February 27, 2008

Riveting and sealing ribs - 5.0 hrs.

It's now 3 days since fay-sealing these 3 ribs, and the proseal is still workable thanks to a cool February shop. I was able to finish the top half of the riveting of the first three ribs tonight. I also finished up the rest of the sealing inside on these ribs.

Here's the result, seen above. I'm very pleased with how this is working out. I could do 2 ribs on one end and make this two more work sessions, or do all 4 at once. It depends on how much time is available the next few days. We'll see. By the way, the dark blue tape across the bottom is to cover the holes for the baffle. I didn't want to risk any blobs of sealant getting into any of those countersunk holes before it's time to put the baffle plate in.

Here are some shots of what it looks like inside the tank. A blob of sealant covers each rivet tail, and a bead goes around the entire rib flange.

One nice technique I have discovered about this fay sealing method is that when the sealant has been sitting a day or two, it's still pliable enough to actually push around, but not sticky and messy and gooey. Sort of like silly-putty or something. What that allows you to do, if you look at the closeup above, is to reach in with a thumb or finger and actually push the stuff down over each rivet tail, flattening out those blobs and push the material along the rib flange more into place. Look at the rivets in the picture above, how nice and neat they turn out this way. I was able to make sure each rivet was completely covered all around. Any mini-gaps or cracks in the sealant bead can be sealed up this way. I also did this along the stiffeners. I use a bare finger for this work. If it almost sticks to your finger, it's just right. If it does stick and pulls away like taffy, it's still too sticky. A rubber or latex glove still sticks to this material like glue at this stage and can't be used. What surprises me somewhat, on a sidenote, is how your fingerprint from pushing on the stuff soon disappears. It glosses over, as you can see above, leaving no imprints. Amazing!

It seems ironic to me that about the time my skills in using this material are at their highest, I won't need them anymore. But I suppose that's true of all kinds of skills acquired in building an airplane.

<< Previous | Home | Next >>

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