Afternoon of 24 May 04 - Day 1 at the Alexander Tech Center


Welcome back from lunch! We skipped documenting a step in here - well, two, really, if you count eating lunch. The step that we skipped that you're probably interested in, though, is taking apart the front spar assembly, bending the two main supports that attach to the front spar (HS-714 and HS-710), and the front spar 6 degrees, and then clecoing the whole thing back together. You can see the results of this in the first picture on the page.

How did we do it? We used a vise and the little tool that's pictured in the third picture of the page. I thought it was going to be terribly difficult but it really wasn't all that exciting once we actually did it.

Moving on. After lunch, we started working on the front spar with the eventual goal (once we had both the front and rear spars together) of clecoing together the whole horizontal stabilizer. Here we go:


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Notice that the spar assembly has already been bent.
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After the freshly bent pieces have been put back together, it's time to match drill 'em.
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Here's how we checked the angle when we bent the spar extrusions: thanks to gravity, the needle always points up. Cool!
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Finishing up drilling the front spar assembly.
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There's the spar after bending, drilling and clecoing.
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I try my hand at fluting horizontal stabilizer ribs.
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Some amount of progress also going on with the vertical stabilizer.
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Attaching the ribs to the front spar of the horizontal stabilizer.
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Beginning to think about attaching the front spar to the skins.

Sooner or later you're bound to ask why we're not taking off the blue plastic coating, if we're really about to put all these together. Well, we're not putting them together for good right now. All we're doing is getting them clecoed up so we can do all the drilling and fitting today. After today is over we'll take everything back apart so we can send all the parts to the paint shop on (probably) Wednesday. Then they'll come back and we'll actually rivet all this stuff together on Thursday, according to the schedule we have now.

What's usually done with the RV empennages here is that they're primed using some sort of poly-fiber epoxy primer. That it's kind of a pukey shade of green is all I know about it right now (also it doesn't stick to alclad, so we get to scotch-brite everything), but I'm sure we'll learn more about it as the week goes on.


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Left side of horizontal stabilizer before clecoing the skins to it.
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Although you can't tell in this picture, the front edges of this rib (and all the others, too) have all been scotch-brited so they don't poke the skin.
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Clecoing the skins onto the horizontal stabilizer.
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More clecos in the top half.
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Top half is almost done being clecoed.
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Well, maybe not quite. Must have missed one.
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Now we're about to put the rear spar in.
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Rear spar has been clecoed in.
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Dad puts the last clecos in the rear spar.
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Fitting in the main rib (HS-405).
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All clecoed up, except for the nose ribs, which we're about to do.
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Jacob finishes clecoing together the vertical stabilizer.
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Flipping it over once more: we're about to put in the nose ribs (HS-404). . .
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. . . but first they need to be trimmed.
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There are two corners that need to be cut out on each nose rib.
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But there are only two, and a band saw makes quick work of them.
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Finishing up. After this and before the next picture some filing took place.
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Using a scotch-brite wheel to get the sharp edges out . . .
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. . . and out of the other one, too.
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Nose ribs are now in - let's drill 'em.
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More drilling.
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Should be about done.
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I didn't think we'd use these sort of clamp clecos on a predrilled RV kit, but this picture proves otherwise.
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Using an angle drill. Right after I took this picture, we mess up. Darn!

What follows is our only real "oops" of the day. We were drilling the last holes that needed to be done on the horizontal stabilizer, and we switched drill bits on the angle drill that we were using. (The old one was dull.) Well, the new one was nice and sharp but unfortunately it was a size too big, so one of the holes is going to get a slightly larger rivet than the plans call for.


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The aforementioned "oops" - note the larger hole in the lower left.
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Using an angle drill to get to a place that needs to be drilled through HS-710, among other parts. (For the curious, this is detailed in Sec. D-D in the plans.)
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The angle drill we used for the aforementioned procedure.
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Now that it's all been drilled, we can take it apart to prep the parts.
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Deburring one of the horizontal stabilizer parts (HS-714 or HS-710, for what it's worth).
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Scuffing the stabilizer ribs so they're reading for priming.
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Dimpling stabilizer ribs.
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There are all the deburred, dimpled, countersunk, and scuffed parts ready for priming. Time to call it a day!



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