Fuel Tank Progress   April 29th, 2009

I’ve spent the last several weeks working on sealing and riveting the fuel tanks. The tank sealant gets on EVERYTHING, so I have not taken very many pictures. We took a few when we first started, and then the rest are after the tanks are mostly done…

Here is my usual setup — Respirator and safety glasses. The tank sealant is not too bad, but the MEK I was using to clean up is scary stuff. The label says it will give you a headache and as long as there is plenty of ventilation (notice open garage door) it is not dangerous, but one whiff of the stuff and you know it can’t be good to be breathing it. Also, it will melt almost everything, including your gloves, your eyes, and probably your neurons if you breathe too much of it..
Here is me applying tank sealant to an internal rib.
Here here is Fabiola decked out in her respirator and glasses too..
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Riveting the Ailerons   April 26th, 2009

The ailerons are supposedly the ‘hardest riveting in the whole airplane’. Once I figured out how to do it, it wasn’t really that hard. I placed the aileron upside down in the fuel tank cradle, and propped the skin open with a roll of masking tape. I also placed a light near the opening so I could see what I was doing. The only tricky part was towards the middle of the aileron, where I couldn’t really watch the rivet from both sides (I would have needed gorilla arms). So, I placed the bucking bar in about the right spot, and watched the rivet gun. I just tried to hold the bucking bar in about the same spot as where I originally placed it. Most rivets turns out really good, and I only had to drill out one or two per aileron.
The picture below shows the bucking bar I used. I covered almost all of it in duct tape so I could place it right on the spar and it wouldn’t scratch anything as it bounced around.
Ok, so at this point the skins-to-spar rivet line on the top was fully riveted on.
The next step was to dimple the row of holes where the counterbalance pipe is riveted to the leading edge. The only way to do this is to take the dimple die and the arbor that comes with the riveting C-frame, and just hammer right into the hole (with the water countersink pipe in place, obviously).
The very last step is to blind-rivet the bottom spar to the skins. The only trick is to remembe to that these holes have to be drilled to #30, and not #40 like the ones on the top. Finally, here is a completed aileron:
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