Drilling the Elevator Horns

This is pretty much the last step on the empennage kit! It’s time to double check all the measurements and alignments and drill the last holes on the tail….the elevator horns.  I have read horror stories of people not getting this done correctly, and having to have the horns welded up and re-drilled.  So, I approached this with caution. Before mounting the elevators, I measured the eye bolts one last time with my dial calipers to make absolute certain that they were all to plan specs.  Then I started off by mounting both elevators and measuring them yet again through its entire travel.  I was getting well within the limits of Max up/down travel so I decided its time to drill.

I started off my removing the right elevator so I could drill the horn for the left.  Then, per the plans, I clamped the elevator so that its in trail with the chord line of the horizontal stabilizer.  We do this by clamping the elevator counterbalance skin to the horizontal stab skin using some scrap sheet aluminum and a few clamps.

Then I did a real good eye ball check to make sure the horn was going to be lined up, and I wouldn’t have any clearance issues after it was drilled.  This is something I had seen crop up on other builders, and some of the had issues getting the bolt head and nut to clear the horn assembly.  Luckily everything looked good, so I decided to drill.  Van’s tells us to use a drill bushing in the VA-146 bearing assembly to help align the hole on the horn.  I had picked up from some other builders that a 1/16″ ferrule and collet seem to work really great as a drill bushing and they are cheap at Lowes / Home Depot.  So, I visited the aviation section of my local Home Depot and picked up a few packs of these things:

The little collets are exactly 1/4 outside diamater and they fit perfectly in the bearing!   I had to use some gorilla tape on the end of the bearing to hold the collets from sliding out, and I ended up using a total of 4 of them in the bearing.

The tape does nothing but hold the collets in to keep my fingers out of the way. I found a drill bit that fit perfectly in the hole in the collets and used it to drill my pilot holes.  With a little bit of finesse and gentle drilling. I had my pilot hole done!

Next up was to drill the pilot for the right elevator, so I removed the left elevator and set it aside for now.  Then, I mounted up the right elevator, clamped the counterweight to the stabilizer and drilled its pilot hole using the exact same method as I did for the left.

Now its time to drill this pilot hole to its final size.  After removing the right elevator, I set both it and the left on my work bench to secure them for final drilling.  I decided against using the convenient step bit for this because they have a tendency to wander, and this is pretty precision work. I started out by drilling the holes out from smaller to large using these drill bit successions:  #40, #30, #27, #21, #12 and finally the 1/4 size needed for the AN4-14A bolt. Then, I deburred the holes.  The front side was easy, but the back side was a little tricky, so I got creative:

The angle drill worked great to get this tight spot deburred.  Now that the holes were drilled to the right size for both elevators, its the moment of truth: Checking for binding.   I re-mounted the elevators to the horizontal stabilizer, and then inserted the AN4-14A bolt through the horn, into the bearing and through the other horn……it fit! Everything aligned correctly and there was absolutely no binding at all in the entire hinge line.  Its moving through full deflection as smooth as butter.

The horns look a little wonky, and like they’d be out of alignment, but according to Van’s and the mindshare on Vans Airforce, this is totally normally due to the manufacturing differences in the horns. So long as the hinge line doesn’t bind there is nothing to worry about.  I do have plenty of clearance for the bolt head and nut to thread on nicely as well.  These parts are DONE!! I removed the elevators and then thoroughly tightened the jam nuts on they eyebolts.  The horizontal stabilizer and elevators will go on the shelf until they are ready to be mounted to the fuselage.

I still had a little steam and energy left, so I decided to test fit the rudder and make sure it’s in good shape.  I double checked the eye bolt depth with my dial caliper, and then mounted it to the vertical stabilizer and moved it through its full deflection and there was no binding! It also moves as smooth as butter and looks great.

