The Training Project

I thought it would be a good idea to ‘prime’ all the new tools before using them in earnest on the actual aeroplane.  Some months ago I purchased the training project along with the preview plans / builders manual and now seems like the perfect time to get started.

Vans Aircraft Training Kit

On Tuesday I spent 2 hours making a start on the kit.  Most of that time was spent working out how to use the new tools and learning to read the plans.  I’d done pretty well on the whole, or so I thought.  Once I started back-riveting it all went wrong.  My back riveting was terrible and I couldn’t understand why.  At first I thought I hadn’t set the rivet gun properly or that I had faulty tools.  In the end I called it a night.  2hrs

On Thursday evening I ventured back up to the workshop and had a think about things.  I had read somewhere that the rivet gun may need a high pressure setting so I whacked it up to 90 PSI but still the rivets were not setting.  They would go to about half way and that’s it.  After 20 mins I decided to leave it alone.  20 mins

On Friday morning I had a visitor, Richard, who is an experienced builder having completed his RV build last year and won the LAA best home built 2014.  We chatted about everything from priming to dimpling.  When it came time to dimpling I tried to show him what was wrong but, would you believe it, it blooming worked this time.  So well in fact we had to turn the pressure down to 40PSI!  Richard thinks that I perhaps didn’t have the gun seated on the rivet properly due to the angle of the metal.  I probably agree.  2hrs

Once Richard left I cracked on with the training project.  I found a new lease of confidence following his visit and couldn’t wait to get through the project.  I could only manage another 2 hours before I needed to go out.  2hrs

On Saturday I was determined to finish the training project.  In hindsight I wish I hadn’t set a time limit as I am sure I could have done a better job.  Maybe that’s lesson 1 right there?

Anyhow, I did finish the training projects (there are 3 in the pack) and I am moderately pleased with the outcome.  While the finished product is not as good as I had hoped it would be I am now more aware of what can go wrong.  Some of the gotchas that caught me out on the training project are:

  1. Rivet gun pressure too high: Gun hops around the skin like mad creasing it as it goes, grrr!
  2. Unclamped work: Don’t, just don’t!  Go find some clamps or a friend and get that work locked down.  This is especially true when riveting.
  3. Drilling: USE DRILL STOPS!  That drill shoots out the other side no matter how much you think it won’t.
  4. Drilling 2: Be careful not to scratch the metal with the drill tip both before and during drilling.
  5. Bucking Bar: I should have covered it in masking tape, even the tungsten bar scratches up that metal good.
  6. SLOW DOWN:  This is by far the best lesson that I learnt.  Mixing up an AN3-3 rivet with an AN3-3.5 is not an issue on the training project but on the real deal it’s going to be expensive!

So the trainign project is/are complete.

Finished Vans RV Training Kit

Am I satisfied with it? No.  Have I learn’t from it? Without a doubt.

Would I recommend it?  Hell yeah, if you are a first time builder and need to ‘prime’ your new tools I think this kit should be compulsory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: