Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jan 30 -- Glue Rudder Trailing Edge

Today was a short session on the plane per-se (the rest of the day included cleaning more junque out of the garage in preparation for the wings).

In a previous post I mentioned that fellow EAA chapter member Rob Kochman gave me a piece of angle iron from his RV-10 project. The angle iron was laid on top of the work table, over a piece of 3/4" plywood. The ply was about 4" wide x as long as the table, and served two purposes:

First, it raised the trailing edge of the rudder off the table a bit, because the rudder trailing edge holes are not perpendicular to whichever side happens to be laying against the table top.

Second, the ply is sacrificial wood when holes are drilled in the angle iron. All the pundits say that an advantage of the table top as spec'd in EAA Chapter 1000 drawings is that you can replace it when too many holes are drilled. But here we are not even half way thru the empennage and the table top already looks like some poor slob in New Jersey who owed the mob money.

Masking tape covered the angle iron, so that errant ProSeal wouldn't goober it up.

Next I drilled holed in the angle iron using every third hole in the rudder as a template. Was afraid that I'd mess up the other side of the rudder, which didn't turn out to be the case. Note to others: drill holes in every hole, and do it the first time that you drill the rudder rather than later, which avoids this concern.

Next I suited up an broke out Pro Seal to glue everything together. Used the smallest size that Van's sells, and still only used up 75% of the batch. You can see in the close-up photo below that a bit of ProSeal squeezed out. A couple of very small 3/4" blocks of wood inserted into the trailing edge kept it open to enable application of the ProSeal. Using a small mixing stick, I spread it between rivet holes -- which were bare aluminum. My theory is that primer will lift off the surface, making the entire exercise pointless. Will trim that once this stuff dries -- touching it only serves to spread goo on everything.

Once finished I had to drill mot of the holes that were skipped, in order to make everything cleco down perfectly flat. Used some decrepit clecos, because ProSeal might ruin them.

Everything needs to set up for a few days, so that's it for now on progress.

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jan 24 -- Install Rib Counterweight

Sometimes things just work out. The replacement screws for the counterweight arrived, so I went to re-install the counterweight in the rudder tip. Realized that it was originally installed in the incorrect place, and I would have had to take the rudder apart to correct the issue. Whew!

So a hint to other builders: double-check the counterweight location against the plans one last time before you cover it up!

Also riveted most, but not all, of the tip rib on. That rib covers the counterweight, so this was a major catch. Still a few rivets to install, including the pain-in-the-ass ones near the trailing edge.

Total time tonight: 1.5 hours

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jan 22 - Finish Rudder Leading Edge

This was a tough weekend to work on the plane, thanks to competing activities (Luscombe, work, and Karin's Prius' battery dying).

Main thing that I completed was the leading edge of the rudder, complete with pop rivets.

Started by rolling the edges some more around a 3/4" pipe. The online blogs seemed in agreement that each of the three separate sections needs to be rolled separately. Sure enough, went a lot better that way. In fact I was too aggressive in one place and had to back things off again.

Wavy edges are better, but not perfect. At least they won't be visible! Overall the rudder has more blemishes that I expected -- but it's still safe and very functional.

Still need to install the trailing edge and also the counterbalance weight and rib.

I also made a jig to drill the trailing edges of the elevators. Will save that write-up for later.

Total Time (not including making the jig): 1.5 Hours

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jan 20 -- Rudder Skin

Today the replacement parts showed up for the elevator trailing edge, along with some ProSeal to glue the trailing edge of both the rudder and elevator. Put all that aside to continue working on the rudder skin.

First I noticed that the rivets I squeezed yesterday we about 0.001" too small on the shop head, so I re-squeezed them.

Next I squeezed a couple of rivets in the elevator horn that needed a different yoke on the pneumatic squeezer.

Finally, I used a pipe with Karin's assistance to roll the leading edge of the rudder. I am not happy with the result, so stopped to look at other builder websites and learn how they did this. Great info online -- sooooo much better than the last two planes I tried to build!

While I now have great ideas for tomorrow, I made the mistake of trying an edge-rolling tool on the leading edge. Going to need to unwind the mess I made -- however (fortunately) this edge will all be hidden once the plane is completed.

Still need to install the counterweight and counterweight rib. Expect the screws tomorrow.

Total Time: 1.5 Hours

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jan 19 -- Rivet Rudder Skin

Riveted on both sides of the rudder skin, with the exception of counterbalance rib and one rivet on each side at the bottom. Need to wait for replacement screws to arrive before I reattach the counterbalance weight -- which has to happen before riveting one last rib on. No pics tonight: I think that you know what rivets look like...

Total Time: 1.75 Hours

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jan 18 -- Start Skinning Rudder

Waiting on parts for the elevator, so I switched back to the rudder. Quite a while back I set the rudder aside because someone was promising an anti-tail-wag trim kit. That never materialized, so it was time...

