Monday, February 19, 2018

Right fuel tank, almost done

I spent a lot of time on the right fuel tank this past week.  In fact since this was a nice 3 day weekend I spent the majority of it in the garage.  I got the right fuel tank sealed up and almost rivet complete before my back decided it had had enough for the day.  A little more riveting on the back baffle and then its time to let the Proseal cure enough for a leak test.  :-)

Ribs cleco'd in place with sealant.  Took a whole box of cleco's but the skin is nice and tight.

Inside view of the cleco's tank.

And this is about 6 hours later.  All of the ribs are riveted with the exception of the farthest forward 3 rivets on the top side.  I still have to install the tank attach bracket before I can fasten the aft half of the inboard rib.

Top of the tank in the same state as the picture above.  I could not reach those last 3 cleco's on each rib so I took the fuel tank to the airport and had Harry help me finish those rivets.
Top J-Stiffener riveted in place.

Inside view of J-stiffener riveted in place.  Still have not finished encapsulating the shop heads with sealant in this picture.
Aft rib half riveted in place.  You will notice the fuel return fitting and the vent fittings installed in this picture.

Outboard rib with the extended range fuel transfer fitting installed....with LOTS of Proseal...I kinda went overboard on this one.

I took this picture so you could see the vent line end.  I curved it a bit around the fuel filler opening and then bent it up close to the skin.  This should allow less fuel to burp overboard when the fuel expands due to heat.

The vent line fittings are encased in Proseal (after torquing them down) to make sure there are no leaks that might limit how much fuel I can put into the tank.

Outside of outboard rib.  Not much Proseal here because there is a nice filet of sealant on the inside (see pictures above).

This is a vent line snap bushing penetration.  I put a little left over Proseal on the vent line and the fitting to keep them from vibrating and possibly cutting through the bushings.  Not likely but hey, I had some extra Proseal.

A nice shot looking into one of the fuel bays.

Fuel level sensor and float installed.  This is the empty position with the float on the bottom of the fuel tank.

And this would be the full position.

And this is how things stand as of this evening.  The Z brackets are riveted on and all thats left are the side rivets that should be pretty easy to install with the squeezer.  No Proseal required on these so I guess I am pretty much done with Proseal for this tank.

I poked my phone camera into the fuel filler opening to take a couple of pictures of the back baffle seal.  It looks pretty good in every location I can see.  Only a leak test will tell for sure though.  This picture is looking outboard at the end rib.

And this picture is looking inboard at the 2nd rib in.  The top left "line" is the baffle seal and you can see a bead of Proseal along the entire length which is exactly what I was hoping to see. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Proseal Take 2

Still working on the right fuel tank.  I did get to fly this week though.  Harry, Jeff, Paul, Mark and I met at Jefco for a little breakfast and then Harry, Jeff, Mark and I flew on up to Friday Harbor to meet up with some Fall City folks.  (Ben, Kathy, Jeff, Salima ,Larry, Mary, Dave).  We walked down to the water front to have some lunch.  It was a very nice day for flying and it showed as the sky was full!

Parked at Jefco for breakfast.
Harry and Jeff off my left wing on the flight back home.

Fuel cap base with sealer and cleco's
Back side of the fuel flange.  Nice cap of Proseal over each rivet shop head.
I got a little carried away back riveting the fuel cap...I forgot to add the tape to protect the skin so it scuffed up a bit.  No biggie since the skin has to be scuffed for paint anyway.

Finished up the stiffeners on both sides of the tank.
Stiffeners back side with nice cap of Proseal over rivet shop heads.
Stiffeners after I had back riveted them but before removing the tape and cleaning the heads a bit.
Stiffener rivets cleaned up a bit shows the proseal around the head of the rivet.

Fuel drain port sealed and cleco'd to the outside bottom skin.

Fuel tank drain flange on the outside of the fuel tank.  Riveted but not yet cleaned up completely.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Proseal take 1

Yep, this week I finished up the prep work and started the sealing the right fuel tank.  I'm trying to be a little more stingy with the Proseal this time so it doesn't get all over everything but who knows how it will end up.  Once you mix it up you only have about 90-120 minutes of working time before it hardens up.  They say you can store it in the freezer for a few days and I actually did mix up the first batch, and stored it in the freezer. It worked out pretty nicely the next day.

Most people don't care to work with this fuel tank sealant but I really don't mind.  It can be fun seeing how neat I can make it... at least until I find a leak...then its not so much fun.

Here you can see where I scuffed up the inside of the fuel tank in any location that will have the sealant applied.  This is supposed to give the sealant something to stick to.  Not sure about that because Proseal sticks to anything!

What you are looking at here are two extra penetrations I am putting into my fuel tanks.  The one on the left is the anti-rotation bracket that will allow me to put a bulkhead fitting in place in case I ever decide to install long range fuel tanks in the outer wind leading edge.  The one on the right with the fitting in place (for test fit) is where the fuel pump return flow will enter the tank.  The hole right beside it is the vent line penetration.  There will be another anti-rotation bracket installed here...well actually its already installed but not in this picture.

And here is what that same fuel return line fitting looks like riveted in place and prosealed.

This is what the outside of that same fitting looks like.  Notice I put some sealant under the rivet heads so they don't leak.
The vent line port is riveted in place, the tooling holes are filled with 3/16" rivets and the fuel pickup port is riveted in place.

