Riveting Woes & VS/Rudder Skins Primed (8 hrs)

11 August 2017 – 8 hrs

Today I put in a massive amount of time.  But I feel like I didn’t get much done.  I used the soldering iron to remove the blue vinyl from the rivet lines, then primed the inner skins of the VS & rudder.


Once I finished spraying and waited for those to dry, I dimpled the VS ribs and spars.  That went at a good pace.  However, once I got to what I thought would be the quick and fun part, riveting together the VS skeleton, things went south very quickly.  I figured I’d be done in a couple of hours and ready to finish riveting on the skins early tomorrow…  until I took over an hour to rivet the hinge brackets on.  My first big mistake came less than 5 rivets in…  Note I was using the rivet gun for these.

The rivet was drilled out successfully, although not very gracefully, with little interference with the original hole.  But in this photo you can see I had a lot of trouble with the powder-coated steel and keeping the cupped set straight.


So I put some duct tape on top of the set.  That helped a bit.  I checked the plans and although some of the rivets are ugly, they don’t need to be replaced as they are cosmetic blemishes.  I might drill them out and re-do them eventually, however.  On the plus side, I could barely tell the difference in hole I drilled out and re-riveted.  Actually, that was probably the best rivet of the day, which says a lot.

After that, I messed up another rivet and botched the drill-out, so it took me maybe 20   minutes or more to try to correct the off-center drill-out.  I eventually took my Dremel and a cutting wheel and sliced the shop head off as close to the work as I could, angled the drill to try and work the hole toward the center, and finally just took a crap chisel and set it against the remaining shop head and hit it with a rubber mallet.  That worked pretty well and the rivet turned out ok also.  I was so frustrated I didn’t even take pics of that one.  At that point I realized that I could probably get by with squeezing these rivets.  That was even more awkward and slower than the bucking bar and rivet gun, so I went back to the gun.

All in all, a pretty frustrating day.  I didn’t even finish half of the rivets on the spars and ribs building the VS skeleton.  This was probably due to lost proficiency after not having riveted since finishing the practice kits a few weeks ago.  I made some of the same beginner mistakes I made back when I was starting those.  But on the bright side, the skins are ready to rivet on whenever I finish the skeleton, and I finished the build log the day I actually did the work.  So there’s good that came out of the day!


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