I submitted my order to VANS for my RV10 Empennage Kit last night. While I was trying to wait until after I did a demo flight, I realized that honestly I had already decided last year that I was building the -10. I also attended my local EAA chapter meeting and spoke with a number of really interesting people. The one that really stuck in my head was from another local RV10 builder. He is pretty far along in the build process (recently got his fuselage delivered) and so far he has not taken a flight in the RV10. Do you really need to fly in a -10 before you build one? Honestly you really don’t.
My current thought is this. I’ve already completed my practice kit, and just about finished my toolbox. Do I really want to wait another two weeks to order a kit I already know I want to purchase, then wait even longer for it to be delivered? NOPE! I went ahead and ordered it and hopefully it arrives just after I get back from Sun n Fun. Then I can get started and take my demo flight since it’s really getting beginning to be great weather outside.
I finally have the first parts of my RV10. Delivery was pretty uneventful (besides being the last delivery of the day). Shipping was pretty straightforward and easy. Got a call from them shortly after the box was picked up from Vans. Gave me the price for delivery over the phone, confirmed the lift-gate service, and gave me the option of paying by check at the time of delivery or by CC over the phone. Since I was going to be at Sun N Fun when it arrived in the area, they were ok with delaying delivery until I was home.
Of course the Driver was asking me questions about the box and being pretty social.
Spent about 4.5 hours getting everything out of the crate, and fully inventoried. As others have said, they really do an amazing job of getting all that stuff into the box. My crate did it’s job and kept everything safe, even with the shoe prints on the top of the box and a crack on one side. The only complaint I have is the tape. I’m not sure what industrial Duct tape they used, but holy cow that stuff has some stick to it. Granted that’s great for making sure stuff doesn’t move in the box, but I was really hoping to keep all the protective Blue film on most of my skins. The tape on the other hand didn’t agree with my plans, and a lot of my parts are now missing sections of the protective blue film. Honestly does it really matter? I’m eventually going to paint the RV, and will have to scotch bright the whole thing. Guess not, but I will have to be careful.
Storage of all the parts is not the best. I really need to clean off more wall space so I can hang some of the skins / parts. I have just about everything put away for now, but have some concerns of where I’ll hang / put things to get them out of the way as I progress in my build. Guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Onward to building.
So I made a decision that I wanted to prime all of my interior parts with AKZO. I understand that primer is one of those “holy war” things, so I’m not looking to convince anyone that my way is the best, or that primer is even necessary. With that said, I did today I spend the day getting all everything done that I could in short of dimpling or riveting. (in some cases, this required me to “skip” some steps until I did my primer.)
I spent most of Thursday finishing all of the match drilling, counter sinking, and deburring. This set me up to start the process of putting primer on all the parts on Friday. I used a Harbor Freight HPLV gun with the 3M PPS system. This (in theory) should make life a little easier and clean-up a snap. I also have a Primer Pistol that I slightly modified for smaller jobs.
I first went over all the parts with my ScotchBright pads to remove the Oxide layer and to “scuff” up the surfaces. This was really a light scuff . Next, I then mixed up my paint in the 3M cup (1:1 ratio and used the #2 line). Once measured and mixed, I let it stand for 30 mins per the AKZO recommendations.
I then put on my gloves and got out the Acetone to clean off all the dust / dirt / oil. By the time I was done, the pait was just about ready.
I just laid down some cardboard and used it to spray on. All in all, it worked well, however I did run out of paint. Doh! Instead of using another 3M cup, I just pulled out my Primer Pistol and used a small film canister to mix a small batch. This was perfect and allowed me to finish up my primer.
Overall I was pretty happy with the results. I think I was slightly uneven and need to work on a better way to “hang” my parts up when I paint them to avoid things sticking to the cardboard or missing areas. Due to the natural light / shade, I was a bit light on some areas, but not terrible. Finished the day off with dimpling all of the parts and getting ready to rivet the rear spar together.
