Sanded and attached horizontal stabilizer tips

Sanded and fit the HS tip to fit. Before I paint the airplane, these will need to be filled and finish sanded.

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Final drilled #30, dimpled the skins, and machine countersunk the tip.

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I picked up a pneumatic rivet puller at Harbor Freight yesterday. I used it to set the rivets and attach the tips.  So much nicer the the manual puller!

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This completes the work on the horizontal stabilizer and elevators. So I’ve moved them to a safe place until I’m ready to final attach them at the end of the build.

Today’s Time (hours): 1.5
Empennage Time (hours): 205.0
Total Time (hours): 205.0

 

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

 

Trimmed and fitted the elevator and rudder tips

As much as I enjoyed looking at the aft fuselage with the tail feathers attached progress must continue! I remove the rudder, elevator, vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer. I trimmed and fitted the elevator and rudder tips using a Dremel with a diamond cutting wheel, files and 60 grit sand paper.

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I also received the molex pins I ordered from Mouser so I fixed the wire I accidentally yanked out of the aft wiring harness molex connector.

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Tomorrow Jared will teach me how to fiberglass and we’ll close out the VS and HS tips. I’ll need to drill, dimple, countersink and rivet/screw the rudder and elevator tips as well.

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 196.0
Total Time (hours): 196.0

 

Prime time

I deburred, scuffed and primed all of the remaining empennage parts including the top skin and the upper side skins. I’ve just about run out of parts. Once I get my static line and nut plates from Van’s, I’ll be able to finish riveting everything.

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Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 173.0
Total Time (hours): 173.0

 

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

 

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