Monday, June 14, 2010

Chapter three. Again.

While it has not (and hopefully will not) reached the level of mundanity, I do have to say that some of this work is hitting the upper boundary of "routine." Cleco-dimple-rivet.  Cleco-dimple-rivet. Cleco-dimple-rivet. Repeat until, well, you just don't want to do it anymore. It's not that it's boring per se, it's more that there are certain things that have become very commonplace. It's sort of like re-reading chapter three after finishing chapter ten of a novel. The again after chapter twelve. And fifteen. It starts to feel repetitive. But even at its worst, it still feels like progress and offers the sense of satisfaction inherent in using your hands to mold a complex object out of tiny little parts. So there is that.

With that enthralling lead-in, I'm sure you're right on the edge of your seats with anticipation and can hardly wait to see what I got done tonight. You're right to be excited: I riveted in two new floor boards. And they had nutplates! Be calm by beating heart!

As is often the case, the beginning of all of this was the replacement of some stuff that had been put in position, removed, and needed to be put back again. In this case it was the re-primed step braces that needed to be clecoed back onto the step ribs and riveted in.


I started out by riveting from the rib through the bracket but soon learned that this caused issues in the lower outside corner when the rivet puller wouldn't fit in. I shifted to putting the rivets through the brackets and into the ribs and it all went much better.

The bulkhead gets riveted on next. Looking at the plans, I could see that I'd have to be careful about what got riveted when. It would be easy to get carried away with riveting the bulkhead not only onto the end flanges of the step ribs but through the step support brackets as well. That would be a mistake because the little aluminum brackets that host the nutplates would then have no open rivet holes available to them. 


There are also a couple of holes that get a CS4-4 flush blind rivet rather than the normal LP4-3. I went ahead and did those first so that I wouldn't forget.


There are a couple of holes on each side that don't get riveted. I marked those with no-no clecos. I threw caution to the wind in order to put an adrenalin-inducing risk into the game by not covering the no-no rivets with duct tape. Truth is, I'm getting low on tape.


The corners get riveted next.


Finally, the floors get riveted in.


And there it is!


What? I promised you nutplates? Oh, yeah. These were a real treat. See those lightening holes in the ribs down in the gap between the two floor boards? You have to reach through them with a nutplate to install on the corner of each floor board. I don't know if you can get a sense of scale from these pictures, but even with my tiny arms (arms so spindly that an anorexic super model would find them too frail) I couldn't get more than two fingers through. I had to hold the nutplate between my index finger and my driving finger while trying to get the nutplate pressed up against the bottom of a floor board, then try to slide it into position hoping hoping hoping that I would drop it. Dropping one would cause a real dilemma: try to find a way to get it out of there without drilling out all of the rivets holding the floor board in place, or just live with the rattle.

I managed to get both installed without putting myself in the position of having to make that decision.



See? This wasn't boring after all!

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