November 29, 2007

Fitting the leading edge/tank joint - 1.5 hrs.

When I put the tank on the wing, I noticed that the fit of the joint between the tank and leading edge is almost perfect. However, there are a couple of minor trouble spots, and I spent some time today to try and figure out how to fix it and make it better.

Here's one trouble spot that kind of stands out. Near the front of the leading edge you see this flat spot. When the tank is joined here, the curve is more the way it should be on the tank's skin, making this spot on the leading edge seem low. The problem, as I see it, is caused by the plate nut on the splice plate. The splice plate is obviously supposed to be curved here, but the plate nut is flat. When it was riveted on it flattened the splice plate around it. See it in the close up shot below?

I don't think it would be very easy to change or bend the splice plate. I think the logical solution is to insert a small shim between the skin and the splice plate, raising the skin a bit into the curve that it should have right here. I can also put one under the tank's skin if necessary.

Here's a small shim that I made from some scrap, all drilled, deburred, dimpled and ready to insert in place.

It proved to be not as easy as it sounds. It won't just slide in there. I ended up taking the rib and splice plate out, clecoing the shim in place, and then putting it all back together. I'm so glad I waited and didn't have these parts riveted together already!

This shot is overexposed,but the shim is in place, and I think you can see how much better the curve looks. But I'm out of time, and I'll have to wait until later to find out.

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