Mounting the Left Flap Part 2

Wow.  Its been a little over five months since I last worked on the airplane.  With our daughter starting kindergarten this year we have been road tripping in the new Tesla Model 3 that we bought a few months back.  If anyone would like to buy a Tesla with my referral, you’ll get 1000 miles of free supercharging. Just click this link when buying: .  I finally decided to get back in the shop and get some work done. There is very little left to do on the wings, and I need to start decided what to do about the fuselage, as there is a HUGE backlog at Vans, taking about 8 months of lead time. Anyways, I wanted to finish up the work on the left flap.  I’ve decided to go ahead and get the flap hinge drilled and aligned and mounted before I riveted on the bottom skin.   After looking over everything, briefing my last work, and cleaning up the shop, I dug in. I grabbed the flap and the correct -4 length hinge bracket.

Then I marked up the edges for reference, and then clecoed on the bottom skin of the left wing.


Next up I placed the flap with its hinges into the wing, so I could measure about where I needed to trim the eyelets on the hinge for the hinge pin retainers that I made in the last post.  I used some sharpie mark which ears I would need to remove to give the needed space, then I trimmed the ears off with a dremel, and filed the edges down smooth.


With that done, its time to actually align the flap, and get the holes back drilled into the hinge flanges.  Vans tells us we need 1/4″ of clearance between the aileron edge and the flap edge.  So, I used two 1/4″ drill bits and taped them to the aileron to help with making sure I had the proper spacing.

Now its time to mount the flap for back drilling.  I used a neat trick last time to keep the skin and the flap brace aligned while making it easier to drill the hinge flange.  I used some “oops” rivets, and inserted them backwards, with the tail sticking out of the bottom skin.  These are temporarily used as alignment pins and the flush head doesn’t stick up much so the flap hinge flange lays nicely over it making it much easier to adjust for alignment.  I stuck a few in  backwards, and then used masking tape to hold them in the holes.  The tape also helped hold the flap brace and bottom skin together as well.

Once I had several of these oops rivets acting as alignment pins and the tape holding things together, I removed the clecos and then slipped the flap into place after pinning together the two hinge pieces (one of the flap and the one I need to drill). I used a combination of cleco clamps and C clamps at the very ends of the flap hinge to hold things in place.

In the photos above you can see the tails of the oops rivets poking out from the tape.  I also left the hinge long because I am not sure how much I will need on the inboard end.  It will be easy enough to trim later on, even after its riveted on. I spent A LOT of time fiddling around getting the alignment correct.  More time than I care to admit, but the 1/4 drill bits I used for spacers really helped me to be sure I had the proper spacing between the aileron and the flap.  Then I used a combination of straight edges and aluminum angle to verify that the trailing edges of the flap and aileron were perfectly in trail.  The clamps I used held everything nicely, but allowed a little freedom to jiggle parts into alignment.

Now its time to back drill a few holes.  I tried to drill at the edges, where the clamps were first, and then insert clecos into the new holes to hold everything.  I only did a few holes at first, then pulled the hinge off to make sure I had plenty of edge distance.  Using the An257-4 piano hinge was a good idea, as its longer than the -3 and I dont think I would have had enough edge distance if I had used the -3.  Now that I have a few holes, I clecoed the hinge back onto the flap brace, without the flap.  This gave me plenty of room to work.

You can see in those photos, I used a bunch of cleco clamps around the holes I was drilling to help secure things, and then as I drilled new holes, I inserted a cleco to hold things tight.  After getting all the holes drilled, I removed the hinge piece, and deburred all the holes in the hinge, flap brace and skin.  I had already countersunk the holes in the flap brace in the last session, but I needed to dimple the skins, so I went ahead and knocked that out.  The bottom skins are now fully ready to be riveted on!

I had one last order of business, and that was to cut and bend the hinge pin so that it would fit nicely in the center and reach the pin holders I made in the last session.  I measure my pins, cut them to length and then set off bending them to the proper shape to fit down against the flap brace, where I installed the holders for them.  This is where I marked them, and started the bending.

And with a little more work, I had them shapped to fit nicely where I installed the holder, about midway down the flap brace.

