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Old 07-04-2017, 01:08 PM
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rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hubbard Oregon
Posts: 9,301

Originally Posted by 1001001 View Post
I hate to revive a thread so long ago put to rest, but I have searched extensively for the answer to the same question the OP here asked, and have not found a real answer. I have found pages and pages of people arguing over whether the tank dies will cause leaky joints, weak joints, sneaky joints, and joints that will either make you rich and famous or steal your girlfriend and impoverish your dear old Grandma, laughing at you the whole time and posting naughty sectioned pictures of themselves for your spouse to see the next time she/he has a look at your web browser history.

Can anyone answer the question:

Are the Tank Dimple Dies meant to be used on the outer skins, substructure (like ribs), or both? If they are to be used on the outer skins, what does one use on the substructure? If they are to be used on the substructure, what does one use on the skin?

Don't even get me started on the "substructure" dies!

Sorry once again, but if anyone can answer or point me to any link that shows a consensus on the subject, I'd appreciate it.
Why not call Mike at Cleveland Tool (guy who makes them) and ask him?

My understanding is that the tank dies were made a bit deeper to allow for making a deeper dimple on the skins so that a small amount of sealant can be under a rivet head without making the rivet protrude above the skin surface. I would think that this would require also using them on the sub structure (ribs etc).

Snipped from Cleveland web site-

Tank dies make deeper dimples to allow for the layer of tank sealer between the rivet and skin.
Rivet will set flush with the skins surface.
Spring back angle on die faces.
Minimizes skin deformation.
Skins remain very flat!
Precision made on our CNC machine.
Stainless Steel- Heat treated.
Polished dimpling surfaces.
Don't make 14,000 mistakes on your plane!
See also DIE-KIT.
We guarantee these dies work better than any others or we will give you a refund!


These dies make a dimple 0.007" deeper than our standard dimple dies to allow for the proseal under the rivet head. Historically builders have had to use a 'rivet shaver' bit which can easily get out of control. With these dies used on the TANK SKIN and on the TANK RIBS the rivets will set perfectly flush after riveting.

Also if you purchase the dies they can be used on the substructure of the entire airframe. If you have ever noticed that the skin and the substructure dimples don't nest perfectly we have created a special die for those discerning builders that is 0.011" deeper for the ribs and stiffeners, allowing the dimples to nest together rather than smashing together during the riveting process. If you purchase the tank dimple dies we recommend that since you have them, use them on the substructure of the rest of the airplane too!

They also have a video on their web site that apparently (I haven't viewed it) discusses their use.

Note, this post is not an endorsement of their use.
My recommendation to builders when they ask, is to use the standard dies and remove excess sealant from the dimples before inserting the rivets.
Opinions, information and comments are my own unless stated otherwise. They do not necessarily represent the direction/opinions of my employer.

Scott McDaniels
Van's Aircraft Engineering Prototype Shop Manager
Hubbard, Oregon
RV-6A (aka "Junkyard Special ")
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