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Old 02-04-2017, 06:33 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,128

I've been getting the smaller details completed. The gussets at the forward (middle of the image) ends of the baggage compartment ribs that are on the far right needed to be riveted to the seat baggage bulkhead. Here I've got the left one clecoed and am using a .063 plate to ensure that the right one is fair to the seat bulkhead while I drilled the flange.

I worked my way aft, bulkhead by bulkhead, deburring and priming parts. The aft-most two bulkheads, F-310 and F-311 make an assembly with the tailspring mount. They'd been lined up and clecoed. I drilled them out to 1/4" and installed temporary bolts. Then I removed it and put it on the table for its portrait.

Later, I disassembled and primed the parts. They are now reinstalled.

At that point, I removed the top longerons for deburring and priming. These support the fuselage frame on the Fry jig. After they got detailed, I reinstalled them and clecoed it all together. Before checking the overall rig of the fuselage, I decided to recheck the trueness of the Fry jig itself. In the photo I've got the SmartTool digital level showing that the jig is level crosswise. This is looking up (the fuselage is upside down) and aft from the firewall through the forward tunnel area.

The jig is good to 0.1 degrees, which is nice but not great. In a couple cases one direction of the level would show 0.1 degrees and the other direction would show 0.0. I figured that in these cases the angle was about 0.05 degrees. There were two diagonal corners that were slightly out of alignment out of the six total adjustment screws. Two of them, two that didn't need adjustment, can be seen in the photo. It wasn't hard to figure out that I could straighten the jig in roll with only one screw, if the out-of-true were small, without changing the pitch level in any measurable way. After a short bit of work, the jig was again true.

My garage floor is built upon a moving clay base. It's not surprising that the floor shifted. At least that's my hypothesis for the Fry jig going slightly out of true.

The photos are also hosted here, here and here.

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Old 02-14-2017, 11:03 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,128
Default Waiter, There's a Hole in My Airplane

Not that long ago, I went out to the shop and encountered this dismaying view.

Had to do something about that. It seemed best to work from the center out, so after riveting the F-304 bulkhead to the F-313 center seat rib, I riveted the seat rib to the F-305 bulkhead.

Next came the middle non-center seat ribs, the F-314 ribs. These have the mixer mounting bracket attached, so I had to rivet those on first. After attaching these to the fuselage, I had this.

Then I clecoed in the outer seat ribs, the F-315 ones. Guess what? There are a couple rows of rivets which are buried in the F-303 spar bulkhead. I forgot about these when I riveted on that bottom splice strip, the blue one just above the marked holes in the photo. Oops.

I've taped some rivets in place for these and arranged for someone to come out and give me a hand with these. I think that they can be back-riveted. We'll see.

The proper sequence would have been to back rivet these to the bulkhead before I riveted on that splice strip.

In other news, a friend sent me some 1/8" pitot-static tubing - thanks! I already had some 1/4" tubing. This shows both sizes. The 1/8" tubing is MUCH easier to fiddle with. The SB187-2 plastic bushings that Van's sells fits it perfectly, and McMaster sells a variety of fittings for the skinny line. The pitot line in the left wing is 1/4" and I'll leave that; it'll join at a tee.

If the photos have disappeared, try the ones hosted at a different site:


Last edited by David Paule : 02-16-2017 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:43 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,128

While I was waiting on my helper, I got busy with the rudder pedals. The rudder pedals come pre-welded and the brake pedals need some fabrication and assembly. The plans show the shapes, leaving a few dimensions to our imagination, so I built a set of the side pieces to the plans. They didn't fit, with the brake pedals interfering with the top forward corner of the rudder pedals. Yes, I know that a properly maintained brake system would be stiff enough that the brake pedal probably wouldn't contact the rudder pedal, but it's so close! In my drawing, I've moved it out of the way; the as-built assembly had issues.

I'm old school and used paper and pencil to work out some new geometry, similar to the original. I taped it into my project book.

Here are the pedals all clecoed up with the new sides on. I didn't get ny photos of the original.

Here's a better view of the new side plates, including a few efforts to make them lighter.

Interestingly, on the RV-3B, if I used a single long bolt for the floor-mounted rudder pedal itself, the rudder pedal would become non-removable, due to the other things near it. And if I used it on the brake pedal, my foot would be resting on the bolt shank rather than the rudder pedal bar, since this pivot is in front of it. The plans, it's worth noting, call for individual bolts and screws, not the long ones - the plans have it right.

I was going to order long bolts for these as people have recommended, when I realized these issues. Gotta love the -3!

The screws, by the way, are on the plans but not included in the kit.

I've purchased plenty of hardware and aluminum that's not in the kit because this is an RV-3 and practically everything is a size off or a hole off or something, so I just buy some extra hardware. Matter of fact, I put in an order tonight for some more. Worst case, I might enough left over afterwards to build another airplane. In fact, I was looking for some parts that are clearly (well, not that clearly) shown in the plans, and they not only weren't on The List, they weren't in the inventory list that came with the kit, either, at least not the fuselage kit. Somehow Van's overlooked them. These were the F-355 and F-356 rudder pedal links to the cables and the pushrod inside the manual flap handle. If I remember rightly, the F-356 is also one of the tunnel pieces. There are other instances of duplicated part numbers here and there, either to encourage us to keep our wits about, or to make us lose them. I'm not sure which.