Once that was completed, all that was left was to touch up the primer that I had scratched off, and then vacuum up all the chips from the drilling. I also filed down all the ends of the pins into a rounded head, which makes them easier to insert.  I went ahead and fully vacuumed both wings, in their entirety just to make sure nothing gets closed up that shouldn’t be in there.  Lastly I clecoed on all of the skins to keep them safe.  At this point, the next step would be to rivet on the left wings inboard bottom skin, just like I did for the right.  I’ll keep the outboard bottom skins clecoed for now, until I am ready to fully close up the wings.  I also temporarily attached the left flap in its hinges just to keep it safe for storage.  It will get final mounted when I rivet on the bottom skin. Heres the photos from tonights work.

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Google Photos Link:

Hours Worked: 4.0

Mounting the Left Flap Part 1

Tonights short session, I started work on the left flap.  The bottom of the left wing does not have the skin on it yet, which made this work a lot easier.  If you are at this step in the process, delay putting on the bottom skins till you have the flap brace ready to go :-). It made things much easier. I did capture some timelapse videos of the work:

I started out by machine countersinking the flap brace to accept the dimples in the skins.  I already had the countersink setup so this went pretty quick.

Next up, I wanted to go ahead and install the hinge pin holder like I used on the right flap (see previous post).  With the bottom skin off, this will be a little easier to drill a and rivet the nutplate.  I have decided to go with the Vans alternate method of hinge pin securing, by removing the middle eyes of the hinge, and securing the pins to the flap brace.  I found the halfway point on the flap brace, marked it and drilled for a #19 hole.

Then, I grabbed a K1000-8 nutplate and used it as my template to drill the flap brace for the nutplates rivet holes.

After drilling the holes, I deburred them and then countersunk the flapbrace for the AN426AD3-3.5 rivets that will hold the nutplate.  I used my hand deburring tool to get the machined countersunk hole the right depth.  The next step was to rivet on the nutplate in its spot.  It came out OK.  Good enough for the light duty it will be doing.

To wrap up for tonight, I decided to go ahead and make the “ears” that will secure the hinge pins to this flapbrace via the nutplate.  I grabbed some scrap piano hinge, and snipped of two eyelets.  Then trimmed them to the shape I needed. Followed by drilling them with a #19 hole to fit the screw.

I am going to use some stainless steel capscrews to make things easier to work with when I need to remove the flaps.  Heres the ones I am using:

With a little trimming, I made sure that the eyelets I am using as “ears” for the hinge pins will sit on top of each other with the screw in place.

And thats it for the night.  These will ultimately end up like I used on the right flap last night.  Here’s a picture of how I am planning on using these.  It might make things a little more easier to picture out their use:

Thats it for tonight.  I’ll probably align and drill the flap hinge in the next session, leaving only the skins to be riveted before the wings are declared done for now.  Here’s the photos from tonights session.

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Google Photos Link:

Hours Worked: 1.0

Mounting the Right Wing Flap

After a bit of a hiatus, I am finally getting some building done.  I don’t really have much left on the wings, the last major parts are mounting the flaps and then the last skin, and thats pretty much got the wings done for now.  So, tonight, I started working on the flaps.  I did capture a few time lapse videos, so heres those:

The session started out by fitting the flap and its hinge into position and aligning things up.  The plans call for a 1/4″ gap between the flap and the aileron, so I grabbed some scrap 1/4″ wooden down rod to use as a spacer.  Some quick work with some masking tape to help hold them into position. I then realized I needed to countersink the flap brace as I’d forgot to do that before riveting on the bottom skins!  Thankfully I was able to flex the brace away from the skin enough to get my countersink cage on the brace and  get a nice countersink done in the flape brace to fit the skins dimples.  Crisis averted!

Then I used a long piece of angle aluminum as my straight edge and placed on the trailing edge of the aileron, so I could have a nice reference for the flap to keep its trailing in alignment with the ailerons trailing edge.  This worked out pretty well.  It took a bit of jiggling but I was able to get the flap lined up the with the ailerons trailing edge, perfectly square, and also get the 1/4″ gap needed between the two.

