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Joe Graham's Online RV-7 Builder's Log

Assembling the Horizontal Stabilizer

I had a business trip that halted progress for 9 days. When I got home, it was time to dis-assemble the clecoed HS and deburr, dimple, and prime the remaining components.

After everything was primed, it was time to start pounding rivets. Well almost. First, I decided to cover the rib attach holes and hige bracket attach holes in the aft spar. There have been many builders who have filled a hole with a rivet before all the parts needing that hole are in place. Seems like that wouldn't happen, but I guess when you get into the rythym of pounding the rivets, it's easy to forget.

I use the phrase "pounding rivets" loosely. In this case I was actually squeezing them with my pneumatic squeezer. This is a picture of the squeezer with the longeron yoke attached. It's made to work around the flange and allow squeezing the rivet without damaging the flange.

What a riveting experience. Sorry. I have to use the obligatory puns where necessary. Note that the AN470 (Round head) rivets are being used here.

Here is the first mistake I made on this day. It's sort of blurry, but you can see that the rivet on the top right is flatter that the others. This happened because this rivet holds one of the elevator hinge brackets. You can see the gray bracket in the picture as well. The bracket flange adds extra thickness to the material being riveted. Which means that you have to account for that by adjusting the depth of the rivet squeezer die. I didn't do that, so the rivet was over-squeezed. It's fairly obvious now, but I never even thought about it until I saw it squished so flat.

So I had a chance to drill out my first rivet. It was a little tricky, I didn't want to enlarge the hole, so I used a bit a couple of sizes down from the standard number 40 bit. You can see that I drilled it out pretty well. The rivet is very easy to remove when the wall is so thin. I have been debating on whether or not to buy some rivet removing tools. But with careful drilling, I guess that won't be necessary. Plus, there's no way I will make any more mistakes along the way.... RIGHT!

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All photos by Joe Graham unless otherwise noted