7.8.24-25 Right wing outboard skin riveted

Another session in the workshop today and I managed to get the bottom outboard skin riveted on. Again nothing complicated here as I think I got the technique nailed. It took a few hours but I got it done. After that I fitted the 8 nutplates to the outboard access hole as well.

And with that the main wing structure is finished! Woohoo!!!  It feels fantastic to have reached this epic milestone. I also updated my little drawing to show the ailerons and wing structure complete and the flaps are next on the to do list.

It’s starting to look like a plane!

7.8.22-25 Torque tank attach bolts, JC5A inboard right wing joints & prime counterbalance again

I’m getting everything on the right wing ready to rivet on the bottom skins. First I torqued all the tank attach bolts to 25″/lb. Once torqued I marked it up with witness mark so I know if they move.

Next I applied JC5A jointing compound to all mating surfaces.

Then I mounted the inboard skin with a couple of clecos ready for me to rivet on another day. After that I applied some more primer to the inside of the aileron counterbalance weight. That’s it for today.

7.8.22-25 Rivet pitot mast & access plate nutes & prime aileron counterbalance and overlap

I spent the morning at Flight of the Navigators place helping him drill his horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage and rivet the ILS doubler plate, but mostly it was spent chatting RV! After lunch I did a bit of everything. First I mixed up some fuel tank sealant to fill the gap in the skin where the cut out for the pitot mast wasn’t quite perfect. Then I fitted and riveted the pitot mast in place. After that I riveted the nutplates to the outboard skin access plate. I gave the wing a good clean with thinner too as it was covered in paint dust and markings.

After that I noticed that I had not primed the overlap of the aft skin. I decided I wanted it primed as it would be in contact with other parts of the aileron. So I masked off both left and right aileron skins and then sprayed them with Acid 8 etch primer as a base coat.

The Acid 8 only takes about 20 minutes before it can be overcoated so I primed the inside of the aileron counterbalance weights with PR143 while I waited. Once dry I primed the overlaps with PR143 as well.

I’ll leave the skins and weights to dry to dry for a day or two before I start assembling.

7.8.22-25 Rivet bottoms skins onto wing structure

As I trundled up to the workshop today I did not have a clear plan. Should I start assembling the ailerons? I’m not sure 24 hours is enough time for the primer to fully cure in this cold weather, so maybe not. As I looked around the workshop I saw the wings staring at me. I decided that, following yesterdays successful inspection, to prepare the wings for riveting. I thought I would need a hand with this so I started laying everything out ready. I got the rivet gun ready and the correct rivets lined up in order. I then put JC5A jointing compound on all the mating surfaces and clecod the inboard skin on with a few clecos along the rear spar (top).

I then read the plans countless times and stared at the wings for what seemed like hours. What would be the best way to tackle this? In fact, would my arms even reach? I put my arm in the main structure with the inboard skin on and was surprised to see that I could reach all the way up to the top (rear spar). I grabbed the bucking bar and could also reach. Hmm! Could I still reach while holding the rivet gun? I tried and I could. So I put a rivet in and bucked it. Well that was easier than I thought. I did another one too as I was so excited!

So I carried on. I riveted in between the wing walk ribs and then about 4 rivets down the wing walk ribs. I then started riveting along the rear spar towards the next rib.

I persevered rivet by rivet and by lunch I had the entire inboard skin riveted on. Hoorah!


Buoyed by the mornings success I decided to have a go with the outboard skin too. This skin is a lot longer and more cumbersome. The first two columns of rivets overlap and were fairly easy to do as they were accessible from the access panel in the inboard skin. Then it got interesting. With the first two columns of rivets done, I had to roll the skin away from the structure and stand in between the skin and structure. I would rivet and then roll back a bit. It was too risky for me to hold the skin and buck and rivet all at the same time. I decided to use my workshop chair as a third arm and arranged it so the chair was supporting the skin and holding in place as well.

Again, slowly slowly I worked my way along the wing, one rivet at a time. This outboard skin was definitely much easier to do than the inboard skin, for sure. Hours later it was time for dinner. My back was on fire, my arms aching and my hands scratched to pieces.

