February 4-5, 2010

Riveting Cabin Frame - 4.0 hrs.

Over the last couple of days, I did my favorite thing. Riveting stuff together. You have to be patient and smart here and plan your work, because the plans just say "rivet it together". But you must follow the correct order to avoid missing something and having to drill out a bunch of rivets. I started with the aft pair of channels. I clecoed the joint plate and the angle to the channels and riveted it all together. The factory heads of the four rivets for the angle are on the inside instead of outside because the holes were too close to the corner of the angle and there wasn't room for rivet heads on the outside. No problem, though. This won't even show.

Then I started on the forward pair. The big difference here is the use of flush rivets. After the joint plate was riveted, I started on the straps. The correct order is to rivet the straps to the forward pair of channels, not the aft pair, and use flush rivets. These are all easily squeezed rivets.

Closeup of the channel-to-strap rivets. Nice!

Here's the completed forward half of the bow. Next, I did what some others have done. The tooling holes left in these channels are unsightly and annoying. So I mixed up some RAGE filler and filled them in. You can see the greenish spots in the photo above. I just think this will look a lot nicer.

Here's a closeup shot of the filler, ready to sand and smooth before topcoat painting.

Next, I clecoed the aft stiffener plate to the top support channel for riveting. Look closely above. These parts have all been match-drilled, deburred, countersunk, cleaned and primed. So What's wrong with this picture? Answer: At least I was smart enough to check the drawing for the rivets I should be using, and was shocked to learn that these are supposed to be 1/8" rivets! Not the smaller 3/32" rivets. I don't know why Vans did it this way, but the holes in this stiffener and channel were all pre-punched to #40 at the factory, so when I assembled and match-drilled these parts, I drilled them to #40 and carefully countersunk and primed everything. So now I have to go back and drill all these out to #30, and re-countersink every hole. Not only that, but the holes in the F-706 bulkhead and the top forward skin and the F-788 triangular gusset need to be enlarged and re-dimpled, too. Oh well. No biggie. Just a little more time and work. At least I caught it before riveting it all together.

So After drilling these 8 holes out to #30, I unclecoed and pulled the top forward skin off. Then I took it apart, deburred and dimpled the skin and the F-788 gusset. Here's the top forward skin, with the F-788 gusset clecoed back in place.

Here's a shot of the F-706 bulkhead as seen from above, showing the 8 holes in question finished to #30 and dimpled as well. This is all ready to go back together now. There are some tasks I want to get out of the way first, though, while I have easy access to the open aft fuselage.

I don't have a picture of it here, but I also went ahead and riveted the stiffener plate to the top support channel.

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Contact me: swayze "at" europa.com (replace "at" with the @ sign... no spaces... you know the deal)