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Monday, June 29, 2009

Wings Ordered !

Yesterday I put in the big order.. Slow build wings will be here in about 8 weeks. Will give me plenty of time to finish the left elevator and complete all the associated fiberglass on the empennage. Also, there are lots of home improvements and work on vehicles that need to be done, so I have some time to get all that done.

Also, yesterday I made my first real mistake. I punched a hole in a very small piece of the left elevator, basically the trim tab spar is ruined. Its a 9 dollar part and already on order from Vans along with my electric trim tab servo. Should get that this week and allow me to continue on. I guess mistakes happen glad it was only a 9 dollar part. ;-)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Right Elevator - Complete

Over the weekend I put the final touches on the Right Elevator. Aside from the Fiberglass it is complete.. Time to order some wings.. ;-)

In the picture, it looks like I am holding up the left elevator, but actually we are looking a the bottom of the assembly, so be assured it is the right one. No trim tab here. ;-)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Left Elevator Trim Access

I ended up dimpling the nutplates, then backriveting the nutplates onto the stiffener, then backriveting the stiffener onto the Skin. I have seen on other sites where the plate/stiffener ends up warping until it is mated with the skin and in final assembly.. Dimpling the nutplates and backriveting to the plate before back riveting it to the skin made it next to perfect. Was really excited how this piece went together.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Right Elevator Final Assembly

Bekah's back and I have the camera again so will resume my updates. Lots of work on the right elevator, backriveting skins, bending with the bending brake, Skeleton assembly etc.. Went fairly straight forward and was similar to the rudder.
When I was triming the counterweight I noticed that it had an air bubble in the original mold that was about the size of a marble.. I ended up taking some of the left over lead and melted it down and poured it into the hole filling it up. You can kind of see the outline in this picture. Was suprized to see, but easily solvable problem.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Elevator Prep

Lots of work done on the elevators over the last few days, but no pics. Bekah took the camera on a horse drive in California and all I have is my I-Phone and a 12mp camera which I am too lazy to use for photos and the size is just too big for me to have fun with. So I will just talk about what I have done and get pics in as I work the left side.

I have Cut/Primed/Backriveted stiffeners to both R and L Elevators. Bent the Right Elevator skin using the home made pressbrake and ended up with a very clean edge. Excited about how that turned out. I did us a 1/8th inch dowel in the trailing edge to make sure I didn't accidentily crease the edge.

I also have completed the right elevator skeleton and match drilled the skin, so now ready to prime the skeleton and get onto final assembly with the right elevator.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Elevator - Stiffeners

No Pictures today, but I did work through all of the Elevator Skin Stiffeners. A couple hours to cut them all from Stock and then deburring the edges which is now complete. The scotchbright wheel is great on the grinder. Had the grinder running for about 30 minutes straight while deburring.. Next steps are to match drill the stiffeners to each Elevator skin. Hope to make tons of progress on the Elevators this weekend.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rudder Trailing Edge

Finished the Rudder trailing edge and am happy with the results. A few things if I could do it over again would be to use a fixed flush set vs. the swivel flush set that I have. It would have allowed for more accurate rivet setting since the swivel set was all over the place when backriveting. Also, other builders have used back rivet plates that run the length of the rudder, it would allow for the entire process to happen without moving the rudder or the plate, and definitely would have allowed for more precise outcome.
The Epoxy did get on the outside of the aluminum, but I think I can get it off there without any damage. Also, during painting it can be sanded down if necessary. The back riveting here is a slow process, every 10th or so rivet to start, then slowly come back and knock them down a bit further until they are smooth. Lots of patience and lots of time is needed for this job. My edge came out 99.99% straight and I am happy with it. This was tough, just glad it is done !

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rudder Trailing Edge

Things went really well this weekend, I got further along than I thought. Now time to deal with the dreaded trailing edge. Basically, you glue it together and then put the rivets all the way through it and back rivet them making the shop head flush on the other side of the skin. The trailing edge is so thin that the rivets actually go right through it. You will see more pictures later. But the first part is to get that trailing edge glued absolutely straight and I think I got it. Note, I primed the entire rudder skin, so roughed up the primer on the edge a bit where the trialling edge "wedge" slides in. I didn't prime the wedge, but used alodine on it, so not worried about that. Most people don't even prime this because the recommended pro seal won't stick to primer. I used an epoxy I found at Home Depot and it worked great. The epoxy was thick enough to stick and work with on the insides of the skin and wedge. I am really happy with it and with the 50 minute cure time I had plenty of time to get it set up. It was only 5 bucks and the size container was just perfect. Also, I used aluminum channel pre-drilled to match the skins and it all just worked out so well. (got that idea from Mikes RV project you can find on my home page)

Now, to see if I ended up gluing my channel pieces to the rudder. HOPE NOT..

