Elevators

3/29/2011
Hours: 3.8
Elevators: 68.6

Finally got the trim tabs done. Wow, they were a hassle. There was a particular rivet on both trim tabs that gave me particular difficulty. I had to drill it out on one side 3 times, and twice on the other side. On both sides, I discovered cracks in the dimple of the skin and had to remove the rivet, drill out for a #4 rivet, dimple for a #4 (the hole was a little oblong after drilling out a couple times (on both sides) and I wasn't comfortable using an oops rivet), and squeeze them in. The pictures show one of the holes after polishing out the cracks. I suspected the crack initially and used a handy magnifying glass that Zach keeps in the garage for easy access when he's in the mood to start camp fires in the fire-pit (which he actually does successfully). The troublesome rivets were in the trim-tab control horns which are shown.

Then I did the proseal job. Man does that stuff every bit live up to its reputation. What a mess! But now the foam ribs are in place in the trim tabs and the elevators. I'll give them a day or two so the proseal can cure and then hopefully finish off these elevators! I'm guessing there's another 10 hours of work to finish them off.

Elevators

3/28/2011
Hours: 0.7
Elevators: 64.8

Primed all the parts for the trim tabs. Because the pictures of the primed parts are hardly interesting, I took some extra pictures of the yard, which always looks so nice this time of day under a blue sky.

Elevators

3/27/2011
Hours: 5.2
Elevators: 64.1

A ton of little things done tonight. The closeout tabs on the sides of the trim tabs were bent into place - though these aren't perfect, I'm sorry to say. It involved clamping wooden wedges into exactly the right place and bending aluminum and then hitting the aluminum with the rivet gun set at low pressure in order to crease the aluminum on the right line. But I had a problem with the wedges moving when hitting it with the rivet gun and creasing the aluminum slightly out of place. It'll hardly be noticed and isn't a safety issue, so it stays as is.
Other things done were trimming the trim-tab control horns to the right shape and deburring the edges, final drilling holes, deburring holes, countersinking holes, and probably one or two other things I can't remember. With all this stuff done, I forgot to take any pictures.

Oh, and I had some help from Daniel today. He helped to hit the edges of the trim tabs with the rivet gun (as mentioned above) while I tried to hold the wedges in place. This method helped, but still didn't give us perfect bends.

Elevators

3/26/2011
Hours: 2.1
Elevators: 58.9

These trim tabs are annoying. Not because they're hard. No. Because every step requires you to build things out of wood. So, to avoid buying a band saw, I arranged to borrow the six clamp blocks needed for the trim tabs from someone whose further along in their construction of an RV-10. Then I had to buy a long 2x8 and hinges to build a break for bending aluminum. Of course, I made the break and sanded it smooth so it doesn't scratch the trim-tab skins. Then I needed a couple of wooden wedges having the same geometry as the clamp blocks. These wedges are used for bending the ends of the trim tab skins. ... Anyway, I think I've now got all the extra wooden things made and the trim tabs are under-way.

I didn't put in as much time on the airplane as I had hoped today. Scott and I went to the local EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) meeting this morning. We both wanted to hear the speaker who was a former Top Gun instructor and had some great stories. And I wanted to see a demo that was being done on how to use proseal. Good timing on that demo since I'll be using that stuff for the first time in a few days.
There are several builders at the Manassas chapter of the EAA (this is the chapter we belong to) who are building or already flying RV-10's. As a bonus today, there's a member getting ready to fly his RV-10 for the first time within the next couple of weeks, and he invited Scott and me to come by his hanger and check out his airplane. It was exciting to see and made Scott and me both look forward to when our airplane is at the same stage.

Elevators

3/23/2011
Hours: 1.1
Elevators: 56.8

Realizing that I'll have to do the proseal dance again with the foam ribs in the trim tabs, I decided to hold off on that task on the elevators until I can do this job on both the trim tabs and elevators at the same time. Therefore, I began the trim tabs, the first task of which is to cut wood to be clamping brackets.  Such precise measurements are given for the dimensions down to the 1/32 of an inch!  The marking lines I draw on the wood are thicker than that!  Anyway, I almost finished the first of six blocks and decided to stop because it's late and I'm obviously tired.

Elevators

3/22/2011
Hours: 3.5
Elevators: 55.7

The tip ribs are now in place. Most of the rivets were easy, but there were two on each elevator that were really, really troublesome. Finally got them in. There were also two pop-rivets on the bottom skins of the elevators. I accidentally put in the wrong rivets in these spots, but as I understand it, the only difference between the ones I put in and the ones I was supposed to put in are that the ones I did put in do not sit perfectly flush against the surface. I'll accept the 0.001 MPH slower speed from this added drag on the airplane and move on.

