Saturday, January 15, 2011

Three Little Kittens Lost Their Glittens...

Wait. Glittens?

Well, yes.

In another of those instances where I have an idea for something that needs to be invented, only to find that it already has been, I ran across a pair of glittens at Walmart this morning.

The idea came to me a few days ago when I was out in the hangar riveting on the final bottom skin on the left wing. I was fairly comfortable in the 28F degree weather with the notable exception of my fingers, where I had cut the tips off of my gloves to provide better dexterity when working with little things like rivets. I figured that I needed to invent a pair of gloves with removable finger tips so I could have the best of both worlds.

As it turns out, it has already been done. Someone has combined the mitten with the glove, to create what I am calling the "glitten." It's a wild and crazy idea, almost as crazy as, say, combining an apple with a grape.

The wing had been flipped over on Friday night and was thus ready to have the leading edge of the skins folded back onto the top of the wing and riveted. I initially was under the impression that I would be riveting the skins in their entirety, but I quickly noticed that the notch in the ribs that will fit with the stiffened edge molded into the top skins would be covered if I did so.

The sent me scurrying back to the plans in an irrational panic that I had somehow managed to get the bottom skins installed so incorrectly that they were reaching too far over the top of the wing, an idea that I understood was clearly preposterous after just a couple of seconds of contemplation. A closer look at the plans showed where I had gone wrong: only the first few rows of rivets were to be installed.

But before I could do that, I had to get the skins wrapped around to the top of the wing and clecoed down. That was a bit of a battle, but persistent and tenacious pushing, shoving, and clecoing got it locked into place. I then grabbed the Sharpie(tm) and marked the areas to be riveted. Incorrectly, as it transpired. The big left parenthesis looking mark should start one more hole to the right.

Some of the clecos went in with more than a little difficulty, lubricated only by copious application of low-order (high-order words like F-bombs and the similar being reserved for really serious situations such as mis-cutting something or creasing a wing skin while trying to get it into the car) swear words. Given the difficulty of some of them, I thought it prudent to take a look under the hood to make sure that all of the clecos had caught rib flange rather than simply pushing the flange out of the way. That happened once before when I was putting the skins on the horizontal stabilator.

In all of the excitement, and likely distracted and intimidated by my vociferous application of off-color language, my photographer apparently forgot my standing order to never photograph my bald(ing) spot. There'll be hell to pay for that!

Once the skins were in place, the riveting was easy. Then those flaperon hinge thingys that I put together a couple of weeks ago needed to be retrieved from wherever it was that I had put them so I couldn't lose them and installed.

First, the little triangular bracket gets riveted to the bottom skin.

Then the actual assembly gets slid up through a slot in the wing to fit between the bracket and the wing rib. It's a very tight fit and the first one did not go easily at all. In fact, it took a lot more pushing, shoving, and swearing to get it in there. The second was a lot easier because I smeared a little Boelube on the part first, rather than depending on shouted invectives to provide lubrication.

It's hard to see, but the hinge mount thingy is sandwiched in there. It's still clecoed because I found it hard to believe that the normal LP4-3 blind rivets would be used to attach a part that thick; it seems to me that a longer rivet would be more appropriate. I decided to wait until after I had gotten home and researched it a little bit before using the shorter rivets. I have been unable to find anything that says that the shorter rivets aren't used there, so next time I'm out there I'll finish the job.

For now, here's the wing just about ready for the final sealing that will come when I add the top skins.

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