Saturday, February 26, 2011

Feb 26 -- Rivet Left Elevator Bottom Skin

Technically this is two days, because a couple of days ago I riveted the gusset on to the rib. What a pain -- over an hour and about 6 drilled rivets later there were 2 installed rivets. Some fool posted on their site that out of 15,000+ rivets, they only drilled out 200 or so. Calling BS on that stat...

Today was just a bit of time on the plane. Riveted the bottom skin to the E-901 spar, then attached the Counterbalance assembly to the spar. This is the reverse order of the instructions, and works out better. One pair of rivets buried way down inside connects the counterbalance assembly directly to the spar. I used (gasp!) pop rivets. Out of site, just as strong, and the result is a much better grip than trying to get in there and buck a standard rivet.

Next up will be the trim tab spar. But I need to go heads down on work for a week or so, meaning that all progress will stop for now.

Total time: 1.5 hours

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feb 23 - Backrivet Lower Stiffeners, Install Trim Servo Reinforcement Plate

Tonight I installed the nutplates on the trim servo reinforcement plate, then installed the plate on the lower skin. Next up was backriveting stiffeners to the lower skin, with some NAPA gasket material behind them to dampen vibration that others report causes cracks in the skin.

Total Time: 2 hours

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Feb 22 -- Re-do the Elevator Trim Mounting Plate

The first run at this plate didn't go so well: see the "before" version on the left in the photo below. In my attempt to counter sink the holes for nut plates, the countersink bit walked and ruined the piece by decorating it with ovals.

The replacement part showed up today. This time I enlarged the #40 pilot holes in the part, and then drilled #40 holes into hard maple, in order to provide a hole that would prevent the bit from walking. What a difference!

Stopped for the evening after counter-sinking, deburring, cleaning, painting, dimpling.

Total Time: 1 hour

Monday, February 21, 2011

Feb 21 -- Rivet Spar to Left Elevator Top Skin

Tonight I riveted the E-902 spar to the top skin of the elevator. About 20% of the rivets could be squeezed; the rest were accessed by clamping the bottom skin to the table and then spreading the top skin so that it was possible to get a bucking bar in there to buck the rivets, two at a time.

Backriveting doesn't work here, because the skin flexes and it is not possible to keep the rivets flush against the steel backplate.

I'm learning to cut objectives down into smaller sessions. Get better results when I slow WAY down!

Total time: 1.5 hours

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Feb 20 -- Backrivet Stiffeners

Back-riveted the stiffeners to the top skin, with ProSeal under them to act as a vibration absorber. Was able to rivet a couple of lower ones too, before the ProSeal was too set up to be usable.

Bunch of rivets are going to need to be drilled out and re-set, because the shop heads are messed up. tough working conditions in there, trying to spread the skins enough to rivet. Don't want to clamp them open, because that damaged the other elevator.

Also cut down some angle iron into flat steel plates to use for riveting in tight places. The EAA Website has a great video tip on how to do this.

It got exciting though, because I did the cutting on the table saw, and the sparks ignited about 8 cubic feet of sawdust inside the saw base! Was time to clean it out anyways...

Total time on the plane: 1.5 hours.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Feb 19 -- Dimple & Prime Left Elevator

Weekends are priming days, because there's light outside (and I get into enough trouble about the smell of fresh primer just from bringing the parts back into the Garage).

Today I primed the stiffeners after masking off the side that will face the elevator skin. Plan to use ProSeal between them and the skin, in order to prevent vibration caused by cracking.

Next up was dimpling the skin, with Karin's help. Then I scuffed the inside skin, cleaned with Coleman fuel, and masked off areas where ProSeal will be applied. Oh, and of course primed the inside of the skin.

Some more drying time and riveting can begin.

Total Time: 2.5 Hours

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feb 18 -- Workbenches

Thought I'd post about the workbenches that I built for this project. They are essentially the popular table design that was published by EAA Chapter 1000 many years ago, with the following modifications.

I built these a year ago, so this is a very tardy post.

The original plans result in tables that are simply too heavy, in my opinion. A session at the local lumber emporium got me thinking. (I did not go to a big box store, because their wood is not worth buying.) There are others who devise elaborate casters and wheels, yet these tables are light enough to move, and still sturdy enough for abuse.

  • Instead of 2x4s, I used 2x3s. Lighter, cheaper, and at least as strong!
  • Instead of 2x3 frames for the top and shelf frames (supports), I cut the 3/4 ply down to make table top edges and cross-members. Then I used biscuits, glue, and a nail gun to assemble everything. Finally I glued and nailed 1/4" ply on the top to ensure that the structure remained square and rigid. Could have used 3/8" ply on top; however I planned a more robust work surface -- and had the 1/4" ply in the garage, and therefore in the way.
  • In the photos below you can see that on one of the tables I extended the lower shelf edges lengthwise in order to tie them to the 2x3 upright. Then I used 3/4" ply above and below it (still on the upright) instead of a 2x3. This turned out to be a much better arrangement, because it was both light and sturdy. Note that these extensions are slightly shy of reaching the end of the frame. That removed any fine alignment and cutting which would be required for a "perfect" fit. And in one of the photos you can see the same technique to avoid final fit issues with the lower shelf.
  • Table tops were another deviation. On both tables I used 3/4" press board, which once again was already in the garage.
    • On the first table, I simply followed the EAA plans and made the top as wide as the frame (no overhang), then covered it with carpet.
    • However on the second table I added the thickness of a 1x3 all the way around in order that I can clamp things to the top. Because the overhang is exactly the width of the thickness of a 2x3, I am able to clamp one under the edge to effectively remove the overhang when needed. This is a very useful feature!
  • Mentioned elsewhere, but the tops were simply screwed on, because easy replacement sounds like a future convenience.

