Fiberglass work was actually pretty interesting and fun. I was a little bit afraid of how it was going to work, but I feel the results are good. I started by trimming the horizontal stabilizer tips and filling the rear part of them. Now after it is done, I feel I could have created a narrower gap between the tips and elevators.
Fitting the elevator and rudder tips was pretty simple. I used my heat gun to adjust them on some places, and a little bit more may be required once all parts come together on the airplane as I saw some minor misalignment once I riveted them in place.
The last piece I worked on was the rudder bottom piece. I decided to go with the flyleds DIY nav/led/landing lights kit. As a result I just bought the tailight/ strobe and fitted it in place. I also used epoxy to secure the support inside the fairing. The last thing I did was add extra fabric and epoxy inside at the join line between the too halves of each fiberglass tip fairing for a little more support.
The final result:
As I wrote in an earlier post, I wasn’t happy with how the horizontal stabilizer was coming along. I decided to re-order some parts and start again. I ended ordering one skin, front spars, doubler, front ribs and three main ribs. Shipping ended being the expensive part, but to be honest it was a good idea.
It took me a couple of weeks to get back to where I was when I decided to stop, but once I got all the parts prepared and primed it was actually pretty straight forward.
Learning to use the rivet gun is what takes the longest. I feel confident now that I can get decent results with it. There are a couple of things that I feel can be better, but the overall assembly came up good.
After assembling and match drilling everything the steps called for dimpling the ribs and skins. I decided to use the main squezer to dimple the ribs in the same way we did back in December when we attendend the Synergy Air class. It was actually pretty straight foward and the results were as expected.
Once I started to dimple the skins, I was getting less than ideal results. After reading the DRDT-2 manual a couple more times, and running some searches on VAF, I came to the conclusion that I had the wrong setup. My holes were under dimpled, adding a little bit of pre-load fixed the issue. After re-dimpling the holes the results were pretty good and consistent.
Machine countersinking the spars and doublers was pretty easy. Just a matter of seting the stops to the right depth, and slowly making my way through every hole. I’ll probably need to add an extra battery for my drill or get anoter one.
After looking at VAF Classifieds for weeks I found two of the tools that I considered a must have: DRDT-2 and Main Squeeze model 22. The first one required a quick trip to Middland, TX, and was quite an adventure to take it to Dallas. The second one was a cool find that a gentleman was selling in South Texas. For everything else I needed to start I gave the awesome people at cleaveland aircraft tools a call, and they customized a kit for me. At the end I basically got everything they offer in their get me started kit, plus some aditions and substitutions I deemed appropiate after taking the fundamentals class at synergyair.
Because I took the time to prepare the ribs, spars, doublers and also build the shims and angles I needed I was ready to start assembling the horizontal stabilizer. The first steps of instructions went pretty fast. I match drilled the structure, and now I’m at the point in which I need to disasamble, debur and get ready to match drill the skins.