Ribs on the wings

I had a productive day at the shop… too bad it wasn’t so productive plane-wise!

A buddy moved to Seattle and left a bunch of household goods and books in the garage (at one point, his car was in the garage as well.  He’s shipping it out on Amtrak this Wednesday (yay!), but I had to rebox it all (boo!), but now I have a lot more room to work (yay!). IMG_1732

With that out of the way (3.5 hours of re-boxing), I started back in on the wings.  The first step is to bolt most (but not all) of the ribs onto the wings.  I had marked all the bolts, but in the end, it didn’t help much.  It was hard to sort into the correct wing pile due to poor penmanship and even when I did, the bolts kept rolling around.

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In the end, it was much easier to just sort by size.

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Even without measuring, it was easy to distinguish the AN3-5A, from the 6A’s and 7A’s.  A quick check of the bolt diagram made it clear that I had sorted the bunches correctly.  Alas, I started on the wrong rib (discovered about 4 ribs in), so I had to pull them out and shift them over (luckily, I had not torqued the nuts on yet).

The instructions say to leave several bolts nut-free.  It doesn’t say much except that you’ll “have to push them out of the way to rivet.”  The instructions make it seem like its’ for the AN4 rivets, but in fact it is for the AN3 flush rivets later on.

Torquing the nuts went pretty quickly.  My wife even helped with a couple when she came by for lunch.

After lunch (determined not to let my lunch distraction bug-a-boo take hold) I took the left wing off of the cradle to get better access to the AN4 rivets.  I clamped the spar on one end and clamped a block on the other.  It held the spar securely and I shot very good rivets (just one small smiley).

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A nice clean row of rivets!

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I shot these all with manufactured heads on the forward side of the spar.  The tungsten bucking bar worked really well here.

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The next step was to add some flush rivets to hold on 7 of the ribs.  At first it didn’t make sense, but then I realized that this was where the fuel tank would attach.  The flush rivets will sit underneath the fuel tank skin (so of course their flush and done now!).  I was able to squeeze these with my longeron yoke (working around the aforementioned bolts and nuts).

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I was eager to get on to the right wing, but I had to do some prep work for a talk on riveting that I’m giving Tuesday night at the flying club meeting.  I’m doing some riveting demos and wanted some small pieces that people could try their hand at.  So, I cut up some left-over J-stiffener and some scrap bits that were trimmed off of some rear fuselage parts.  I also made a small back-rivet demo piece.   Hope the talk goes well.

I’m not sure when I’ll work on the plane again.  We’re taking a two+ week European vacation (I know, life is tough) and the day after we fly back, I’m flying on to Chicago where I’m starting a new job.  I’ll be commuting back and forth for a while (oh, those frequent flyer miles!) before settling there full time.  Moving the project will certainly be exciting!

I’ll have to try and dig up some local builders as I rebuild my flying hobby there.  I’m already looking at the Chicago Glider Club for a new rating!

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