Left Elevator -2

The last part I needed to work on was the trim tab. It wasn’t as hard as expected, but it did require a little bit of attention to make it right. The results are decent, just a few things that I would probably get better if I get the chance to work on another one.

Finally I installed both elevators into the horizontal stabilizer to adjust the movement as required. After some trial an error and few minor adjustments I got it to the point where it moves freely a little bit more than what asked on the plans. Next step is going to be fiberglass tips. I already started to work on fitting them and the results are quite good. Once I buy the supplies I need I’ll just get them done to do not have to work on them later.

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Right Elevator

The right elevator was the hardest part to build so far. Now that I’m working on the left side things are going a lot better, and easier. Just for future reference, theseare things that I learned that makes it simpler:

  • Dimples on the skin to spar area are not nice and resulted in my worst looking rivets so far. For the second elevator I asked my wife to help by holding the skins while dimpling and results are really good.
  • It was hard to rivet the stiffeners and spars. I found that the easiest way was to open the skin at least 90 degrees, and hold it from the outside (it is not going to break). Once you do it that way, and have better dimples results are good.
  • Riveting the counterbalance ribs to the main spar is a lot easier when the skin is still open. I got all but two rivets on both skin to spar and skin to ribs done pretty easy.
  • Trailing edge came up pretty similar to the rudder. Nothing really bad, but not as good as I would like.

The elevators are pretty simple assemblies, but require a lot of attention to detail, and it is pretty easy to make mistakes. In the future I may re-do it, but overall I think is OK.

And…….

 

 

Felt pretty cool getting to test fit the elevator on the horizontal stabilizer. 🙂

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Rudder – 1

I started working on the rudder right after finishing the HS. It has been pretty straight forward until now. The first step was to trim and prepare the stiffeners. It is pretty awesome to see how the pre-punched holes only align in a specific way. It makes it really easy to get it right even for me:). Back riveting is the easiest way of getting good results no doubt about it!.

Once I had both skins ready I started to work on the structure. It took me a little bit of time to totally understand how the bottom part of the rudder goes together. Once I got it, preparation is basically the same that I’ve been doing on previous parts.

I’m done to the point where I have to start riveting the trailing edge. I bonded it with T-88 epoxy as mentioned on the instructions. I’ve been waiting for it to cure a couple of days, while I also order some rivets and an extra bucking bar to reach some pretty tight places near the trailing edge.

Last Friday I met another builder, Paul, who came from Cleburne, TX to check on my project. We had a pretty cool conversation sharing ideas and experiences. I hope to be down there visiting him pretty soon. If you want to check his work, he has a pretty cool builders blog here!.

Horizontal Stabilizer – 4

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.

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Vertical Stabilizer

I kept working on my horizontal stabilizer for a while after my last post. The work I did was OK, but I kept getting the feeling that I could do better. Past Sunday I woke up and decided to just order the couple of parts I needed to re-do what I did not like.

While I waited for those parts to arrive I started to work on the vertical stabilizer. I read many times that this is actually a better sub-assembly to start with, and I have to say that I totally agree. It took a lot less time to complete. The VS is a pretty simple to assemble part. I matchdrilled, deburred, dimpled and primed in the same way that I did in the past.

The hardest part for me is definitely using the rivet gun. I managed to only put a couple of small smileys o the skin (but I still feel disappointed about it, even though everybody says that is normal). I’m thinking about getting a 2X gun to complement the 3X I have to test if the results are better.

Priming the parts this time went a little bit better after I got a new gun with the right size nozzle. There is still room for improvement, and definitely I’ll need to build a paint booth to help with the mess.

I’ve been using the Stewart Systems Ekoprime Primer. I really like that is not hard to deal with it as it is a water based primer. I’m sure some other products may offer better protection, but I do think that what I’m getting is enough for this project.

Next I’m planning an redoing the couple of parts in my HS and finish it. After that I think the rudder may come next.

Horizontal Stabilizer -3

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.

 

 

Horizontal Stabilizer – 2

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.

Building my shop

After almost 4 years since I moved and ended without a space to work on the things that I like, my wife and I bought our first home. It has been a pretty scary adventure to put everything we had into it, but we are very happy!.

Once things became more relaxed and I had more time available I started working on how I wanted to organize the garage and my shop. The decision was made to use the left side to build my workbench and place things around it.

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Table structure

A while ago I came across these work tables designed by EAA chapter 1000, and I really liked them. I decided to build something similar but tailored to the space I had available. With some adjustments in height and width I got it to be similar to the workbench my dad has at his place.

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Table done

I’ve always liked  having the tools that I use a lot  visible as it allows me to easily find them or check if one is missing. With this idea in mind I also built a “wall of tools” on top of the workbench and I’ve been slowly filling it.

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My workbench as on November 2017

 

There are some other improvements that I will be making on my garage to be able to organize parts and use as many space as possible. I’ll keep updating the blog with the things that I’m adding once I get them done. If there is anything you may want to know about how I built something please write a comment bellow and I’ll do my best to answer.

Update:

The workbench measurements are:

Width: 27″

Length: 8′

Height: 3′