With that, the tail kit is pretty much done! I am going to leave the fiberglass work until the very last of the build, and all thats left now is to drill a hole in the horizontal stabilizer and rudder horn for the tail light.  I am thinking I will go ahead and do this now, since its easy to get to and I have some spare bushings to use.  Then, I will label and bag up all the remaining mounting hardware (bolts, washers and nuts for the hinge lines) and put everything away until I get ready to mount it to the fuselage.

As a side note, I have ordered my Wing kit and am waiting on the invoice and crating dates.  Its looking like an 8 week lead time…but I will put that info in another post.  Here’s the photos for tonights work:

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Google Photos Link:  https://goo.gl/photos/Qvx8CEUQNj1pvk9K7

Hours Worked: 2.5

Fitting The Elevators to the Horizontal Stabilizer

The empennage kit is wrapping up, and almost complete at this point.  All the major assembly is done, and now its just fitting the parts together and lining up the hinges to drill the elevator horns.  The first thing to do is make sure the eye bolts on the elevators are threaded in to the proper starting depth.  Van’s gives this dimensions in the plans, and I used a dial caliper to get the correct measurements.  After setting and adjusting the eye bolts to the proper thread depth on each elevator, it was time to re-arrange some furniture in the shop to mate the elevators to the horizontal stab.  Here’s how it ended up:

I moved my work benches so that I could drop the elevator horns between them, and then I could slide them back to the table edge to get full movement of the elevators to test their angles. Next up, I fit the elevators in their mounts, and marked the skin so that it could be trimmed to provide the 1/8″ clearance around the elevator horn.

Once I had my marks made, I used a #40 drill to drill the corner so it wouldn’t crack.

Then I snipped away the excess using the tin snips.

Now that I had both the top and bottom done, it was time to knock the rough edges down, and file the corners smooth.  A plain old bastard file made quick work of this, and I am pretty happy with the way it came out.

Once the left side was done, I moved over and did the same exact thing for the right side with equally satisfying results. I think at this point, I am getting the hang of sheet metal work! I am doing work that I’d be proud to show at Osh Kosh 🙂  Then, I decided to go ahead and re-fit the elevators to make sure all the clearances looked good, and that the elevator would move through its entire Max deflection as prescribed by vans.

I made a cheap little tool to help get the bolts inserted into the hinges.  This is a super tight area to work in, and there is hardly any room to get fingers in there to hold the bolts and insert them.  So, here is what I came up with:

Yep… that is a piece of Gorilla tape on the boxed end of a wrench! It worked pretty damn good!  I was able to snake the bolt down into the access hole, wiggle it into the hinge and fully insert it while holding the elevator in position.  Once I had the bolt in place, I could just twist the wrench and tape off the head and the bolt stayed right in place. I didn’t use any washers or nuts, since I am just test fitting everything together for now.  I want to make sure I have the eye bolts set correctly, and that the elevators can move their full range with no binding.

After checking both sides for binding, I used a simple little protractor to verify that the elevators each could move through their max deflection of 30 degrees up and 25 degrees down as instructed by the plans.  Being happy that they moved great, I decided to call it a night for now.  I still need to double verify using my digital angle finder and micrometer to make sure everything is perfect and then I will drill the elevator horns.  Thats work for another session! Here’s all of tonights photos:

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Google Photos Link:  https://goo.gl/photos/AJgKvyhtcwidDZKn6

Hours Worked: 2

Bending the Left Elevator Leading Edge

After getting the right elevator bent,  it was time to move on the left.  This process is pretty much identical to the right elevator, so I will leave out all the details.  I did it exactly this one the same way as I did the right.  First up is to break the edges of the top skin to help the lap joint form a nice tight lap.  I used my edge breaking tool to do this.  Then, starting out by bending the top skin leading edge, I used a dowel rod and gorilla tape to roll it to the right bend, and then finished it off with my hands.  I did the same with the bottom skin.   Once all the bends were made, I clecoed them together.

