Right Wing Leading Edge

Time: 6 Hours

Today I finished up my errands early and got back and into the Hangar. My goal for today was to get one leading edge finished and riveted. The plans were to start with riveting all the ribs to skin hole except the inboard edge where the splice plate is.

It took me just at 1 hour to rivet the top and bottom sides with just 1 rivet needing drilling out. I then put the leading edge on the spar and clecko’d it to the spar.

With the leading edge on the spar I placed the fuel tank on to check the fit between the two skins. Most builders find that the tank skin sits a little proud of the leading edge due to a layer of ProSeal that is between the tank skin and ribs. I found the same issue with mine. The fix is to create a spacer to place between the leading edge ribs and the splice plates. I made these from some .020 strips.

20140415-235538.jpgThe process of getting all four pieces (rib, spacer, splice plate and skin) aligned was a fun task. Once all the pieces were aligned and clecko’d I put the leading edge back on the spar with the tank to check the fit. I was real happy with how the skins lined up with a couple areas that I will have to work a little to get a good fit. While removing one of the tank attach screws I stripped the head with my Phillips driver bit. So that began a 2.5 hour job to remove it with out damaging the tank skin. I had to run to my Harbor Freight store to get a couple of drill bits that are made to remove stripped screws. Basically they are drill bits that have reverse spirals to bite into the metal as you unscrew. First you drill a hole into the screw center and then use the remover bit to unscrew it. Sounds pretty simple but it took a while to get this done.

So the leading edge was now ready to be permanently attached to the spar. First up was to rivet the ribs aft flanges to the spar web. As I discussed in an earlier post I decided to use some solid rivets and some blind rivets for this process. I used solid rivets on the first inboard rib and the last two outboard ribs with blind rivets on the 3 remaining ones. Where I used solid rivets I had to use my offset rivet bit since the holes are so tight to the aft rib webs. I also ground down the bit to give me extra clearance.

Both sets of rivets went well and I’m happy with my choice to go this way.

The next step is to rivet all the holes of the aft edge of the skin to the flange of the spar. This went real fast once I got the pneumatic squeezer set up.

I put the tank back on and screwed all the splice plate screws and every other screw along the spar to look at the alignment again. There are a couple areas that will need tweaking but over all I’m pretty happy with this wing. It sure looks cool without all the clecko’s in it!

I cleaned up the Hangar and decided to call it a day. Tomorrow it will work on the left side, hopeful minus the stripped screw!

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