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Elevator Riveting

· 3 min read

Bought another can of proseal from Van's. Turns out I still can't get away from a messy evening even after discovering 3M tape. The proseal is needed for sealing the foam ribs to the elevator. Also, 9-10 has a throwaway line to mask off the areas needed for the foam ribs so the proseal can bond directly to aluminum. I found it much easier to prime, and then sand off the primer in the areas needed, especially since I'm using rattle can primer. The primer and the alclad came off with a few seconds of sandpaper mounted to a die grinder.

Then comes the task of backriveting everything into place. This should be fairly familiar after the rudder, nothing out of the ordinary here. Might be worth it to make sure you have 256 AN426AD3-3's, I only had 200 or so, I guess Van's maybe should up the weight of that particular bag? Not an expensive fix though, $6 to aircraft spruce resolved the issue.

Minor Corrections

I've been doing a lot of small fixes here and there as part of prepping the elevator. In 9-6 I think, the manual asks you to dimple the reinforcement plates to accept #6 screws. Of course, this is a weird size. You could buy a special #6 die, I think cleaveland aircraft tool sells them, but the 5/32 you probably have is good enough. Make sure to dimple those before you start riveting.

I also went ahead and dimpled the rest of the elevator rear spar and the two root ribs. The issue was nothing I had fit those spaces in the orientation I needed. I could of course eyeball it and hold the female side over the hole, but you end up with figure 8 dimples more often than not. The tool that I ended up finding was shown in one of Jason Ellis' Youtube videos. I'm not a religious viewer so I'm not sure if he ever mentioned where he got the tool, but it's essentially a pair of vice grips with a hole drilled in each jaw to fit the dimple dies. I grabbed mine from Aircraft Tool Supply. They did the job but they were not fun to use. Compared to the Vice Grips that I owned, these were substantially lower quality, so it took a lot of effort to unlock them. It may be worth it to see if you can get a pair of quality vice grips, one with enough leverage, and drill a hole yourself. The dimples will come out a bit underdimpled unless you put a lot of force behind the grip, I'm a bit spoiled with my pneumatic dimpler.

Time and Cost

Money spent so far:


Time spent so far:

Vertical Stabilizer*36
Horizontal Stabilizer6