The next step is to match drill all the holes to a #30 hole for the AD-41-ABS blind rivets. I did one hole at a time, and replaced it with a 1/8 inch cleco as I went. Once all the holes were drilled to the proper size, I unclecoed everything and deburred the holes with a scotchbrite pad.  Then, re-assembled everything back with the clecos to hold them in place while I set the blind rivets. I worked my way down the leading edges, removing a cleco and setting a blind rivet as I went.  Eventually, it was all riveted together and looking good:

The last step for the night was to install the AN316-6 jam nut onto the  MD3614M rod end bearing, and then insert that into the plate nuts on the spar.  I used Boelube on the threads to make this a bit easier, because platenuts can be hard to thread into.  I don’t have my rod end bearing tool made yet to thread these all the way in, nor do I have a caliper to measure the distance, so I just threaded them in a few turns and I will come back and get them set to the proper depth when I have those tools.  I need to do this to the right elevator as well.  Here’s the photos from tonights work:

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Google Photos Link: https://goo.gl/photos/Krv1f4cjMnk98k5NA

Hours Worked: 1.25

Bending Right Elevator Leading Edge

With the right elevator all closed up, one of the last remaining steps is to bend the leading edge.  This is a bit tricky to do, and I am using the tried and true method of using a wood dowel rod and some strong Gorilla Tape to get the bend just right. I started off tonights build by first breaking the top edges of the leading edge using an edge break roller tool.  This little tool has two rollers welded to the end of a pair of vise grips. You insert the skin edge and gently pull it along the edge, creating a slight bend / break along the edge.  This allows the lap joint between the top and bottom skins to fit snug together once they are riveted.

Then, I began by bending the smaller section of leading edge on the outboard side.  I bent the bottom first, and then the top by securing a large section of gorilla tape to the leading edge, and wrapping it around a dowel rod.  Then I used some channel locks to slowly rotate the dowel rod and curled the leading edge ever so gently to get the bend angle.  Once I had the top skin done, I done the bottom skin.  Then it was time to get a bit physical with the metal, and form the remainder of the shape with my hands by brute force and squeezing.  Eventually, I had the leading edge of the smaller section where I like it, and clecoed it together.

I moved on to the remaining sections of leading edge, but this time  I decided to bend the top section first, followed by the bottom section.  This seemed to make the lap joint much tighter and more rounded.  Once I had all the bends done, I clecoed everything in place.  The plans has us drill the #40 holes to a #30 in order to fit the AD-41-ABS blind rivets, so I removed one cleco at a time and drilled to proper size, replacing it with a 1/8 cleco.

Finally, I had all the bends where I wanted them, and the holes properly sized, I used my pop rivet tool to set all of the AD-41-ABS blind rivets into their holes, one by one leaving the clecos in place to help hold the metal to its shape. It didn’t quite turn out perfect, but I am happy with how it looks.

The last thing I did was to insert the rod ends into the nut plates.  I do not have the home made tool to get these to the right depth, but thats something for another session.  For now, I just threaded on the AN316-6 jam nuts to the MD3614M rod ends , and then screwed them into the nutplates on the spar. I’ll come back and adjust these to the right depth and torques later on.  I have made a note in my plans to do this.

That’s all for tonight.  A total of about 2 hours getting these bends just right.  I was hoping to knock both elevators out tonight, but only got one.  The other will have to wait till next time.  Here’s the photos from tonight:

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I also took a time lapse of this work, and posted to Youtube:


Google Photos Link: https://goo.gl/photos/6Vi1DWoDC3t9vPEk8

Hours Worked: 2

Closing up the Elevators

Tonight I was able to close up and rivet both the left and the right elevators. They had been setting and letting the proseal cure, and now it was time to close them up for good.  I started out with the easiest one first, the right elevator.  This one is pretty simple, as there is no trim tab to deal with. I removed every other cleco, inserted a rivet and then squeezed them with my squeezer.

