Beginning to assemble the elevators. The first few steps are cutting and cleaning up a number of the ribs and other small parts. I found my belt sander to be perfect for getting the separated rib parts down to the correct size. This did leave a bit of a burr that was then cleaned up on the ScotchBrite wheel. I assembled the ribs and match drilled them. I also cut and cleaned up the shear clips as well as assemble the Elevator tip rib assemblies.
Honestly this is what I consider the “fun stuff”. Take basic materials and cut, assemble, match drill, and begin to put the parts together.
So not much detail for this post. Somehow I didn’t have my camera in “timelapse” mode, so I had to edit down a few hours of 4k video down to something “reasonable”. Again I was more concerned with making progress than I was on getting good camera angles. I was doing a bit better with my elevator videos that I should publish shortly.
Essentially this was a bunch of “rinse and repeat” riveting the ribs and spars to the skin. Nothing major. There is a note in the plans that some of the holes in the center of the HS may be more accessible when they are out of the cradles. I absolutely found this to be the case for my build (not shown in the video).
During this stage is when I really wanted an EAA counselor or another builder to come over and talk me off the ledge. I was getting upset that my skins weren’t “perfect” and that I was putting some dings in the skins. One of my local builders came over to take a look and didn’t see anything that was of any real concern. Even the dent in my rudder didn’t make him flinch. The advice was that I should try to use my mushroom swivel set (similar to this one). I have one sitting in my toolbox but hadn’t used it yet. I’ll have to see how it works on the elevators.
Anyway, here is the final Horizontal Stabilizer video.
So I’m totally behind on getting my videos edited, but still making lots of progress on the build. (So much in fact that I think I’m working faster than my budget will allow).
Currently I have assembled and match drilled both elevators and have them disassembled for deburring. Local weather is not allowing me to have long build sessions in the Garage due to high temps and high humidity, so I think for the next week it’s just going to be 10-15 min sessions at a time so I don’t overheat. I really don’t have the desire to install an overpriced AC in my garage.
Looking ahead I have another tube of proseal on order and planning out what is needed to get my parts cleaned up, deburred, primed, and ready for dimpling / assembly. Mostly trying to do all the proseal on the Elevators and Trim Tabs in one go.
I’m also looking ahead at the tail cone and storage of parts. I’m quickly running out of wall and ceiling space, so trying to come up with solutions. either by removing some of my overhead storage to make room for the tailcone, or making a crate to put the tailcone in to protect it if it’s going to live on the floor. Also looking at budget to determine when I can order the wings to minimize “down time” waiting for them to be fabricated / delivered. Still hoping to have them delivered in early January if possible.
I’m trying to break some of my updates and videos up a bit so they aren’t so long (as well as speeding up the videos a bit).
I found some tips by Larry Larson on his website http://wirejockrv7a.blogspot.com/ Specifically his tips for Dimple tokens. I wanted to make sure I countersunk my spars correctly so I just make a few tokens to start with. They turned out pretty good and I need to finish making the set (as well as putting them on a keyring). I thought I took some video while I make the tokens, but can’t seem to locate it. (I’m really behind on my updates at the moment).
Countersunk all the necessary holes in both the front and rear spars (checking with the tokens along the way). Mounted the nose ribs and riveted them into place. I found that using one of the inspar ribs to pull the skin together helped a bit, but even still needed to cut a piece of vinyl tubing to help get the skin and rib flange to sit tight together. (This is hard to explain but is discussed in more detail in this tread on VAF, as well as photos here)
I installed the front spar and inspar ribs and blind riveted the ribs to the spar as appropriate. Finished up with clecoing the skins to the ribs before starting to rivet everything into place.
After getting all the parts for the HS deburred in the previous update and a nice break in the weather, I started to get the parts ready for priming. Due to the chance of some storms later that day, I decided to skip the wet-scrub and just scuff the parts with a regular scotch-bright pad, followed by cleaning with Acetone. This was slightly less messy and allowed me to move faster through the prep of the parts. Once the Acetone and air-filter went on, the kids had to go inside.
Just as I mixed the AKZO, the weather started to look threatening. I thought for sure all that AKZO was going to be wasted, but luckily things held off and I was not only able to spray all the ribs and stringers, but had enough time to scrub down the skins and get them primed as well.
After that I had to go back and dimple the skins and all the parts. One suggestion – Double check that all the holes on the skin that should be dimpled are actually dimpled. Later on I realized I somehow missed a single dimple. It happens, and you can kinda fix it, but it’s better to just dimple it correctly the first time.
I think part of the problem was I didn’t do all the skins in one sitting and decided to start to assemble a few parts before I finished all the dimpling.
So I’m a little behind in my posting / video editing. With that said, I’m working on getting caught up.
After finally making a trip to the local hardware store, I finally had the right size pipe as well as some “gorilla tape” to help finish up the rolling of the leading edge. Honestly it wasn’t a terrible process, but it was slightly annoying and I ended up using two different size PVC pipes to get a decent fit. Others have commented that the two sheets were not laying flat when they riveted their skins together, but honestly mine turned out decently. Maybe one or two spots were lifting a bit, but decided to leave them as is for now.
Then I moved to the counterbalance and proceeded to mount the lead weight and fold over the skins. Mounting the nutplate was slightly difficult since I don’t have any nutplate jigs. I was hoping that the skins wouldn’t pillow on the counterbalance, however I wasn’t so lucky and ended up having to install a blind rivet in the middle of my counterweight. Oh well.
I talked to a few other builders about the minor dent at the top of the rudder. Basically the advice was to keep moving forward and when I go to put the fairing on I can always fill it a little bit with some micro if I really want to. The skin didn’t tear and non of the ribs were damaged. Just cosmetic damage and I should worry.
It’s funny, looking back when it happened I felt like it was such MAJOR damage, however now in hindsight it’s really pretty minor. Heck, the 172 I’m currently flying has much worse “hanger rash” and it flies just fine.
Chalk it up to being a “first time builder”.