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

 

Ordered Wing Kit

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Things are progressing a bit faster than I had expected on the tail build. This is awesome. It means I’ll be flying sooner! But I just realized I should check with Van’s to see what the lead time is on the wing kit. I’d hate to have all this progress go to waste sitting around waiting on the next kit. Good thing I did. They’re up to a 10 week lead time for the wing kit!

Primed rudder parts, assembled spar, drilled trailing edge

I primed all the rudder parts and skins today. I picked up a roll of hardware mesh at Home Depot and put it up on some blocks over my paint table. I did this to keep all the small pieces from being blown around by the spray gun. It worked really well.

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All dressed up and no place to go!

 

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I got the shipment of VS replacement parts from Van’s today. Unfortunately only four of the five parts I ordered arrived. They shipped the wrong part for the fifth on. I ordered a VS-705 they shipped an E-705. I called and they’re shipping the correct one. Oh well. I’ll just continue on with the rudder until it arrives.

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I riveted together the spar, reinforcement plates, counterweight rib, bottom rib, rudder horn and shim. The I screwed up and riveted the rudder attach nut plates to the wrong side of the spar. Drilled them out and re-riveted correctly. Cost me six rivets and an extra thirty minutes. No harm no foul.

I’m still struggling with my riveting technique with the gun. There was one rivet on the rudder horn that couldn’t be reached with the squeezer. I managed to put a big smile into the rudder horn. I think it will be okay.

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I made a drill guide from a paint stirrer so that I could more accurately drill perpendicular to the chord of the rudder. I cut a 6 degree angle on the end and held it flush to the rudder and aligned the drill to the edge of the stick.

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Off to Vegas tomorrow for a conference. won’t be making ay progress until next weekend.

Today’s Time (hours): 6.5
Empennage Time (hours): 27.0
Total Time (hours): 27.0

 

One step forward, two steps back

Started off the day dimpling the vertical stabilizer skin with the DRDT-2. I’m pleased with this tool. Dimpling large parts like the skins is a piece of cake and the dimples are consistent. I will say that I am considering getting a c-frame as well. It would have come in handy for riveting the rear spar. Juggling the spar and the pneumatic squeezer was challenging. While the squeezer was workable, I think the c-frame would have been easier.

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Once the skins were complete, the fun began! I was dimpling the substructure when I decided that the VS-707 rib needed an extra hole. So I made one. With the pneumatic squeezer and dimple dies. I hammered out the unwanted dimple and made a doubler to fix the flange. I completed the rest of the dimpling uneventfully.

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I riveted the aft spar assembly together. This went well and I’m happy with the result.

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I riveted the front spar doubler to the front spar and clecoed the ribs to the front spar in preparation for riveting. And that’s when things went south again. I tried to rivet the root rib and the nose rib to the spar from the front of the spar to the back. Turns out that this is extremely difficult due to the angle of the nose rib. Even with an offset rivet set in the gun, I couldn’t get straight on the rivet. I tried to buck it anyway. The rivet folded over. The angle of the nose rib made drilling out the rivet problematic as well. I thought about drilling the shop head but it was too messed up to drill. I ended up mangling the hole beyond repair. Turned all three parts into scrap. I ordered replacements from Van’s and since I was already going through the process and paying for shipping I included a replacement VS-707 as well.

Lesson Learned: If it doesn’t seem right, stop and think about it. When I couldn’t get the rivet set square to the rivet, I should have stopped and considered shooting the rivet from the other side.

Today’s Time (hours): 6.5
Empennage Time (hours): 15.5
Total Time (hours): 15.5

Empennage Kit Arrived Today

Very exciting day. The first part of my kit arrived today. The empennage kit contains the vertical stabilizer/rudder, the horizontal stabilizer/elevator, and the tail cone. I uncrated the kit and Remy helped me inventoried the hundreds of parts. Four items were back-ordered and one item was missing. All five parts are for later phases of the empennage build. I emailed Van’s and I’m certain they’ll ship them to me long before I need them.

Time: 6 hours

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Notwithstanding the one missing part, The quality of the crating is impressive. Everything arrived undamaged. Shout out to Van’s shipping department.