So close!

Today was a bit of a shit show. Last night I worked on the roll bar after a fun day of flying with Jared, Wes, and Scott. Realized that I didn’t have enough AN426AD4-5 rivets to complete the roll bar. So I put in an order with spruce. I need a bunch of stuff anyway.  Drove down there this morning and picked everything up. So far so good.

Here’s a picture of Wes’ beautiful RV-7 on the way back from NC yesterday.

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Last night I riveted the brackets to the roll bar brace. I temporarily mounted the left and right forward roll bar parts to the fuselage as a jig to rivet the splice plate. Then did the same for the aft half of the roll bar. Then I clecoed the forward and aft halves together with the inboard and outboard straps and window shims and final drilled everything. I deburred all the parts and countersunk the ones that needed countersinking. I riveted the forward roll bar assembly to the inboard strap with the AN470 rivets called out in the plans. That’s when I realized that I didn’t have enough AN426AD4-3 rivets to do the next step which was to rivet the outboard strap.

 

Segue to today… Went to Spruce. Got the rivets and a bunch of other goodies… Ignition switch and toggle switches. Then back to work… I riveted the outboard strap to the forward roll bar assembly. I joined it up with the aft half and used the LP and CS blind rivets to assemble the whole thing. I also riveted the bushings and doubles in place on the aft sections.

 

And then… Disaster! The little arrow in the picture is pointing the wrong way. I misread the plans last night. I had to drill out three quarters of the hundred or so rivets holding this whole thing together so that I could reorient the outboard strap to face the proper direction to properly mate to the roll bar brace. I lost about 2.5 hours to this. Plus a lot of frustration. Stupid mistake.

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Once I got through reassembling the roll bar, I was able to mount it on the fuselage and match drill the bases and get everything riveted in place. But to add insult to injury, I’m now short a number of CS4-4 and LP4-3 rivets due to the error. So I can’t actually finish the section. But I did get as far as I could and placed an order with Vans for the rivets. There’s only about half an hour of work to finish it up once I have the rivets.   I’ll move on to something else but it sure would have been nice to have been able to paint it up this weekend and call the Fuselage complete.

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Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 221.0
Total Time (hours): 676.5

 

Match drilled the cowl attach hinges

Match drilled the cowl attach hinges.

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Took everything apart and dimpled the skin, the firewall flanges, and shims. Machine countersunk the hinges and longerons.

 

I got the nut plates I ordered. So I also finished riveting the instrument panel in place.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 195.0
Total Time (hours): 649.5

 

Continued assembly and did a bit of painting

Clecoed then riveted the sub-panel assembly to the fuselage.

 

Riveted nut plates into the wiring channel. Painted the assembly and later installed it into the fuselage after the paint dried.

 

Match drilled the forward and aft canopy decks to the left and right longerons. Then dimpled the holes in the canopy decks and machine countersunk the holes in the longerons. Painted the canopy decks as well as the panel brackets and wiring supports.

 

Machine countersunk all the holes in the instrument panel frame. Riveted the instrument panel angles, nut plates, and flange doubler to the frame. Painted the assembly.

 

Ground one of the corners off of the fresh air vents to match up to the flange that connects it to the fuselage and naca duct.

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Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 189.0
Total Time (hours): 643.5

Joined up the back and the front!

Dimpled the bulkheads and riveted the nut plates to them.

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Joined up the front and back and clecoed together. Starting to look very airplane-like.

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I neglected to chamfer the top aft edges of the seatbelt lugs when I did the fabrication. So did that and Machine countersunk them. Then shot them with some rattle can primer and stuck them in the vise to dry.

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Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 131.0
Total Time (hours): 585.5

Started riveting the side skins to the fuselage

Back riveted the side ribs, center section, and forward stiffener to the side skins.

 

Clecoed the side skin and longerons to the fuselage and bolted the upper drag link in place. I ran a bead of fuel tank sealant between the firewall and the skin and the upper longeron and the skin. Unfortunately it wasn’t until after I put the sealant in place that I realized that I hadn’t dimpled the flanges of the firewall.  In my defense, I can’t find where it says to do so in the instructions. What a fucking mess!  Thanks, Vans!

 

Riveted the canopy latch bracket and bulkhead side channel to the left skin.

 

Got about halfway through the riveting on the left side. Slow going. I was hoping to make more progress than I did today.

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Ran into one frigging rivet that necessitated removal of the landing gear bracket. This was a huge pain in the ass with the skin in place. There’s not enough room to get a drift in front of the main bulkhead to knock the outboard bolt out. Ended up using the short end of an allen wrench and hitting it with the long bucking bar that I have. There wasn’t room for a hammer. Once I got it started with this arrangement, I was then able to get a drift into the space and use the bucking bar to knock the bolt out. Would have saved a bunch of time had I removed the bracket before the skins went on. Burned over an hour on this.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 10.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 115.0
Total Time (hours): 569.5

Dimpling, Countersinking, and Assembly continues

Constructed a support leg from scrap wood and bolted to the bulkheads. Then turned the fuselage assembly up on its side to rivet the bottom.

 

 

Put clecos in all holes to be riveted. The final drilled and blind riveted the bottom skins to the drag links. This is as far as I could get without a riveting partner.

 

 

Sealed the muffler ramp to the bottom skins with fuel tank sealant.

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Dimpled and countersunk all of the parts except the skins.

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Riveted the roll bar angles to the intercostal ribs.

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Fabricated the seat adjustment guides and assembled the seat adjustment stuff to the cross brace.

 

 

 

Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 94.0
Total Time (hours): 548.5