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Sunday, May 31, 2009

VS Final Assembly

Final Assembly of the VS is underway. A few pics of the progress. This component goes together really fast and seems easy after the HS. Looking forward to getting moving on the rudder. A few pics below show you how I cleco in every other hole, then put the rivets into every other hole before riveting. Makes sure you don't end up with tight rivets at the end of the line. The post it tags work well for my needs.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

VS Rear Spar

Started final assembly on the VS Rear Spar. This piece is going really fast. I will finish this weekend ! !

Wow, just realized no pics of this event. Will have more pics of the final assembly in the next post.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Vertical Stabilizer Priming

Today I primed the VS and started working on the rudder stiffeners. No pics of the priming because it was the same old thing. The Skin Stiffeners on the rudder was interesting. I think for this each person just has to find their own way and hopefully it is as efficient as possible. Took me a few hours to cut them all then smooth them all. I would definitely say you need a scotchbright wheel for this one and need to be good with the snips..

HS Complete and Hung

Great Day today, my first major airframe component was complete. I have it on the wall where it will stay for the next few years until its time to mate with the fuselage. Its out of the way enough and secure enough that I won't need to worry about it. Now to figure out how to hang the Vertical stab when done.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

HS Final Stretch

Lots of work today with the squeezer on the final assembly of the HS. There are a lot of rivets in the rear spar where it connects to the skin. Didn't finish all of it, but will definitely get to it tonight. From the looks of it, we are all but done with the HS..

Monday, May 25, 2009

Right Skin of Horizontal Stabilizer

Happy Memorial Day !

We were able to start work on the right side of the HS today. Its looking pretty good except for a scratch on the skin that came from the factory. Really bummed because I noticed a slice in the plastic, but didn't think much of it initially.. Started working and just by chance happened to pick the wrong skin for the left side, which force me to use the one with the slice on the right side. The way it turned out, the slice had to be on the top as well. Pealing back the blue plastic, sure enough a gouge right through the metal.. This was noticed too late to do anything about as well, but luckily it is pretty small and clear on the outside so its not structural.
Other than that, it looks great, we made tons of progress and should be able to finish the stabilizer in a few days. Check out the pics.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Riveting the HS Skins

Starting with the left side, we spent a few hours today riveting the skins onto the skeleton. We took it real slow in the begining because it was our first real attempt at riveting other than practice projects. Rebekah picked up the gun and shot while I bucked. We got the Center Nose Rib done first and did an absolutely beautiful job. They all came out flush and super smooth to the touch. Absolutely not bad for a first shot at riveting. Note the directions tell you the proper order to rivet so that you don't paint your self in a corner. Make sure to follow them closely if this is your first time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Horizontal Stabilizer Rear Spar Assembly

Got an hour in the shop tonight and started assembling the rear spar. Pneumatic squeezer saved my day here. Each rivet is exactly perfect and looks good. Basically in this session I was able to put the spar together and get the elevator hinges in place. Now it gets set aside until the skins are on and final HS assembly is underway.

Also, a quick pic of the primed skin. Light coats are best, and doubled up where metal touches metal. Now I am ready for tomorrows, big day of riveting.. Hopefully Rebekah will be up for it. ;-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vertical Stabilizer

Last night I was able to put in about 3 hours on the Vertical Stabilizer. It went together pretty fast from a skeleton/skin match drilling perspective. Got all the holes drilled and deburred and did the rib forming work. Now to dimple/countersink, then prime before final assembly. Pictures attached show the work midstream.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More Priming

I now have a few pieces of Aluminum that will last for 30+ years with no corrosion ! ! ;-)

People talk about weight added to the airplane from Primer. I look at it as the (approx) 15 pounds added is a good goal for the weight I need to loose around my waist.

Personal Fitness goal: Make the weight of my primer irrelevant !

I think I got this priming figured out. I just used a bit more reducer with a finer spray and what a difference. Went on very smooth and covered much better. I went for it and primed the skeleton for the left Horizontal Stab. Now I just need one more priming session to get the right side and both inside skins done. Then it will be time to rivet the HS together forever.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Priming/Dimpling Horizontal Stabilizer

So first off I went to the EAA Sport Air Workshop all weekend and found it pretty helpful, although it was really aimed at someone who hadn't even started building yet. I was able to get a few key questions in which made it worth it. Also, meeting other people who share the same interests, and getting a few emails to bounce ideas off etc, will end up helping in the long run.

Best part of the weekend was that a local builder gave me a pre-built DRDT 2 Dimpler table. Its great, and fits perfect. Allowed me to dimple the rest of my skin in a matter of minutes. Check out the pics, a solid table like this is really the way to go. Thanks Rob ! !

Also, I tried my first attempt at "metal prep" and priming. Wow, this is tough. first Scotchbright, then Alumiprep, then Alodine. I found that using Scotchbright with Alumiprep at the same time is messy and gets it all over. This stuff is unhealthy so you want to keep it as clean as you can. So going forward this is what I am going to try:

1) Rough the part with Scotchbright, easy and quick process.

2) Dunk in bath of, or wipe down with Alumiprep in a rag to clean off oil/dust, and etch the metal. Use gloves and keep the Alumiprep mixed in a sealed container.

3) Wash after with Water.

4) Dunk the part in Alodine (mixed with water), or paint with straight Alodine if the part is too big to dunk. This will provide better adhesion of primer and additional corrosion protection. (The Alodine step is not absolutely necessary so might be skipping this one in the future.)

