<August 5, 2006>

Tank Rib Riveting

Here we go... my first tank ribs. I performed all todays riveting solo (and without a net), and it came out great. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend riveting them solo, it can be done it just takes a looong time. If you are looking for more details on my tank sealing process, I go into additional detail in subsequent days of the log.

I use a 1" mushroom set (non-swivel w/o a rubber gaurd) for all my skin riveting and I haven't had any major issues. I have a swivel set, but according to Cleveland Aircraft Tool the 1" mushroom set does a better job, so I started using when I did the HS and I haven't looked back since. The non-swivel set yields excellent results when used correctly, but if you get let it get at an angle to the skin, it will ding the skin. I managed to put one of these small dings in the bottom of the tank skin, but it will be completely invisible once the plane is painted and besides it is on the bottom of the wing.

Lately I have been using a lot of MEK to clean the tank parts in preparation for sealing. Even though I was wearing multimple layers of latex or nitrile gloves, the MEK would leach through the gloves and onto my hands, which I don't like at all. To combat this problem I purchased Invisible Gloves from Aircraft Spruce and some high quality gloves I found at the local hardware store. The invisible gloves is a cream, sort of like butter, that you rub on your hands paying special attention to the areas around and under your fingernails. It is supposed to seal your hands from harsh chemicals, and so far it seems to be working. The Synetron gloves are have also made a huge improvement in safety as far as I am concerned, as they are about twice at thick as your standard latex glove and don't seem to break down as easily when exposed to MEK. They are twice as expensive, than regular latex gloves, but worth it in my book. When I know I will be using MEK, I first rub about a teaspoon of Invisible Gloves onto/into my hands, let it dry, and then put on the gloves. With this combination, I seem to have cut down on my MEK exposure dramitically (at least I hope I have).

Before I going any further I riveted the trap-door to the inboard interior rib. This trap-door is required when installing inverted fuel pick-ups (flop tubes) and is supposed to prevent fuel from rushing out of the inboard bay of the fuel tank when rolling the aircraft.

According to the manual, and before applying any sealant, I clecoed the tank ribs to the skin. I will remove, apply sealant, and rivet each rib individually.

I mixed up some sealant, buttered up my first rib, and reinstalled it with clecos. If you look closely, you will see that I have so cheap hardware store 6-32 nuts on each cleco. I saw this on Chad Jensen's web site as a good way to give the clecos a little more pulling power. It seemed to work well, and for $2 in nuts, I think it was worth it.

My first rib riveted, and with sealant applied to each shop head and a fillet made along the rib/skin joint.

Here is the other side with more fillet... so far so good.

It took me several hours to rivet these two ribs, but it was my first time, and I did it solo. I was pretty tired at this point so I will pick up here tomorrow.