Initial riveting was the area where the counterbalance rib and skin all meet. Note to others: the instructions call for the lead weight to be installed prior to this riveting. But the weight should go in after the first few rivets, because it interferes with bucking. Of course I bunged up a Phillips head screw getting the weight out, so now I need to order a couple of real odd-balls: AN509-10R16.

Dinking around with that weight and a couple of bad rivets ate an hour :(

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jan 14-16 -- Right Elevator

Started to button up this elevator. As you can see, some of the rivets are way up in there, and I was really worried about how to set the rivets. In fact I drilled for pop rivets in a few places that -- as it turned out -- were not required.

First order of business was to attach the counterweight rib to the spar, which was tougher than it should have been. In fact there are other ideas about the order of assembly -- see for one discussion. In one of the pics below you can see that I was able to squeeze a bucking bar into an open space. Then I realized that if I simply opened the top skin, it was easy to use a pneumatic squeezer and gun. Doh!

Did use chisels as bucking bars in a few corners, though.

Once that was completed, I used a combination of solid and pull rivets to attach the bottom skin. A friend gave me a hunk of angle iron to work on the trailing edge (need the angle iron as a jig). Had to order a new wedge for the trailing edge -- I REALLY screwed that puppy up.

And oh -- I'm in deep now! Just ordered the wings...

Total Time: 7 hours

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jan 13 -- Right Elevator Stiffeners

Back-riveted the right elevator stiffeners to the bottom skin. That's the last of the stiffeners on the right-hand elevator.

Managed to pound one rivet without the backplate behind it, which resulted in a minor deformation of the skin. Will look at it this weekend and decide whether or not it needs repair. The deformation is barely visible in the close-up photo below.

Total time today: 1.25 hours

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jan 12 -- Right Elevator

Spent an hour finishing up the riveting to attach the right elevator skin to the top of the elevator spar. No pics; however that section is done. One small rivet for Mike, one... oh, never mind.

Had to stop to take Anna to the airport. Off to the final semester of college. :)

Total time tonight: 1 hour

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jan 10-11 Rivet Spar to Top Skin

Only a third done after 2 hours' work, but am slowly riveting the spar to the top skin. Might be more accurate to describe this a "riveting patiently", so that hopefully I don't bung up the skin with the rivet gun.

A good share of the time went into figuring how to clamp the skin open without putting another kink in it.

You can see in the photos below how I went about clamping things; and it's worth noting that even after all this I was operating the bucking bar by feel. Only one rivet drilled out so far on the spar, so crossing my fingers.

And finally there's the obligatory photo of an endless row of rivets. Remember that there is a second one of these coming up!

Total Time these 2 days: 2 hours.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jan 9 -- Right Elevator

Still working on this elevator. Main output today was that I back-riveted the stiffeners to the top skin.

If you are another builder, the way I held the skin open might be of more interest. There are all sorts of blogs that illustrate how to hold the skins open with duct tape. In my experience tape lifts rattle-can primer, so I used the ground wire out of a hunk of 14 gauge romex (14/2-G NM) and poked it thru a couple of 3/32" holes in the bottom skin. This had an unexpected benefit: the loop of wire slides easily up and down the vertical post clamped to the back side of the table. The result is much easier on the skins!

Note that for each stiffener I had to un-clamp the skin, in order to install a new row of rivets and also adjust the backplate position.

Total time today: 3 hours (Went flying too...)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jan 8 -- Right Elevator

What a great way to celebrate my birthday: I spent most of the day working on the project. A number of tasks were accomplished:
  • Enlarged selected holes in the skin and bottom spar to 1/8" (#30 drill bit). That's because a holes will require pop rivets in the bottom skin where I can't reach with the squeezer. After a considerable amount of research on other builder sites, I confirmed that there were a few additional rivets that need this treatment. Which is what I thought, but the instructions fail to mention. See the image below for details; the holes marked with the elipses and 1/8" are not practical to rivet with solid rivets because the counterbalance rib blocks access.
  • Used a spoon to smooth out a few kinks in the skin. This particular skin is a total pain in the ass to work with -- not looking forward to back-riveting the stiffeners.
  • Painted the inside of the skin.
  • Riveted the spar and horn together.

Total time today: 5 hours

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jan 2 -- Elevator Work

Today was an exercise in deburring, dimpling, priming, and rivet squeezing. With an outdoor temp around 29-30 F, a lot of the painting took place inside -- although large surface areas were an outdoor activity.

Rivet squeezing was frustrating. The photos below show great results (those are not smilies on the rivet heads); however the squeezer tipped quite a few shop heads, so I spent at least 45 minutes drilling the bad ones out and re-squeezing with a stiffer yoke on the tool.

Progress is being made at a glacial pace.

Total time today: 3 hours