Tag Archives: timelapse

Vertical Stabilizer skin riveting

Hours: 3.5

With the wiring finished and the Antenna fitting done, I am now finally able to close up the Vertical Stabilizer and rivet the skin.

To begin, I closed up the left side of the skin and held it in place with clecos, since this is the side where the Antenna slides through the enlarged rivet hole, while on the right side I had to create the custom notch so that I can pull the skin around the Antenna.
Left side of the Vertical Stabilizer closed up with clecos

Once that was done, I riveted on the support plate for the Antenna onto the top rib of the Vertical Stabilizer.
Riveting the Antenna support plate in place Antenna support plate riveted in place 

Now that the structure is complete, time to mount the Antenna permanently in place. Using two 20mm long M4 screws, washers and Nyloc nuts and some medium strength threadlocker I mounted the Antenna in place. Here’s the Antenna mounted in place and the wire connected to the Antenna using the BNC connector I crimped onto the wire. Antenna ready to be mounted Antenna mounted and wire connected

Riveting the skin

With all the prep work finished, I closed up the right side of the skin, made sure everything fits correctly and clecoed it in place. There are two holes on the bottom on each side that are not riveted, but instead I have to install Rivnuts in them, so I marked out those holes, so I don’t accidentally rivet them.
Vertical Stabilizer skin closed up and ready for riveting Holes where I have to install Rivnuts marked

There were two rivets that I had to shorten in order for them to fit flush near the Antenna. So I made a small template for the dept through a piece of wood and then shortened them accordingly.
Wood piece to hold the rivet in place to shorten Rivets shortened (and normal length on the left for reference)

After that, it was just a matter of pulling the many rivets on both sides of the skin to close the Vertical Stabilizer up for good.
Riveting the right side in progress Riveting the left side in progress Riveting the left side in progress Done riveting the skins of the Vertical Stabilizer

The last part was to install the two rivnuts on the bottom on each side, so after enlarging the holes using my step drill and reaming them out using my hand reamer, I got out my rivnut puller and high strength loctite and put those in place.
Holes enlarged for the rivnuts Rivnuts installed

With the Vertical Stabilizer completed, I then did a quick test fit and mounted it on top of the Fuselage and also attached the Rudder for a moment – almost looks like an airplane.Completed Vertical Stabilizer  Quick test fit of the Vertical Stabilizer and Rudder

Timelapse of building the Vertical Stabilizer

Elevator priming & counterweight riveting

Hours: 4

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.
Cleaning Station in action Cleaning the Elevator parts with Simple Green Priming the counterweight parts Priming some of the Elevator channels Priming some of the Elevator parts

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.Parts of the Elevator Center Counter Balance Weight Support laid out Everything clecoed together Done riveting the Center Counter Balance Weight Done Riveting the Center Counter Balance Weight

Rudder Timelapse video

I also recently finished editing together the work on the Rudder, so here’s the completed Timelapse video:

Finished riveting the Horizontal Stabilizer skin

Hours: 4.5

The pop dimpling tool that I ordered a few days ago arrived on Friday, so I spent some time trying it out to make sure it worked properly so I could finish adding the missing dimple to the skin and finish closing up the Horizontal Stabilizer.

After a bunch of research on them, I actually ordered 2 different tools, one is made by Aircraft Tool Supply and creates a 100 degree dimple, and the other one promises to create a 120 degree dimple, I’m not sure who exactly actually makes it, but it’s sold via Wicks Aircraft tools. The 120 degree tool from Wicks is DT-17014 and it’s supposed to screw into a G28 hand riveter.
120 Degree Pop dimple tool
Unfortunately the Hand Riveter I own seems to have smaller threads than the G28 hand riveter, so I decided to try it on my Milwaukee rivet gun which had the correct thread size. As I found out when I pulled with it, that ended up with too much force, so the head of the stem (which is a finishing nail) that is supposed to hold the back of the dimple in place actually deformed and got pulled into the top and got stuck.

So after that happened, I had to cut off the nail, but I couldn’t pull it out of the tool, so I got out my Dremel and cut off the top part of the bit where the deformed head got stuck in.
Nail stuck in the tool
This way I could try to use the tool like the ATS pop dimple tool (5102D-1/8) works, which just sits on top of the rivet puller.
ATS tool on the left and the other one on the right (after I cut off the top):
100 degree Dimple tools from ATS on the left and 120 degree tool on the right (after I cut off the thread head)

So now after that modification to the tool, I tried both by holding my test piece onto the existing dimples of the Horizontal Stabilizer and determined (as expected), that the 120 degree dimple has the better fit, so I used that one to make the dimple to the skin. It came out well and the countersunk rivet sits flush like the other dimples. So for one or two dimples, this works out nice and easy and I didn’t have to go and get a dimpling press.

Pop dimple tool using the hand riveter Dimple using the pop rivet tool came out well and the countersunk rivet sits nice and flush like the others

Riveting the skin

Once all that was said and done, I got to work and riveted the complete bottom of the left side skin. Then turned it around, removed all the Clecos from the top side one last time so I could apply the Sealant to the support plate like I did on the other side. And then I finished up riveting the top side.

Timelapse Video of Finishing the Horizontal Stablizer

And lastly as promised, here’s the timelapse video of the whole endeavor of the Horizontal Stablizer.

The beginning of a riveting story – Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 6

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.

