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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


The workbench measurements are:

Width: 27″

Length: 8′

Height: 3′