October 6, 2007

Drilled Z-brackets, splice plate - 6 hrs.

Today I continued from where I left off yesterday, working on the Dan Checkoway method of precisely positioning the fuel tank, and drilling the z-brackets to the fuel tank's baffle plate.

Once the inboard rib is drilled and clecoed (see yesterdays log) you take the leading edge off of the wing, exposing the outboard end of the fuel tank and the rib you see above. Now this rib is exposed and can be drilled to the z-bracket that it's sitting on. You can see it above underneath the rib.

Here's a close-up shot, showing the pre-punched holes in the end of the rib. Now you drill these holes through the z-bracket below.

There! All finished, drilled, with clecos in every hole. Now the tank is held secure enough to remove the skin and internal ribs, and drill the remaining z-brackets.

As you can see above, the tank's skin and internal ribs have been removed. The baffle plate is still held securely in place with the two end ribs that have already been drilled, but now the rest of the internal ribs' holes can be drilled through the z-brackets below each one. Make sense?

Here's one set of holes, exposed and ready to be drilled. Simple as that.

And here are all the remaining holes, drilled and clecoed. Now this can be removed from the wing, cleaned up, and put back together again so the tank can be drilled.

At this point, I riveted the nutplates onto the splice plate, as you can see above. This is now finished and ready to be primed, then riveted to the leading edge. I want to make sure the fit is very good, however, before final riveting into place.

A close-up of the splice plate, showing the front side dimples. Small dimples for rivets, big ones for the #8 screws that will hold the tank in place.

With the tank now removed, you can see all the holes drilled through all the z-brackets. Looks good!

How about that? Holes drilled right on the mark! The precision of this method really impresses me.

Meanwhile, the tank has been reassembled in the cradle. It is now ready for drilling, but I'm out of time for today. This will go fast next time.

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