Today I got as far as I could with the Vertical Stabilizer. Started off with some help from my daughter riveting the first few pieces of the rear spar. Below is a timelapse of me incorrectly attaching the rudder stops to both hinge brackets. In my joy and excitement, I once again though I knew what was being asked, but I didn’t think it through. I ended up drilling it all out and fixing it later. I was happy to have my daughter helping me out so wanted to share. (For those that are curious, the rudder stops should only be attached to ONE hinge bracket, not riveted between both of them. I knew the rivets didn’t look long enough)
One of the changes I was looking to do was to add a conduit to the top of my Vertical Stabilizer so I can add in a camera. (Details to come as I start to bench test some ideas). Based on posts by both Mouser and Damazio, I don’t feel like what I’m trying to do is really “off the wall”.
I fabricated and installed my doubler plate, and went ahead and drilled a hole for a single conduit to the top of the VS. At first I was thinking of getting fancy connectors and buying more stuff, but decided that simple (and lighter) was the way to go. Funny enough my order of conduit from VANS arrived just as I was starting to do my final assembly so I was able to verify that I did everything right. Only thing that I’m currently waiting for is the Panduit Lightening hole mounts so I can start putting the skin on.
At this point I have my skeleton clecoed together and rivets installed where indicated in the directions. Next weekend I’ll be able to install the Panduit mounts and start putting the skin on. Until then, it’s on to the Rudder.
The first few steps for the Rudder are cutting a bunch of parts and cleaning them up. Once again I’m probably overthinking it, but I’m spending a lot of time cleaning up each part and removing any sharp edges.
My bandsaw wasn’t large enough for me to cut some of the parts, so I ended up using the left and right aviation snips. Honestly they work fine and after using the belt sander to clean off the edges (and square them up), all the parts look great. To deburr the edges, I finally broke out the 6″ scotchbright wheel on my bench grinder. After mixed success using it for my practice project, I finally decided to remove the “safety cage” to give me better access to the wheel with those long parts. I’m sure this isn’t the best way to use the bench grinder, but it works for me.
After getting the kids to bed, another 1.5 hours working on page 7-4, Steps 1-3. Didn’t have enough time to start deburring and cleaning up the rudder spar, so I’ll have to work on that tomorrow. All in all good progress today!
Another productive day in the Garage. With great weather outside, I was able to spend time working while my girls were out playing in the yard.
With most of the rudder components fabricated, it was time to start assembling the rudder so I could final drill everything. Got the skeleton assembled, then added the skins and it started to look like a rudder!
Because this is a control surface, you need to take a little longer to ensure you are not adding a twist into the part. This requires a more measured approach to match drilling and adding clecos for EVERY hole along the spare (and trailing edge). This is a lot of clecos and it towards the end of the day my arms and hands were quite sore.
With the drilling done, it’s time to take everything apart and start to deburr everything. By the end of the day, I had completed all of the deburring except for the skins. Tomorrow I’m planning to put the bend on the trailing edge using the edge forming tool (hopefully without messing it up). Not sure when I’ll have enough time to clean and prime the parts. This may not happen until Saturday, so I’ll have to figure out if I’ll start the first few steps of the next section, or if I’ll just put my toys away for a few days.
This week was basically back to “normal”. I spent a total of about an hour working on the RV and really only was able to put the bend on the trailing edge of my rudder skins using the Cleaveland Edge Forming tool. No need for me to show you how it works as they have a great tutorial video on their site. I didn’t use this when I was doing my Practice kit, so we’ll see how it looks when I get the rudder attached. Speaking of the rudder, I had been doing some research and getting ready for this weekend and purchased some Proseal in anticipation of needing it. HOWEVER: it seems that with the newer RV14’s the guidance has been to use some 3M adhesive tape. While not called out in the plans, the description on Vans Website is very interesting
3M F9460PC Tape
Double Sided for Construction
Used for control surface trailing edge assemblies (replaces the older tank sealant method).
1 roll (1/2″ x 60 yards) will suffice for a complete airplane, even the RV-10.