Parts Prep

Laying out parts of the Horizontal Stabilizer

So after some researching I had done ahead of time, here’s the process I decided to follow for preparing the parts for priming:

  1. Removing the protective plastic
  2. Cleaning and Scrubbing the parts with Simple Green Extreme Aircraft cleaner (diluted 1 part cleaner to 2 parts water) and Scotch Brite Pads.
    Cleaning off larger pieces using Simple Green Cleaning smaller pieces in a small tub
  3. Washing off the cleaning solution with water and drying the parts
    Using some drying racks to dry off pieces
  4. Final de-greasing using MEK
    MEK to clean parts Safety Mask

Priming

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.
Priming Horizontal Stabilizer Parts

Riveting

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.Reading instructions from the plans

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.

Laying it out with lots of Clecos

After I put together everything with Clecos it was time to pull rivets.

Rivets Rivets pulled Juliana helped and pull her first rivet as well Pulling Rivets

And here’s the riveted structure (minus the skin) of the Horizontal Stabilizer:Horizontal Stabilizer riveted

I’m also trying to record my progress with some timelapses, so here it goes:

Airplane Kit Arrival Day!

Hours: 6

My Sling TSi airplane kit has finally made its way to my garage and arrived yesterday from The Airplane Factory in South Africa. Since I ordered the entire kit in one go as a quick build, it was shipped in one large 20 foot container directly to my house. The container arrived about two weeks ago in the port, but then the Seattle Snowpocalypse happened and we had the heaviest snow in February for over 70 years. The Seattle area is very hilly and so the sudden large amounts of snow and the hills made for impossible driving conditions and so while I couldn’t get a truck to deliver the airplane, instead we went skiing on our road sometime last week since our hill has a pretty steep incline.
It's not every day you can ski on your own street

Luckily it stopped snowing by Tuesday and warmed a bit and the City managed to start plowing neighborhoods and we could drive again by Thursday, so I called the Freight company and told them they can now give it a shot to deliver and the scheduled the delivery for Monday, which worked out great.

Unloading an airplane from a container

I set up my GoPro to try to capture the unloading process, it worked out fairly well to capture everything, so here it goes:

If this wasn’t enough, then here’s the complete story:

The Truck with the 20 foot container arrived just as my friends, who graciously were on standby the past two weeks to help, were arriving to help me unload and we went to work. The first order of business was to figure out the order to unload the container.
Container ready to be unloaded

Happy Airplane unloading crew
After taking out the big box with the Finishing kit on the side, we juggled around a bit to see if we could take the boxes on the bottom out, but they were blocked by the Fuselage Tail support, so we figured that we should take out the Fuselage next.
The wood that the Factory used to build the framing is of some impressive quality and the heavy screws driven into them were very tight, so it took some loosening by hand before even my impact driver could undo the screws, so I grabbed my trusty Milwaukee M12 Hackzall and made due process so we could get on with unloading and then undo the rest of the structure later. That and heavy use of my Utility Knife to cut through the many support straps that held down the structure.

After we got the Fuselage out, it was time for the boxes that were stored under the Fuselage, followed by the Wings.
Unloading the right Wing Wings in their happy hammock

After all that was said and done, we took down the rest of the wood framing in the container so the container was truly empty in the end:
Container unloaded and wooden frames taken down

We moved the boxes into our basement multi function room, next to our LEGO collection – building your own airplane is kind of like LEGO right?

Boxes of Airplane parts stored next to our LEGO
And the Fuselage and Wings found their home in the Garage on one side, leaving me with the other side as work space, plus I can easily move the wings around since I have wheels on the wing rack.

Fuselage and Wings stored in the garage

Cleaning up and taking inventory

I felt like the tail should have some extra support, so I quickly built a small stool for the tail to rest on, in addition to the existing framing that it came in, here is a quick timelapse of me cleaning up the workshop and building the stool:

Stool for the Tail to rest on: I built a stool to balance out the load of the tail

After that was done, I asked Juliana to come down to the Garage as I was pretending to fly the airplane as any reasonable person with a new toy in their garage would do:
Obligatory pretend flying in the airplane

And then we opened the Empennage box and started taking inventory so I can stop building wooden tables and stools and start building an airplane:
Taking inventory of the Empennage Kit

Now it’s time to build an airplane!

Garage ready for the kit

This should hopefully be the last “waiting for the kit” post. The container with the kit has arrived at the port a couple of days ago. The logistics company is working through arranging the truck to bring the container to my house to unload. Hopefully I’ll have some good news tomorrow and have a firm date for the delivery this coming week.

Garage Ready

The garage is ready for delivery and I also picked up a wing stand to store the wings from the flying club I am a part of, as we just installed the wings onto the Cessna 150 airplane we are refurbishing for an upcoming charity raffle to fund college scholarships for kids that survived cancer. The wing stand is from a design by Tony Bingelis and can be found on the EAA website here.

I took a time lapse of the process of installing the wings on the Cessna. It took a little bit of lifting and then a lot of jiggling to get the bolts in place.

I also attended a discussion meeting at our local EAA 84 chapter last week about going to Oshkosh, which was very interesting as I haven’t yet managed to go to Oshkosh myself as I was busy last year finishing up my instrument rating, so I’m hoping this year might be my first. If I go, I will likely fly commercial and then camp there and I’d love to meet some other Sling Builders at the Sling Ding Party hosted by The Airplane Factory and Sling 2 builders Bob & Joan.