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Leading Edges, Joint Plates, Tie Downs Drilled

September 12th, 2012

Joint Plates Complete

I had more 3/32″ clecos arrive this week, so I could now continue on the leading edges. I assembled the right leading edge parts and set them on the spar. Once on, it was time to tackle the joint plates that are sandwiched in between the inboard rib and the skin. This will tie the tanks and the leading edge assemblies together for a nice transition. I set the rib in place and using some 0.032″ shims made from scratch, centered and clamped the rib into the inboard end. Once in position, I match drilled the flange that attaches to the spar and then clecoed it. Next, I took the joint plate strip and marked a line 1/2″ in from one side. This line should line up with the rivet holes in the skin and leave 11/16″ protruding from the skin for a flange that the tank skins to use as a backer. It took some muscling into place, but I was finally able to get it and the rib where they needed to be. I then drilled the plate and the rib, using the skin as template. Above you can see both done, drilled, and in place.

I then match drilled (actually reamed) all the skin to rib/spars to full size. There are a lot of holes in these wings and I am not even to the tanks yet.

Enlarged the Tie Down Holes

Once all the match reaming was complete, I tackled enlarging the holes for the tie down rings. This means I had to reinstall the large bottom skin to get my previously marked reference lines for the center of the tie down block. This took about a minute to do. Both were just a hair off from the pre-punched reference hole, but Van’s states this is possible and to simply file the hole in the right direction and then enlarge with a unibit. I did just that. This one above on the right wing seems pretty darn close. The left was a hair off, but looking at it, you will never know. If you are looking that close to my plane, you better be a mechanic hired to look at it. 😉

Tie Down Ring Test Fit

Remember those fancy tie-down rings I bought from Cleavland Tool and polished to a mirror shine? I figured now was as good of a time as any to test the fit with the skin. I like it! I will need to buy some threaded inserts from McMaster Carr to set the stop depth of the rings in the tie down blocks like another builder I have seen, but for now…they are looking great!

Both Leading Edges Drilled

By then end of the night, I had both leading edges match drilled.

Next up, Fuel Tanks…yipee! I hear this is the most favorite task of the wings…NOT!

I got the tank parts sorted and on the bench, cleaned up shop, and called it good for the day.

Categories: Major Wing Sections
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