Since this is all along the edges, I was able to use my squeezer on all but one rivet.  I was not able to get the nose of the squeezer in the very last rivet closest to the trailing edge.  There was just not enough room to get it in there and squeeze. I am thinking I will use a blind rivet in that one hole, which is perfectly acceptable by Vans’s plans, and even recommended for the very end holes due to the tightness of them.  All the rest of the rivets were perfect.

I was able to set every rivet except that one on the end. I will set the elevator to the side, and make a note on this one rivet.  Once I make a decision I will come back to it .  I do think a blind rivet is the way to go, since it doesn’t involve risking any damage to an otherwise perfect elevator.  On the the left elevator!

I did pretty much the same thing on the left elevator as the right: Started by removing every other cleco, then riveting those empty holes.  The only exception was the work around the trim tab.  I left the trim tab off for now, but placed the forward portion of the hinge to the elevator and clecoed it on.  The I very gently used a long nose squeezer with a set that would let me get behind the hinge bends to set the rivets.  I did this slowly and carefully to avoid bending the hinge, and it turned out great.

Then, I moved over to the few blind rivets that the left elevator requires.  There are a few MK319BS blind rivets that we need to use on the E-701 skin to the E-606PP spar on the very outboard sections, 4 total.  I set them and made sure they were completely flush.  Then I moved over to the bent tabs on the elevator at the trim tab section, and riveted them with MSP-42 blind rivets per the plans.

The left elevator came out looking really great. I stuck the trim tab on the elevator with the hinge pin to make sure everything still lined up good. The plans has us attach the trim tab by bending the pin, but I did not feel comfortable putting the elevator in storage with the trim tab attached and it flopping around.  I think I will leave it off to keep it safe. That’s all for tonight.  Here are all the photos:

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Google Photos Link: https://goo.gl/photos/DN8NBZXz4HrbjCLw8

Hours Worked: 1.5, 1.5

Riveting the Left Elevator Skin

Tonight I worked to rivet on the skin of the Left Elevator and the last few remaining parts of the skeleton for it as well.  In the last work session, I completed the spar and a few other parts, but tuckered out before I got to the skin.  I started out by riveting the E-703 tip rib assembly to the E-702 spar, making sure to get the hard to reach rivets first.  The last time I did this on the right elevator, I left two rivets that were hard to reach with a squeezer in a bad position, and I spent a couple hours working on it to get them riveted.  I learned to get those two first this time 🙂

Once I had the tip rib squared away, I moved to the other end and riveted on the E-705 end rib to the E-702 spar, making sure to face the flush rivets in the proper direction so as to not interfere with the WD-605-1-L elevator horn that I riveted next.  These all were pretty straight forward, and I used my squeezer to get a perfectly set rivet on them.

Now its time to move on to the skins.  First, I attached the E-713 counterbalance skin to the E-701 elevator skin with clecos, and noted which two rivet holes I need to set first, before inserting the skeleton.  I opted to set these rivets now, and use AN426 flush rivets instead of using pop rivets after the skeleton is inserted into the skin.  We just have to be cautious to make sure we use the correct holes 🙂

Before inserting the skeleton, I popped in some plastic snap bushings into the holes in the spar for the trim servo jack shaft and wiring.  Its easier to do now than when the skin is closed up.

Now, its time to mate the skin with the skeleton, and cleco it all together for one last check before final riveting.  I gently inserted the skeleton into the skin, and lined everything up and clecoed every hole.  Once I had it all clecoed I used a straight edge against the skin to check its straightness, both on the stiffeners and between the stiffeners.  Then I removed every other cleco to make riveting easier.

I only riveted the bottom skin for now.  I will leave the top skin free so I can put pro-seal on the stiffener ends before closing it up for good.  I closed the bottom skin by inserting a rivet in every other hole and squeezing it.  Then I removed the clecos, and clecoed the holes they were in. On the left elevator we have to use 4 blind rivets on the outboard end of the E-606PP spar, as there is no way to get to it otherwise. I used MK319BS blind rivets in those last 4 holes, and made sure they were sitting as flush as possible.  They were not 100% flush like the AN426 rivets, but they ended up flush enough to make me happy.

