New Tools

I got home tonight from a 2 day trip and was a little tired. I have learned that I don’t do my best work when tired and decided that I would skip the Hangar tonight. I did receive my new electrical tools, the wire stripper and crimper. I will get to try these out this weekend.

Rib Flange Tool

I had some extra time this weekend to work on a tool I had read about on a fellow builders site. This tool is designed to straighten the flanges of a rib to a 90° angle. A little background for some of you non builder types. When Van’s presses ribs, the inner bones of the wings and tail, they create two surfaces. The web and the flanges, the web is the broad surface and the flanges are the bent wings that should be 90° from the web. In most cases the flanges are less than 90° due to some spring back. The flanges are the surface that gets riveted so you want it flat with the skin. If the flanges are not at a 90° angle they won’t lay flat. So on the empennage I only had a few ribs to deal with so I bent them by hand to the 90° angle. With the upcoming wings there are a lot of ribs to deal with. So many years ago some builders came up with this tool. I found this tool version on Jason Hess’s website and I just copied it minus the blue paint, I had white out for the stands and went with it! :-). This tool consists of a base plate, an anvil, a handle and two metal bars to connect the handle to the anvil.

The idea is to use the handle force against the anvil, which has an optimal 11° back cut in it, to over bend the flange to 111°. Then when you release the handle, the flange springs back to a perfect 90°. From what I have read this makes the terrible job of straightening all the ribs of the wings a fun job!

I tried it out on a scrap rib I had from an earlier error. It works slick! It will take a little getting used to the proper pressure to apply but it works well! Thanks to all the builders before me and to Jason Hess for a great website!

New Tools and Elevator Work

Time: 6 Hours

Today started by creating a couple of useful tools, both get credit from Jason at www.rv7-factory.com. The first is a hinge alignment pin. Due to the tight space where the rudder meets the VS or the elevators meet the HS it is very difficult to get the hinge bolts in place with everything else lined up. This tool allows you to line everything up from outside the confined space. Then you can deflect either the rudder or elevator to slide the bolt in.

The second tool is a bolt retention tool. It will hold a bolt and allow you to get it into very tight spaces. I just used a piece of aluminum from the local hardware store that had the right dimensions I wanted. I made two pieces, one as the handle and the other the clamping piece. I drilled a #12 hole in the clamping piece and used the bandsaw to connect that hole to the edge creating a slot. I then created a slight bend creating a gap when the two pieces are laid together. A couple rivets later and I’m done. It looks like it should work well.

Both of the tools worked well after a little tweaking. Here is the view with the pins in.

And we have a complete VS and rudder!

Next up was to work on the right side elevator. Mostly match drilling and setting everything up.

Each control surface, the rudder and both sides of the elevators, have a lead weight ahead of the hinge line. This is to help balance them and give a better feel while flying. As I was working on the right elevator you have to match drill this weight. Not much fun to drill through thick lead. After you match drill it you remove it to make it easier to handle. Once I was all done with the elevator match drilling a light came on in my head! Something didn’t look right! As it turns out I matched drilled the lead with the head of it pointing inward rather than outward! Oops! Well that’s the first big mistake that requires an order to Van’s for parts. So I ordered a new weight, rib and strap, all that were drilled wrong in the process. I also ordered 2 extra ribs as I plan on cutting off the narrow tips to make riblets for the trim tab and l elevator. More on that in the future. So I called it a day cause its time for hockey, lets go Blackhawks!!

Painting Tray

Today I took an idea from another RV builder, Jason Hess, for a painting table of sorts. I too decided early on that when I start to build that I want to prime aluminum parts. I saw a table he made out of 2×4’s and chicken wire. I don’t have a really large garage so I decided that I would make a tray that slides under my workbench when not in use. When info need it I can slide it out and place on a couple of saw horses and do my priming. Next up the support table for my DRDT-2 dimpling machine.

Good Weekend

Had a good weekend in the Hangar. Got the final bits and pieces done with trim work. Finished in boxing some of the required tools and figuring where they should go. Here is a panorama view of the Hangar.


One of the tools I was looking forward to unboxing is the DRDT-2. It is a dimpling machine that will allow me to dimple large items like skins. Now just trying to decide if I want to sacrifice some floor space and have a dedicated table for dimpling.

I added a cord reel to give me easy access to electricity and moved the Miller welder into its place.