7 Sept 05 - Riveting Empennage Tips

The plan for today is to try to get a bunch of the empennage tips actually on there, and just see how far we can get with that. We should be able to get most of these things actually riveted on there for good.

Left side of the elevators and horizontal stab is ready for filler.
View inside the right horizontal stab tip, just to give you an idea of how the metal strip is working.
Rudder tip has been match drilled . . .
. . . and riveted, with the metal strip inside.

Match drilling these things was an adventure, I tried several ways to do it. Here's what worked and what didn't:

  • If you're going to drill these things at all, it's a really good idea to back it up with something. This is kind of a "duh" thing, but if you don't (I didn't, on the right elevator), you'll push the metal strip off of the epoxy, and then you'll have to redrill it. This is a serious pain in the butt if you are match drilling it to the aircraft at the time.
  • Match drilling it to the airplane is fine, but keep in mind that if you are doing this you can't be backing it up. It's not a good idea to do this if you do not already have pilot holes in there, so here's an order I would suggest: First, drill the fiberglass part (undersized, #40 holes) to the empennage. Then, match drill the fiberglass to the metal strip. Epoxy it all together, getting the holes as close as you can. Finally, after letting it cure, then attach it to the empennage with silver clecos and drill it to the final size.

Chaos that resulted after I tried to match drill it directly in place with no pilot holes: a bunch of the metal got pushed away and I'm going to have to re-expoxy this tomorrow.
This has nothing to do with anything that was done today, but this is the latest version of the electrical diagram for the plane. (This picture is in extra-big resolution so you can see all the details.)

Interesting lessons learned, today: It's interesting to note that this business about adding a strip of aluminum to improve edge distances complicates this considerably. Although it seems to be coming out well (it's nice and strong), it makes me wonder if it wouldn't have been easier just to throw a bunch of epoxy in there when it was time to use pop rivets. It would have been lots easier, and probably still would have been okay.

Also, let me throw out the normal disclaimer here, about the electric diagram:


This is how we are planning to do this airplane. This does not mean you should copy this design for your airplane. This is (as you can see in the picture) a copy of a diagram from the Aeroelectric Connection, which you should read and understand, in my opinion. Do not just wire your plane like this and send me angry email when it doesn't act like you expect it to. This is presented only as a "this worked for us" (which it hasn't yet, as the plane has not yet flown, or even been wired) and you should do your own research.

Sorry about that, but y'know . . . lawyers and stuff.

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