With that being done, all that remained was to mark and drill the holes on the tabs that I bent a few nights ago.  Van’s doesnt have these holes pre-punched, because its impossible to know where they’d end up after the bending, so we have to be creative.  Van’s does tell us to make sure the rivets from the trim tab do not interfere with the elevator skins, so I put the trim tab in its location, and marked where the pre-punched holes for it were on both the trim tab itself, as well as the elevator skin, seen in the photo above.  I then decided to place my elevator tab rivets between where the trim tab rivets go, so as to give me plenty of clearance.  I then drilled the holes with a #40 bit, followed by a #30 bit to fit the CS4-4 blind rivets.

The last bit of work for the night was to bolt on the E-714 counterweight.  I picked our the screws, washers and nuts as called for by the plans, ran them through the counterweight assembly and then torqued them down to 30 inch/lbs of torque as specified in the manual.  Then, I gobbed on some torque-seal to make annual inspections easier in the future.

That finished up the work for tonight. Here’s a quick time lapse of the work to make the FAA happy that I actually completed the work, and a photo gallery of all the photos below that.


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Google Photos Link: https://goo.gl/photos/B2SmEbJ6Q8Gg9iM29

Hours Worked: 3

Riveting the Left Elevator

The primer has dried and cured on my left elevator parts, so theres only one thing left to do… Start assembly and riveting! I started out the session by bending the tabs on the elevator skin.  On this left skin, there are two tiny little tabs that must be folded over, just like the trim tab, in order to close the edge where the trim tab sits.  These also support the outboard edge of the skin, much like a rib would.  This is a very delicate operation, and one that can go wrong quickly.  When I bent the trim tab, I had a second one for a spare so I didn’t worry.  With this skin, I only have the one, and I have a ton of work in it already! I used the same bending blocks as I did for my trim tab, since the angles are pretty much identical.  I inserted the block and clamped it down to the bench.  I used a straight edge held against the block of wood to make sure I had it right on my bend line.

We bend the bottom tab first, and then fold the top tab over the top this way we form a lip that allows water to run over the skin, and not get trapped between the tabs, or worse, get inside the skin! Notice my note to myself (1 st!) so I don’t bend the wrong tab first.  I used a large block of wood and a small hammer with light taps to bend the bottom tab into position.  Once I had the bottom tab where I liked it, I did the same with the top tab, and the end results were decent.  While they are not perfect, and have a few tiny dents from the bending, I am happy with them as they are.  The dents wont be visible since they are on the inside of the edge and will have the trim tab butted up against them.

Next up, I  dimpled all the parts and skin.  I like to dimple after priming because it makes scuffing in preparation for priming so much easier.  I dimpled the skin, spar, end ribs and all associated parts for the left elevator.  I used a combination of my squeezer and the DRDT-2.  I had to use my squeezer on the skin this time, due to how tight the trailing edge is.  Once I had all my parts dimpled, I continued on with the rest of the plans.  In the section titled “Riveting the Left Elevator”, Van’s has us start out by riveting E-704 End Rib and E-703 counterbalance rib together.

After that, we move on to riveting the E-610PP and E611PP reinforcement plates to the E-702 spar, along with the E-00001A and E-00001B doublers and the rivnuts. We have to be very careful here, as there are three different rivet lengths that attach all these together. I used the squeezer to set all these rivets.

I was running a bit out of gas, so I decided to finish up the session by knocking one more simple little part:  The trim tab servo plate and brackets.  This is a simple part and only requires about 6 rivets.  I used the squeezer to set these flush rivets, and then test fitted the servo to make sure it was still all in alignment.  It came out great.