For some reason the photos didn't load this morning. Perhaps they'll follow.

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Old 02-14-2017, 11:57 AM
rph142's Avatar
rph142 rph142 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Walnut Creek CA
Posts: 518

Dave, you're bringing back fond memories for me. The fuselage skeleton section was my favorite part of the build. I just completed a major home renovation and it felt like finger painting relative to the complexity of the 3. Keep up the good work!
Rob Holmes
RV-3B N59LG - Built, Flown, Sold!
Extra 300 N111XW - Partner, Flown, Sold!
RV-7 NxxxLG
The minimum number of planes one should own is one. The correct number is n+1, where n is the number of planes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of planes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

- Veluminati
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:29 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,128

Moving along to the flap handle, another assembly that can be made now, I had the idea of using an RV-12 part, VA-110, for my RV-3B manual flap handle button. I called tech support to see if it would fit and was told that the size would be the same as for the -3 because they wouldn't change something like that. Hah! But the support guy was good enough to check it for me, and found that in fact the -12 part was too big and wouldn't fit. No surprise, really.

Riveting assistance for those rivets in the red oval above arrived in the form of Glenn Potter, an AI and excellent sheet metal guy. Here's Glenn taping the surrounding structure.

We tried using a bucking bar as a back-rivet set but it was difficult to hit the stem of the rivet and keep it straight. Glenn had me move the gun and the T-shaped rivet set to the head of the rivet and drive it from there. Here's me getting set up.

After a fair bit of hassle, we got it done.

After we got those eight rivets done, Glenn inspected the fuselage. He's not a Tech Counselor but as an AI and long-time sheet metal man, he's plenty experienced. He found a couple small problems, including one over-set rivet in an easy-to-get-to area. I've already fixed one of these and will do the other one when I get back to the project.

The flap arms with bolts need just a bit of clearance at the lower longerons. This is at least the third RV-3B that needed tweaking that I know of. One of the other two bent the arms and the other also trimmed the longeron.

This excerpt from the plans, drawing 30, shows the part of the flap mechanism that interferes with the longeron, on the right of the picture. Remember that the bolt head sticks out farther than the arm itself, but both the bolt head and the tip of the arm need relief.

The flap latch is shown on the left of the picture. It's straight-forward enough except for one interesting detail - the zero line isn't dimensioned with respect to the seat. First I thought about that and then I checked the manual. I was glad that we agreed: first adjust the flap handle to get a good position and THEN locate the position of the notches.

I determined an approximate position with the flap lever in place.

The blue bracket clamped to the angle in the background is a first hack on the manual trim handle mount. Van's sent me the F-342 and an F-454, the RV-3 and the RV-4 parts. The fore/aft position will be determined later like the flap handle, when I have a cockpit to furnish, and I'll decide then which I want. This one is slightly longer than than the RV-3 one. It's here mostly to decide where to drill the bulkhead holes for the trim cable.

Using the flap handle position shown in the photo, I made a template for where I think it'll all go. But I won't proceed with finalizing the latch position until later.

I've been averaging about 600 hours per year working on this project since I started. In the last few days, I passed 3,000 hours. I'm not fast and frankly, I'm not all that good at this. But there it is.

The photos are also hosted here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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Old 02-17-2017, 03:53 AM
pekuba1610's Avatar
pekuba1610 pekuba1610 is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Ermatingen, Switzerland
Posts: 39
Default Seat Rib & Side Plate

before starting the wing construction I decided to build the center section. What happened is, that I riveted the outer seat rib positions . Drilling these rivets out should not be a problem . Furthermore I riveted the F-303 E-1 Side Plate. Do you think I have to remove it also?
When you riveted the seat rib to the center section, wasn't it possible to insert a heavy bucking bar into the spar gap, driving the manufactured head from the seat rib side? Maybe I misinterpreted your description.


Wild Thing WT01 / Jabiru 3300
RV-3B Empennage & Center Section finished, now building the Wing
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:20 AM
ppilotmike's Avatar
ppilotmike ppilotmike is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 2,015
Default Long Bolts for your pedals..


I was thinking about your space issue with the long bolts. Would it be possible to use a piece of threaded rod with 4 bolts instead? It would allow you to slide it into place using the space you have available, moving the bolts up and down the threads, as needed, then securing it all into place.
Mike Rettig
EAA Chapter 301
VAF Dues Current
RV-10 - Working on engine / prop installation
F-14 (Pedal Plane - Daughter's Project) "Flying"
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:09 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,128

Peter, at a minimum, you'll have to remove the rivets in both the red and blue ovals. Both of those go through the F-315 seat ribs, at least on my plane.

Ideally, with the bottom strip out, we could have installed the seat rib by back-riveting it when we made the aft bulkhead.

