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

 

Dimpled and countersunk firewall parts

Dimpled the firewall sides.

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Machine countersunk the firewall angles to mach the dimples in the firewall. Unfortunately I got distracted and neglected to tape off the holes I wasn’t supposed to countersink in the diagonal firewall angles. So two new additions to the scrap pile. New parts ordered. Moving on to the next section in the meantime…

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Before moving on to the next section, I was able to dimple the firewall top section and countersink the associated angle as well the relay doubler.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Fuselage Time (hours): 53.5
Total Time (hours): 508.0

 

Wings are complete!!!

Completed the repair to the attach hole that I blew out last week. The fiberglass and micro cured up nicely. I sanded it flush, re-drilled and countersunk the holes, and riveted the nut plate on.

 

The molex connectors that I ordered from McMaster arrived so I inserted the pins and bundled the wires with wire ties.

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This completes construction of the wings! Very excited to move on to the fuselage.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 0.5
Wing Time (hours): 298.5
Total Time (hours): 450.5

 

Completed left wingtip–Almost

All the things I did to the right wing yesterday, I did to the left wing today.

 

 

Thought I was finally at th end of the wings… but ran into another snag. When I was countersinking the screw holes in the tip, I hit a thin spot in the fiberglass and the countersink caught and made a giant hole. So I made a fiberglass patch. I’ll fill in the other side with some micro once the patch sets up. Then I can install the final nut plate and be done with the wings!

 

 

Traveling this week. So I will begin work on the fuselage next weekend.

Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Wing Time (hours): 298.0
Total Time (hours): 450.0

 

Completed Right Wingtip

Laid out the cut the left and right wing tips. I made over-ran on of the cuts by an inch or so on the left wing. So I did a little patch and fill with some fiberglass and micro and set it aside to cure. Then continued work on the right wingtip.

 

Cut and installed the nav light lens.

 

Installed the nav/strobe light. Used the template from the plans to drill the wingtip. Terminated the wires with Molex .062 pins. Unfortunately Vans provided a 4-pin molex housing instead of the 5-pin one that matches the wiring harness in the wing. <sigh> Now I get to pay $10 in shipping for two $1 moles housings. Mounted the bracket and installed the light. Tested it out with a 9-volt. That sucker is bright!

 

Fit the wingtip to the wing and set it in place with a ratchet strap. Match drilled the holes from the wing skins to the wingtip. Final drilled and dimpled the holes in the wing for #6 screws. Final drilled the screw holes in the wing tip and then used a nut plate, a screw, and a cleco as a drill jig to drill the nut plate attach holes. Machine countersunk the screw and rivet holes and riveted the nut plates in place.

 

Fit the wing tip rib to the wingtip. Laid out and match drilled rivet holes. Riveted the rib in place.

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Bam! Right wingtip done.

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Today’s Time (hours): 8.0
Wing Time (hours): 293.0
Total Time (hours): 445.0

 

Cleaned up all the partially cured sealant

Started the day with a nice flight down to Aircraft Spruce at FFC with Jared to pick up some PolyGone. Great excuse to go flying!

PolyGone polysulfide stripper is the shizzle! This stuff really removes fuel tank sealant as advertised. I had a real mess on my hands and this stuff saved the day.

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I slathered the PolyGone onto the partially cured sealant and let it sit for 30 minutes or so then used a plastic bondo scraper and rags to remove it. It took about four hours (not counting wait time) to get all the sealant off of the skins and all the stiffeners and other parts. It was tedious and messy but it worked and I got it done. Went through a lot of gloves and rags.

Back to fuel tank assembly tomorrow. I am so ready to be done with the fuel tanks.

Today’s Time (hours): 4.0
Wing Time (hours): 212.0
Total Time (hours): 364.0

 

Fuel Tanks: the struggle is real.

Fuel tanks are absolutely kicking my ass. I got back from Toronto last night and checked to see if the sealant had cured. The stuff I had applied Monday had hardened up nicely. The first batch from from Sunday was still gooey. Not cool. They came from the same can. So I must have made a mistake in mixing that batch.

I talked to Jared and Van’s. Consensus was that it may cure eventually but Van’s recommended that I re-seal these parts with properly mixed sealant. Unfortunately this meant removing 22 stiffeners, 2 fuel fillers, and 2 fuel drains. I had to drill out a couple hundred rivets and was left with a sticky mess. Thankfully the sealant on all of the ribs we had just riveted into the left skin was fine.

When the sealant is first applied, it wipes off easily with some lacquer thinner. Once it has started to cure, not so much. I’m headed to Aircraft Spruce tomorrow to pick up some PolyGone. It is specifically designed to remove polysulfide fuel tank sealant.

 

It was essential to my sanity that I make at least some modicum of forward progress today. So I bent up the rods for the fuel sender floats per the plans. Since the ribs were installed in the left tank, I was even able to fine tune the left sender to the proper clearances.

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Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Wing Time (hours): 208.0
Total Time (hours): 360.0