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Old 07-26-2008, 05:46 PM
danielhv's Avatar
danielhv danielhv is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Mesquite, TX
Posts: 936
Default Learn to stop while you're ahead...

Ok... To begin with, check out this thread to see what I was attempting:

Now, here we go! I should have just stopped and got someone to come help me... This has been one of those "I think I'll get it this time" and I never do problems... I am afraid I have completely butchered my spar and counterbalance ribs. I made the reinforcing plate like Frank suggested... but when I was putting the shop head on the rivet, it buckled the reinforcing plate, should have seen that one coming. So... I re-made one out of .042... Put it on there, and it worked out ok... but the two original problem rivets STILL would not lay down straight. I just don't get it. Nothing I have tried will get these *******s to set correctly. I've probably drilled these rivets out 20 times over the past 2 days, seriously, no exaggeration...

So I finally let my temper get the best of me... I said to **** with this... I'm leaving them. I am not drilling them out again. Then to top it off, two of the holes I drilled for the reinforcing plate was too low!! So I could set the rivets after setting the retard rivets next to them.... geez... I once again said **** with it, and threw the only 2 cherry rivets I had in there. So, I post my masterpiece of frustration, headache, trial and error, and failure here for all to see. I should have stopped... I should have drug this out 3 days instead of the 2 it has taken me. Now I am likely to have to replace the spar and ribs and everything that is already riveted to them. Somebody shoot me.

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Old 07-26-2008, 06:43 PM
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L.Adamson L.Adamson is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: KSLC
Posts: 4,021

In regards to progress, I bet there is a lot of one step forward and two steps back, while building RV's. I built new elevators (as one got smashed). A new horizontal stab (didn't like a non pre-punched skin rivet line). And one new leading edge........before I ever got to the fuse.

Yes, I too had lot's of those same thoughts!!
But it's done now...

L.Adamson --- RV6A
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Old 07-26-2008, 07:24 PM
BrentHumphreys BrentHumphreys is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Plains, MO
Posts: 246
Default Sometimes it pays to stop and have a beer

Man, that looks painful. I feel your pain. I am only 1 week into my build, and I haven't had any meltdowns yet, but I know they are coming.

I think the biggest challenge is to know when to stop and seek help. I have talked to my tech counselor, and plan to have him, and another builder out right after Airventure.

I can't work on my vstab right now since the spar was damaged in shipping, so I moved on to the rudder. I hope to get all the parts ready for final assembly so I can have these guys inspect my work and work with me on the first round of riveting (after I have already done practice kits, etc.).

Thanks for sharing your lesson. I am sure some of the wizards on this list will offer some good advice.
Brent Humphreys
RV-10 (Starting Empennage )
Status: Elevators
N411BE Reserved
Build Log
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Old 07-26-2008, 07:39 PM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,683


Hang in there! I built an extra half of the HS (which on the -9, with its huge HS, is no cheap proposition) because I didn't like the middle skin rivets at the leading edge, so I feel your pain. You'll get better with practice.

One thing that MIGHT be your problem (at least it was for me on the -9) is that many of the 1/8" rivet callouts were slightly too long. This can very easily lead to tipped over rivets, especially for builders new to riveting and is especially likely on squeezed rivets. It's much better to be trying to set a rivet that is slightly on the short side than once slightly on the long side. If the next size down rivet is too small, you might be wise to invest in a $15 rivet cutter. There are SO many places where I've cut down a rivet that I can't believe I waited until the fuselage before I bought it. It would have saved me a lot of headaches.

Good luck.
Steve M.
Ellensburg WA
RV-9 Flying, 0-320, Catto

Donation reminder: Jan. 2022
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Old 07-26-2008, 07:58 PM
PJSeipel PJSeipel is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Albany, GA for the moment
Posts: 294

What kind of rivet set are you using?

PJ Seipel
RV-10 #40032
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:29 PM
Rick S. Rick S. is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 736


Time to stop and regroup...first it looks like you used countersunk cherry max on a non countersunk hole, it looks that way anyhow. Remove all your bad rivets...step up to the next size rivet as long as you have edge clearance. Start with a lower pressure on your gun...35 to 40 psi to start and make sure your rivet only protrudes 1.5 it's diameter past the edge of the surface. Use the heaviest bucking bar that will fit into he area and focus on holding it parallel as possible..start with a few hits to get it started...this is no time to just hammer away and hope for the best..patience and you will overcome...we have all been there.
Rick Sked
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:23 AM
Rocketboy Rocketboy is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Jupiter,FL
Posts: 72

Hang in there.We've all made repeat parts for our airplanes. I'ts part of the game.

A couple tips.

1. Don't give up after frusrtration. It can take months to get restarted. Quit for the day and absolutley attack the part next day. make a new one if needed. Make it your mantra. Do something EVERY day!

2. Never drill a hole after 9 pm. To this day I haven't drilled a hole after 9PM that didn't result in an "awe sh*t".

3. Redo as many times as needed. Never settle for frustrated parts. Never! It does get easier the more you build. Amazingly, the second and/or third parts build very quickly and always come out perfect.

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Old 07-27-2008, 09:43 AM
airguy's Avatar
airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,318

Originally Posted by Rocketboy View Post
. Amazingly, the second and/or third parts build very quickly and always come out perfect.


True - and mostly because you're so intent on not repeating those same mistakes!
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2021 dues paid
N16GN flying 750 hrs and counting; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:04 PM
Flying Scotsman Flying Scotsman is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,256

Are you squeezing them, or pounding them?
Steve "Flying Scotsman"
Santa Clarita, CA
PP-ASEL, ASES, Instrument Airplane

RV-7A N660WS flying!
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:24 PM
danielhv's Avatar
danielhv danielhv is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Mesquite, TX
Posts: 936

Originally Posted by Flying Scotsman View Post
Are you squeezing them, or pounding them?

I've tried both ways... when I'm pounding them, I make sure the bucking bar is perpendicular to the rivet... and tap slow... but it just wont set straight. I've placed an order for another spar and the two ribs... I'm going to rivet the rib to the spar first before I rivet the two ribs together... that should eliminate the problem with not being able to get the squeezer in there straight...
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