The main problem I had was that I didn't have an offset back-rivet set. If I had been able to get square on the rivet stem, I would have back-riveted the red oval rivets using a bucking bar for the back-rivet plate, as you describe. But with my tools that wasn't possible; the rivet would lean over and be unrecoverable. Glenn suggested hitting the factory head with my T set and I did that. The T set was just barely able to reach in far enough. You can see the force I'm pressing with in an effort to get enough access. It wasn't easy. And even at that, it was good that I had an expert on the bucking bar to keep the rivet shop heads straight. He had to work at it.

This tool might work but I don't have one (yet). Bent-end set from The Yard Store.

This worked but just barely: T set from The Yard Store.

Unfortunately, my tungsten bucking bar only has square ends. If I'd had one with an angled end, that would have been lots better.

Amazing - all this way and I still get to buy some more tools.

Mike, that might work but I'm not going to do that. I'll give the as-designed hardware a try since a lot of RV-3s are out there successfully using that hardware.

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Old 03-15-2017, 08:38 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,128

The forward firewall ribs, my version of the F-312 ones, needed holes for the fuel lines, so I cut those and installed doublers.

You might remember that I used two back-to back bulkheads for the aft-most two, F-310 and F-311. This was a modification. The tailspring fitting that is included in the kit is from the RV-4 and is a bit larger than the RV-3 design so I jiggled it around until it fit. The issue is that the side flanges are too wide to fit in between the forward-facing flanges of the F-311 bulkhead that I added.

Like all modifications, there are after-effects and ramifications. What I should have done was to weld some new flanges to the fitting and then whack off the original ones. That would have been the smart move, and even after I'd seen that done, I didn't fully understand it.

What I did was to mount the tailspring fitting higher in the aft-fuselage than the plans called for, by about 3/4 inch. In the photo, that's lower since the fuselage is upside down now. The additional bulkheads are the ones to the left.

This gave me a couple new issues. One is that there's no way to buck any rivets (and in at least one location, to even insert a rivet) through the skin and the bulkhead flange because the tailspring fitting's flange is too close to the skin. The other is that the aft part of the tailspring fitting is used to also hold the lower vertical stabilizer mounting bolts.

The first issue can perhaps be handled by using some Cherry blind rivets there, in at least one of the locations.

The second forces the vertical stabilizer and rudder to migrate higher by that same 3/4 inch. On one hand, that preserves the clearance between the bottom of the rudder and the tailwheel assembly, so that part's good. And while the empennage fairing will have to be redone for this, the word is that the RV-3 fairing pretty much needs some gross rework in any case -- so that's not a new problem. There's a minor structural issue because the upper vertical stabilizer spar mount also needs to move up by that 3/4" distance to keep the same spar-bending moment on the joint (otherwise it would have 3/4" more span and therefore more bending moment, you see, because it sticks up higher).

There's going to be a fit issue at the forward vertical stabilizer mount but it's too soon to assess that.

I made a full-size drawing of the actual as-built fuselage geometry to sort through these things. A friend had given me a partial roll of brown floor-covering paper and I've been using that all through this kit. It sure is a help! Thanks, Rob.

Then an issue that my mentor had pointed out came up, where to put the holes in the bulkheads for the rudder cable? They definitely needed moving, if only slightly, because the rudder horn will be higher. The plans call for the holes to run fairly close to the outsides of the bulkheads.

I clamped the rudder pedals and their mounts in place.

I decided to run them in a straight line in the up and down plane, and follow the bulkhead edges in the other. This keeps the cable clear of me, a good thing, and tends to minimize the friction.

Here is a long AN3 bolt that I used to carry the rudder pedal position outside the fuselage.

Then I located the height of the cables.

Finally I drilled the holes.

Moving on to the manual trim cable, there are two two control mounts included in my kit, an RV-3 one and an RV-4 one. The RV-3 one is larger than the plans says, and the RV-4 one is smaller. I've clamped the larger one in place for this. You can also see one of the rudder cable bushing holes.

Here's the tentative routing path aft, subject to some adjustment.

I tweaked the cable path after this photo to ensure that the trim cable would not interfere with the rudder cable and would be positioned to carry it to the elevator. Then I located the holes in the bulkheads except for F-309, and drilled them. Since they are indistinguishable from the rudder cable holes, being the same 5/8" diameter, I labeled them.

The photos are also hosted elsewhere:

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Old 03-27-2017, 09:12 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,128

After locating and drilling some holes in the bulkheads for the pitot-static lines and the ADAHRS cable, I decided that a cable clip would be a good idea under the baggage floor. Here's the clip all by itself.

Then I decided that the plastic bushing wouldn't be in the way, and popped that in.

I'd previously made and located and drilled the brackets that hold the rudder pedals on, and these were held on by clecos. I couldn't rivet them because the belly skin rivets needed to go through those same holes. So I drilled and countersunk for a couple of keeper rivets on each bracket. Now the brackets are in place and ready for some belly skin.

You can see the way I handled the fact that the outboard brackets overlap the firewall brackets. I simple cut away the base of the rudder pedal angle brackets there and let the working flanges cantilever out over the firewall brackets.

The longerons are mostly held to the bulkheads by keeper rivets right now.

The photos are also
here, here, here and here.

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