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rudder Skeleton Final Assembly

After backriveting the rudder stiffeners, I finished up the Rudder Skeleton. Was pretty happy how this turned out since I was able to put a solid rivets in everywhere. The primer in the rivet holes got pushed out with the rivets, so I used some green self etching primer and a small brush to "wet rivet" the holes. in the pictures you can see some areas where the green primer shows. Doesn't look as good, but definitely is better for the plane in the long run.

Also when installing the counterweight I had to file away some of the lead to make a perfect fit around some of the shop heads, you can see in the picture that the weight sits on the bottom of the tray nestled in with the rivet shop heads.

After the Skeleton, I started to rivet the skins in place. No pictures of this, but the process was straight forward other than some fancy longeron Yoke usage to get those rivets squeezed inside the Rudder Support Block. ;-)

Rudder leading edge bending

I deviated a bit from the order outlined in the directions and started bending the leading edges before riveting the trailing edge. It worked out well as I used a dowel from home depot and taped it up well. Bekah and I twisted/pulled/torqued on that thing to get a pretty good bend. Was actually harder than I thought, but I think turned out well.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rudder Back Riveting

This morning I spent a couple of hours backriveting the skin stiffeners onto the Rudder. Went really fast and this process makes realy great flush rivets. Basically you tape the rivets into place, then turn the project upside down on a steel plate, use the rivet gun and hammer the back of the rivet. Usually the gun is used on the flush head you will find on the oustide of the airplane and a bucking bar on the back of the rivet. Doing it backwards allows for quick single person riveting but only if you are able to work on a flat surface.
I will get to rivet this way on the Rudder Skins and on the Elevators. Its a great way to rivet, wish I could us this in more places.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rudder primed and ready

Starting to make visible progress on the rudder, priming is the last step before final assembly and here I am priming every piece of the rudder.

This point is the best place to be, even though it doesn't look like much, tons of work on the Rudder is behind me. Probably about 15 hours to get to this place.

On the table you will see every piece that is used in the rudder, lots of little pieces to make something that looks so simple.

From here, Final assembly will be fun and seem to go fast. Also, as parts go together for the last time it looks cool and people can actually tell what it is you are putting together.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Disassemble Rudder for Priming

Today I took the rudder apart and deburred/dimpled the skins and all skeleton components. Also, drilled out the holes for; and machine countersunk the lead counterweight. I bet I will be the only RV-7 flying around with a dimpled tooling hole behind the counterwight. Yes, I dimpled the wrong one, but will just leave it this way. Won't cause any problems and the dimple will probably add extrastrength, better than flattening it anyway and making it weaker than to begin with. Other than that everything is set and all the metal is in top shape for the prep process before priming. Hopefully will get to that before the weekend so I can start riveting and seeing real progress on this rudder. This part has taken longer than others thus far and there seems to be more rivets per square inch than any other part thus far as well.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rudder Skins/Skeleton

The last few days have been full of skeleton work and skin match drilling. I am deviating from the directions a bit mainly because I don't have time to prime right now, but I went ahead and match drilled the skins onto the Skeleton without riveting the stiffeners first. I think overall it takes more time, but it can be done with shorter work sessions. To Prime takes a lot of prep work. If this works correctly I will be able to prime the whole rudder at once which will save time in the long run. See that I have the stiffeners installed with Clecos, so the entire rudder can be held together for Match Drilling. The rudder skin is so thin, almost like aluminum foil. You need to be careful here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rudder Skeleton

Started piecing out the rudder skeleton which seems a bit confusing if you follow the directions, but following the plans makes perfect sense. I think the riveting sequence will be pretty important because there seems to be lots of places where you can rivet something blocking access to future rivets (riveting yourself into a corner) if you are not careful. The Control horn rivets directly through many pieces of metal and a shim that you need to make from scrap. Actual size shim on the plans made it easy. I followed the trick from Brad's website (from my home page) where he only drilled the center hole in the shim, then used it as a centering point to match drill the other two in assembly and make for a perfect fit. All in all it went well, Oh, I did need to break the edges of the top rudder horn quite a bit to get the lower rib to lay flat against it. You will know what I mean if you are building one.

I laid the skeleton on the side of one of the skins and it looks good. Note, some builders may have a problem with the 4th stiffener from the bottom where the spar reinforcement plate is, this stiffener you will want to make sure is no longer than 1/4 inch off center of the most forward rivet hole.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rudder Right side match drilling

Today I worked out the match drilling for the right side of the rudder, I am doing this different than the directions because I didn't have a flat table I wanted to drill into, but my process seems to work for me. Cleco every other hole, then flip it over and match drill. The clecos hold it pretty flat and make it quick and easy.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Vertical Stabilizer Complete

Today I finished the VS with Rebekah's help. A few hours of riveting got the job done. Its warm in Seattle these days, was nice to work in the heat.
Now where to hang this thing...

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