May 2, 2008    I began by clecoing together the front spar halves and the spar doubler.  Then match drilled all the holes through the doubler into the spar.

May 2, 2008   I then did the same for the rear spar as well as built the two stabilizer attach brackets from the angle material supplied in the kit.  Man that new bandsaw works great.  I then aligned them using an extremely straight piece of 7075-T6 square tubing and drilled the 18 holes into the spar doubler and spars.  The brackets still need a little cleanup on the scotchbrite wheel.

May 2, 2008   Both spars match drilled and ready for de-burring.

May 2, 2008   Here is another view which shows the elevator hinge brackets.

Total time so far 3 hours

May 9, 2008   I installed all of the ribs to the spars, match drilled and de-burred all of the holes.

May 9, 2008    I cut out and set up the jigs for the horizontal stabilizer and mounted it to the bench.  I then placed one skin in the jig and began clecoing in the nose ribs.  I found out it was easier to put these ribs in before I put the skin in the jig.

May 9, 2008  I continued by installing the front spar, and all of the remaining ribs, followed by the rear spar.

May 10, 2008   Here is the assembly all match drilled and ready to come apart for de-burring and dimpling.  Total time so far is about 15 hours.  Man there is a lot of holes in this thing.  I love the way every thing fits though.  Van's does an absolutely fantastic job on this stuff.

May 25, 2008  I disassembled the entire assembly in preperation for dimpling, de-burring, and machine countersinking the spars as well as priming all the parts for final assembly.  My wife bought me a DRDT-2 dimple machine for my birthday and I mounted it to a cart I had and built a table on the machine and covered it with carpet.  Man this thing ROCKS!  I dimpled the first skin using the Avery C-frame and my right arm was about to fall off after doing the 300+ holes.  The second one was done on the DRDT-2, what a difference.

May 25, 2008  Here is another shot of the DRDT-2

May 25, 2008  Here I am machine countersinking the rivet holes on the spars

May 25, 2008  Here are the ribs all dimpled, de-burred, and primed.  I dimpled these with my hand squeezer which I mounted in a vise.

May 25, 2008  Spars all primed and ready for assembly

May 25, 2008   My first six rivets!!  I wanted to try out the new pneumatic squeezer, so I set up the elevator hinge bearing assembly and squeezed the rivets.  Awesome!  Only 15000 to go!

May 26, 2008   I began by riviting the nose ribs in place in the right stabilizer skin.  The most forward rivets are a real pain to do, especially the ones on the center rib that have to be done with a rivet gun and bucking bar.  Yuk, after squeezing, the rivet gun sux!!

May 26, 2008  I continued by clecoing the front spar and remaining ribs into the assembly.  Here is where the fun begins.  Putting it together for the last time.  I made a bucking bar from an old body dolly specifically for doing the skin to spar rivets.  It works awesome.  I only put one ding in the whole thing, and that was when I let off the pressure on the bucking bar before releasing the trigger on the gun.  It's a tiny ding that only I will probably ever notice.

May 26, 2008   One side complete and the other clecoed in and ready to start pounding!

June 5, 2008   I got busy doing "honey do's" and didn't get the last half riveted together until now.  I finished it off by riveting in the rear spar and the Horizontal Stabilizer is DONE!   Gee, I can build an airplane!  Now on the the Vertical Stabilizer.  I already have it clecoed together and partially match drilled, fluted the ribs etc.  

June 7, 2008   Here is the verticle stabilizer framework all clecoed together and match drilled.  Cool, only half of the parts to de-burr and dimple compared to the horizontal stabilizer.  Now I know why some recommend to begin by building the vertical first. Here is also where I screwed up my first piece.  More later.

June 7, 2008  Here is my first screw up.  I read and read about countersinking the holes for the lower 20 or so rivets and couldn't find any specific guidance.  After I tried dimpling one hole, I didn't like the results so I machine countersunk them---wrong!  The holes look great, just opens up the bottom of the hole too much to support the rivet properly.  So I ordered another spar from Van's.  At least it was only an $18 mistake.  I found later I didn't have enough preload on the DRDT-2 to properly form the dimples and when I did the new one it worked fine.  Live and learn!

