More workbenches

With the increasing number of bench-attached tools in the workshop, I realized we'd need more benches. We bought wood and hardware and built 2 more using the same EAA project (which is really easy to build), again just adding casters to make them easier to move around.

The result is much more actual workspace, where I can leave the bench tools attached and use the two new benches for assembly:

Time lapse:

Total workshop time (approx): 16.5h

Rudder and horizontal stabilizer skin priming

With only a few unprimed parts from the rudder, we spent most of Friday priming parts, including all the smaller remaining parts of the rudder (2 tabs, the horn and 3 stiffeners), both rudder skins and both horizontal stabilizer skins.

For the horizontal stabilizer skins, I used my super-advanced method to keep the markings after the PreKote etching - that is, taking pictures then re-marking before applying the primer. The marks were still visible through the primer.

Markings before priming
Faint marking after priming
Now after the primer cures I'll go back to riveting the rudder, including installing the static wicks.

Time lapse:

Total rudder time: 24.6h
Total horizontal stabilizer time: 69.7h

Vertical stabilizer corrections

I had a few coworkers who are also builders review my riveting work so far, and that led me to make some fixes - mostly squeezing a bit more on a few undersqueezed rivets, replacing one rivet, and to be more careful with edge deburring in the future.

I mounted the conduit mod by using RTV black glue on the top attachment and fastening the conduit:

Conduit attachment to rib

Conduit attachment (bottom)

Conduit attachment (top)

Rivet that had to be replaced (cracked head)

This time I used a different squeezer, borrowed from a coworker, and it made all the difference - I'm definitely ordering one of these for myself:

The Main Squeeze

I also realized that I have one more missing detail before I can rivet the VS skins - I need to attach a VOR antenna to the top of the VS (the conduit will be helpful after all), so I'm researching antennas (post on that later) and will finish the assembly after that.

Time lapse:

Total vertical stabilizer time: 48.2h

Rudder dimpling, riveting and more deburring

We dimpled all the rudder parts which were already primed:

I'm not Santa, but I  had a little helper
Lots of dimpled parts

Riveted rudder rib

Spar nut plate for attaching rudder to vertical stabilizer

Before I could continue the rudder assembly, I needed to prime a few remaining parts (3 stiffeners, the side of the other spar doubler and the rudder horn) - another post will cover the priming.

Time lapse:

Total rudder time: 23.6h

Research: static wicks

Since I do plan to fly my RV10 under IMC, I decided to have static wicks installed, specially after hearing multiple reports of PFD "white-outs" on planes without them (apparently the LCDs we use are very sensitive to static charge and eventually just stop working).

I started my research by looking at what other builders did, and found the very useful post by Mouser and another similar one by Tim Olson. Both of them used Dayton-Granger 16165, which sounds like a safe bet since Dayton-Granger themselves provide proposed installation instructions specific to the RV10. As much as it would be fun to remember Maxwell's equations to do the electromagnetic calculations myself, I thought I'd trust a company that does this as part of their business :)

I'm going to follow Mouser's suggested bill of materials, so I ordered the parts for the rudder and elevators:

The next step is to make sure the electric charge can flow all the way to the wicks. Since I'm priming the parts, the surfaces are not conductive, so I measured the resistance of the skin from distant rivets on and got good results (1-2 ohms). For inter-part conductivity, I mounted one of the rudder attach bolts to the VS and saw that it's a poor conductor, meaning I need to do additional bonding there. The standard way to do bonding is with a braided strap. I also looked at pre-assembled straps with holes (such as this, thisthis, this and this), but found that most come in inconvenient lengths and/or hole sizes, so I ended up ordering the braid plus 33457 terminals from Aircraft Spruce.

To attach the bonding strap to the parts, I'll add a nut plate to both parts (e.g. rudder and vertical stabilizer), for which I picked the same AN366F-1032A nut plate and MS35207-261 screws. The FAA AMT Airframe handbook (chapter 9, figure 9-146) shows the recommended sequence of washers, nuts and their materials for the case where you can install a screw + nut on the same side (but not for using a nut plate). Some more searching found me the Australian AC 21-99 which happens to have that same figure/table (not sure which government copied from which), but also has the equivalent for nut plates (chapter 13, figure/table 13-2):

Since the braided strap is tinned copper and the structure is aluminum, this gave me (for each bonding / hole pair):
Now I'm waiting for the parts to arrive, and will make a new post with results afterwards.

Vertical stabilizer skeleton riveting

Today I set most rivets on the vertical stabilizer skeleton:

Vertical stabilizer skeleton riveted (except for bottom ribs)
Conduit for running wires up the stabilizer
Being my first big riveting job, it took some trial and error - for instance, I put all the clecos in, then realized that the rivets wouldn't go into the holes (tiny misalignment) - removing the clecos, putting some rivets (without setting them), and then putting the clecos back worked perfectly with no misalignment. Also, I tried to use my mighty pneumatic rivet squeezer, then realized (and forums confirmed) that the AD4-7 rivets I was trying to squeeze are too long for it - it only has maximum force at the last bit of its travel, and with a long rivet it just never gets there. I ended up setting most rivets with the hand squeezer, and only using back riveting for the rivets closest to the hinge brackets (where the squeezer doesn't fit).

I also realized that I need a better rivet squeezer - preferably lighter and that can access tighter areas such as the junctions of ribs and spars - those were more challenging than they should have been. I'm considering the Main Squeeze.

Other than that, the skin is fully dimpled, and as soon as I finish securing the conduit (need to buy supplies for that) I can start riveting the skeleton to it.

I also broke my big toe on Friday, so the next few sessions will be slow at best.

Time lapse:

Total vertical stabilizer time: 46.1h