Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 30-31 -- Started Rudder

Fortunately the rudder work is do-able while on meds for what is now officially a ruptured disk in my upper back.

The plans are less than obvious, so some points here may help others. I made the stiffener ribs, which starts with cutting 8 pieces of pr-drilled angle in half, then putting a taper in each of the 16 angles that result. The plans are not intuitive...

Each piece has some small half holes that are markers for where to draw a straight line and then trim the angles down. This is not mentioned in the instructions. I trimmed all pieces like this, then cut them to length by matching them up with various locations on the rudder skins. Ignore references to "from the front" in the instructions. I still have absolutely no idea what that reference is to (front of what?).

Also not mentioned is that you don't need to worry about which way is "up" for the stiffeners. They will only fit one way.

Not mentioned is that you need to flute the stiffeners, in order that they will lay flat and not distort the rudder shape.

Others say to use ProSeal when attaching, in order to prevent cracking in the skin later. Guess that it's time to order some -- or maybe I'll just use some RTV, since I already have it.

Have seen all sorts of crazy ways to cut down the stiffeners; however I simply used a pair of straight tin ships -- the old kind, without serrated blades. Don't forget to cut the butt end of the stiffeners at an angle (not square), in order that they won't interfere with the rudder spar when assembled.

It is hard to believe, but what you see in the photos below represents over 4 hours of work. Lot of that is belt sander and debur work on the edges. I went backs over each piece to make certain that the taper has a clean and straight run.

Time: 4 hours

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jul 27 -- Just Like Kindergarten

The rules are the same as kindergarten: when you're done, pick up after yourself. Those dudes that build a plane during their lunch hour in 10 weeks never seem to account for this time. I spent just over an hour hanging up the vertical stabilizer (had to move a ton of "stuff"), and cleaning off the work tables.

Carpeted tables are nice and scratch free -- until little bits of aluminum get embedded in the carpet. I tried using a vacuum from the shop; take my advice and steal the family upright when you are not being watched. It was actually meant to clean junk out of carpet.

Still in pain with this pinched nerve, so that's all for tonight.

Time: 1 hour

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jul 25 -- Finish Vertical Stabilzer

At the urgent care clinic yesterday the nurse practitioner told me to be a vegetable. So I compromised by not taking the narcotic pain meds and only working on the RV for five hours.

Finished the stab today, but not before making the same mistake that I've heard about others making. Connected the rivet gun to the high-pressure hose, which bent and beat things up -- you can sort of see the damage in the close-up photo below.

Time: 5 Hours

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jul 24 -- Not Building Today

Ouch! Pinched nerve for last 8 days. On Metaxalone plus hydrocodone and it still hurts like hell. Not going near power tools in this state.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Jul 23 -- Replace Rivets

Have been away from the RV project, just as predicted, due to work.

Some of the rivets in the rear spar for the vertical stabilizer are "tipped", and the working theory is that 1/8" rivets are too much for a 4" yoke on the squeezer, so the yoke is flexing. So I installed a smaller yoke, drilled our about 15 rivets, and replaced them. Some of them twice. (That's the "you shouldn't do this on a Friday night" effect.)

The photo below shows one of these rivets. This particular one is waiting for my attention tomorrow. So not done -- more of this drill and replace coming up...

Time: 1 Hour

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11 -- Rivet Vertical Stabilizer

Spent just over 5 hours today riveting the skin to the stabilizer, and also riveting the rear vertical spar together. In terms of assembly, all that remains on the vertical stab is to rivet the rear spar into place, and to rivet two rivets at the top, in a very tight spot on the leading edge.

However I am not happy with some of the 1/8" rivets that the squeezer seems to have "tipped" a bit. So want to look at all of them carefully before closing the structure up. Going to be a busy 2-3 weeks at the office, so not certain when I will get back to the RV.

Time: 5 hours

Jul 5-10 -- Vertical Stabilizer

Just because I haven't posted in a while doesn't mean that I have not been building. The vertical stabilizer goes together relatively quickly; and as a result progress has been visible and steady.

I did take time out though, for business travel and to go to the Arlington Fly-In to look at details on other RV-9s.

One step in construction involves drilling lightening holes in the doubler for the rear spar. The prints show the distance on-center between each hole; however that struck me as a way to introduce stacked errors. So for others who follow behind me, I made this chart that shows distances from a common point: the edge. (Click on the image for a much more usable version.) Much more accurate approach, in my opinion.

To call out a few other details:
  • In the photo that shows those lightening holes, you can also see where I added nutplates to a rib. Enlarged the skin dimple to correspond...
  • Once again I added a conduit to run the vertical length of the stabilizer. Have seen any number of components, from strobes to cameras, to antennas, installed up there.

Total time over these days: 6 hours

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Jul 4 -- Vertical Stabilzer

Rain on the Fourth of July provided an opportunity to make a lot more progress than what you see in this photo. Have the vertical stab, skin included, match drilled and deburred. Still need to dimple, countersink, install some more nutplates, another conduit, prime, and of course rivet the whole thing together. This assembly is sure a lot simpler than the horizontal stab, though!

Time: 4.5 hours

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jul 3 Horizontal Stabilizer Completed

Have spent the last week piddling at this; however life prevented dedicated sessions. Today I finally squeezed the final rivet, then hung the assembly out of the way in the garage.

Am spending most of the holiday weekend on the wrong end of a big sanding machine, getting the deck ready to refinish. So not a lot of building will happen.

Time: 3 hours