And what was my reward for all this pain? Well, the left wing bottom skins are pretty much riveted. There is only the bottom row of rivets to do on the main spar.

Well what a day! I was not expecting that!

7.8.19 & 7.9.3 to 6 Rivet flap braces to wing and assemble ailerons

My Dad popped round again today to help me get the wings onto the bench. I need them on the bench to be able to rivet the flap braces on to the wing because doing it in the trolley or wing stand would be too difficult and risky. It didn’t take long to do. Once the first one was done we removed the other wing from the trolley and changed the two fixed castors to rotating castors to match the other two. We then swapped the wings and I riveted the right wing flap brace too. I also fixed a bad rivet my inspector and I discussed last week on the left aileron bracket. We then put both wings back in the trolley.

Next I deburred all the right aileron parts and then assembled everything ready for match drilling. It was now dinner time so I decided not to drill tonight. Instead I’ll leave it overnight and do it next time.

7.8.19 – 22 Prime flap brace & bottom skins

Not many photos today but, if you been following along, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. I mix up a bunch of smelly paint, dress up like a mad scientist and spend a few hours spraying parts. Boring but necessary,

I also primed the access plates and pitot mast parts while I was at it.

That’s enough for this session.

7.8.2 Drill, debur & prep wing access plates

Some basic metalwork this morning. I fitted the bottom skins to the wing structure and then started putting screws in to hold the access in plates. Unfortunately while putting the second screw in the head snapped off leaving the screw in the nut plate!

It took me nearly an hour to get the screw out. I tried everything I could think of. In the end I drilled it with a very small hss drill bit and used a tile drill bit in reverse to unscrew the screw.

Once that was fixed I carried on and match drilled all 6 access plates.

Once the plates were all drilled I deburred each one. I did the same to the skin and then dimpled all the holes in both parts that needed doing.

After that I washed the access plates and skins ready for priming.

I hung all the parts up to dry ready to prime when we get a decent weather day.

7.8.17 & 7.11.3 Glue conduit and start on push rods

The corrugated conduit that runs through the wings for wing tip wiring needs to be glued into place using RTV sealant or tank sealant to protect it from vibration. I chose to use tank sealant as I still have half a tin left. So back at mixing some sealant…

And then neatly(ish) filleted sealant around the conduit where it meets the rib.

Next I started on the push rods. I wanted as true a square cut as possible so I used a square on the chop saw to check it was true in both horizontal and vertical. I’m glad I checked because it was way out!

I then located the small steel rod and checked the plans like a million times and then once more for luck. I used two different tape measures for cross check accuracy too. Finally, I plucked up the courage and made the cut on both rods.

Next, I marked the points at which I needed to drill holes for the rivets and fitted the rod ends. I popped it into the rod drill jig and drilled it with the drill press on real slow.

Finally, I marked, disassembled and deburred everything ready to prime the inside of the part.

7.8.19 Countersink flap brace & pitot mast and move wings into trolley

After work today I spent some time prepping the last of the parts for the wing. There’s not much left of the main wing structure to prep.

One part that does need doing is the flap brace. It’s very easy to miss this step as it’s not in the instructions. The flap brace is actually sandwiched between the skin and flap piano hinge. For that reason it needs to be countersunk and not dimpled. So I countersunk both braces, scuffed them and then washed them in Alkaline cleaner ready to prime. I then hung them up to dry.

I also countersunk the pitot tube where it meets the skin but, like an idiot, I also countersunk the part of the mast that fits behind he spar and doesn’t need to be countersunk, Doh!

I gave it some thought and decided it’s best to make a doubler plate from scrap aluminium to support the mast where it’s riveted to the spar. It’s a bit extra weight but cheaper and faster than a whole new mast.

Finally, as my Dad was round, we lifted the wings into the wing trolley. Darn they lol good in there.

I did spot that the flush rivet on the left wing inboard Aileron bracket was not sitting flush. So after drilling out the rivet I attempted to set a new rivet but I think the hole is enlarged so it immediately folded over! I think I will need to drill it out again and fit a -5 rivet there instead.

Ah the joys! That’s for another day as that’s enough for now.

%d bloggers like this: