Riveted the Bottom Skin

Almost riveted all the holes that I was supposed to on the bottom skin. I even managed to not rivet all the holes I wasn’t supposed to.

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These two holes were blocked by stiffeners.

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I can’t fit my bucking bar in there. Maybe time to invest in some more bucking bars.

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Update: I just ordered this from spruce… Hopefully it will get in there. If not, I’ll stick a couple of pop rivets in there and call it a day.

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Today’s Time (hours): 1.5
Empennage Time (hours): 153.5
Total Time (hours): 153.5

 

Whole lotta scuffin’

I cut the aft tail skin with the snips. Cutting .040 aluminum with snips is a workout. I thought of using the band saw but it’s an awkward part to cut straight with the saw. I trusted my skills with the snips more than steadiness of my hand at the band saw. Good result but my forearm was pretty sore afterward.

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Cleaned it up with file and sand paper.

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My paint cutter arbor arrived from Aircraft Spruce. So I was able to cut the remaining countersinks in the rudder stops without the cage.

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I was skeptical that I’d be able to hit the right depth free hand but it worked out fine.

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I also heard back from Van’s support on the holes that I thought shouldn’t be dimpled and in fact they shouldn’t have. So I hammered them flat. This was definitely an error in the plans. Now my tie down bracket sits flush.

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And finished up with a marathon scuffing session.

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I’ve got to be honest. Scuffing parts is my least favorite part of the process. It’s dusty messy work.

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That was a lot of parts to scuff but I’m glad I fought through and got them done. This is most of the parts for the tail cone. Once these are primed, I’ll only have the skins and a few small parts left to scuff and prime in order to complete the empennage. Big priming session tomorrow. Then I can start assembling. 🙂

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 144.0
Total Time (hours): 144.0

 

Fabricated the HS Attach Support and Rudder Stops

I cut the horizontal stabilizer attach bar support angle from the provided aluminum angle. I measured it out with the calipers, marked it. Drilled stop holes in the inside corners and used the bandsaw to remove most of the material. I finished removing material with a vixen file and cleaned it up on the scotch brite wheel.

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Made the rudder stops from the provided aluminum angle. I measured with calipers, marked up the angle and cut it on the band saw. I cleaned it up with a file and the scotch brite wheel.

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I machine countersunk the top two holes in each rudder stop. I was totally stumped on how to countersink the other two holes on the inside of the angle. The countersink cage won’t fit. After some head-scratching I gave Jared a call to see what he did.

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Apparently theres a thing called a “paint cutter arbor” that has the same threading as the countersink cage and one can mount the countersink cutter into it and mount it in the drill press. So I ordered one from Aircraft Spruce.

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Today’s Time (hours): 2.5
Empennage Time (hours): 131.0
Total Time (hours): 131.0

 

Riveted Spars and Ribs in Left Elevator

I started off the day by taping the trailing edge to the bottom right elevator skin with the 3M VHB. tape.

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I also completed the trim servo assembly. I need to order a crimper to terminate the wires from the trim servo with the supplied micro molex connector. I also need to get a label maker to label all the terminations.

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Then my new squeezer set from Aircraft Spruce showed up. It’s nice having them relatively local. If I order by 4:00 they’ll ship same day and shipping via UPS ground gets it here next day from Peachtree City.

With the new squeezer sets I was able to complete the riveting of the hinge portion of the skin to the aft spar.

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I essentially completed all of the steps that I did to the right elevator yesterday to the left elevator today. So now both elevators are ready to have the aft ribs glued and the trailing edges riveted.

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Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Empennage Time (hours): 118.5
Total Time (hours): 118.5

 

Riveted Spars and Ribs in Right Elevator

Unfortunately Jared was unable to make it over to work with me today. I’ll be docking his pay. 🙂

Work on the the left elevator is still halted until I have a means to rivet the hinge portion of the aft spar. To wit I have ordered a complete range of squeezer flush sets from Aircraft Spruce. They should be here tomorrow.

Significant progress to report on the right elevator however…

Riveted the rear spar and rib assembly to the bottom right skin.

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Actually some progress was made on the left elevator. I was able to rivet the ribs to the bottom skin as well as the trim doubler assembly.

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I riveted the skin to the rear right spar using the special bucking bar to reach the shop heads.

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Side view of the special bucking bar in action.

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I fabricated the tool called out in the plans but didn’t actually need it on the right elevator. Maybe it’s necessary on the left?

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I blind-riveted the top and bottom halves of the ribs together. I was able to reach the aft rivets with no problem.

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Here they are all riveted.

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I riveted the forward spar to the ribs.

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…And then riveted the skins to the spar with the squeezer.

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I riveted the skins to the and root ribs as well.

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Next I’ll glue the aft ribs in place with Pro Seal, install the trailing edge, shoot the last few rivets in the root and tip ribs and she’ll be done!

I had one oops today and a gripe with the plans. They remind you that the counterweight skins go under the elevator skins after you’ve already riveted the aft spar and the ribs. This made it impossible to correct. I tried to carefully pull the skin out and bend the counterweight skin up as little as possible but it left a bit of a permanent bend. Nothing tragic. Just annoying. It would have been more helpful if the plans provided this warning when they had me cleco in the forward spar assembly.

Today’s Time (hours): 4.5
Empennage Time (hours): 112.5
Total Time (hours): 112.5