First finished assembly

Today I finished the T03-01 horizontal stabilizer main spar assembly. I started by trying to improve my tools for riveting in tight spaces. I ground down the spare (slightly larger) tip of the rivet gun to have an angle and also ground down some of the nose piece. The EAA has some helpful videos on this topic:

At first I ground the angle too steep and found the rivet stem would break off too high, at the point where if bent round into the nose of the gun. With a shallower angle I got more consistent results. There were still a couple rivets where the stem broke above the normal point but still below the top of the head and the shop side looked well set. I’m still at the stage where I’m worrying every little detail is going to kill me so I’m planning on getting some feedback on the rivets and what is acceptable.

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I also noticed that sometimes the stem wouldn’t be pulled as deep into the rivet. This didn’t seem to correlate with the ones where the stem broke too high though. Again, I plan to get some advice on whether this is acceptable.


I also had time to up-drill and deburr the forward spar assembly (T03-05). This went much faster than the main spar now I had most of the techniques down. I found the blue surface conditioning discs in the die grinder made quick work of the hole deburring. I started with the vixen file to get the machining marks out of the spar but found the Scotchbrite wheel or the maroon pads did as good a job with less effort and less finishing work. I used a needle file and Scotchbrite pads on the detail areas. One note on the Scotchbrite wheel – I was initially trying to avoid the parts cutting a groove in the wheel by running them at an angle. I found the groove is actually very beneficial and lets you finish the face and corners of long straight edges in one pass.

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Time: 7 hours

Surface prep discs

Today my friend Niels came over and we cleco’d together the forward spar. I received some very fine (blue) and super fine (white) surface prep discs from Pan American Tool and we tried blending out the scratches from using the medium (maroon) discs. They were pretty deep and I was worried about removing too much material blending them out so I decided not to polish before riveting and just did a pass with the blue and then the white discs.

In the future I’m going to stick with the blue ones for deburring and only use the maroon ones for deep machining marks. The white ones are overkill for deburring but probably great for fine blending before polishing.

Time: 1 hour