Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fitting the rear fuselage top skin.

With the rear bulkheads in place, it was time to start fitting the rear top skin. The key is to pre-drill the bulk heads where you want the rivets to go. Once the holes were drilled in the bulkheads, I used my Dremel tool and drilled the skin from underneath using the bulkhead holes as guides. I started with just the centerline holes and put cleco's in them.

Click on image to enlarge

Then I clamped a 1"x2" board to each side edge and then use some straps to pull the skin down tight. Looking underneath, I was concerned about the gaps I saw near the top of the bulkheads. After a conversation with Dave Thatcher, I proceded with drilling holes and installing cleco's. What I did was, I loosened the straps until the skin laid nicely near the tops of the bulkheads and drilled the holes and installed more cleco's. Then I would draw the straps tighter and repeat the process.

I am pleased with the outcome as the gaps I was concerned with just went away using this procedure. As I tighten the strap closer to the stringer, I then used the clamps holding the 1"x2" board in place to clap it to the stringer.

Once all the holes were drilled, I then drilled them to 1/8" size and marked the oversized skin for trimming along the stringer and the F6 & F10 bulkheads.  I have now removed the skin for trimming and while it is off, I will predrill the holes in the stringer. I will also debur all the holes. Hopefully, I will be able to finish the installation over the Thanksgiving weekend.

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