Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Busy week

Got quite a bit of work done this week on the plane. Riveted the rear spar on to the ribs on Thursday. Got all the top skins dimpled and primed thru the week. Started preparing the leading edge ribs on Friday. Finally got the top skins riveted to the structure on Sunday. There were a total of 698 rivets in the top skins. We managed to set them all with only two small dents in the skin, not really noticeable unless you know where to look, and one of them is in the wing walk area and will be covered with grip tape. I've been working on preparing all the parts for the outboard leading edge the last couple nights, and hope to have it riveted together and onto the spar this weekend.

Top skins clecoed on and ready to rivet.
Most of the rib and rear spar rivets set.
Underside of the left wing with all the top skin rivets set.
Slight corrosion on a leading edge rib.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ribs riveted on

No work on the plane this weekend, but the last couple days have been productive. A friend who built an RV 9 had some extra nut plates laying around so he gave me enough to get one wing done. With help from Lee I got the nut plates riveted on, countersinks done, and the left main ribs riveted to the main spar on Monday. Tonight I clecoed the rear spar and doubler plates on to the ribs, got everything final drilled, countersinks where called for, dimples in the flanges, and everything deburred and ready for primer. I'll get the rear spar and doubler plates primed tomorrow and start working on the top skins. I'd like to have the top skins on before the weekend is over. Things are actually starting to look like a wing now.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

More incorrect parts

I've been working on the plane a few hours each day this week. I'm still waiting on the correct tank attach nut plates to ship from Vans so there isn't any big hurry. I spoke with them today about another issue and I was told that the nut plate manufacturer was between runs. They aren't sure when they will receive their order and can ship, hopefully not too long.

In the mean time I've gotten a few things done. All of the left wing main ribs are ready to rivet on. There are a ton of skin attach holes on the main spars that have to be countersunk to accept the skin dimples. Just countersinking all those holes took about 3 hours of work.

Countersunk skin attach holes in left wing spar.
  I also started on the rear spar prep work so it will be ready to attach once the ribs are on the main spar. There are three doubler plates that attach at high stress areas where the aileron and flap hinges attach, as well as a reinforcing fork and doubler at the fuselage attach point. All of these doubler plates are now final drilled, deburred, primed and ready to go. The fuselage attach point is a critical hole and requires a precise ream in a drill press. I don't have a drill press in the shop so I'll need to pick one up or take the parts to someone else's shop to drill.

The aileron hinge brackets that attach to the rear spar have also been constructed. One of the nice things about this kit is the fact that nearly all the moving parts run on bearings. This contributes to the light and smooth control surface movement that makes these planes such a joy to fly. A lot of kits, and even production aircraft, run everything on bushings. This contributes to the heavier feeling in the control surfaces of some aircraft.

Outboard aileron hinge bracket parts final drilled primed and ready to assemble.

Inboard aileron hinge bracket clecoed together and ready for rivets.
Inboard and outboard aileron hinge brackets riveted together and ready to install on rear spar.

With the rear spar prep pretty much complete I was at the limit of how far ahead I wanted to get on the main structure. I decided that I would go ahead and build the ailerons while I waited for the nut plates since they are stand alone components and would be easy to store out of the way. I flipped over to the aileron plan sheets and began to gather the parts I would need. When I pulled out the very first parts I noticed that my parts looked nothing like the  parts shown in the plans. I decided that I had got enough done for the day and would call builder support to find out what was going on. After speaking with them today I guess I got sent old versions of the parts and will have to wait for the correct pieces. At least these parts shouldn't be on back order.

Incorrect aileron hinges sent with my kit.
 I really don't want to stop the build for a week just to wait on parts, so I pulled down the right wing main spar and began to work on it. Depending on how long it takes to get the nut plates I may bring the right wing to the same readiness as the left. I still want to work on the main structure of one wing at a time due to space constraints, but I guess it won't be all bad to have all the right wing parts ready to go later on.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rib prep continues

So it turns out I way underestimated the amount of work that goes into preparing each main rib. I've been down at the hanger a couple hours each night the last few days working on drilling the systems holes and priming. I would have finished but I ran out of primer. I've read some guys saying they only used 8 or 10 cans of primer on the whole airplane, I've got 3 cans just on the ribs. I don't think I'm putting too thick a layer on either. I'm not sure where the difference is.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Rib work continues

Well I almost completed the rib prep today. There are 48 skin attach holes, 7 main spar attach holes, and 4 rear spar attach holes on each rib. Each hole has to be final drilled, and deburred, with nearly all the skin attach holes also being dimpled. And there are 14 ribs in each wing. That's a lot of holes, it was a big job so say the least. And I forgot drilling and enlarging the wiring holes for snap bushings. I'll be doing that tomorrow, along with priming each rib.


 The flap hinge brackets and the aileron torque tube support are all primed and ready to install on their respective ribs.

In order to drill the top and bottom bolt attachment holes and final drill the main spar attach rivet holes I had to cleco all the ribs in place on the spar. It was nice to be able to see the structure coming together. 

I realized a mistake I made in dimpling the ribs during the prep stage. The plans have you only dimple the bottom flange of each rib at this point, dimpling the top flanges just before placing top skins. The reason for this is that the ribs at the wing walk do not get dimpled on the top flange, but skins get countersunk. Following the plans method would require dimpling 220 holes with the squeezer, while the structure is riveted together. I decided that I wanted to use the DRDT-2 to form all the dimples, easier and quicker. I carefully noted which ribs were in the wing walk area and set them aside to not get dimples in the top flange. Somehow though I ended up dimpling the W-1010R top flange. An online search showed that I was not the first to make this mistake, and the others were told by Vans to just press out the offending dimples, so that's what I did. I'm going to make triple sure on the right wing that I don't dimple the tops in the wing walk area, in fact I probably won't dimple any of the top flanges until I've clecoed the ribs on the spar.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Wing rib prep

Been working on preparing all of the left wing main ribs the last few nights. Prep consists of squaring the flange to the web, straightening with fluting pliers, deburing, final drilling and deburing all the skin attach holes, dimpling all the skin attach holes in the bottom flange, and final drilling and deburring the spar attach holes. In other words a whole lot of work, times 14 ribs. Then two ribs get flap hinges installed, and all of them will get a double coat of primer tomorrow. All told I think I've got just over an hour into each rib.

I'm still waiting on the right nut plates for the tank attach screws (on back order according to Vans) so I'm going to go ahead and start work on the right wing spar and preparing the right wing ribs, rather than riveting the left ribs to the main spar. I don't want to be trying to install nut plates and countersinking for screws with all the ribs just blowing in the wind...