Elevator skins stiffened and bent

Jeez, another layoff.  I actually started on the back riveting last weekend.  I did get a bit done, but I needed a second set of hands and Josie was unavailable for reasons which I don’t remember.  So I just knocked off and intended to pick back up another evening in the week.  Unfortunately, I got extremely ill Sunday night and remained that way until Wednesday, at which time Josie came down with the same symptoms.  So it wasn’t until today that I was able to get back to work.  I did, however, get my long-overdue BFR out of the way Friday night, so at least I’m legal to fly again. (which is goos, since I’m planning on flying home to NC for Christmas next weekend…)

Anyway, nothing really complex happened today.  I’d already back riveted the trim doubler in place, and gotten all the stiffeners on one side of the left skin, save for the two aftmost rivets on each, which required a helper to hold the skin out of the way.  Really, I should have waited for help for all this; the rivets I shot solo last weekend were frequently not my best work.  I guess aligning the rivet gun, holding the set in place, and trying to hold the skin out of the way while squeezing the trigger was a little too much task overload.  Today we got right back to work shooting those aftmost rivets I’d skipped before, then went straight to work on the other side.  This is also a nice time to have a helper, when you’re dropping all those rivets into the skin holes, taping them in place, and so on.  We got through the remainder of the stiffener riveting in just over an hour.

Next was bending the trailing edges.  I took some time to review the procedure here before starting.  This is one of those times when the construction manual isn’t much help.  It basically says “Construct a bending brake to bend the trailing edges.  After bending, check for straightness with a good straightedge.”  So I went back to my post on bending the rudder trailing edge.  That gave me some good insight on how I did it before, but I wish I’d taken pictures of the rig.  I’m fairly certain I didn’t do it the exact same way this time.

But whatever, I got them bent, things are nice and straight, and it’s time to move on to working on the skeletons.  I’m going to try to get back out in the garage in the evenings after work this week; I haven’t done any weekday work in ages, and building weekends only will take me an eternity. (especially with the short weekend work day I’ve been doing)

The bending brake setup.  Two clamps hold the brake to the bench, while two more clamps hold the skin in place on the brake.

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Checking for straightness

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The finished skins

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