Thats all for tonight.  I still have a little bit more riveting to complete, so I will leave that for the next session.  I have also spoken with my local EAA Tech Counselor, and he’s going to come by this Saturday afternoon to give my project a look.  I still have the horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer and elevators to close up, so I will leave them until he can inspect them before closing them up.  Here’s all the photos for tonight:

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Google Photos Link: https://goo.gl/photos/MEyHbRc28WovGerUA

Hours Worked: 3

Preparing the Left Elevator

I managed to get a TON of work done tonight, and worked a straight 4 hours on the section of plans titled “Preparing the Left Elevator”.  In a nut shell, I completely build entire left elevator, and have it disassembled so all the parts can be deburred, and the edges finished.  After that, I will shoot them in AKZO primer and then they will be ready to be dimpled and riveted. This is going to be a long post, since I got so much work done tonight, so hang on!

We start off the right elevator in pretty much the same fashion as we did the left, since they are almost identical (except for the trim tab). It starts by rounded off the top and bottom edges of the E-00001A doubler so that it will nest correctly in the E-702 spar channel.

After that, we cleco on the E-610PP and E-611PP doublers on the back side of the spar, as well as the E-00001A and E-00001B doublers on the front side.  These doublers are a part of SB-14-02-15  which was included in my tail kit.  Once all the doublers are clecod on, we match drill them to the E-702 spar.

After that, we straighten the flanges and flute both the E-703 and E-704 ribs, and then cleco E-703 end rib and E-704 counterbalance rib together, and then match drill them.  This takes a little time as I had to flute them in several places to get them straight and flush with each other.  In the end, they cooperated and fit together snugly.  Then Vans has us fit them to E-702 spar and match drill the holes to the spar. Once they are drilled, we remove the rib assembly from the spar to fit the lead counterweight.

This is where I messed up on the previous elevator and had to order a new E-713 counterbalance skin, and another E-714 counterweight.  That cost about $40, and they showed up at my house today! Talk about perfect timing! It takes a little bit of filing on the lead counter weight to get it to match the curvature of the E-713 skin and to fit snuggly.  I also double checked to make sure I had the orientation correct so I don’t repeat my mistake from last time 🙂 Once they counterweight has been shaved and filed down to fit good, we assemble the lead counterweight, the E-713 counterweight skin, and the E-703/E-704 rib assemblies to drill the counterweight.

When drilling lead, I decided to use a #30 drill bit in the pre-punched holes as a pilot, and follow it with the proper size #12 bit, using LOTS of Boelube to keep the bits lubricated. Clamping the assembly to the corner of my work table made this much easier to do as well.  I used my electric drill instead of the pneumatic because I need slow speed with lots of torque to drill the lead.  This worked out great, and the holes were straight and perfect.

Now that the counterweight is drilled, we remove it from the assembly and set it aside for now, this makes assembling the skeleton much easier to deal with. We then re-cleco the E-703/E-704/E-713 assembly to the E-702 spar.  Then we cleco on the E-705 root rib and match drill it using a #40 bit to the E-702 spar.

Its skining time now!  I clecod on the E-701-L skin to the newly built skeleton, making sure to keep the E-701 skin on TOP of the E-713 counterbalance skin. Next, Vans has us remove the clecos holding on the E-705 root rib to the E-702 spar, so that we can fit the WD-605-1-L elevator horn and match drill it to the E-705 and E-702.  I match drilled these to a #30 size drill.

Once we have the elevator horn drilled, I inserted the little E-606PP spar into the skin, and clecoed it to the E-705 root rib and E-701 skin. I also had to match drill the E-606PP to the E-705.  At this point, I have my entire right elevator assembled and ready to be match drilled.  I matched drilled the E-701-R skin to its skeleton using a #40 bit per the plans.

