Began install of right leading edge

March 29, 2011 – I started installing the right leading edge to the main spar. The plans call for solid rivets for the rib/spar install, but access to shoot them is something of a challenge, so many people use pop rivets. I really didn’t want to do that, so I decided to use hi-locks, a fastener that theoretically only requires access to one side. Hi-locks are fasteners made of either steel or titanium that are secured with a collar that has wrenching flats that break off at the correct torque. I wanted to install them from the forward side of the spar so that I could install the collars on the aft side where I had room to work. They would also be easier to remove should the highly unlikely need arise. As it turns out, there wasn’t enough room to get a wrench or socket on the collars from the aft side, because they were up against the main ribs. So I drove the fasteners in from the aft side and installed the collars on the forward side. I used -5 fasteners, so I had to enlarge the holes in the spar and the ribs to #21. That drill size also allows for an interference fit of the hi-lock.

Did I gain anything from using these over pop rivets or solids? Probably not. I ended up having to modify my pop riveter for the tank z-angles anyway.

I still have to install the rivets for the leading edge skin and the main spar.

Time: 3:45

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Right tank work

March 22, 2011 – I finally got all the center ribs installed in the right fuel tank. I’m getting a little tired of mixing a batch of sealant every time I need to do something, but the end is near.

I also did some of the smaller items that will lead to being able to close the right tank. I installed the fuel float sender in the baffle for the right tank, because of the flop tube. Luckily, the float cleared the stiffener right below it.

I safetied the flop tube to the fitting that will feed fuel out of the tank…

I installed the anti-hangup strap to the second rib. This strap will deflect the flop tube in case it gets close to this corner.

Then I installed the anti-rotation bracket for the flop tube. I used a bracket that Van’s includes in the kit. These brackets are for the fixed fuel pickup tube that I have installed in the left tank. I just cut the top off so the flop tube fitting would lie in the bracket.

Then my friend Joe stopped by, so we riveted the splice straps in the leading edges. This is where the fuel tank attaches at the outboard end. Just for giggles, we test-fitted a tank on the wing. No pictures on that yet until it’s time to install…

Time: 8:00

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Continued fuel tank rib installation

March 13, 2011 – Today I also continued installing fuel tank ribs. I made an off-hand remark to my wife Lenora (LJ) about needing help with some riveting, and she said OK!! After a quick lesson on handling the rivet gun, we got started. Shot the last two ribs in the left tank, and I said we could stop if she wanted. She said “It’s kinda fun, let’s keep going”. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, we put the right tank on the table and got two of those ribs done. Once she got the hang of it, she was a machine. She did a great job.

Time: 5:40

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Repaired potential rib crack

March 13, 2011 – Last week I started riveting the joint strap into place on the left wing leading edge. My tungsten bar slipped off the rivet and I thought the rib might be cracked.

So I drilled out the installed rivets and removed the rib and the strap again. The rib wasn’t cracked, but the potential was definitely there for one to develop later on.

I blended as much as I could, then I drilled through the deepest part of the gouge. I made a strap to go on the inside of the rib flange. probably over-engineered, but I’m confident it’ll be good forever.

Time: 1:05

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Leading edge assembly

December 21, 2010 – After not being sure if I could rivet the leading edges by myself, I decided yesterday to give it a try. I took the assembly out of the cradle and put it on the table. Things went a lot easier.

Before I started assembly, I installed the nutplates for the landing light brackets.

The fasteners at the leading edge were a little more difficult to reach, but I took my time, and things came out OK. I also installed the access panel doubler for the stall warning vane.

The left leading edge is clecoed onto the wing spar.

I’ve started on the right leading edge. I’m doing this one a little differently. Hopefully this will give me a little more access, since the top rivets are a little more difficult at the leading edge.

Time: 3:10

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Catching up on the right wing

November 18, 2010 – Today I took care of several items that would get the right wing caught up to the left.

I started by riveting the ribs to the main spar in the upper (forward) holes that will be under the fuel tank skin when it is installed. I couldn’t find these referenced anywhere in the plans, and I have seen them mentioned on other sites, so I went ahead and installed them.

The large countersinks are for the fuel tank screws, and the line of holes below them areĀ  the skin rivet holes.

I also had to dimple the holes in the aft spar.

I continued to dimple the main skins for the right wing. I got the wingwalk doubler and the outboard lower skin done. All I lack is the outboard upper skin. When that is dimpled, I can cleco it in place, and then I should be able to start on the leading edges.

Time: 3:10

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New wing stand and right wing assembly

November 17. 2010 – I’ve decided that in order to do the leading edges efficiently I would need to build a second wing stand so I can work both wings at the same time. I copied the structure of the stand that I have that I got from Kenny Haberstroh. I’m not the best with wood, but I think this will work.

After I got the stand built, I pulled out the parts for the right wing, and assembled the main ribs to the spars. This went pretty quick, since I’d done it before.

I then hung the right wing to the new stand. Things are a little tight, but I think I’ll just slide the stand over a little bit when I have to work on it.

Time: 2:35

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Deburred and dimpled right wing ribs

October 24, 2010 – I finally finished deburring and then dimpling the main ribs for the right wing. I also needed to dimple the aft spar for the left wing which is on the stand.

Now I just need to clean, alodine and prime the ribs, then I’ll put them away for the time being and go back to the left wing.

I also ordered the kits for the landing lights, since they will be built in to the leading edges. I went with the Duckworks original rectangular 55W light kits.

Total Time: 2:30

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Assembled left wing main structure

October 18, 2010 – I finished riveting the main ribs to the left wing main spar, then I attached the aft spar.

When the ribs were attached to the main spar, I set the wing up on the spar, clecoed the aft spar in place, and taped off the rivet holes that other items will attach to.