When I marked the holes on the wing side of the piano hinge for the flap, I realized I did NOT have enough edge distance on the AN 257-P3 hinge.  After looking through the Vans Airforce forums, I found this to be a pretty common thing for builders.  The answer to this is quite clever: Use the AN257-P4 hinge, as the flange part of the hinge is a bit wider!  Thankfully I had two 6′ pieces of AN257-P4 that I’d bought with my wing kit to use on the wing tips.  So, I grabbed them from the parts shelf, and decided to use one side for the flap.  I’ll have to order some more when I get ready for the wingtips, but no biggie.  The longer flange of the -P4 hinges worked out very well, and I had plenty of clearance for my rivets.

I re-clamped the hinge back onto the wing, and re-ligned up the flap with the aileron.  This is looking much better!  I also decided to use a trick from the forums on keeping things aligned.  You can use some oops rivets, with the manufactured head going on the flap brace, with the tail coming out of the skin to hold the pieces in alignment.  I used a few of them and taped them in place with masking tape in a few holes before attaching the hinge.  The heads barely stick up and the hinge sits on top of the head allowing everything to stay in alignment easier.

I used some C-Clamps to really hold the ends in place.  This let me adjust the pressure on the parts while I adjusted everything.  Once I was happy on the alignment,  clamped them down tight and back drilled a few holes into the hinge.

I eventually got all the holes drilled, clecoing as I went to hold things in alignment.  Then I removed the hinge, and deburred both sides, while also deburring the edges with a file.  I’ve decided to use the alternative method of securing the hinge pins.  I am going to remove a few hinge eyelets in the middle and then secure the hinge pins to the flap brace.  This is an approved method from Van’s, and will make things much easier in the future.  I also grabbed a second timelapse, after taking a quick break for dinner.

So, I measured out where I needed to remove the eyelets, making sure that they’d fall in between the holes in the flap brace.  I used a dremel to cut the eyelets of the flap side of the hinge, and the wing side of the hinge, then cleaned this up with a file.

The blue marked eyelets are the ones I am going to remove.  I clamped them down on the bench to hold things still.

Next up was the measure and trim the hinge wire, and then bend it to fit the contours of the brace flange, and then the brace itself.  I used some spare eyelets to make a retainer, drilled a #19 hole in them, and then installed a K1000-8 nutplate onto the flap brace.  This lets me use a socket head stainless screw to hold the hinges wire securely in place.  This should make removing and installing the flaps much easier in the future, and also securely hold the hinge pins.

I’ve finally got this flap installed!  I didn’t rivet the hinge where the outboard skin is riveted, as I am not quite ready to attach the outboard skins just yet.  I’ll vacuum these out really well before final assembly as well.  Heres the result:

Thats it for this session.  I’ll move on to the left wing flap mounting next.  I’ll also try and grab some better photos of that process, as I didn’t snap very many of this build.

Google Photos Link:

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Hours Worked: 4.5

Riveting the Right Wing Bottom Inboard Skin

This is actually a log entry covering two days of workings sessions.  Tammy and I started riveting on the bottom inboard right wing skin on the 15th, but we weren’t able to complete the build in that session.  So we continued it on tonight. We have to wait until Acacia is staying at Nana’s house so that we can both be down here in the shop riveting, as riveting is too loud for the little one to be in the shop, and she doesn’t wear ear muffs well.  So, we just hold off on loud work until we can get her to a babysitter.  I did capture these on timelapse, on both days so here is the time lapse from the first session on the 15th, both the overhead and closeup:

You Notice in the above videos, we stopped working early in the day, and then came back down later than night to finish up.  I just merged those video cuts into one since it was the same day.

And Heres the time lapse from tonights working session, both overhead and close up:


We started out by clecoing on the skin to check alignment, and then we removed the blue plastic from the rivet lines using the soldering iron trick.

We read the plan instructions and followed it by starting at the inboard side, trailing edge and working in an “L” pattern.  We did test fit things using clecos and verifying that we could easily reach the tails of the rivets before we actually set anything to sort of game plan how far down the rivet line we would go before working the other leg of the “L” pattern.  The wing walk ribs were an absolute BEAR to work on, as its very tight, and hard to access.  We would swap between holding the bar and bucking to give each other breaks and sometimes the other persons arms would just reach easier.  As you can see in the time lapse videos, it was alot of positioning and riveting, but we got it done 🙂

We only had to drill out two rivets during the entire process, one of them marked in blue sharpie.  All the rivets look very nice given how hard they were to access.