The other accomplishment was cutting out some foam ribs for the trailing edge of the elevators. There is a template in the plans that you are supposed to cut out and glue to these rectangular foam blocks with spray adhesive. Then you cut them out first with a saw and then with a sander or sand-paper to get them right down to the line. Well. I got the adhesive from Home Depot last week and I just knew this wasn't going to be pretty. Oh, not to worry. The foam ribs came out just about perfect. It's just that I really don't get along well with chemicals. I hate paint and even in grade-school I've always hated glueing things. I hoped that the spray adhesive would turn out less messy but I didn't really expect it to be so. By the time the glue dried with the paper templates adhering firmly to the blocks, somehow gobs of the glue were in my hair, all over the bench and somehow managed to get on the air-hose coming out of the compressor. I have no idea how since I was nowhere near there.

Anyway, I'm glad that's over. If only the next task wasn't using fuel tank sealant to adhere these ribs in place, I'd be much more looking forward to tomorrow night's job. The foam ribs will go between the skins of the trailing edge of the elevators. There is a picture or two showing these ribs resting on top of the elevator trailing surface. They'll go inside there next time. This tank sealant stuff used to put these ribs in place (called proseal) is like black roofing tar except stickier and much messier. ugh. Not going to be fun.
Finally for tonight, I have to admit that I'm surprised that the elevators are taking as long as they are. Not sure why I thought that. There are two of them and the timing projection is looking like it'll be twice the rudder or so. I still have the trim tabs to make which includes more proseal and more primer. Thankfully, I've already deburred the edges of all those parts and have already done the foam cutouts for the trim tabs (did those tonight while I was already making a mess).

I have to say, this is a fun project (except for the chemicals). I hope we'll be able to order the wing kit soon.

Elevators

3/21/2011
Hours: 3.1
Elevators: 52.2

Root ribs completely riveted in place. Tip ribs/skins in the middle of being done. Several VERY difficult rivets tonight. Difficult because of very tight spaces. But they're all in and only two or three had to be drilled out and redone. Not too bad.

Elevators

3/20/2011
Hours: 2.0
Elevators: 49.1

Front spars now riveted in place. The pictures show nice views of the control horns. These will be connected by linkage to the control sticks in the cabin.

Elevators

3/19/2011
Hours: 3.2
Elevators: 47.1

Got the skins riveted to the rear spar and the ribs riveted together. A special bucking bar was necessary to rivet several of the rivets today. It is shown in a picture or two below. Today is our 17'th wedding anniversary. Hopefully for number 20 we'll be able to fly someplace special in our own airplane.

Elevators

3/18/2011
Hours: 4.7
Elevators: 43.9

Ribs riveted to the elevator skins. Rear spar riveted to ribs. Shear clips in place, gussets in place. Had some great help from Daniel and Audra today. Audra was instrumental at removing tape from rows of rivets after having been set by the back-riveting method. Daniel has an excellent sense of timing. When back riveting using the C-Frame tool as described the other day, there is no effort required to center the rivet gun. You just align what you want to rivet and pull the trigger. To get the rivet set perfectly, you hold the trigger down for the right amount of time - maybe 1.5 seconds. I showed Daniel what to do and let him pull the trigger. After each rivet, I checked it with a gauge and when necessary had him hit it again. After he got the timing, the rivets were just about perfectly set every time.

Elevators

3/17/2011
Hours: 2.0
Elevators: 39.2

Riveted nut-plates to a couple of reinforcement plates. These reinforcement plates were then riveted to the bottom skins. These nut-plates will allow a second plate to be screwed to the skin, rather than being riveted, making it removable for inspections, maintenance, etc.

The contraption in the picture is a little setup for "back-riveting" Rivets can be squeezed or they can be bucked. When you squeeze a rivet, the end that sticks through the metal deforms outward and downward forcing whatever you're riveting to stick together. When you "buck" a rivet, you hold a dense piece of metal like steel or tungsten (called a bucking bar) against the end that sticks through the metal and on the other end you hit it with a rivet gun. The rivet gun hammers the rivet into the bucking bar causing the same deformation you get when squeezing. Sometimes it's convenient to buck the rivet upside down. This is back-riveting. I put the rivet into the hole and tape it in place. Then I put that end against a flat piece of metal (called a back-riveting plate) and then hit the other end with the rivet gun, using a special attachment. The same deformation happens. You just rivet by whatever method is most convenient given the circumstances. Tonight, I had tried to squeeze the rivets holding the reinforcement plates to the skins, but was unable to have everything hold still to do it properly (even had to drill out a rivet that was set improperly). So I got out the back-riveting tools and went to town.

Also notice in the pictures a new make-shift table. Too many things taking up space and I like to back-rivet using that small table on the work-bench. So I laid some plywood over some saw-horses and moved the left elevator stuff over to it. The next steps also involve a lot of back-riveting so I'll leave everything as is for now. Eventually, when the back-riveting is complete, I'll be moving the left elevator back to where it was on the work bench.