7.8.11 Rivet left leading edge to spar

Earlier today (see my previous post) I did a bunch of fuel tank work. After lunch my buddy Richard popped over to help me get the leading edge ribs riveted to the main spar. I had already done the outboard most rib using a hand squeezer on Thursday night but the other 5 ribs were going to be impossible to do alone because the gun needs two hands and the bucking bar needs a contortionist!

I’d already read a whole ton of builders logs and prepared myself for this moment. For example, I knew that I needed to use the double offset rivet set and that it still wouldn’t fit without grinding it down. So I did all that last week. Once Richard arrived we got cracking on the left wing leading edge riveting. Richard was in charge of the rivet gun mainly because his arms were too short to reach in the depths of the leading edge assembly.

In no time at all we had managed to get all of the left leading edge done. It felt great to have finally finished the left leading edge.

We made a start on the right leading edge to spar riveting too and after riveting the middle rib and most of the 2nd rib we had our first bad rivet! I quickly drilled it out and we re-shot another rivet but that too went bad! We think there might be something amiss with the rivet set. Out of time, Richard had to leave so, after he left, I drilled out the rivet a second time. Unfortunately the drill slipped and made a right mess of the rivet hole. I used my cheap Amazon bore-scope to take a closer look at the damage from inside the leading edge. The aft side of the spar looks OK but the forward side looks like this.

I’ve thought long and hard about how to fix this since then but I will definitely need to speak to my inspector before making any decisions. I think I will have to enlarge the hole to a -5 size and then use a pop rivet here, MSP-54 i think. Those MSP pop rivets are made by Cherry and are almost as strong as solid rivets. Unfortunately I can’t use a -5 solid rivet here as there is no way that the rivet set will fit on the rivet of that size even if I grind it down to its bare minimum.

Ah, the joys of building an RV!

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