I am going to leave the rivets out of the outer most rib since I am not sure where the wing root fairing will go.  I can also squeeze them at any time since they are very easy to access.  We managed to get the inboard wing skin riveted on the right wing.  I am going to leave the outboard wing skin unriveted for now, as it will make it easier to install the autopilot servo and wiring, etc, which will be a long time away.  I’ll probably cleco the outboard skin on for storage however.

Google Photos Link:

Hours Worked: 4.0


Bonding Nylon Conduit to the Ribs

Not much to report on this one. I came down and bonded the nylon conduit to the ribs using fuel tank sealant. Another slightly messy sealant job I guess. It’s only bonding the conduit to the ribs to prevent abrasion from vibration and such.

Then I dabbed a little sealant onto the plastic bushings for the pitot and AOA tubing and wires to help secure them into the ribs.  This should also prevent them from vibrating and wearing.

That’s it for this session. I captured the time lapse too. Not much to see in them though.


Google Photos Link:

Hours worked: 1.0

Installing Nylon Wiring Conduit in the Wings

Another quick working session tonight.  I installed the nylon wiring conduit in both wings, and captured two views of the time lapse.  Here they are:

I pulled the 50′ spool of conduit from its shelf, opened the bag and uncoiled it to make it a bit easier to work with.  I had bought this from Vans a long while back, and figured I’d get a big spool since its pretty cheap.

I first started by pulling the conduit from the outboard most rib, through the holes I had drilled in each rib way way back.  This worked OK, but it took some effort.  The conduit is very tight in the holes, as it should be, but that makes it a bit of a challenge to pull through each rib.  It’s also quit noisy and the ribbed plastic pulls through the ribs and echoes in the wing structure!  I used my ear muffs to protect my hearing.  With a lot of elbow grease, I managed to get one strand pulled all the way through the outboard and out the inboard side, leaving some slack just in case.

The next wing, I decided to star in the center and work my way out to each end.  This was probably the better idea, as it made it a little easier to pull, not much though.  Starting from the center meant it was much easier by the time I got to each end, as I wasn’t trying to pull this stuff through all the ribs.  I had to pull some slack into a bay, thread it into the ribs hole, then pull slack into that bay plus the previous one I did.  Repeat this until its all installed.

I found that if I stretched the conduit by pulling on each side of the rib, I could more easily slide the conduit through the rib given it has been “shrunk” temporarily by stretching it with some tension as I pulled.  This wasn’t a terribly hard job, just a little tedious.  Eventually, though, I got the conduit pulled.

I left plenty of slack on both ends of the wings just in case.  I’ll of course trim these down before final assembly.  Likewise, you’ll need to cut off a few inches off each end because it gets chewed up a bit from the install process.  For now, I tucked the excess into the leading edge of the wing, using the lightening holes.  This job’s done, and its ready for wires to be pulled.

Google photos Link:

Hours Worked: 1.0

Installing Aileron Pushrods and Aligning the Ailerons

Another good milestone tonight! The ailerons have their pushrods installed and they are set to neutral position and aligned.  Things are wrapping up quickly.  I captured two time lapses of the work tonight.

I started out by removing all of the masking tape from the W-818 pushrods.  The primer has cured and its ready to be installed.  I’m stoked about how well the white primer matched the white coating that comes on the ST4130 tubing from vans.  These look like they should give decades of service! Then I marked out 1/2″ on the threads, which is the exact halfway point.  I used a blue sharpie so it will be semi-permanent.  This will help me judge if I have enough threads threaded into the heim joints on inspection.

Now its time to get them in the wings! I laid down a piece of masking tape on the main spar to protect it from the W-731 alignment jig. Recall I had already bolted the heim joint onto the aileron’s mounting bracket to make it a bit easier to manage.  So, I poked the pushrod through the rear spar and threaded it into the heim joint on the aileron.   Then I bolted the W-731 jig into place, and dropped the other heim joint on the pushrod into its spot in the bellcrank.

I had previously bolted on the aileron alignment jig when I made it a few days back, so its ready for me to adjust the push rod to get the aileron into neutral, or “in trail”.  The W-731 jig holes the bellcrank in its neutral position, so I just needed to adjust how deeply I threaded the W-818 pushrod into the heim joints, checking every so often to see if the trailing edge of the aileron is lining up between the two tangent lines on the aileron alignment jig.

