28 Oct 05 - Riveting the Back Top Fuselage Skin

This is the sort of project that is best attempted in one sitting. Being in the plane is not that uncomfortable, but getting in and out is a real pain. Once you're in, just go ahead and finish it.

Dad in the baggage compartment. He was on the bucking bar while I was using the gun.
Finished (mostly) product. Still a few rivets in the very front and where the rollbar attaches that haven't been finished, but most of it is done.

Possibly useful advice: with a skin this large, it's probably not a bad idea to at least be aware of the possibility that you could rivet some of it and the rest of the skin would not line up quite right. This can be minimized by the order that particular rivets are put in, and Sam's suggestion yesterday was to (a) start in the center, (b) cleco as many things as possible, (c) rivet from the center out, and (d) place rivets that are in different areas in order to lock the skin into the position that it's supposed to be. For instance, don't rivet the entire center row first, but (for example) do every fourth rivet on all three center rows, work your way down the sides, and then do every fourth rivet on the bottom where the skin joins the side skin. Then go back and fill in the rest of the rivets.

We did this, and it worked very nicely - didn't have to redrill any holes in the entire skin. And, for what it's worth, you can see some of this process in the first picture, where some of the top and back clecos are missing.

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