Assembling the Wing Cradle

Tonight was a pretty special night in the build.  I pulled from storage a wing cradle that was given to me by a fellow builder a few years back.  Marvin McGraw was putting the finishing touches on his beautiful RV-14 when I reached out to him to purchase his remaining AKZO primer….the same primer I just finished using a few days ago!  I bought what he had left over, and while I was up there picking the primer up, he offered to give me his old wing cradle, since he didn’t need it anymore.  Under one condition:  That when I get done with my using it to store my wings, that I pass it along to another builder and sign my tail number to it.  Sort of a hand-me-down wing cradle.

This means that my wings are very close to being done, and I’ll be soon ordering the fuselage, and hopefully soon after that, be handing this wing cradle on to the next builder.  I pulled it from storage, where I had it broken down to save space. It’s quite large when assembled, because it holds the wings!  Marvin did an excellent job building this thing, its super sturdy and even has casters on it!

The photo above and the photo below is where I am attaching those long beams back into the carpeted section that holds the leading edge. I had the two long beams that connect the two separate pieces stored in the corner of my shop, and the two end sections were stored in my garage, sort of packed and screwed together to make it more compact.

You can see here how the carpet forms a very nice and cushy, yet supportive place for the leading edges to lay in, with the leading edge facing down, towards the floor.

This is the other end, where the main spar beams will sit.  I am going to actually bolt the main spars to this section to prevent any mishaps from the spars slipping off this beam.  Highly unlikely, but worth the little time to do it.


And here is the entire wing cradle, fully assembled and ready for the wings! Marvin had installed some casters from an office chair on the 4 corners, but I think I will upgrade them to the same casters I am using on my DRDT-2 table.  Those things roll really nicely, and they lock with little brakes.  I am also thinking of adding some shelves between the two long beams, using the scrap wood from the wing crate.  This will let me put any of the wing parts on the shelf, and store them WITH the wings, out of the way.

I am still very grateful to him for giving me this awesome cradle.  This saved me a LOT of time building one myself, and I am looking forward to the day I get to pass it on to the next builder, with my tail number written on it.  And yes, its just barely wide enough to fit through the doors, to go into the garage.  You can see in the photo above, to the left.  That is the door from the shop into the hallway, and then across the short hallway there is the door to the 2 car garage.  Tammy and I confirmed, the cradle will indeed roll nicely through shop door, into the hallway, and straight across into the garage.  Thats one of the reasons I loved this house:  Easy access to transport the wings from the shop into the garage 🙂

I’ll post the upgrades that I do to the wing cradle, and try to get some more photos of it, before the wings go in.  Thats it for tonight! OH.. I did pull the tubing stock from the rafters in preperation for making the push rod tubes.

Google Photos Link:

Hours Worked: 0.75


Riveting on the Flap Braces

Another quick build session, but closing out some good work on the wings.  I was able to rivet both of the flap braces onto the wings.  Here are the timelapse videos:

And a closeup of the left wing:

Not much to report, I grabbed the flap braces and verified I had the right one for the correct wings, and then clecoed them in place, making sure I had clearance where the brace fits between the spar reinforcement bars.

In the photo below, you can see the wire from the resistive fuel sender dangling down from the fuel tank.  Yes, I made sure it wasn’t getting caught in the flap brace :-). I clecoed every other hole, and then inserted rivets.  I had to use a 1/8″ drill bit to clear out some of the excess primer, it tended to build up in some of the rivet holes enough to block the rivet.

I am NOT dimpling these just yet.  I am going to leave them undimpled (where it joins the skins) for now, as well as leaving the skin undimpled in this section.  I need to figure out how the flap hinge goes on, and if I need to countersink and/or dimple.  Its not going to be an issue, as I can dimple them later on, very easily with my squeezer even if they are attached on the wings.  Better safe than sorry.

Next up, pretty simple:  Check the rivet callouts, grab those rivets and then buck them in place.  I wasn’t able to get to them with the squeezer, so they all had to be bucked.  But, they were very easy to get to, and they came out looking really nice.