5)Wash with Water, Then Prime.

I use gloves and safety glasses through this whole process. Here are some pics at my first attempt at priming. Need more reducer, it went on kind of clumpy. (not too good)

Thursday, May 14, 2009


OK, lots of dimpling has taken place. I got the entire skeleton of both sides complete, as well as a good start on the skin. Still working on setting up my table for the DRDT 2, so I can't dimple the entire skin just yet. A local friend has a table that he is willing to loan me, so hopefully I can pick that up this weekend after the RV builders class. Will have to see.

A couple questions I have that need to be answered deal with the trim cable hole, and if I need the same size hole as indicated since I may be doing electric trim. Will need to follow up on that one. Also, I need to know if I need to dimple the 10 holes where the fairings attach to the HS. Those are good questions to ask in the workshop this weekend.

Here is a pic of me using the squeezer to dimple the skin of the left stabilizer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

EAA Sport Air Workshop

I signed up for the weekend long RV Builders workshop this weekend up in Arlington. Bummed because it will be a whole weekend that I can't work on the plane, but in the long run it will be worth it, looking to meet other RV builders as well as hopefully learn tons that will speed things up down the road.

Last night I worked on the right stabilizer to catch it up to the left side. Everything is going well at this point, will get some pics tonight and post my progress.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Match Drilling Left Stabilizer

No pics because it looks about the same, but I was able to spend about 2.5 hours in the shop last night and match drill the rest of the left Horizontal Stabilizer. Whats next is the same process on the right side, then dimpling all the rivet holes, cleaning the metal, Scotchbrite roughing of all metal surfaces, alumiprep to clean, then priming, and finally I will get to rivet it together. Going to use PPG Epoxy 2 part primer, at least to start.. We will see how complicated that gets, but for now I am going this route.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Left Stabilizer Skin

This pic is great, but makes it look like I am further along than I am. Need to still match drill every hole, deburr, dimple, prime, etc.. But at least all the pieces fit together. Looks cool. Like a real part of an airplane.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Horizontal Stabilizer; Skeleton Work

I was able to work a couple hours and managed to debur, flute, drill, and attach the skeleton for together for the Horizontal Stabilizer. The work on the ribs took the longest, making sure that they were straight and aligned before going together. Bekah got a pic of me trying to make sense of all the parts.

Oh, and also the highlight of my weekend.. I got my first ride in an RV-7.. Until now I have been going on faith, but now I know. It is an amazing aircraft. Jim Piavis a local builder was able to give me a ride in his recently finished -7. Note the aerobatic pic.. Was able to focus on Mount Rainier in the middle of a roll, that is how smooth this aircraft is. ;-)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Additional Fixtures

Today I did more work on getting everything built out so that later on down the road things will go faster. I built my "press brake" for bending the Elevator skins, and as well built out my priming table. Still not 100% sure how I will prime, but I am getting closer to figuring it out and do know that I will use a table such as the one in this pic. Also, I am building a table for the DRDT-2 Dimpler, but using my own design and hoping for the best. If it works, I will do another write up on it in a separate post, if not, you will probably never hear about it again. ;-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finally, the rest of my tools

Today, over 6 weeks from the initial order, I finally got my "swivel flush rivet set" from Avery. Not happy with them, but it did finally come, so I could finish my practice projects. Liking the way the flush rivet set works, much easier than the standard round head rivet set. I still have more work to do, but am getting along pretty well with it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Horizontal Stabilizer; Front Spar

I only got about 1/2 hour in the shop today. Enough time to decide that I need to buy a bandsaw. I used the vixen file to shape one of 8 sides for the fuse attach points of the Horizontal Stabilizer. Definitely need a bandsaw to make this go faster. If I am going to get one need it now, vs. waiting then deciding later after much manual work has gone by. ;-)

Also, drilled out the initial holes in the Front Spar and will be working on the trimming and bending of it next chance I get. You don't match drill the holes in the ears that bend later. They wait to get drilled once the bend is in place. Also, of the holes I did drill, some of them get enlarged and don't get rivets installed yet, but will wait until attached to the fuselage.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Horizontal Stabilizer; Rear Spar

Today I started some of the work on the Rear Spar of the Horizontal Stabilizer. Just starting to get my feet wet, but did squeeze my first few rivets outside of Practice Projects. I am trying to figure out how to label my parts so that as I clean them and prime them I can make sure every hole is in the same spot as it goes back together. I am sure I will figure that one out, but the more parts the more difficult that step will be. If you don't get everything back on the correct side, and correct side up, then all the match drilling will be for nothing. Gotta make sure those holes are exact.

Also, Some concern over scratches in the ribs and spars as they came from Van's I am sure the scratches will buff out and won't be noticable with the primer, but still.. I don't want any scratches on my metal.. The skins look good and of course that is the most important pieces..

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Today Bekah and I inventoried the Empanage pieces. It went fairly quickly, but then I had to go back and get all the rivets out of the bags and put them in the right drawers. Every other builder says the better organized you are the faster things are in the long run.
I found a good use for the carboard that the skins came in. Don't know how long this will last, but it does give the plans some support and makes them movable.
Oh, and was Bekah's Birthday ! !

Places we have been in our RV-7 ! (Blue 2013, Yellow 2014, Green 2015, Purple 2016, Red 2017)