Fuse Rivet Session 3

December 5, 2011


Another Sunday. Another visit from P Dub. In 4 hours we were able to get the sides and a lot of the bottom skin finished today.

The rear edge of the bottom skin turned our really nicely. I am going to follow Chad’s lead and fill all the overlapping gaps with proseal to keep the cockpit weather tight.

The intersection of the side, bottom and aft skins came out really nice. A little proseal to close out some gaps and we’ll be done here. I did have to drill out one rivet on the opposite side. I also used longer rivets than spec’d on a couple of the tab flanges here so a good shop head would form.

The last thing we did before knocking off was to seal and rivet the bottom firewall to the 772 skin. I used 3M Firebarrier 2000+ to guard against CO2 fumes and as protection against an engine fire.


Fuse Rivet Session 2

November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. My last day of freedom before work cycles up again was action packed. My wife ran her forth half marathon this morning. Go Annabelle! This afternoon, Paul headed over for another rivet party.We knocked out more of the side skins and went back to get all the interior rivets that needed to be bucked.

Here’s a couple of photos of the harder to reach rivets in the interior skeleton. The top of the 715/705 rib interface and the bottom is the aft flange of the arm rest.

The fuselage is starting to look whole with less and less clecos attached! Hopefully, we can finish out the canoe riveting with one more major push next weekend.

In the Belly of the Beast… Again

November 23, 2011

Don’t be fooled. I haven’t turned over the fuselage just yet. I simply flipped the photo so I could image the fuselage right side up for once. Today I took off from work and concentrated on the interior rivets I have left to complete. There’s the 18 rivets that connect 706 to the aft baggage ribs; 3 rivets connecting 707 to the bellcrank stiffener; 6 rivets for the aft arm rest and finally 4 rivets that attach the 715 ribs to the rear wing spar.

I can’t get all of these by myself. But a number of them are in very close quarters and hard to buck anyway. I am using cherry max 4-2 rivets for these holes and pulling them myself. Above you can see 3 cherry max’s used just to the left of the bellcrank support brace. Also the lower-most hole (upper in the photo)  in each of the baggage rib/706 intersections.

On the opposite side of the bellcrank supports it wasn’t as straight-forward to pull those rivets. The flange of the bellcrank stiffener overlapped the holes for the 706/baggage rib rivets so that you couldn’t get the manufactured head to seat properly. Trying to pull from the other side would be much more awkward and the resulting shop head might not sit well with the overlapping flange. So I took out the dremel and CAREFULLY scalloped out the edge of the overlapping flange so that the rivet heads sat perfectly against 706. It all turned out well in the end. I set 11 cherrymax rivets leaving 16 more to buck when Paul comes over this weekend.

Fuse Rivet Session 1

November 20, 2011

Today we started the final riveting of the main fuselage. Since I was delayed a week, I went ahead and set most of the longeron rivets called out in the Tip-up instructions using the squeezers. When Paul came over on Saturday, we began at the 704 spar and worked back and forward. We also went back and finished out the rivets in the aft fuse we left open to fit the longerons in place. It had been a long time since either of us riveted so we took it slow in the beginning. In the picture above you can see a couple of clecos left in the longeron. I have a couple of mistakes to repair on the right flange tabs of 710 and 711 so I left those cleco’d until I flip the canoe later.

Here’s the 470 rivets for the 704 spar box and the 705 ribs riveted—mostly perfect. There were a couples of dings caused by the bucking bar slipping of the shop head. No biggie considering the wing will cover this whole area anyway. After 4 hours riveting plus an hour lunch we punched out for the day. I didn’t get as far as I hoped but glad just to get the process started.

