I’ve put about 50 hours of work in since my last post so I figured it was time to update the blog. Work has slowed down a bit recently because Meggin and I adopted a puppy and we’ve been giving her tons of attention, but I’m starting to get back into a good routine of working on the plane.
Since my last post, I have back riveted the elevator stiffeners to the elevator skins
While doing the very last rivet on the very last stiffener, I let the rivet set slip off the rivet and dent the skin a tiny bit. Of course, the dent is on the top skin of the elevator instead of the bottom where no one will see it. It’s not too bad though.
I riveted the stiffener halves together to join the elevator skins. This was a little tough since there isn’t a lot of space between the skins to get your hands into but otherwise it was uneventful.
Then I riveted the spar to the stiffeners and the skins.
Riveting the tip ribs to the elevators requires setting some rivets in a really tight spot. I checked other builder blogs and no one else seemed to have any trouble with these rivets but I had a terrible time with them. I could not prevent them from bending over. I drilled out at least 3 rivets before I found out from Van’s that blind rivets were an acceptable replacement for the solid rivets here. Unfortunately though, I did a terrible job of drilling out the first rivet I set and enlarged the hole quite a bit. I ended up having to use a larger rivet for this hole, and because the larger hole no longer had the correct distance from the edge of the flange it is located on, I had to build doubler plates for both sides of the hole and add a couple extra rivets to the flange. I don’t think the hole looks too bad in this picture but in the horizontal direction it is large enough for a 5/32″ rivet even though it is supposed to use a 4/32″.
Then I was ready to give the trim tabs another attempt. This time I used Scotch brand double sided tape and cut new blocks for clamping the skins down. I found that by setting my table saw to about a 10.5 degree cut, I was able to cut out a wedge that matched the angle of the trim tab almost perfectly. Everything went well at first. I bent the outboard tabs of the trim tabs without any trouble. However, when I started to bend the inboard ends the wedges were sliding as I clamped them down. My best guess is that the leftover glue from the tape I had been applying, removing, and reapplying every time I moved blocks was preventing the new tape from holding properly. So, the bottom block slid out of the trim tab and the upper block slid down which resulted in another dent near the trailing edge of the trim tab skin. Luckily I planned ahead for something like this to happen and put the top of the skin against the table so the dent is on the bottom of the trim tab. I don’t want order more trim tab skins unless I really have to so I’m going to build on for now. When I did the second skin I added another clamp to prevent the inner block from sliding out, but the upper block still slid down so I ended up with a less severe dent in the second trim tab. You can see the smaller C-clamp that I added in the second picture below.
That brings me up to where I’m at now. Last night I added the bend to the bottom flange of the trim tab skin and reassembled the trim tabs so that they are ready to be final drilled next time I work on them. I’m hoping that over the weekend I’ll be able to get the foam ribs and trailing edge wedge glued into the trim tabs and elevators with Proseal.