You guessed it…its time to disassemble the elevator so that I can deburr, dress the edges, prime, and dimple them.  At this point, I noticed that my cleco bucket was running pretty low:

After getting the elevator disassembled, I decided to continue on and finish up the last few little easy steps in this section of the plans.  I had to machine countersink the E-714 lead counterweight to match the dimple and screw, so I did this with my deburring tool, which worked nice. Then I used a #10 dimple die to dimple the E-713 counterweight skin to match. I checked all these with the screw to make sure it looked great.

Now, this is where it gets a little tricky.  The little E-606PP spar needs to be machine counter sunk on the top to mate with the dimples in the skin.  We machine countersink it because we don’t want the protruding dimple on the underside of the spar because the trim tab hinge gets riveted to it on the bottom. However, we are able to dimple the BOTTOM of the E-606PP spar so it will mate with the skin dimple, and because there isn’t anything that will interfere with the dimple protrusion on the spar.  This drawing makes it easier to see:

So, I deburred all the holes, and chucked up my countersink cage in my drill and countersunk every hole along the TOP of the E-606PP, checking each one with a rivet to make sure it was flush.  Then I used my squeezer and a 3/32 dimple die to dimple the BOTTOM of the E-606PP, except for the last two holes.  They were too tight to fit the squeezer, and the spar was too thick for the pop rivet dimple die, so I just machine countersunk the last two holes on the bottom.  Simple and easy solution!

Then I machine countersunk the two holes that attach the E-606PP to the E-705 root rib, orienting the countersink so that the flush rivet will go in with the flush head on the aft face of the E-606PP.  This will eliminate any chance of interference during the trim tab travel, and make it look nice and neat in this area. The plans said we could do the countersink on either side of the hole, so I chose to do it this way. Then, I dimpled the holes for the E-705 to R-702.  Vans calls for this to be machine countersunk, due to the sharp bend on the E-705 root rib, making it hard to dimple, but I was able to get my dimple dies in there and squeeze them without any problems. We have to use flush rivets here because the WD-605-1-L elevator horn fits over this intersection.  Lastly, the only thing left in this section is to bevel the edges of the E-713 counterweight skin so that the E-701 will overlap it very smoothly where they meet.  I used my file to work the edges into a nice bevel where the two skins meet.  This worked out very nicely on the right elevator, so I used the same technique here.

With that, the right elevator has been assembled and ready for all the parts to be dressed.  In the next few sessions I will work on deburring all the holes (so many holes deburred at this point!), dressing all the edges with the scotchbrite wheel and then priming them.  Follow that with dimpling and final assembly!  Here is the photo album from tonights work:

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Google Photos Link: https://goo.gl/photos/rpvXUguFpbjwQyqd7

Hours Worked: 4

Riveting the Right Elevator

Its time to rivet up a control surface! The right elevator is ready to be closed up and riveted.  I have decided that I am going to rivet the bottom side of the skins, and leave the top side clecod down for now.  This way, I can hold off on ProSealing the trailing edge stiffeners until I have the rudder, and both elevators ready for ProSeal.  This will save me from having to waste so much of this stuff, and I can get all the ProSeal work done in one session.

So, tonight I begin with riveting on the E-713 counterbalance skin to the E-701 skin. We do this because two of the rivets would be enclosed inside the skin once we insert the skeleton, and not be accessible.  So, we rivet those two rivets with the skeleton out of the skin at first.  I used my squeezer to set these rivets.

Once those two rivets are set, its time to shape the counterweight.  I filed down the sharp corners to match the contours of the E-713 skin, and also filed down around the edges so that it would fit in the skin easier. The we loose fit the E-714 counterweight into the skin, and then the skeleton assembly gets inserted into the skin.  Its a tight fit trying to wiggle it all together, especially around the counterweight.  Eventually I got the skeleton all situated into the skin and then I clecoed every hole to make sure it didn’t twist or shift.

