June 19, 2007

Riveting Platenuts - 5 hrs.

Today I set my first rivets on the wing spars. I was having so much fun and was so excited about how well it was going that I just kept at it and didn't get a picture of the riveting action, but there will be plenty more. I used my pneumatic squeezer. I'm still in awe over how well this thing works and how much fun it is. Once it's set up, every rivet comes out exactly the same. Perfect. Very nice. Very easy. You just cleco on a platenut with two clecos. That positions it perfectly. Then remove one of them. Squeeze in a rivet, remove the other cleco, squeeze in the other rivet, and move on. Lather, rinse, and repeat. Over and over and over. There are tons of these platenuts, but eventually you get them all on.

Looks good from underneath!

Here are the angled ones at the inboard end of the spar, to the right in the photo above. The tank won't know the difference, though. The spacing between each one is the same. Look how perfectly flush the rivet heads are in the lower half of the picture. I'm very pleased with how this has turned out.

All done on this spar! This baby is now ready for the countersinking job for the screws. The platenuts will serve as a guide for the pilot on the countersink cutter as each hole is countersunk for tank screws, or access plate screws.

Boy, this countersinking job makes a big mess. Chips and shavings fly everywhere. I'm glad I had this pulled out onto the driveway again. These are big countersinks that remove a lot of metal. I'm also glad I put the masking tape over the joint in the spar. I made a test piece to check the depth of the countersink, out of a small piece of scrap .032 sheet that I drilled and dimpled for a #8 screw. I adjusted the cutter depth a little at a time until it was deep enough to accept the dimpled piece perfectly. The access cover plates, on the other hand, get a #6 screw, so to test for those I drilled and dimpled one of the access plate covers, and used it to make sure I had the countersinks deep enough for those dimples. This is all going very well. I'm totally pleased.

I managed to get all the holes countersunk on one side of one spar, then called it a night.

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