After I had the left wing flap brace riveted on, I moved on and did the exact same process on the right wing.  After about an hour, both were done, and there aren’t any more parts left on my shelf to attach to the skeleton! Its all control surface parts now, which is pretty exciting.  These wings are very very close to being done!

Google Photos Link:

Hours Worked: 1.25

Riveting the Aileron Gap Fairing

I was able to get both the left and right wing aileron gap fairings riveted on the wings.  I captured the process in timelapse, heres those videos:

And a better close-up view:

I started out by dimpling the W-724 aileron gap fairings to accept the AN426AD3-3 rivets for the skin by using my DRDT-2 dimpler.  It didn’t take long at all to get both fairings dimpled.

Then I needed to also dimple the top wing skins, where these fairings attach.  I used my squeezer to dimple the skins.  There aren’t many holes here.  Once I had everything dimpled, i clecoed both fairings in place and grabbed the correct rivets.  I was able to use my squeezer to set most of the AN470AD4-4 rivets that attach the fairing to the rear spar, except for a few places I needed to buck them:  The rib holes, and the hole right next to the doublers for the aileron brackets.  Its to tight to get my squeezer in there, but the rivet gun fit nicely.

I did take note that we needed slightly longer rivets where the outboard rear spar doubler is, as well as where the rib holes are, but everything lined up with the plans.  You do get a bit better at identifying which rivet you’re gonna need for each hole.  I used my squeezer with the flat sets to squeeze the AN426AD3-3 rivets that attach the aileron gap fairing to the top wing skins.  I clecoed every other hole, and then squeezed the rivets, the same way I did with the AN470’s holding the fairing to the rear spar.

Once I had the left wing complete, I moved over and did the exact same procedure for the right wing. I am very happy with the way these came out, and how well the fairing reinforces the top wing skin.  It makes a very nice junction. Heres a few more shots of the completed parts:

Google Photos Link:

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Hours Worked: 1.75

Riveting the Aileron Brackets onto the Wings

Starting to get the last remaining parts from my shelf, and onto the airplane!  After I let the parts I primered, cure, they are ready to go onto the wings. I needed to get the aileron brackets riveted on, and I figured it would be easier to do with the wings in the stands for now.  Here’s the time lapse videos for the work:

I started by clecoing the left wing outboard aileron bracket onto the rear spar, as I’d need to back drill the holes into the outboard rib.  I double checked that everything was lined up correctly, and that I had the correct parts on the correct wing, and then back drilled into the rib using the aileron bracket as my guide.

Then I removed the bracket and deburred these new holes.  I also coutnersunk the lower two rivets on the side facing the aileron to avoid clearance issues.  Van’s instructs us to only do the very lower most rivet with an AN426AD4-7 rivet, but I went ahead and did the next rivet as well to be safe.  You can see them here:

The rest of the rivets I use the standard AN470AD4 style, and made sure to put the manufactured head on the thinnest metal piece, the rear spar.  I was able to squeeze a few of these rivets, but I did have to buck the others.  No biggies, they were easy enough to buck.  Next I moved on the inboard aileron bracket, making sure to apply proper doublers and rivets as called out in SB 16-03-28 for cracking.

I the same thinking, I used AN426AD4-9 countersunk rivets for those bottom two rivets, to avoid clearance issues. Like I did on the outboard bracket, Vans calls for the lower most rivet to be flush, but I did the one right above it as well.  I was able to squeeze some of these, and bucked the rest. I’m happy enough with how they came out, I have one rivet I will probably drill out and re-do because It sort of folded over a little.  Should be easy to fix I think.   Next up was to repeat this process on the right wing, and it was exactly the same as the left wing, just mirrored 🙂

Thats it! Both wings have their aileron brackets installed.  I’m going to save drilling out that rivet, as I need to drill out 3 in the wing skins.  So I’l all of them at the same time.  This work went pretty quick, and I’m glad I primed these brackets as they look really nice, and should give a long service life.  I think I’ll get the aileron gap seals and flap braces installed in the next session.  I also need to start putting thought into the fuselage kit order soon :-). There’s more photos in the album below.