Now its time to rivet! I thought it’d be best to start at the counterweight and work my way up the E-713 skin, and all the way down the tip of the end rib.  There’s a few different lengths of AN423AD3 rivets being used here due to the different overlapping skins, so I made sure to use the right one in each hole.  I had previously lapped the edge of the skins so that they would sit nice and flush after riveting, so I didn’t have to do that here.  Once I had the end rib riveted, I worked my way down the spar and finally to the E-702 end rib. I was able to use my squeezer on all these, so they came out perfect.

Having the bottom skin riveted on completely, I left the top skin just clecod for now.  I will come back to it later on, ProSeal the stiffeners and close it up. The last few steps on this elevator is to finish attaching the counterweight and torquing it.  I dug through my parts, got the bolts, washer and nut that the plans called for and used them on the counterweight.  Then I used my beam torque wrench to measure the drag on the nylon lock nut (which was 5 inch/lbs), and added that to the the 20-25 inch/lbs that the plans calls for as the torque spec on these type of bolts.  In total, I torqued them down to right at 30 inch/lbs total and then use some CrossCheck (Torque seal) to mark the nuts and screw heads as being torqued.  This CrossCheck also makes it easy to inspect the bolts to make sure they have not vibrated loose.  The paint will crack if the bolt or nut has turned.

Thats all for tonight! A little over 2 hours total, and the right elevator is 95% completed, and will go back on the shelf until I am ready to ProSeal everything.  Here’s all the photos I took tonight:

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Google Photos Link: https://goo.gl/photos/GRC1mBikUq2TWKsEA

Hours Worked: 2.25

Riveting the Right Elevator Skeleton

After taking short break from the priming session, I dug back into riveting together the right elevator skeleton.  This will give the primer on those doublers some time to dry. AKZO dries super quick, so by the time I get ready for them they should be ready for me 🙂   Per the plans, Vans has us start out by riveting together the E-703 and E-704 ribs which creates the counterbalance assembly  This goes easy enough with a squeezer and some AN470AD4-4 rivets.

Next up the plans has us rivet the E-709 end rib to the E-702 spar.  I had to take caution here, because we use AN426AD3-4 rivets, which need to be dimpled and sit flush on the front side of the spar so that the WD-605-1-R elevator horn will sit flush against the spar.  I was able to set these rivets with the flush set in my squeezer and they ended up nice and flush against the spar.

Then the plans has us rivet on the E-703/704 assembly to the E-702 spar.  This is where things got frustrating.  I was able to set the two rivets for the E-703 end rib with the squeezer. However, the two rivets for the E-704 were in a much tighter spot and I couldn’t get to then with the squeezer.  So, I drug out the rivet gun and bucking bar, but the straight 1/8 rivet set would not line up with the shop head of the rivet because of the gun body, so I had to use the offset 1/8 rivet set.  The first rivet I was able to set pretty well with the gun and bucking bar.  The second one?  Yeah, not so much.  I had to drill it out and try again.  Luckily, the second time went better than the first and I got the rivet set.

I then decided to skip back up to the doublers and platenuts on the E-702 spar.  These were fairly easy to do, I just double checked that I had the right length rivets in the right holes, as we use three different lengths in these sections.  I also double checked I had the orientation of the platenuts correct as well, and then used the squeezer to set al these rivets.  I love the way it came out!

Finally, I decided to rivet on the WD-605-1-R elevator horn to finish off the skeleton.  Again, double checking the orientation, because it is possible to put this part on upside down if you’re not careful.  Then, I riveted in using AN470AD4-4 rivets and my squeezer.

This finishes up the right elevator skeleton, and in the next session, I think I will rivet the skin to the elevator, but I am still debating on saving that portion until I get ready to pro-seal the rudder trailing edge.  This way I can use the same ProSeal to bond the trailing edges of the stiffeners of the elevators. We’ll see how it goes.  Here’s the photos from tonights session:

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Google Photos Album link: https://goo.gl/photos/Mu4Tk4GGtpf46Rmq9

Hours Worked: 3