Same part, other side.  This is actually the inside so all the rivet tails are covered in a cap of proseal.

I had a little extra Proseal left over on Thursday night so I started putting these stiffeners in place.  They are only cleco'd in place for now.  Once the Proseal sets up for a bit I will come back and finish with rivets.  This process helps with the mess.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Fuel tanks start to take shape

The weather has really sucked this week but I guess that means I am less tempted to go flying...hence more build time.  I spent most of my evening build time this week prepping parts for the fuel tanks.  Deburring and edge dressing mostly.  The weekend I began the process of putting together the right fuel tank.  I remember really struggling with this first step on my 9A but this time it went much smoother.  Either I learned something or the 10 skins are bent a little better (or a little of both) but I was able to get the right fuel tank fully assembled and almost ready to pull it apart for dimpling.  Before I know it I will be elbow deep in ProSeal.

Tank stiffeners cleco'd in place for final drilling.

This picture is my attempt at remembering my numbering scheme.  I'm sure at some point I will wipe the numbers off of one of these pieces...

Center ribs getting installed.

Fuel cap base located and drilled.  This was much harder on the 10 than it was on the 9A.  The flanges of this base are ground in a manner that would allow it to fit a curved skin.  Well the 10 tanks are much less curved so I had to spend a bit of time "adjusting" the curve to fit this tank.  I am pretty happy with how this one ended up fitting.  This is one of the many upgrades that I am putting into this airplane.  The fuel caps that are stock with the kit are inexpensive which is good to make the kits affordable but they are very hard to open.

Inside view of the fuel cap base.  If you look real close you can see where the top of the cap has a small gap.  That is part of the curved face I was talking about earlier.  I wanted to leave as much flange material as possible so I didn't grind it down all the way to the top and bottom edges...its about 1/4" short.

And this is how we end the weekend.  The tank is fully final drilled and assembled.  Now I have to do a little countersinking and then its time to take it all apart for dimpling.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


No pictures of RV-10 work this week mostly because I didn't do much picture worthy.  However, I did do something else picture worthy....I learned to do some aerobatics in a truly unique airplane...a Waco Great Lakes.  This is an interesting airplane in that it is a bi-wing tandem two seat tail dragger airplane.  Very cool.  I got to learn the proper way to do an aileron roll as well as a few other maneuvers such as loops, Immelmanns, Cuban eights, and even got a spin in there.  My stomach protested after about an hour so I had to call Uncle and head back to the airport but wow. what fun.  Harry set all of this up for us at an FBO in Phoenix Arizona.  He stayed down there for another few days to get a total of 5 hours of this stuff....his stomach is much stronger than mine!

Harry with his instructor after our first flight lesson.

The cockpit of the Great Lakes...pretty spartan.

Harry took this picture of me as we got ready to head out to the lesson.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Starting the fuel tanks

This week I finished up the flap gap fairings, did a little work on the bottom skins and since it started to warm up a little I started on the fuel tanks.

The first step was to remove all of the plastic protective film from the tank skins....what a pain!   It took my entire Sunday work session to get the plastic off.  Normally this isn't that much of a pain but this time the plastic came off but the glue that holds it down stayed on the aluminum skin.  This required a couple of hours of work with lacquer thinner and paper towels.  What a mess.

Look closely you can see the two fuel tank skins sitting on each table leading edge pointed up.  They look clean in this picture but this was after hours of work to get them this way. 
Right wing inner bottom skin cleco'd on for final drilling.  This will be a "tweener" project.  It will occur between other tasks that are fuel tank related...or at least thats the current plan.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Flap gap fairings

I seem to remember posting recently that I was going to start working on the fuel tanks next.  Well the weather has been a bit cold so I decided to finish up the wing flap gap fairings as well as prep the lower skins for riveting.  So, this week that's what I have been working on.  I managed to finish up the left wing, flip the wing rack around and get started on the right wing.

I did get a little bit of prep work done for the fuel tanks though.  I moved most of the fuel tank parts up to the garage and I fabricated some anti-rotation brackets to use on the fuel return line that will be installed in each tank.  The brackets gave me a chance to play with my CNC a little more and I am quite happy with how they turned out.  Not quite as nice as the smaller brackets that Van's provides for the fuel tank vent but close.

The one on the left is mine, and the one on the right is the smaller version I got in the kit for from Van's.  If you look close you can see where I had to use a small round file on the corners to make the nut fit.  This is due to the size of the round bit I was using in the CNC to cut the part.  The part above the brackets is the fuel pickup that happens to be a -6 fitting which is the same size as the fuel return fitting I am using.  

Here is the bracket with the fitting places in side.  This bracket will be riveted to the inside of the tank with the nut and then the fitting will be installed from the outside.  This allows me to tighten the fitting from the outside without needing a wrench on the nut inside.
Left wing flap gap fairing completed.

Interestingly those new aileron brackets I installed caused me a bit of angst when trying to fit the fairing.  Unless you saw the original you won't be able to see it but I had to modify the bottom right corner to fit the added bulk of the hinge mount.

To add to the problem you can see that there was no room to get a bucking bar on that rivet that is next to the back brace.  I was able to smash it to where it will work perfectly well but it technically doesn't fit the mil spec for smashed rivets.  I guess I will have to live with this one rivet being 95% as strong as the rest.  :-)