Google Photos Link:

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Hours Worked: 1.75


Priming Aileron Brackets and Seals, Flap Braces, and Bottom Skins

Another BIG work session done with the help of my wife Tammy!  We managed to get all the bottom skins, aileron brackets, pitot parts, flap braces, and aileron seals primed during this work session.  I thought I captured two time lapse videos, but I must have bumped the camera on one of them.  Here’s the overhead view:

We started the session by scuffing the parts with scotchbrite.  Tammy did the flap braces and aileron seals, while I focused on the bottom wing skins.  I used a orbital sander with a scotchbrite pad to make quick work of the skins, then did a little finishing work with a pad in my hand.  Tammy got her parts scuffed and she went back upstairs, as the MEK and Acetone I use to clean the parts makes her woozy.

Once we had all the parts scuffed, I moved them into the paint booth to help evacuate the fumes from MEK and Acetone outside using the ventilator fan.  I cleaned all the skins, flap braces, ailerons seals and brackets, and the few little pieces of the pitot mast with MEK first, following that up with Acetone until the paper towels came up clean.

About halfway in the cleaning process, I mixed up the last remaining bits of my AKZO.  I had enough to mix up a full 3m PPS cup (10 ounces?), and then about 4 ounces in a second cup.  I went ahead and mixed up every last drop I had, as these were the last parts I’ll be spraying with AKZO, and no sense in leaving a few ounces in the can for months.  I let it sit to kick for its 30 minute induction time, which worked out pretty nicely time wise.  While it was inducting, I laid out all my parts for spraying:

Here’s the empty cans of AKZO, for my future reference on what I need to re-order 🙂

After I got the flap braces, and aileron seals and brackets sprayed, I still had plenty of AKZO let in my gun, so I decided to go grab my pitot mast, and the aileron bracket doublers to get them sprayed too.  They were cleaned with acetone, and were already alodined, so they were ready for priming.  I laid them on the wire mesh and gave them a good coating of primer:

I even had enough left in my gun to spray a little more on each of the skins and other parts.  Sure, its adding a few ounces of weight, but these skins will be on the bottom, and could possibly collect water, so its worth spraying it, than tossing the extra primer in the trash.   I was pretty stoked to get all these parts primered, and having enough AKZO to get all these done.  Heres how the parts are looking:

After I got everything sprayed, I left the parts in the booth to off gas with the ventilator running, I cleaned up my spray gun with acetone, trashed all the used 3M cups, and then tidied up the workshop.  This will more than likely be the last priming job for a while.  I’ll need to prime my control tubes, but I need to decide if I am doing AKZO on those or JetFlex.  Thats a good ways away however.  I’ll let these parts cure overnight, and start putting them on the wings, except for the bottom skins of course 🙂

Google Photos link:

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Hours worked: 3.0

Riveting the Right Wing Top Skins

Tammy helped me rivet the right wing top skins tonight! We had a sitter at Nana’s house, so we went down and got the last portion of two-person riveting done tonight.  I captured the entire work session in timelapse, hers those videos:

Closer view of the riveting process:

We started out by getting setup with the tools, and picking the right rivets per the callouts.  We followed the plans. but riveting the inboard skin first, starting in the middle of the middle rib of the inboard skin and working our way forward, then aft, every other hole (the other holes clecoed), and then moved over to the next rib.  Once the inboard skin was riveted in every other hole in the ribs, we moved to the outboard skin and did the same process of starting in the middle and working out, forward and aft.

We left the leading edge portion of the skins until after the ribs were done, followed that up by riveting the lap joint to make sure the skin stayed nice and tight.  Finally, we finished it up by squeezing the rivets on the rear spar – to – skin, making sure to not miss the spots that had longer rivets due to the doublers.  It came out very nice!

Across both wings, we only have 3 rivets to drill out and reset, so thats REALLY GOOD!  We made sure to mark them with sharpie, and I’ll drill them out this weekend and have her help me rebuck them.