This took a little bit of fiddling.  I had to insert the bolt into the WS-421 bellcrank, check the alignment on both jigs and eyeball how much I’d need to adjust the pushrod, making it longer or shorter to get the aileron in trail.  Eventually I got it almost dead center on my jig, its only off by maybe 1/64″ or 1/32″.  Then I checked the threaded ends on each end to make sure I was past the blue sharpie line marking halfway, letting me know I had plenty of threads in the heim joint to be safe.  I finished the left wing off my snugging up the jam nuts to the heim joints to lock them in place on both ends and then marking the pushrod with the words “LEFT” to denote it now belongs to the left wing. I went ahead and threaded on the washer and nut on the bolt holding the W-818 pushrod to the bellcrank, including leaving the W-731 jig in place.  I bought an extra W-731 for this very purpose of using them to help “lock” the aileron into place for storage.  The nut is only threaded in a few threads to keep from loosing it, and I marked on my masking tape “REMOVE!!!”

Then its on to the right wing to do the same! I followed the same procedures as above of course. I was able to get this aileron almost in perfect trail too!

I also put some masking tape down on the spar web as well, and marked REMOVE as a reminder to remove this W-731.  In addition, I made myself another note to grease the bushing on final assembly.  The left wing is done and greased and all bolts are torqued.  The right wing is a bit different.  One of these plate brackets that holds the bellcrank to the spar web will get removed in favor of the bracket to hold the autopilot servo.  So, I did not torque those bolts down, and I didn’t grease the bushing until I do that final assembly with the servo bracket.

Once I was happy with the alignment, I tightened the jam nuts and the pushrod was done!

That finished up both wings ailerons! These look like they are going to be nice and in trail, and they’ll be ready for me to install the flaps, since I am keeping the W-731 jigs installed on each wing.  I went ahead and also installed the plastic snap bushings into the three holes for wiring in leading edge of each rib.  These wings are looking good so far!

That does it for today.  I’ll go ahead and install the nylon conduit in the next session since these pushrods are installed.  I’ll probably go ahead and dab proseal on each rib where the conduit penetrates, as well as on the plastic bushings to keep them from working loose or vibrating.  I still have gobs of it left over. From there, I may go ahead and order some wiring for the wings and start running that, or just wait.  Haven’t decided on that just yet.  Its time to start drawing up some wiring diagrams I guess!

Google Photos Link:

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Hours Worked: 2.5

Making Aileron Pushrods Again – Part 2

Quick update on this one.  The primer in the W-818 pushrod tubes has dried so its time to rivet up the threaded rod ends on these pushrods and call them done.  I still needed to file down the AN490-HT8p threaded rod ends a little to fit into the ST4130 tubing, so I finished that up and then slipped them into the tubes.  Before slipping them in, I slathered on some of the oil based primer to prevent corrosion.

Next up was to drill the holes in these ends.  I had already marked my lines for the rivets, I just needed to drill the holes to a #40 using the drill guide and clamping it onto the tube and down to my workbench like I did in the previous sessions. Like last time, I drilled the first hole, then used a drill bit to help me get the next hole lined up perpendicular and drilled it the same.

You can see from the photo above, they came out pretty nice.  Good edge distance, and at right angles to each other.  So, I opened the holes up to a #30 for their rivets, then deburred the holes.  Next was to set the rivets.  I slathered some primer on these AN470AD4-12 rivets to prevent any corrosion.  These are aluminum rivets, and the tubing is ST4130 steel.  Spec says we should use a monel rivet in steel, but Vans tells us to use aluminum, and it seems to do fine for thousands of others flying, I covered them in primer and wet set them to be sure.

I put some wood blocks in my vise, then clamped the assembled pushrod down nice and firm.  Inserted the rivet and bucked it very slowly, using short bursts to control the intentionally long tail as it expanded inside the tubing.  Then I flipped the gun and bar around, using the cupped set on the tail of the rivet to give it a nice rounded head!

The photo above shows one of the tails (facing up) that I had set using the cupped set.  It squished the tail down into a mushroom shape giving a nice smooth area that will reduce interefence with the hole in the rear spar.  Plus it just looks really nice.  It’s a double-flush set.   I knocked out all 8 of the rivets on both pushrods, then cleaned the ends well with water and a little acetone.  Then I masked off the threads, and left a short section of the white coating unmasked on the tubing, because there was some damage from the drilling and riveting process.