Well, I think I’ll try this vs Proseal as it sounds like it’s a bit cleaner! Also decided to purchase some additional items from Cleaveland Aircraft. Got a set of Rudder Cable fairings, the threaded tie-down block, tail light adapter, and the drill jig for the trailing edge. All of these arrived yesterday so I have everything ready to be productive. Also should have the panduit ligntening hole brackets by this evening so I can potentially start to button up the Vertical Stabilizer.
Now to admit to another “oops”. In drilling my rudder striker plates, it seems that my countersink bit allowed me to drill a bit too deep. Reading online there were suggestions that you could use JB weld or make a shim for places where you may have countersunk something a little too deep, however after discussing with Vans it seems that the best approach is to replace the part. This plate will take a fair bit of abuse, so why set myself up for an issue down the road (and a potentially annoying repair) when I can just order the $4 part now and be done with it. If I had the correct thickness stock material, I could have just fabricated it as this is a simple part, however I don’t yet have any material of sufficient size.
Hopefully this also arrives either today or tomorrow so I can have both the VS and the Rudder completed this weekend? I expect my progress to significantly slow down as the next few sections are much more involved and I have other commitments that need my attention (work, family, life, etc).
This weekend, I was able to finish off my vertical stabilizer. The last few items that I needed to install the conduit arrived, so I was able to get back to the Vertical Stabilizer and polish it off. Once I made the necessary attachment points for the conduit (and the the appropriate blind rivets to fasten it), it was quick work putting everything back together. I then needed to cleco the skin back on the VS. Not sure why I remember this being a bit easier the first time. Honestly I’m not sure how I was holding everything in the right place last time, but I did get the skin on. I’m sure an extra set of hands would have helped.
Riveting wasn’t bad, just took a while. Also the fact I kept needing to drill rivets out didn’t help, but you have to do what is necessary. I’m getting better at working the rivet gun as well as drilling out rivets. Of course towards the end of Saturday evening as I was drilling out a few rivets, I casually tried to brush away some of the shavings with my hand. Didn’t realize the head of one of the drilled out rivets had a large burr or something that was sticking up and acted like a razor blade. Ouch! Slice across three fingers on my left hand for my troubles. Won’t be the last of my injuries while I build this plane I’m sure!
Sunday morning after my flight lesson, back to riveting the skins and finishing up the last of the steps. Took me a few tries to find a good way to position the VS while I was setting rivets. Honestly most of the things I tried turned out to just be awkward. I think I finally started just resting it on the floor and that worked much better. Once it was all done, I put it above the garage doors for longer term storage. I’ll have to play with my tail camera and think of how I want to mount it in the fairing, but have some time before that step.
Timelapse video below:
So more reading and I’m trying a slightly modified technique. Decided to wet scrub the parts for the Rudder today before wiping down with Acetone. Also remembered to mix up a bit more AKZO than I did last time to ensure I have enough for all the parts.
Today was a bit on the cooler side (between 55 and 60 out) so I’m not sure it was optimal AKZO weather. Not really wanting to wait till Friday, I decided to go for it. Again laying down some cardboard in my front yard and lining up the parts. Honestly I need to spend a few hours and build myself a spray box (or just a spray platform out of PVC pipe and chicken wire). Think I put a decent coat down, but not sure if I had my HPLV gun set up or properly cleaned. Still need to get the spray gun wrench from Harbor Freight so I can properly clean the stupid gun.
I got all the prep filmed, but didn’t put the GoPro outside to capture me spraying. I did miss a few spots, but was able to hit them before I cleaned up all the AKZO. At this point all the parts are drying in the garage and I plan to hopefully finish up my Rudder (minus the bending of the leading edge) on Friday? Not sure if I’ll try to bend it myself, or if I’ll enlist the assistance of one of my local builders to make sure I do it right.
After all was said and done, I realized I missed two important pieces when I sprayed. The trailing edge, and the Spar. Oops. Looks like I’ll have to get those sprayed with the Primer Pistol. Also the replacement Rudder striker plate arrived, so I can hopefully get that matched drilled, countersunk and primed as well.
Timelapse of my primer prep: