Prepped right leading edge ribs

Well, the CPR class after work didn’t happen today.  The class was sponsored by my office, but we’re in the news business, and the stuff up in Boston caused some technical problems with us.  Since most of the people who’d signed up for the class were busy handling that mess, the class was pushed to tomorrow night.  I’ll be honest…I didn’t really want to go work on the ribs tonight.  I think it still seemed like a big tedious task, and it was easier to just procrastinate.

But I didn’t do that.  I went out and got to work anyway, starting with the right wing leading edge ribs.  The process is pretty straightforward: bend the flanges to a nice right angle with the rib face, and flute the ribs to take the bow out of them.  I decided to take extra photos tonight to help document this process.

This is a shiny, new, untouched rib.  Notice how the center of the rib isn’t even touching the table due to the bow caused by the forming process.  This isn’t going to work; the rib needs to be straight.

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Some work with the fluting pliers pulls the rib back in line:

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The flanges are also frequently not square:

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But a little work the hand seamers brings them back into line:

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Of course, it gets a little more complex than that in the curved portions of the leading edge ribs.  See, fluting the flanges also tends to bend them relative to the face, and bending them tends to change the fluting job.  In practice, I found that the best procedure for the leading edge ribs was to flute first, then go back and bend the flanges square, then go back and fine-tune the fluting before making one final check of the flanges.

Josie came out and got some photos of me slaving over the ribs.  Bending flanges:

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And checking squareness:

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So yeah, 90 minutes and I managed to prep exactly six ribs.  The good news is that the leading edge and tank ribs should be the tougher part of this job; their curved profile means lots more distortion.  The main ribs should be comparatively easy.

After that tedious work, I decided it was time for one of those temporary assembly tasks that serves no purpose except to give me hope.  In this case, I clecoed those newly prepped ribs to the leading edge skin.

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That’s it for tonight; maybe I can get to work on the right tank ribs later this week…

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