The rod on the right is not cracked.  Thats the naked steel left from where the coating chipped off during the bucking process.  I’ve read its hard to not damage this spot, and lots of builders hit this with some spray primer to protect it. So, I masked it off, and shot it with a few good coats of a metal self-etching primer in a rattle can.  I found a white color, and it seems to actually match pretty dang good!

I’ll let this primer cure, then I’ll mark the threads on their halfway point with some sharpie, and install them in the wings.  These pushrods are done, and I am not going to weld them, since the rivets came out so nice, and had great edge distance on this go around.  Once I get these pushrods installed, all that will be left is to install the nylon conduit and maybe a little wiring, then the wings are finished for now.

Google Photos:

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Hours Worked: 1.5

Making Aileron Pushrods—-AGAIN

My shipment of replacement parts to rebuilt the aileron pushrods came in today.  Recall from an earlier post How a local welder really jacked up my aileron pushrods in an attempt the weld them, so I ordered the materials to rebuilt them.  I actually ordered extra 48″ of tubing and a few extra threaded inserts just in case.  I figured might as well save on shipping because these parts are pretty inexpensive,  but rather bulky to ship.  I also picked up some more -12 rivets too.

I grabbed a timelapse, and Tammy and Acacia came down and helped with a little.  I let them handle the priming portion 🙂

I started out by measuring 23 13/16″ on the ST4130 tubing snd cutting them to size using the chop saw.  You can see from my two marks, Vans doesn;’t give you very much extra to work with.  With two quick cuts, I had my pushrod tubes cut to the proper length.  The I deburred the edges with a file.

Next up was a little bit of filing on both the ST4130 tubing as well as the AN490-HT8P threaded rod ends.  I used a round file to file and smooth down the inside of the tubing, and then a standard bastard file to file down the shoulder of the AN490 threaded rod ends until I got a snug fit when the rod end was slipped into the tubing.  There wasn’t much filing needed, just enough for a good fit. I put some wood blocks in my bench vise to hold the rod end while I filed on it.  Worked good.

A few nights ago, I brought the jacked up rod ends down to the shop and used them as practice pieces to find a good way to drill them.  I eventually decided that I would clamp the tube down to my bench, and then use a drill guide also clamped down to drill the holes with my palm drill instead of the drill press.  This worked surprisingly well on my test pieces. I decided to use the same method on these new rods.  So, I marked where the bottom of the threaded rod ends were on the outside of the tube, and then marked where I wanted to drill the holes for the rivets.  This took a bit of trial and error.  Then I clamped the tubing down to the bench. The photo below shows a hole already drilled. but you get the idea.

Then I lined my drill guide up with my first blue line marked for a rivet and clamped it down to the bench, and onto the tubing.  This thing isn’t going anywhere!  I used a flashlight to shine down the hole of the drill guide to line up the blue line.

Then I drilled my first hole using a #40 bit and lots of Boelube.  I drilled all the way through the ST4130 tubing, into the threaded rod end, and out the other side.  The first hole looks good so far!

Time for the second hole! I left the spare drill bit through the assembly, and used it to rotate the assembly so its 90 degrees for the second hole.  I use a machinist rule to measure the height of each side of the drill bit from the bench to help me make sure the tubing was right at 90 degree.

Then I clamped the drill guide back on top of the tube, making sure it was right on top, lined up the blue line in the drill guide hole for the second rivet, and drilled it to #40.  I was pretty dang close to a perfect 90 degrees!  I am also way better on edge distance for my rivets.  Since I was happy with this distance, I transfered the markings from this tube over to the second tube, to both ends of the tubes.  The last step in drilling was to open the holes up to a #30, which was pretty easy to do.  I gently opened them up one side at a time, and then confirmed my AN470AD4-12 rivets fit in with no clearance issues.  Once I had the pushrods first end drilled, I handed it off to Tammy and Acacia so they could prime the inside.  I am using an oil based generic metal primer from Ace.

It works really well on this steel.  Tammy taped off one end, and poured some primer in the other end, sloshing it around really well to make sure all inside surfaces were coated.  Then she clamped it to the bench with the open end facing down to let the excess drain out and air dry.  While she was working on that, I did the above drilling procedure on the second W-818 pushrod tube.  Once I was done with it, she primered the inside of it as well, and they are both clamped to the bench draining and drying overnight.