Project Visit

November 14, 2011

I couldn’t get help this weekend on the riveting front, but I did score a visit to another builder’s project. Chad is setting a wicked pace with his -7 project. Starting in 2009, he’s currently somewhere in the canopy fitting stage. Sunday afternoon I spent about an hour with him looking over his fuse, firewall, and panel choices. I got some great advice and “heads up” that should save some time and aggravation down the road. I’m really sold on fuel injection even though my engine purchase is at least a year away. I do have to start plumbing fuel and vent lines soon though and if I’m going with FI I’ll need to figure out the boost pump arrangement. Chad is going the same route so I got some great intel on the EFii boost pump mounting and the fuel lines/valve needs there. Also got good advice on seat back positioning (the Vans plan dimensions are off a bit), fuel return lines (not going to install any), figuring out the subpanel mod for the EFIS installation and much more. Thanks Chad!

Hopefully I’m getting back to riveting this weekend. My body can’t take much more of crawling under this fuse!

Fun with Bolts

October 28, 2011


With the sun popping out and a day off from work, I primed the last side skin and reassembled the fuselage. I decided to go ahead and install and torque the eight AN3 bolts that attach the bottom of the firewall to the fuselage structure. It’s much easier that trying to convince bolts and nuts to line up in the tight corner after forward bottom skin is fitted. Since those were reamed holes the fit is tight. I could still push the bolts on by hand but there’s no wiggle room for misalignment which is the way it should be.


Almost Ready to Rivet

October 24, 2011

Today I finished deburring and dimpling the left side skin. Now I just need one more decent weather day to go prime it and we can finally get this “canoe” riveted.

Here’s the other fuse parts waiting to be installed.

The left skin goes here. In other news I also removed the F-715 outer ribs in order the install the nut plates on them after running an 8-32 tap through them per Van’s recommendation.

Still prepping fuse parts

August 29, 2011


For your viewing pleasure here’s the boys enjoying the Blues over Lake Washington earlier this month. As for the project, i’ve been working on it I swear. It’s really just a 1000 little tasks without much visual payoff so I’ll spare you the pics of pretty countersunk holes in a neat little row.

I’m still slowly working through all the final steps before starting the riveting on the main fuse. I’m excited to see if I got a the puzzle pieces made correctly! All the deburring, dimpling, and countersinking including the longerons is done on the internal structures. I’ve primed about 2/3 of these parts. The left forward fuse pieces still need to be etched and primed. The skins still need to be prepped but that should be kinda fun as imam trying to “eat my vegetables”‘first. Also, I have to go back and find a solution for one hole I doubled drilled on a bulkhead. After that I’ll be reassembling the canoe! Work is going to take over this week so hopefully I can hit it hard next weekend. I’m aiming to flip the canoe this fall and order finish kit before the end of the year.

Oshkosh 2011

August 2, 2011

This was my second visit to the big dance for wingnuts of every stripe. My good friend Jeff and I spent 3 nights at Camp Scholler in tent (the secret weapon of comfort is to bring a collapsable cot!). I learned about fiberglass from Sam James, LED lighting from Dean Wilkenson and electrical system planning. The highlight for both Jeff and I was listening to Burt Rutan talk about Scaled Composites, retirement and his BiPod project. We also stumbled upon Dick Rutan talking about building and flying the Voyager around the world with Jeana Yeager. It’s a super interesting story if you ever get a chance to read their book about the flight.

I didn’t really think about taking pictures this time around so here’s a just a few to tease you with.

Jeff stands in front of a F-18 with special "Digi-Cam" paint job.

The 787 visited on Friday for its first public viewing.

A Marine Harrier jet makes A LOT of noise when it hovers. It hurt to just take a snapshot.


A beautiful clear early evening greets me upon my return to Seattle. Boeing Field is in the upper left.

Deconstruction Part 1

July 20, 2011


No airplane pics tonight but it was Cam’s birthday, so he gets a guest appearance on the blog instead. After the sugar addled kids went to bed, I started taking the fuselage apart. There’s LOTS of pieces to keep track of! Also its a challenge to figure out which holes get countersunk, dimpled or left alone. Time for the zen-like trance to take over while prepping a thousand little holes.