After that, I cleaned up the shop, and then removed the wing stand brackets on the rear spar as they aren’t needed anymore, and they need to come off so I can rivet the aileron brackets.  We have two partially skinned wings!

 Thats it for this session! I am planning on doing a large priming session this weekend for the bottom skins, flap braces, and aileron seals and brackets.   Really happy to have made this huge milestone on the wings! they are both officially ready to come out of the jigs and into the cradle.

Google Photos Link:

Hours Worked: 3.0

Deburring the Bottom Wing Skins

A quick update on this one. I’ve decided to do one big priming session this weekend to be efficient. Planning on priming all the bottom wing skins, the aileron brackets, flap braces and aileron gap seals all in one go.  So, I needed to get the deburring work done on the bottom skins.  I grabbed the inboard and outboard skins for both wings from their storage area, and put them on the bench and went to work!  Here’s the time lapse that shows the work.  I took a short break for dinner in that video 😉

Pretty straight forward:  I rounded all the corners of the skins with my bastard file then used the file on all the edges to smooth out the shearing marks.  Then I used a scotchbrite pad to completely finish all the edges on the skin getting them nice and smooth.  After that, I used the edge breaking tool to put a small break on the edges where the skin laps, or lands on the spars so I’d get a very nice rivet line.  Finally, I removed the blue plastic from the interior side of the skins, as I’ll be scuffing them and priming them this weekend.  Thats it! I’ll probably get setup to prime tomorrow.

Hours Worked:  1.25

Deburring Flap Braces Seals and Aileron Seals

I did a little work on the W-721 flap braces and W-724 aileron seals tonight.  I had match drilled them to the spars and skins in a previous session, so this session I focused on deburring the holes, edges and getting them ready for priming.  Here are the time lapse videos:

I started out by removing the parts from the wings, and then deburring all the holes in them.  I did the Flap braces first, as they had a lot of lightening holes that needed debured as well.

After I had the holes deurred, I needed to trim off a small section of the flap braces, per the plans.  Vans put notches in the braces similar to the stiffeners for us to use as guides for our cut lines.  I used a straight edge and marked my cut lines.

Then I used aviation snips to cut off the little piece making sure to follow that cut line.  There is not much clearance on one of those rivet holes, but folks have reported Vans is aware and tells builders to either skip it or build on and rivet that hole as it won’t affect much where its at.

After I had them trimmed, I deburred all the edges on my scotchbrite wheel, and the removed the plastic from both flap braces.  They are ready for scuffing and priming.

Next up was to deburr the holes and edges on the aileron seals, and remove the plastic from them as well.  These went quick, theres fewer holes snd not lightening holes that need attention with scotchbrite.  After this short work, they were added to the priming pile.

I am going to prime the aileron brackets in my next priming session, so I needed to mask off the bearings really well to prevent paint from getting in them. So I spent a few minutes masking them off and trimming the excess.  They are also in the “priming pile”, so it looks like my next build session will probably be either a priming session, or I’ll deburr the edges on the bottom skins.

Thats it for tonight. Quick session, and quick update.

Google Photos Link:

Hours Worked: 1.0

Riveting the Aileron Brackets

After grabbing a bite to eat after finishing up the wing skins, I came back down and decided to rivet together the aileron brackets.  In the last session with these things, I alodined all the parts and sprayed primer on the angle brackets mating surfaces.  Everything is cured and ready to rivet together now.  Here is the time lapse for this session.  The first is the overhead:

The second is the closeup view of my workbench:

I laid out all the parts for the left wing brackets and briefed over the assembly directions and plans.  There are a few rivets that need countersunk and a few different sizes, so I triple checked everything, then clecoed the outboard bracket together.