June 7, 2008  Here art the VS ribs primed and ready to go

June 7, 2008  How is this for anal!  This is the inside of the VS skin.  I hated to just spray the areas where the ribs would contact it and just let the overspray go all over that shiny stuff, so I used the soldering iron and cut the lines in it and used the vinyl coating for masking paper.  Then peeled the vinyl and wa-lah!  Perfectly masked lines and it only took me 10 minutes or so extra time.

June 8, 2008   Here is the VS clecoed together ready to rivet the skin on


June 8, 2008  Another shot of the VS with the rear spar clecoed in for final riveting.

June 8, 2008  VS is done!


June 12, 2008  The grandkids were over and the oldest was dying to help me on the plane.  So I put him to work clecoing the right elevator together so we could match drill it.  Future airplane builder for sure.

June16, 2008  Here are all the right elevator pieces, match drilled, de-burred, and dimpled.  I am preping both elevator assemblies at the same time to get the slow work out of the way.


June 17, 2008  Here I have all the stiffeners clecoed and match drilled to the skin.  I cut another MDF board to lay on the work bench so I wouldn't have to drill into the work bench itself.  I prepped and match drilled both right and left elevators to their respective stiffeners.

June 18, 2008  Here I am dimpling the right and left elevator skins

June 28, 2008   Right side elevator parts primed and ready to assemble

June 28, 2008  Now the left elevator parts are primed and ready to go as well.

June 28, 2008   Well crap,  I was backriveting the stiffeners to the right elevator skin and let the last rivet in one row get off the edge of the plate.  The rivet gun tried to shear the skin off on the edge of the plate.  I used a body dolly and flattened it back out, but the metal was streched in that area and it oil canned.  When it did it sounded cracked as well.  Hello Van's, can you send me a new skin and some stiffener material?

June 30, 2008   I dedided I wasn't playing that game with the back rivet plate again, so I took my board I had cut to match drill the stiffeners and inlaid the back rivet plate in it.  Makes it much easier to control that way.

July 5, 2008  Ah, back in business, new back rivet plate works great.  I did both skins and even managed to let one rivet get off of the plate again.  Absolutely no damage this time since I was at least hammering against the MDF.

July 12, 2008  Here I am riveting the spar / rib assembly into the right elevator skin

July 12, 2008  Right elevator done with the exception of the trailing edge.  I am going to wait and do the trailing edges on both elevators and the rudder at the same time so I won't have to mess with the proseal but once.

July 13, 2008   Left elevator done as well.  I will install the hinge once the trim tab is complete and do the trailing edge after that.

July 13, 2008  Trim tab assembled and match drilled

July 13, 2008  Trim tab foam ribs cut and sanded to shape

July 13, 2008  Trim tab ends bent, came out ok, we will see how it looks.

July 13, 2008  Trim Tab assembled and clamped wating for the glue to dry

July 14, 2008  Trim tab done.  I am not completely happy with it though, I may build another one.  Where it was clamped there is a visible distortion of the skin, (mostly on the top side naturally).  Probably could take care of it during paint, just don't like it!

August 8, 2008   It's been a while since I updated this site.  I have been busy building stuff.  I finally got around to doing the trailing edges on both elevators.  I glued them together and clecoed them to a straight piece of aluminum in the hopes the edges would come out perfectly straight.  Once the glue dried, I removed the cleco's and began back riveting them setting the shop heads in the dimples on the lower side.  Takes a while to get the technique down but the results are terrific!

August 10, 2008   Mission accomplished, perfectly straight and nice looking rivets!

August 15, 2008  I cut out the stiffeners for the rudder, match drilled them and de-burred and dimpled all the holes.

August 16, 2008  I match drilled the framework for the rudder, then did all the boring work.  De-burr, dimple and prep for primer.

August 16, 2008   All the parts ready to prime

August 18, 2008  Back riveted the stiffeners to the skins.  Came out perfect!

August 18, 2008  After riveting stiffeners, back rivet tape still on the rivet lines.

August 20, 2008  Fast forward, wow, can't believe I didn't take pictures of the process of assembling the framework and riveting the skins to it.  Well here it is waiting for the glue to dry to back rivet the trailing edge.

August 21, 2008  Done!  Empennage is complete except for the fiberglass.  I am gonna save that and do it all at the same time.

Besides, I got wings to build.  They arrived!  Time to open up the wings section of this site.



Stay Tuned!!




Copyright (c) 2008 Don Jones. All rights reserved.