I was able to use the squeezer on most of the rivets through the aft spar, but it wouldn’t squeeze the rivets at the inboard end because that material has several layers and is thick. So I shot those rivets. I also was working alone, and wasn’t comfortable using an offset rivet set by myself, so I shot the rivets with the manufactured heads going in through the thicker material. Not ideal, but I didn’t have any problems with the thinner rib material not seating.

The left wing main structure is now complete. I’ll hang it on the stand, and start deburring and prepping the right wing main ribs for paint.

Total Time: 2:15

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Began left wing assembly

October 14, 2010 – I decided last night to start painting ribs for the left wing, because the breeze died down a little bit. So I got half of the ribs done then, and I painted the other half this morning.

While letting the ribs cure a little bit, I countersunk the holes in the main spar where the skin dimples will fit.

I set up the left main spar on my table and started riveting the ribs in place.

I put tape along the edge of the spar reinforcement to protect it from the bucking bar. Then I poked a hole in my finger using a knife to trim some tape on my bucking bar. Oh, I also got a blood blister on another finger from the main spar countersinking.

I started installing the ribs in the middle of the wing, so I could work out to each end. Shooting the rivets from the rib side, since it’s the thinner material.

Total Time: 1:45

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Skin drilling and rib prep

October 13, 2010 – No pictures for the work I’ve done in the last couple of days, but there’s really nothing that I haven’t taken pictures of before.

I started out by drilling the upper skins on the left wing, then I clecoed the lower skins in place and drilled them. I then took all the skins off, and removed the main ribs for the left wing. I started deburring the rib rivet holes and otherwise prepping the ribs for paint.

A new friend of mine stopped by to help. Mike Henricks attends the same EAA chapter that I do (168), and he’s wanting to learn some of the techniques required for this airplane. So he helped me deburr and then he dimpled the ribs using the pneumatic squeezer.

Today I had the privilege (yay) of scotch-briting the ribs for the left wing, and then I alodined them. Cleaning to prep for paint is definitely my LEAST favorite part of this whole project. The stack of items seems to never get any smaller. But it eventually does.

So now I have a stack of nice golden-colored ribs ready to paint. Hopefully the breeze will be a little calmer tomorrow so I can do that before starting a new work week.

The drawback to all this is that I still need to do this entire process on the ribs for the right wing. If I was smart, I’d go ahead and do those before I start assembly of the left wing. That way I won’t have to return to that particular phase of drudgery.

Total Time: 10:20

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Drilled ribs

September 22, 2010 – I drilled the ribs through the main and rear spars. The holes in the ribs are pre-punched, but you do have to take them to the final rivet size.

The inboard ribs, which provide support for the wingwalk, are pre-punched, but you do have to add holes. The original holes where the rib attaches to the rear spar will remain open in the final assembly. I almost messed this up. I was originally going to drill the holes from the ribs into the spar, but the instructions say to pick up the holes from the spar into the ribs. Good thing I couldn’t get the drill to go straight…

Anyway, the holes that are “X”d in this picture are the holes that will be unfilled when the wing is assembled.

While the ribs were in position, I wanted to figure out where the holes for the conduit would be located. I opted for the location called for by Vans.

The hole is 3/4″ and is located below and aft of the forward lightening hole in the ribs. After trying to visualize how to make sure I got the holes in the same place and the same orientation in every rib per wing, and much discussion with a friend, I decided to make a template out of a pizza box. (Thanks Grimaldi’s!) The template fits one way within each rib, and the ribs are mirror-image between the left- and right-hand orientations. I back-drilled from the rib into the template, then used the template to drill one of each part number of rib; the W710L, W711L, and W712L.

Then I flipped and clecoed a -R rib to the appropriate -L rib, and back-drilled that rib. I didn’t want to use the cardboard template for each rib, because eventually the hole would get wallered out. (Wallered—that’s a technical term)

Once the ribs were all piloted, I used my handy Unibit to take the holes all to 3/4″. The red line is drawn at the next size above 3/4″, so I knew to stop when I reached that point.

Now when I get the holes drilled for the right wing ribs, I can deburr them all at once and get ready to paint.

I moved the left wing main spar off the stand, and placed the right spar there, then attached the ribs and the rear spar.

I did have another senior moment doing this as well. The plans show you the left wing, and you have to make sure that you place the correct part number rib in the correct location, with the flanges pointing in the correct direction. I saw nothing about any difference between the left and right wing, so when I started to put ribs in place on the right wing, I ended up with 2 ribs that were incorrect. After a quick call to Van’s, where they NEVER make you feel stupid, I learned that a -R rib in the left wing is matched to a -L rib in the right wing, and so on.

The right wing is now clecoed together, and I made my quick Sharpie marks where the conduit holes will go.

Total Time: 3:15

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Rear Spar and ribs, continued

September 10, 2010 – Nice day today. I assembled the rear spars and did the preliminary fit of the left wing ribs and spars on the stand.

These three pictures show the three areas of the rear spar with the doublers attached. The open holes are where other parts will attach later.

I then clecoed the main ribs to the fwd spar and then clecoed the aft spar in place.

Here’s the left wing as it sits right now.

Total Time: 2:25

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Rear Spar and ribs

September 9, 2010 – I’ve continued the rear spar parts by cleaning, alodining and priming them. Today was sunny, but a bit humid after our storms. I got them primed anyway.

I also got the ribs straightened and fluted. I thought that pile would not disappear, and I got a blister for my trouble. I did all but the tank ribs. My concentration coming up will be to get the ribs ready for paint. Since I will not paint the tank parts, they can be fluted later on.

Total Time: 5:25

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