Little Delay

Called Van’s last week to check up on the shipping status of my wings (they should have shipped on Monday). Barb said they were a little behind and were just waiting on the leading edge skins to be cut. That will be done this Monday so shipping should happen by the end of the week hopefully. I’ll keep my fingers crossed as I’m chomping at the but to get riveting again! 🙂

Wing Stands Finished

I finished up the wing stands today. I cleaned the steel with some Simple Green which made quick work of the oily residue that was on them. I then gave them three coats of Rustoleum’s pro grade spray paint.

20130818-182302.jpgAfter letting them dry for a day I assembled them to see how the leveling rod works.

20130818-182358.jpgA few small turns of one of the nuts and I can make the angle completely level.



20130818-182624.jpgAnd the shop is ready for the wings. Should be shipped this week! I’m ready!


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.

20130818-104134.jpgThe 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!


20130818-104435.jpgI 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!

More Wing Stand Work

I got a few more hours in last night working on the wing stands. I welded some caps on the top of the stands.

20130816-083149.jpgI then worked on the layout in the hangar for the stands. I had several factors I was trying to give equal attention too. I wanted enough space between the one wing and the garage wall. I also wanted enough space between the wings so I had a comfortable work space. I also wanted enough work space in the rest of the garage to have the workbench out and space to work around it. What I came up with was 4′ or so from the garage wall to the first stand and 3′ between the stand posts. This gives me around 3’6″ of work space on all sides. I used my little rolling seat that I will do a lot of work on as a guide to see if I had a comfortable work space. I guess time will tell if I made a good decision.



20130816-083342.jpgToday I plan to fabricate the angle aluminum brackets that hold the wings along with the connecting points that hold the threaded rod that allows for adjustments. Once I have all the fabrication and drilling done I will clean off the steel (they have an oily substance on them from the cold rolled process) and paint them white. I will post photos of those and how the stands work in a later post.


Today I organized the hardware that I needed to make the wing stands. I hit Home Depot, Menards and Lowes to get all the items I wanted.

20130814-211239.jpgAfter laying out all the hardware I set up to drill the 3/8″ holes on the stand legs with the drill press. After that task was done I laid out the legs and feet for welding prep. I haven’t welded in several years so I was hoping it would come back to me. I bought a Miller 110v mig welder around 6 years ago do do some small projects around the home. So I set the dials and went to it.




20130814-211424.jpgI will clean up the stands tomorrow and paint them. I have decided to use concrete anchors to bolt the stands to the floor. I will drill the holes and insert some drop-in anchors.

20130814-211708.jpgBefore I do any drilling I have to plan the perfect location for the stands in the garage.