Friday, May 7, 2010

Another break?

Yep, I took another night off. The weather was superb and I decided to take advantage of it to go flying.

I was back in the shop tonight, though, albeit for less than an hour and a half. That was just long enough to finish up page 21-11 before I developed a raging headache. As far as getting a lot accomplished, it didn't really seem like a lot got done. There was plenty of activity, though.

I squeezed in a passel of nice, thick #4 rivets which went as well as can be expected. Those were the last rivets needed to secure the doublers that I started installing last time. Then there were four #3 rivets on each of the doublers that went into their respective flanges, presumably to hold them together under duress. The manual said that it would be okay to use two flat dies if I wanted to, but I couldn't figure out why I might want to do that. Van's was acting like they were doing me some kind of favor and I felt kind of embarrassed that I was too provincially gauche to see the value of their beneficence.

Being #3 rivets, they squeezed in as easily as crushing a cooked noodle.

The other parts that I had assembled last time (control column bearings, I think) were then riveted to the bulkhead with blind rivets, but simultaneously there were some of the world's angriest nutplates to deal with. These are the nutplates that have the screw hole on one end and the two rivet holes right next to each other on a tab.

I call them angry because by the very nature of their design they make themselves very difficult to install. Typical of our contemporary society, I ascribe malice to anything or anyone that causes me inconvenience. In the case of these nutplates, the inconvenience comes from not being able to use clecos to hold them in place for riveting. The rivet holes are so close together that the cleco blocks access to the rivet squeezer.

Maliciously petulant jerks.

The only way to hold them in is to temporarily install a screw. That holds the screw hole in place, but it does nothing to hold the nutplate flush up against the aluminum like a cleco would. It ends up being a three hand job to hold the nutplate, get the rivet into place, and use the squeezer.

Sadly, I still only have two hands. It takes a contortionistic ballet of hands and tools to get it done, and it is by no means enjoyable.

After those were finally in, there was the simple matter of eight more nutplates that go on the flanges of the bearing plates. Those take flush mount #3 rivets to mount, but I couldn't help noticing that the holes weren't countersunk. That, of course, made no sense. I went back a few paragraphs in the plans and found the step that I had missed. I made amends with a quick countersinking operation and installed the eight nutplates. That brought me to the end of the page at right around the end of my patience with the headache, so I called it a night.

Well, almost. I still needed to vacuum up the metal shavings on the work bench and the bulkhead was in the way, so I temporarily clecoed it into its place on the fuselage.

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