Attached right elevator tip

Same drill as as the left tip… Final drilled #30, remove counterweights, dimple reinstall and torque counterweights, countersink tip, cleco, and pop rivet.

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Tada

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I used this bit on the Dremel to cut some fiberglass and phone out of the middle of the HS tip to correct the fitting issue I mentioned yesterday. Not a precision instrument. At least not in my hands. But it got the job done.

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I added a temporary foam block to hold the correct width.

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I used some masking tape to compress to the correct width. And adjusted to an interference fit with the HS skin.

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Cut some cloth to fit the inside of the tip.

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Added epoxy and set aside to cure. Once it’s hard, I’ll remove the temporary foam spacer and backfill the gap I cut with micro at the same time I fill the front side.

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Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Empennage Time (hours): 203.0
Total Time (hours): 203.0

 

Attached left elevator tip

I final drilled #30 the elevator skin to the tip. Then I removed the tip and countersunk the holes.

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I dimpled the holes in the elevator.

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I had to remove the counterweight to dimple the forward two holes. Then reinstalled and re-torqued the nuts.

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Installed the tip with CS4 pop rivets. I’m thinking I might replace my pop rivet tool. I’m getting a burr on the top of all of the rivets and I’ve had several break off in the tool. I’m careful to keep the tool perpendicular to the work but this keeps happening. A while back, a mandrel got jammed in the tool. I disassembled it to remove the mandrel and reassembled it. But I think the jaws are not grabbing properly now.

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In other news, you can see that after trimming and sanding the left HS tip, it fits nicely. The right tip is another story. I think I neglected to final fit it after I sanded the foam or perhaps I seated the foam too deeply. In any event, it spread the tip about an eighth too far and now the tip wont fit between the top and bottom skins at the spar. I’ll noodle on how I might salvage the part for a while and If I can’t I’ll order a new one. My best thought at this point is to take a 1/8″ wedge out of the middle of the foam/fiberglass with a saw and then put  another layer of glass over it.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 1.0
Empennage Time (hours): 201.0
Total Time (hours): 201.0

 

Dimpled top side skins and aft deck

Dimpled the top side skins. I used the squeezer for most of the holes and the DRDT-2 for the ones the squeezer couldn’t reach.

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I clecoed the side skin on. And I actually remembered to peel the rivet lines this time.

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I dimpled the F-01409 frame.

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And the aft deck.

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I clecoed the aft deck, F-01409 frame in place along with the Horizontal Stab Attach Bar Support Angle and deck angle. I clamped the attach bar to the support angle and match drilled. I also match drilled the deck angle to the aft bulkhead.

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I dimpled the cover plates for #6 screws as well. Then I realized for the first time that the cover plates are not symmetrical. <moan> And of course one is now dimpled the wrong way and primed on the wrong side. I went to order a new one from Van’s web site only to find that F-14112 does not exist in their parts inventory and it’s an hour after closing time. Oh well. I’ll call the tomorrow. No big rush given that I’m almost out of parts and my wing kit isn’t scheduled to ship for more than a month.

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Today’s Time (hours): 2.5
Empennage Time (hours): 177.0
Total Time (hours): 177.0

 

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

 

More work on bulkheads

Modified the bottom of the 1408 bulkhead.

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Deburred and dimpled all the 1407 and 1408 bulkhead parts.

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Separated, deburred, and dimpled the bell crank ribs.

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I realized when I went to drill the battery angles that I somehow modified the wrong one. I could swear that I marked these parts carefully before I separated them but it appears I switched the A and B markings. I don’t think this will be a problem though. I just needed to modify the correct one. The modification to the wrong one is not consequential.

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Once I fixed that, I drilled and countersunk all the nut plate holes and match drilled the angles to the bell crank ribs. I deburred and dimpled the 1406 bulkhead as well.

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I think next weekend I’m going to have two solid days of scuffing and priming all these parts.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 4.0
Empennage Time (hours): 141.0
Total Time (hours): 141.0

 

Four out of Five Ain’t Bad

My new molex crimper arrived from amazon along with the new automatic wire stripper. Yay! New tools.

These Molex MicroFit  pins are teeny tiny. I managed to crimp four out of the five pins on to the wires from the trim servo correctly. Unfortunately there was only one extra pin provided and I already burned through that one on my first attempt. So I ordered a bunch of  extra molex pins and housings.

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Today’s Time (hours): 0.5
Empennage Time (hours): 126.0
Total Time (hours): 126.0

 

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