The metal prep-work continues on the first half of the aft-fuselage. In this section, I finish the aft-bulkhead battery angles, bellcrank ribs, and F-01407 and F-01408 bulkheads in preparation for priming
Before I could start assembling the stabilizer, I had to dimple the skins which took several hours. I was able to use the DRDT-2 for all of the dimples although several setups were necessary to access all the holes. Then I mock-up the main components to make sure everything fits.
While waiting for the primer to cure, I built the cradles for the eventual assembly of the horizontal stabilizer. Then started riveting the rear spar per the instructions. After so many days of prepping it’s nice to get back to riveting with the squeezer.
Spent most of the day today cleaning and priming the ribs, spars, spar-caps, and doublers. I really wanted to do all these parts today since this was the first weekend with warm and sunny temperatures which let me clean and prep most of the parts outside.
After taking a short break from the rudder, it was clear that I would need to rearrange the garage work-tables to work on the horizontal stab. The main spars a very long compare to the VS and rudder. The first steps are to prepare the front and rear spars, the doublers, the spar caps and stringers. This is a lot of debrurring and final drilling.
After finally riveting all the spars and ribs, I spent some time thinking and researching the best way to approach the trailing edge. After all the progress, I was nervous about doing this for the first time since this is a critical aerodynamic aspect of the rudder.
After fighting to set blind rivets this weekend, I decided to invest in a pneumatic pop-rivet puller. This tool is great! It makes quick work of instantly setting consistent pop-rivets. The best part is you can focus on aligning the rivet rather than actuating the manual tool which is particularly helpful when setting in confined areas.
This weekend I was able to make some good progress assembling the rudder. This was probably the most challenging assembly work that I have done in terms of the number of steps and the number of areas where a small goof can have very negative consequences.
Tonight, I finished dimpling the R-00901-L and R skins. I used the DRDT-2 for all the holes on the interior of the skin and the squeezer on the holes along the edge. In both cases, it’s very easy to get a nice dimple on the relatively thin 0.016” skins.
This weekend I continued to work on preparing the rudder for final assembly and riveting. As with the vertical stabilizer, the sequence is to cleco the entire assembly together, match and final drill, disassemble, deburr, dimple, prime and put it back together again.
It’s been a few days since I’ve worked on the project since we had a family trip to Tahoe for ski week. Missed working on the plan but the skiing was incredible due to a record-setting round of cold winter storms in the Sierra.
Trimmed the right rudder skin and deburred the edges using a vixen file and scotch brite wheel. The next steps were to cleco and do some match and final drilling on the counter-weight and top rib to a #12. Disassemble, deburr, check for square flanges, and flute as necessary.
While I wait to have the vertical stabilizer inspected by the EAA technical counselor, I decided to begin the rudder. The first page involves a lot of singulating, trimming, and deburring. I was able to use the snips for most of this work followed by lots of scotch-brite wheel trimming and buffing.
My EAA technical counselor visited and inspected my progress on the almost closed vertical stabilizer. Overall he said things were going well. Found a few rivets that could be set a little more and one that had a slanted shop-head.
Once the primer had cured, it was time to make some more progress in section 06-04. This is the first real riveting that have will have done on this project, so I took my time to make sure I understood the sequence, rivet type and location.
The garage organization and layout can probably be improved, but I decided that I should get started anyway. I think working in the space will help me better understand the best way to position the benches and tools.