First milestone reached

The first milestone in constructing my RV-7 was reached this week. I completed the horizontal stabilizer. It’s all riveted together. I still have the fiberglass tips to do. I’ll save those for after the elevator and rudder are complete.

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Almost done with the horizontal stabilizer

I got to do a good deal of work today on the horizontal stabilizer. I got everything riveted together except for the rear spar. I’ll shoot a coat of primer on that tomorrow and give it a day or two to cure. After that’s riveted on the horizontal stabilizer is done!

The assembly is going together really easy but I still manage to mess up a rivet or two here and there. Here is a photo of a line of rivets. I had to drill out one of them but the rivet had been over-driven so when I drilled through the rivet, it left a portion of the rivet still in the hole. My only option was to drill out the hole to #30 and use an “oops” rivet. An oops rivet has a shop head that is the same size as the other AN425AD3 rivets used on this assembly. But the shank of the rivet is the same size as an AN425AD4 which is one size larger. The upshot is you get to enlarge the hole but once you drive the rivet, it looks the same as all the others.

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Looks pretty much like all the other rivets, but if you guessed this one…

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You’re right!

Finally more RV-7 work

I started doing a little more on the RV-7 empenage today. First I had to clean up the garage a bit, even though it doesn’t look like it in the pictures. I used a soldering iron to remove some of the protective plastic from the areas on the horizontal stabilizer skin that I will be working on. Then I removed all the plastic from the inside of the skin. Later I started dimpling the holes that I could reach with the pneumatic squeezer. I’ll go back and finish up the rest of the holes using my C-frame and hammer. It’s good to be back in the shop!

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Scotty is helping out

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Edge holes are all dimpled. I need to go back and catch the interior holes.

More RV-4 work, more RV-7 work

I worked some more on my RV-4 elevator. I spent most of the day getting very little accomplished on it. It’s almost ready to rivet. I need to get some smaller nails for the close quarter dimpler I have. You use a pop rivet tool, some dies, and a nail to dimple a rivet hole. Once these last few holes are dimpled it’s ready to start riveting the elevator spar to the skin.

I also did some work on my RV-7 horizontal stabilizer skeleton. I alodined the ribs and spars and other raw aluminum stock that goes on there. I have found that the best method when using alodine is to just pour it in a basin and soak the pieces in it. I tried a trick using a long plastic bag to alodine the longer parts but had mixed results. When it comes time to alodine the vertical pieces I may look at a different technique. Here are some pictures of the final product. You can see I need to refine my technique. It’s good enough though and won’t be seen by the general public anyway.

Forward side

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Aft side

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RV-7 Horizontal Spar

I started work on the empenage of the RV-7 today. As compared to the RV-4 the RV-7 is like building a lego airplane. Progress for today was to mount the spar stiffener and the elevator hinges. This involved putting clecos in every third hole and then reaming all the other holes to final size (#30). I then moved the clecos to the reamed holes and reamed all the remaining holes.

Here’s a picture of the progress for today.

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