Oh, and not all the wood matches because it was a great opportunity to work on the scrap collection that was in the way of the airplane project (still more to clean out before the wings arrive...) The garage interior decorator was goofing off that day...

Click on any of the photos for a full-size view.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Feb 17 -- Drill & De-bur Left Elevator

Van's replied to my email today to say that the stiffener issue from yesterday is a non issue. "Build On" was the message.

Tedium tonight... Drilled out all the holes in the skin for the stiffeners (the ones that officially need to be clecoed together and then match drilled). Per yesterday, I am counting on CNC fit to make things "just fit". History says that they will.

Next came manual de-burring of each side of each hole. At least it's done now.

Seems like some errors in the instructions for the next few steps on this assembly, so going to surf some other builder sites to see what I can see.

Total Time: 1.2 hours

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feb 16 -- Left Elevator Stiffeners

Continued work on these tonight. First I cut the majority of them down to the correct length for this elevator (they need to be shorter because the trim tab). As I cut each one to length I also tapered the rear edge of each stiffener to match the taper on the original (longer) ones. Doh! They don't need the taper! Gonna have to check in with Van's Aircraft to see if this is worth re-doing...

Also drilled the pilot holes in each stiffener out to #40. I didn't cleco things together first, because these CNC holes are so accurate that there's no point in aligning to match drill. Put another way, on the other elevator I did more damage via kinks in the skin when I tried to open it wide for all the stiffener work.

Next I scuffed the pieces with Scotchbrite pads (a lot easier than after dimpling), and finally it was time to dimple each stiffener.

Total Time: 1 hour

Monday, February 14, 2011

Feb 14 -- Left Elevator Stiffeners

Celebrated Valentine's Day in the garage. (We never celebrate it...)

Tonight I spent 45 minutes making stiffeners, which meant pulling off the protective plastic, cutting them, and deburring the edges. This elevator requires that most of the stiffeners be cut to a shorter length, but that was out of scope for tonight.

Total Time: 0.75 hours

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Feb 13 -- Left Elevator

Match-drilled the spar, and ribs for the left elevator, then deburred, dimpled, countersunk, cleaned, dcuffed, and primed a number of parts. deburring is easy using the Scotchbrite wheel; albeit a bit tedious. (Dimpling is really tedious. And as you can see in the photo, lilac bushes are there primarily to hang parts from.

There is a doubler for a recessed area that holds the trim servo. I managed to make two oval holes while counter-sinking for nutplates, so a new part is on order from Vans.

Finally riveted together the counterbalance ribs. A bit ahead of myself there, because there is still a lot of work to do with stiffeners and the skin.

Total time: 7 hours

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Feb 9 -- Start Left Elevator

Fixed one last rivet on the trailing edge of the right elevator, then started the left one. Actually, I did just a bit of work on the spar the other day (deburred the edges).

Tonight I pulled the blue plastic off the inside of the skin, and then used a solder gun to met strips off the outside where rivet holes are. Next came deburring the edges of the skin (wicked sharp!). Finally started clecoing parts together.

Only 6 weeks until I pick up the wing kit -- gotta get my butt in gear!

Total Time: 1.75 Hours

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Feb 6 -- Right Elevator Trailing Edge

First things first. That epoxy on the trailing edge was an awful idea. What leaked out was hard to get rid of, it goobered up rivet holes, and didn't really adhere to the aluminum that well. OK, the adhesion issue was most likely my failure to remove primer from the subject surfaces...

Pounded in all the rivets, but frustrated and quit for the day. Will finish the rivets and making certain that it's straight with no epoxy in a fresh session. Suspect that 25% of the rivets need to be drilled out because the shop heads tipped over. :(

Did start on a bit of drilling and deburring for the other elevator while waiting for 24 hours on the epoxy...

Total time: 1.5 Hours

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Feb 5 -- Finish Rudder, Work on Elevator

The rudder had to sit for a week, in order for ProSeal to finish curing. That was OK, because it was a rough week at work, and there was no opportunity to work on the project anyways.

Today I pulled the rudder off the angle iron (straight as an arrow!) and installed the trailing-edge rivets. That angle iron made a really nice surface to rivet against. Also discovered that in one place where I needed to install an "oops" rivet (hole was enlarged for some reason) that the result was almost a perfect flush surface on the shop head side. Wonder if this is a best practice!

Next up was the elevator. After the first debacle with a screwed-up wedge, I made a jig for countersinking holes this time. See the photos below, but laid the bad wedge in the jig first and then inserted the new wedge. Result was that everything is level and stable for drilling.

Next came dimpling on both skins, using a vise-grip dimpler. Finally I used marine epoxy from Home Depot to glue the wedge between the skins, with everything clecoed down to an angle iron. Should be dry enough to rivet tomorrow night.

Total Time: 6 hours