25 August 2016
Finally got the top skins on both wings complete and am able to move on to section 17. The wings are definitely a lot of work. And its definitely a 2-person job. Luckily my son has gotten pretty good at using the flush rivet set while I work the bucking bar. Everything was going well tonight and we had one slight boo-boo. We hit a rivet without the bucking bar behind it and it put a nice dent in the skin. Hopefully some bondo or something can be used prior to paint to make it look a little better. Having something like this happen, especially on a skin that will be in plain sight is extremely disappointing. But as Van’s tech support told me early on, I need to get over my OCD.
So on to Section 17 – we’re now starting on the wing leading edges. Here is a shot of both wings sitting in my garage (while the cars sit outside)…
Top wing skins complete
Wing leading edge
15 August 2016
… one to go – well sort of. Chapter 16 involves getting the top skins on the wings. I’m blown away with how long I’ve been working on both wings, yet it seems like I’ve barely put a dent in it. I have the left wing top skin complete and am moving on to the right wing (which has already been started). Once Chapter 16 is done – I still have quite a bit of work to do. Leading edge, fuel tanks, ailerons and flaps.
Back riveting works well for the skins, using a 12″ long back rivet set, most of the time. What I’ve learned (the hard way, of course) is if you can’t get the rivet set in there perfectly perpendicular, don’t do it. There are quite a few rivets that need to be pounded from the skin-side using a flush rivet set and good ‘ol bucking bar.
Inserting a bunch of rivets and using scotch tape to hold them all in has been working really well for me.
Things have been moving a lot slower than anticipated, but I’ve been working pretty steady since returning from Oshkosh. That trip provided some pretty decent motivation – especially seeing all the nice RV-10s that other RVers have built.
15 July 2016
Continue to make progress on the wings… well, at least one wing. The build instructions start with the left wing. I’ve been working on both, until I screwed up a rib on the left wing. New parts are in-house. I will get back to the left wing as soon as I have the skins on the right wing.
I also lost some time because of the SB for the wings. I completely forgot that I had the parts here for the SB. On the right wing I had already riveted the Aileron Bracket to the rear wing spar. So, once again, I got some practice drilling out rivets. This is the one time that screwing up actually saved me – the left wing does not have the aileron bracket installed yet due to the screwup on the rib.
But, progress has been made and I’m now getting ready to prime the inside surfaces of the right wing skins. Lots of dimples means lots of riveting ahead!
The wings seem to be coming along nicely. I’ve been consistently putting in an hour every morning before work since Casey gets up to go to the gym at 5:15am. Some days I get lucky and have the ability to put in another hour after work as well. If I could put in 2 hours every day, I’d be done in no time. Cameron helped me a lot this weekend getting more wing stuff done, including construction of the wing cradles. Even the animals are helping me out (or maybe just getting in the way). I’ve just about completed section 14 for the wings and should be installing the rear wing spar this weekend if everything works out.
Made more progress on the wings – a little over 20 hours went in to prepping the spars. Cameron and I spent time over the weekend trying to get all the counter sunk holes ready to go to accept the wing skins. We also installed the tie down brackets, which had to be cut, drilled, tapped, then riveted onto the spars.
I now have some of the ribs for the left wing fluted. I’ve been trying to work on both wings simultaneously. After consulting a few other folks, its about time for me to start building my wing stands. I’ve decided to “borrow” a design that Richard Williams (aka Mouser) put together and was nice enough to share on his website. I’ll probably make a run to Lowe’s this week and pick up the required lumber to start working on this.
I thought I would have moved on to the wings by now. My son and I did unpack the wings… But I haven’t even taken inventory yet. Life seems to be getting in the way pretty regularly around here and things haven’t been progressing. This morning I wrapped up the electric trim on the elevators. I even mounted everything in the tailcone, only to realize that I have to remove everything so that I can store the tailcone and horizontal stabilizer/elevator separately.
I knew keeping my old battery from the Archer would come in handy for something (aside from my engine preheater)
This is a wonderful moment… The first moving part of the plane is in place and working. These early 6am sessions before going to work are helping out.
25 April 2016
The tailcone is finally complete. Well, almost. The only thing left to do is install the equipment shelves that I had fabricated at work. I have to prime them and then modify the J-channel along the side skins to attach them. The battery tray is ready to go – and i’ve got everything drilled to connect them all up. Its just a matter of sitting down and doing it.
I’ve also started working on attaching all the components of the empennage. I had my 16-year old son and his friend over this weekend, and they were kind enough to help me get the elevators attached to the horizontal stabilizer. I still have a bit of work ahead of me, but its getting exciting.
I also received my Bill of Lading from Van’s today – the wings are on the way. So now I’ve got even more motivation to get all this completed. I’ve got more work on its way.
29 March 2016
Its been over a month since I’ve posted anything. Honestly, it feels like I’ve done next to nothing. I was averaging close to 50 hours per month for the first 3-4 months and everything went downhill between February and March. I’ve been busy traveling with work and life has been getting in the way. It seems like prepping and priming the tailcone parts has taken forever, but this morning, I finally started getting parts ready for riveting. I am hoping to get through a lot of this between now and the weekend because my wings will be arriving any day now.
I’ve also had to move the assembly out to the garage. I took some measurements while I was doing assembly before priming, and the tailcone will not make it through my basement door, which sucks. I’d rather not be working in the garage. I’ve actually been getting some hours in before leaving for work – in the 5:30am to 7:00am time frame. I don’t think my neighbors are going to be very happy with me using my rivet gun in the garage that early in the morning.
Nothing has been overly complicated thus far with the tailcone. Everyone says that things are pretty straightforward until you begin deviating from the plans. I deviated from the plans on the tailcone and built an equipment shelf that will sit near the battery. I built the shelf according to some plans that Bob Newman was nice enough to share online here. I’m lucky enough to have a machine shop at work and a few guys that don’t mind doing me a favor here and there, so I had them make the shelves up for me… but it still slows you down when you have to figure everything out.
Fingers are crossed and I’m hoping that most of this is riveted together by Sunday evening!