With the weather warming up, I got to spend some time sitting in a bit of sun with the garage door open and preparing, deburring, cleaning and then priming more parts of the Elevator.
Assembling Elevator center spar
The first thing I put together was the Center Spar itself, which I had primed already together with the counterweight the other day. Setting everything up was pretty straight forward as usual and while I was working on it I had a visit from another builder of the EAA chapter I’m part of who actually happens to live very close by and is building an RV. And then another friend was visiting and I happened to have some rivets ready to be riveted, so I continue my new tradition to have guests pull a rivet on the plane and sign it.
Assembling the center structure to the spar
After the priming from yesterday had some time to dry and set, I went to work to put together the center rib assembly with the center spar. There are a lot of pieces that slot together in there, so it took some time to figure out what slots into which piece. for the center channel to go on:
Unfortunately I encountered a problem with the alignment of the holes on the center Rib, both left and right, with the plate as seen below:
In trying to figure out which piece is wrong, I started putting together more of the structure temporarily with clecos and the strange thing is that the other holes on the ribs are aligned fine (the black clecos below), so then I thought that it must be the top center plate.
But then I took off the center plate to check its alignment with the outer skin and there the holes of the top center plate align correctly with the holes on the skin. So this in turn then lead me back to determining that the top (and bottom) holes on the Rib 1 must be the culprit.
It is very strange since the misalignment is pretty severe. It definitely doesn’t look like this could just be resolved by up-drilling the holes, so I sent a note to the factory to ask how to proceed. My guess is going to be that I need new center ribs.
While I was waiting for some parts to complete the ribs for the Vertical Stabilizer, I got started working on the Elevator. Since there are a lot of parts to the Elevator I broke it down into smaller tasks, first preparing the parts of the center counterweight and then I’ll continue next with the other parts of the structures.
So onto another session of preparing the parts, deburring holes and edges and cleaning with Simple Green & degrease with MEK. After that was all done it was back into my small paint booth to prime everything.
Riveting the Elevator Counterweight
After all that had time to cure for a day I went to work to put together the center counter balance weight support (that’s a mouthful).
I found a small error in the instructions that say that there are 14 rivets in the center, but it’s actually 16 rivets. Sometimes with these small errors I wonder if they are intentional to keep us builders on our feet to make sure we “measure twice and drill once” – I sent the Factory a note to correct the error in the instructions for the next iteration.
So after I laid out all the parts I put everything together using clecos and the two AN3 bolts and then went to work riveting it together. A friend was visiting from Ireland as well, so after a tour of the garage and everything he also pulled his first rivet and I had him sign his name under it.
Rudder Timelapse video
I also recently finished editing together the work on the Rudder, so here’s the completed Timelapse video:
In order to finish up the Rudder, I still had to prime the inner mating surfaces of the skin, so in order to get ahead I decided to also prepare the parts for the Vertical Stabilizer and prime those as well.
After removing all the protective plastic from the parts and inspecting them, I unfortunately found that there was some dents in Rib 1, 2 and 3, so I requested replacements from the factory since those are structural parts that shouldn’t be compromised.
I still went ahead and cleaned and degreased all the other parts. Luckily it’s getting a bit warmer, so I could leave the garage door open and do the cleaning outside, to make less of a mess in the garage.
Once I was done cleaning all the parts with Simple Green, degreasing them with MEK and rubbing them down with red scotch brite, I set up my small paint booth and primed everything.
I did a quick test fit of the skin on the Horizontal Stabilizer yesterday and everything looks good. I’m waiting for the sealant that goes between the Support Plate and the skin, which should arrive tomorrow. So I decided to prepare the next part of the Empennage and and prime the Rudder parts and the mating surfaces of the Horizontal Stabilizer skin.
After I did some more reading about priming preparation and I’ve slightly changed the process for the Rudder pieces. I’ll see how it turns out tomorrow once it’s dried. After removing the protective plastic, I cleaned off the parts with MEK, then scruffed them up with a red (fine) Scotch brite pad and then went on to priming.
After the preparation, I unfolded my small paint booth I made out of some hardboard. I got the design from a video on the Family Handyman. If anyone wants to make their own and wants to skip the video, I’ve created some quick plans in Solidworks and took some pictures of the folding. What you need:
When we took inventory of the Empennage kit, we thought we were missing some parts of the Elevator and so I decided to start with the Horizontal Stabilizer instead, but as it turned out after double checking again, the parts were just hiding inside a channel.
So after some researching I had done ahead of time, here’s the process I decided to follow for preparing the parts for priming:
Washing off the cleaning solution with water and drying the parts
Final de-greasing using MEK
After all that was done, it was time for priming, which in on itself is a whole big topic with different opinions the more people you ask. I’ve decided to prime the mating surfaces and while at first I was thinking of using NAPA 7220, ended up using Rustoleum Self Etching Primer after I saw that Matthew seems to have good results with it and it’s easier to find in the local hardware store.
Since my kit was shipped out before the newer revision for the Empennage kit was finished, the printed copy only had the basic CAD drawings, but no instructions, so it’s a matter of combining the larger print outs with the instructions using my small laptop.
Also seen above is the Rivet Gun I’m using – it’s the Milwaukee M12 Rivet gun, which fits in nicely with all my other tools and allows me to build the airplane without the need for a noisy compressor.
After I put together everything with Clecos it was time to pull rivets.
And here’s the riveted structure (minus the skin) of the Horizontal Stabilizer:
I’m also trying to record my progress with some timelapses, so here it goes:
I got an update from Barry at The Airplane Factory in Torrance that the expected ship date of my Sling TSi Quick build kit is November 19th from South Africa. That means that I should be able to expect arrival here around year end.
My father was visiting the past two weeks and helped me assemble the second workbench and getting a rolling toolbox so I can keep my garage organized with all the tools.
Aside from that I am eagerly reading blogs from fellow builders to ramp up on the process, watching instruction videos, buying more tools and researching various primers and have created a small test sheet with the NAPA 7220 Self-etching primer, which is now dangling in the garage.