Ivan's RV-7

Finishing the vertical stabilizerTimer icon4h

May 24, 2022

Front spar assembly is complete, time to rivet the vertical stabilizer together!

Pretty much the same deal as with the horizontal stabilizer, with minor changes to the process:

  1. I was working a bit faster.
  2. I put the painter's tape on the rivet gun so it does not mar the skin. It was not too bad without it, though. Also, I plan to paint the aircraft, so I don't think it would matter.

This time rivets came (subjective assessment!) not as beautifully as in the horizontal stabilizer. One reason is that I was working faster. The other reason is I found it harder to have "stereoscopic" vision of both sides of the skin. For some reason, only one of my eyes was seeing. I don't know why is that, I used pretty much the same lighting and the same process. Maybe, this spar is a bit further inside the part compared to the horizontal stabilizer? I don't know.

In any case, it turned out to be okay.

Some of the rivets.

Skin riveted to the front spar assembly.

After that, it was just a matter of using a pneumatic squeezer to set all the perimeter rivets.

Setting some random rivet.

I had to drill out a couple of rivets because they either jumped above the skin or the squeezer slipped off them (universal heads sticking from the rear spar sometimes would get in the way).

My biggest concerns were around four nose rivets I "match-drilled" from the skin. The holes were not perfect, and also one rivet was not sitting perpendicular to the dimple for some reason (maybe, because the hole was not perfectly aligned). I tried to squeeze them with my manual squeezer, and they turned out to be just fine. Maybe, shop heads are not exactly perfect but should work.

Vertical stabilizer complete!