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Tomorrow will be my first experience with ProSeal. I’ll be using it to glue the trim tab ribs in place. Plans call for a “well and truly flat” work surface on which to weight down the trim tab while the ProSeal sets up. I don’t consider my workbenches to be “well and truly flat.” So I’ll be off to Home Depot again tomorrow to come up with something. Maybe a steel plate or a 3/4″ MDF panel?

Today’s Time (hours): 9.0
Empennage Time (hours): 100.0
Total Time (hours): 100.0

 

Scuffed Parts and Skins

Started the day with a nice flight in Jared’s RV-14. We met up at KPUJ and flew down to KFFC where we met up with Wes and Skip who flew down from Cartersville in Wes’s RV-7. Lunch and a visit to Aircraft Spruce rounded out the afternoon. Then took the long way back to KPUJ. Awesome flight!

Got home and finished scuffing all the parts with some help from Sophie.

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I Peeled the elevator and trim tab skins. Then I Deburred the edges and put a slight break in the trailing edge per the plans.

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Finally, I scuffed the insides of the skins.

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All ready to shoot primer and start dimpling tomorrow.

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 91.0
Total Time (hours): 91.0

 

Disassembly and Deburring

Clecoed and final drilled the elevator horns to the inboard ribs and spars.

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Cut the trim tab pushrod parts and the trim tab horn parts.

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Deburred everything and got about half the parts scuffed and ready for primer. Next I’ll scuff the rest of the parts, peel and scuff the skins and prime everything.

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My pint of fuel tank sealant arrived from Sky Geek today. I’ll use this to glue the foam ribs in place.

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Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 88.0
Total Time (hours): 88.0

 

More Work on Elevators

Jared Solomon and Wes Greer stopped by today and helped move the elevators along. I really appreciate having experienced builders helping me out.  Things went really fast and their advice is incredibly valuable. Had lot’s of fun building together, too. Thanks guys!

Today we final drilled the tip ribs to one another and to the counterweight skins. We cut the foam trailing edge and trim tab ribs. We trimmed and deburred the trim tab skins. We trimmed the right elevator aft spar. We bent the closeout tabs on the left elevator skin. We fit and drilled the trim tab hinge. We clecoed everything together and fit/trimmed the elevator trailing edges.

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Jared and Wes went home and I continued building. Not even ten minutes unsupervised and I screwed up! I misunderstood the interface between the trailing edge extrusion and the elevator wing tip. I removed way too much material from the trailing edge. I didn’t realize that the wing tip would be trimmed and butt up against the trailing edge. Had I read forward to the “Empennage Fairings” section, I would have understood how this went together. Oh well… Ordered a new trailing edge from Van’s.

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Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Empennage Time (hours): 85.0
Total Time (hours): 85.0

 

Elevator Parts Prep

Cut and deburred the edges of the elevator ribs and clecoed them together. Also cut and deburred the shear clips.

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Straightened and fluted the tip ribs. Deburred the edges of the ribs and the counterweight skins. Clecoed everything together. Ready for drilling.

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Copied the plans page with the templates for the foam trailing edge ribs and the trim tab ribs. Checked to ensure that the copy was 1:1 withe respect to the original.

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Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 80.0
Total Time (hours): 80.0