I made sure I was using the correct sized rivets by checking them with a rivet gauge for the -4 diameter shanks. I also DOUBLE CHECKED to make sure I inserted the bearing in between the plates for the aileron bracket before clecoing them together.  This would be a hard mistake to learn if I left it out:-)

I also countersunk the correct side for the AN426AD4-7 rivets, and used my squeezer to set them.  I also squeezed the AN470AD4-9 rivets  They came out very nice:

After getting the W-414PP-L bracket (outboard)

riveted, I moved on to the W-413PP-L (inboard) bracket, and did the same procedure.  There were a few spots that needed countersunk rivets, and I made sure to get the oritentation correct.

You can see a small amount of overspray from the self-etching rattle can primer from where I sprayed the aluminum angle brackets mating sides.  Oh well, I guess it can’t be “PERFECT”.  I am still waffling on if I want to completely prime these brackets or leave them alodined.  The plans says they can be left bare, but I may go ahead and prime them just for extra protection?  After getting the left brackets done, I moved on to the right, and did the same procedures.

And here is the W-413PP-R bracket.  These things look like they are factory made 🙂

Well, except for maybe the rattle can primer overspray 🙂  I decided to wrap up the night with this work.  These look pretty great, and I tucked them away into my storage boxes, as they’ll be getting riveted onto the wings in short time.  I think I will work on the flap gaps and aileron braces in the next few sessions, and then get them ready to prime.  I am thinking I may prime those braces and gap seals and also prime the bottom skins in one session to save a little work.  It will be a LONG time before I need the bottom skins, but why not go ahead and prime them now and keep them protected?  That will probably finish off the remaining AKZO, leaving me with only a very small amount which is pretty ideal.

Google Photos Link:

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Hours Worked:  1.25

Riveting the Left Wing Top Skin

Big day today thanks to the help from my wife Tammy!  We managed to get the top skin fully riveted on the left wing! This is a big step in the wing construction, as it means the wing can officially come out of the wing stands, and can go in the cradle for the rest of the assembly.  I did capture a timelapse, but I think it ran out slightly before we were done.  Here is the overhead view.

And this is a closeup I took of the top side of the wing.  Tammy decided to be the bucking bar person, and we used the back rivet method to make some really nice looking rivets on the skins.  She is holding this bucking bar, and I am using this extended reach back rivet set in my rivet gun, all available from Cleavelend tools, and well worth the small cost!

We started out by looking over the rivet call outs and coming up with a plan of attack.  Per the plans, we’d start with the inboard skin, and the center rib of the inboard skin and work our ways outward.  So, we picked the center rib, and then the center hole in that rib, and riveted up the rivet line from center, and then down the rivet line from center to make sure the skin stays nice and right.   Once we had the first set done on the inboard skin, we removed the clecos, and did the same procedure for the remaining holes.   We did however leave the trailing edge on both the skins for the very last, as I could squeeze them by myself.  We also made sure to leave the two rows of rivets where the skins over lap alone as well, per the instructions.

You’ll notice we also left the very last rivet on where the skin, rib and main spar flange are for the last, as we’d need to use a longer rivet here.  There are several spots on the skins where a few different sizes are use, so we made extra sure to not mix up the rivets.  I also would check the tails with a rivet gauge after they were set to make sure everything is coming out correctly.  Once we had all the rivets except the trailing edge left, Tammy left to pickup our daughter Acacia from “Nanas” house, so I used my squeezer to set these last rivets.  Before she left, she made some neat little notes on which rivets needed the “weird” sized rivets, as they needed to be a little longer due to doublers and skin overlaps.  This was helpful!

Eventually we ended up with a very beautifully riveted skin top skin!  This back rivet method works very nice, leaving super flush and smooth rivets.  All of the skin edges mated up very nicely as well, and I am super happy with the quality of the work we’ve done.  There are a few superficial scratches on the skin from dimpling, and being worked on the bench, but they are surface only, and will completely be scuffed away when its painted anyways.

Thats it for this session.  Since Tammy had left, and I decided to go up and grab a bite to eat, and then come back down to do some more piddling work while she was picking up Acacia.  We are going to rivet the right skin soon, when we are both free again for at least three hours. Maybe next weekend?

Google Photos Link:

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Hours Worked: 3.0