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First Riveting Experience

February 20, 2011

Well, last weeks activities are over and I was able to get back into the shop yesterday to work on plane.  My goal was to get the frame all riveted together and prep the skin for riveting to the frame.  I accomplished pretty much all my tasks, but it was slow going.  First off, here is a picture of the completed frame.

This is the skeleton, or frame, of the VS.

The rear spar is the one lone piece off to the side.  It will be riveted to the frame once a good number of rivets for the skin have been put on.  I learned a few lessons while riveting.

  1. The pneumatic squeezer isn’t as easy as it looks.  You can get into trouble a lot faster than you can with the rivet gun
  2. Dont be afraid to buck rivets if the pneumatic squeezer isn’t a good fit.
  3. Taking an extra few seconds to ensure everything is stable and flush, before riveting, can save you the time drilling out a bad rivet.

On the rear spar there are about 30 – 40 rivets.  I probably screwed up 10 of them.  Some of them I screwed up twice.  I think that the main reason for my riveting issue was just unfamiliarity.  I’ve driven lots of rivets and I usually have to “hit my stride” when I can drive them well.  On the real kit, though, you face a new position or rivet size quite often and you have to adjust to those circumstances.  It’s that adjustment that caused me much frustration yesterday.

Rear spar is complete. This was the first sub assembly I completed.

At the end of the rear spar are two plates that will eventually hold the rudder in place.  There are six rivets there.  I think I had to drill out 8 rivets.  Thats right…I had to drill a hole out more than once.  Fortunately, none of my holes wound up oversize, so no opps rivets were required.  (note to self: order oops rivets)

Next up was the VS skin.  I had not dimpled it, so I started last night and finished the easy ones on my DRDT2, but now I have to do the ones I cannot reach with the DRDT with my pop rivet pull.   Maybe I’ll take a few shots of that so you can see how that works.  EAA meeting today.  I’m having second thoughts about going.  We’ll see, game time decision.

Time to dimple the VS skin. I've been putting this off

Oh yeah.  I ordered a new goody for my squeezer.  This is a 4″ “no-hole” yoke.  It has no hole on the thin side, so when you rivet you are riveting against the yoke itself.  The 4″ gets into places other yokes can’t and the thin nose means it can get into tight spots as well.

4" no hole yoke.

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