I’ll let these dry, and then come back to them tomorrow. I still need to drill the other ends of each pushrod, then  I’ll coat the AN490-HT8P rod ends with primer, insert them and then rivet them.  I’ll more then likely dip the rivets in the primer to prevent any galvanic corrosion between the steel tubing and rod end against the aluminum rivet.

Google Photos Link:

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Hours Worked: 1.25

Making the Aileron Alignment Jig

After a short break, I came back down to the shop to get the alignment jig made.  I’ve ready a few ways of doing this, but honestly, Vans has the most simple way of doing it and its worked for countless other builders, so I decided to stick with convention on this one.


Looking at the drawings, Vans has us make a simple alignment jig using a straight board or other straight material.  Then we use the tooling holes in the outboard rib, drill matching holes into this board, and draw two lines tangent to the holes to use to lineup the trailing edge of the aileron.  Super simple and effective.  Here’s the section of the drawing to give a better idea:

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Luckily, I had a spare piece of 1.25″ x 1.25″ angle aluminum that would do the trick nicely.  This angle even had a little divot cut right down the center of one of the legs! I was skeptical at first, but after measuring it all the way down, it was truly right down the center.  Must have been from the manufacturing process or something, but it worked a treat.  I started out by drilling a #12 hole near the end of the angle, so I could fit an AN3 bolt through the angle and bolt it to the rib, as called out above.  I used that center line divot as a guide.

Then, I marked a matching line on the opposite of the angle, right down the center so I could locate the centerline using the top tooling hole in the rib, and backdrill into the angle.

Next, I fitted the angle to the rib, bolting the bottom hole of the angle to the bottom (leading edge) hole of the rib.  I wantcd to locate where to drill my top hole in the angle, so I took the #12 drill bit in my hand, stuck it through the tooling hole in the rib, and scored a witness mark on the angle by rotating the angle against the drill bit.  This give me a perfect witness mark and cross hairs to drill the top alignment hole.


The photos above shows the scored mark, and me using a noxon center punch on this mark to make a staring spot for my drill bit.  I simply drilled a #19 hole where this center punch was, and then test fit my new holes against the two tooling holes in the rib, and they fit very nicely! The AN3 bolts fit a little snuggly, but thats perfect.  Heres a photo showing with it clecoe’d in place to test fit.

We’re not quite done.  I still needed to draw the two alignment marks using the two new holes as my alignment points.  See that drawing above, we have to use these two holes, and draw a straight line using the tangents off each of these holes, all the way out to the end of the jig, so we can reference the lines with the aileron’s trailing edge to make sure its in perfect neutral alignment.  So, I used a 48″ ruler as my straight edge, and clamped the ruler, and my new jig down to the edge of the workbench, lining up the top of the holes against the ruler so I can draw my tangent lines.

Then I grabbed a fine point sharpie, and made a nice straight line all the way from one end of my jig to the other, using that ruler as my guide.  Once I had the top tangent line done, I repositioned my ruler to do the same for the bottom tangent line.  I don’t know how precise I was, but I think its certainly close enough to get the aileron into alignment:

Lastly, I bolted the jig onto the wing using the tooling holes in the rib and some AN3 bolts and nuts and it looks like its going to be super easy to get the aileron into alignment.

I also marked on the rib with some sharpie “ALIGNMENT HOLES” and circled the holes, just in case I need to re-align this aileron in the future.  Who knows, It may never need rigging, but its there just in case to avoid any confusion.   Then I sat down at the bench and looked over the plans a bit to start game-planning my next work session.  The only thing really left is to install the nylon wiring conduit, but I think I want to wait on that so the conduit doesn’t get in the way of adjusting the pushrods.  I think I am at a “critical path” in my build: Waiting on the pushrod parts to get here.  Thats all for this build session. I’ll take photos of aligning the aileron using this new jig once I get the replacement pushrods made.

Google Photos Link:

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  • 12A_7_8-Wing_Miscellaneous (1 page) 2020-10-18 at 10.26.22 PM
    12A_7_8-Wing_Miscellaneous (1 page) 2020-10-18 at 10.26.22 PM

Hours Worked: 1.0