Tank Stiffeners Riveting Started

Time: Hours

I stopped by a fellow builder, Glen Vokac’s, shop today to borrow his safety wire pliers and visit for a couple of hours. He is in the later stages of his -8 fuselage and it is really fun to see his progress. He gave me a quick lesson on the tool and grabbed some .041 safety wire and I safety wired the two parts.

I then headed home to get all setup for some ProSealing as Glen said he would stop by and help me with all the tricks and get me on my way.

On my way home I stopped by the local Ace Hardware and grabbed a few things, a shop apron, nitrile gloves and some invisible gloves cream. That cream adds a bit of protection from the MEK that usually eats through the nitrile gloves. When I got home the first order of business was to clean all the stiffeners and the tank skins with MEK. Once cleaned I used the stiffeners as guides for laying out some electrical tape around them to help reduce the mess and give me clean lines when I was done ProSealing.

I then put a good amount of rivets in a glass of MEK to remove any oils from them.

Next was to take the rivets and place them in all the holes of the skin and tape them in place so they were secure. No I could lay the skin flat and the tails of the rivets were protruding up through the skin. Glen and I started out with 50g of the white and 5g of the black to start. The ProSeal is made up of two parts and you mix it at a 10:1 ratio. Not to hard with the digital scale. I just placed a paper plate on the scale and zeroed it out. Then I could just add the white as much as I wanted and then add the black so that I had a proper ratio. Once the two parts are thoroughly mixed you have a medium grey color paste and this stuff is STICKY. Everybody says it gets everywhere and they are spot on! Once mixed I just used a popsicle stick and buttered the flange of the stiffener. Then I placed the stiffener over the row of rivet tails and used the back rivet setup in my rivet gun.

20140222-210647.jpgI didn’t take to many photos since I didn’t want to get any ProSeal on my iPhone. When I was done riveting I mixed up around 160g of ProSeal and loaded it into my disposable Semco cartridge and into the pneumatic gun. This setup let me apply a perfect bead along the perimeter of the stiffeners and allowed me to use a popsicle stick to smooth it out. Then I used the same tool to place a dollop of ProSeal on every rivet shop head. Wow I love that tool! It made this process very easy. I will be using it a lot with these tanks!

When all was done I removed the electrical tape to reveal nice clean edges. Out came the MEK to clean up all the extra ProSeal I had everywhere who’ve was pretty easy. I then removed the back rivet tape from the outside of the skin and cleaned any ProSeal that oozed from the rivets onto the skin. Next was cleaning all the tools which wasn’t to bad. You definitely use a bunch of gloves and towels in this process! All in all I was pretty happy with the process and just as excited to start this phase of the wings as I was with my very first rivet, this is a BIG step in building this airplane. Now that I have had the initial experience, thanks to Glen, I feel much more confident going forward. Glen gave his approval on each step and that means a lot to me since he is an OshKosh Lindy award winner with his first RV-8! Here is how they turned out.

One tank done and I will start up the other side tomorrow. This is just the beginning of ProSealing and I have a long way to go but it’s a start!

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