Today the HS was completed. I woke up and started working on riveting the 470 rivets holding the end rib to the front spar. I was shooting and bucking myself and it just doesn't work. The cup comes off of the head of the rivet way too easily. I needed to drill one of them out, and the other I put a nice smiley on the head. I was thinking of drilling it out, but there is nothing technically wrong with the smiley, and drilling it out increases the hole size. I think I will just tell people that I intentionally put the smiley in so I knew what side of the HS was the left side!
I then started to shoot and buck the skin to the front spar. My method for this was start in the middle, and work towards each end, then towards the trailing edge. I did a few of them using Dan Checkoway's rivet pressure chart as a template. Well, in my ignorance of air regulators, I adjusted the pressures according to when the air gun was working. So, I had 34 psi when the rivet gun was blasting away on a piece of wood, and 50 PSI when it stopped. I only did two rivets this way before I found my issue. Set it to 34 PSI when the gun is off. Then everything worked well. I got a handfull of rivets done and then my dad showed up. We really pounded through the rivets. In less than 5 hours we had all of the rivets in the HS. He shot, I bucked. We worked really well together. I moved the clecos out and he put in the rivets, then I got into position to buck.
Once all of the bucking was done, we put in the rear spar and squeezed that. What I did for that was setup the pneumatic squeezer for the AN426AD3-3.5's that hole the ribs/spars to the skins - the one you do 99.9% of the time. We started in the middle of each skin and worked ourselves around. I needed the no-hole yoke for the leading holes on the tips. I setup the handsqueezer for that since I didn't want to mess with recalibrating the pneumatic squeezer. Some of you may say that the pneumatic squeezer is not worth the cost. I am not going to argue there, but a second squeezer, being hand or pneumatic is really handy for the time when you need to do just a couple rivets that aren't like all the others.
When we got done, we put the end ribs on and then the blind rivets. DONE! My dad took a picture of me with my pride and joy. But wait...I saw one rivet missing! Oh well, the pic has all the rivets in it but one. I quickly used the hand squeezer and did that one and called it done! Man this is cool looking.
I used cardboard boxes to keep the HS off of the table and have the clecos dig into the skin.
My dad clecoing the second skin onto the front spar.
Another shoy of my elevator boxes. I used my little wheely craftman storage unit ($99 on sale, few years old) to support what didn't fit on the table. It worked really nicely.
Me squeezing. I had ear protection on not because of the noise, because the squeezer is silent. But the pressure released from the unit was blowing right into my ear.
Still looking like a nerd, but at least today I have on a beer t-shirt.
The finished (minus 1 rivet) product!
Me with my baby. There is one rivet missing on the right side, on the end rib just below where the front spar meets it.
Last Modified: August 13, 2023