Saturday, April 10, 2010

Squeezing in some time for squeezing

Rivet squeezing, that is.

As mentioned on my other blog (you do read both, don't you?) I spent most of today with spring cleaning/yard work/flying. It wasn't until lap 35 or thereabouts in the Nascar race way out west in Phoenix that I found a chance to get some quality time with the fuselage center section.

There were a couple of little parts-prep chores to take care of first, but the big event of the night would be the riveting on of the F1204-D AFT BULKHEAD onto the precious center section. I got a little careless with the first part to be separated from its extraneous material; I forgot neglected to mark the Left and Right parts before separating them from the elliptical piece of material in the middle. Once they were cut apart, the nice little identifying rectangular cut-out in the middle portion was useless. Fortunately, the holes in the flange are more tightly spaced on one end, so I was able to set them down by the drawing and figure out which was which.

While I remembered to mark Left and Right for the next part, I still had to study the drawing for a few minutes to determine exactly how much material was to be removed. I finally decided what I thought was intended in the drawing and marked the part accordingly before taking it over to the band saw for surgery.

All of the parts needed their edges deburred and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try out the little mini ScotchBrite wheels that I bought. I'm thinking that these smaller wheels will be mostly useful for deburring the lightening holes in ribs and seat braces, but I've been anxious to give the a trial spin, so to speak.

They work fine, but it's a different technique than I use on the bigger 5" wheel and it's going to take awhile to get comfortable with it.

The corner skin braces confused me for a few moments since it appeared that the Right part was on the wrong side of the center section. My first thought was that I had managed to mis-label the parts during my recovery effort from not having done it in the first place, but that didn't make sense because the parts could only fit one way. I finally realized that these parts were being attached to the AFT bulkhead, so the part was oriented backwards from how it will be in the plane. That question resolved, I riveted them on.

The last step before the big riveting job was to locate and retrieve two more parts from the inventory. I knew they were stored on Shelf 3, but that's not quite the level of granularity in documenting location that I really need. This early into the kit, there are still a lot of parts on the shelf and every one that I need to find ends up in a prolonged search.

These parts get riveted on along with the aft bulkhead and due to their length, they cross three different rivet zones. Plus there are a couple of holes that must be left open. The opportunity for mistakes is rather large as a result. I made sure to mark the holes and double/triple check each rivet before squeezing it into place. I caught an impending mistake on at least a couple of occasions. This was definitely one of those cases where I had to force myself to slow down and be very thorough in my checking of the details. That practice is something that I gotten out of the habit of doing on my long hiatus and I've dearly paid for it a couple of times already.

The main row of rivets was much simpler, albeit time consuming, although I did manage to pinch a nice welt into my belly with the handles of the rivet squeezer. Time for the Special K diet, I suppose.

When I was done with the riveting I looked ahead at the next step and saw that it was going to involve clecoing the fuselage side skins onto the center section to position a part for eight match drilled holes into the fat metal of the center section and decided that it was time to call it a day. Still, it's nice to have gotten this part done.

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