Thursday, March 31, 2005

03/31/2005 Rivet Sets for Aircraft Sheet Metal Work

Rivet sets for rivet guns are available in many sizes and shapes. The most common are .401 shank (the shank size diameter that goes into the rivet gun) and a 3 or 3-1/2” length. A standard combination set includes an AN470-3-3 (3” long and 3/32 diameter rivet), AN470-3-4 (4/32 or 1/8” diameter rivet), AN470-3-5 (5/32” diameter rivet) and AN470-3-6 (6/32 or 3/16” diameter rivet) and a flush set, generally 1” diameter.

Other .401 sets are available in longer versions, mostly 5” or 7” and also in offsets or double offsets to get into tight spaces.

Rivet sets are also available for hand and pneumatic squeezers. Most popular sizes have a 3/16” diameter shank or 0.187 diameter.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Rivet Tools for Sheet Metal Airplanes

Several riveting tools may be necessary for your sheet metal project. In addition to the obvious rivet gun you will need bucking bars, rivet sets, clecos with pliers, rivet squeezer equipment and possibly pop-rivet tools. I will discuss each of these in more depth in future writings. For this session I will concentrate on the pneumatic or air rivet gun.

Rivet guns are different than “air hammers” in that a rivet gun is metered differently to hit harder and slower plus they normally have a “teasing” trigger or a variable trigger. The “teasing” action is necessary to allow the “setting” or lightly tapping of the rivet before it is driven. This technique is done by holding the bucking bar off to the edge of the rivet butt and teasing the rivet to set it properly in the hole. Once set, the rivet is driven with full throttle and with the bucking bar directly on the butt of the rivet. Do not practice on real airplane parts. Practice on plenty of scrap until you are familiar with the operation.

Rivet guns are available in many sizes starting with the OY or “Stubby” which is a special gun designed for very tight spots and requires special short shank rivet sets. Next is the 1X which is the shortest gun that uses standard aviation rivet sets (.401 shanks). From there they move up in sizes of 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X, 7X and 9X. Each has a larger rivet capability. For most general aviation applications the 3X or 4X will work the best.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Files for Aircraft Sheet Metal Work

A variety of files will be needed for your project. A general purpose file set with coarse, smooth, flat, curved and round files will be handy for most pieces that you will need to cut or shape. A file card will be a useful addition in order to clean your files after use. The one unique file you will need is a Vixen file which is a very coarse file for de-burring long pieces of aluminum. Other than the Vixen, a general purpose set should do everything you need.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Summary of Drilling Tools for your Homebuilt

This list summarizes the drill and drilling accessories you will require and those optional items that you may find worth investing in for your homebuilt aircraft project. This list is based upon Van’s RV Aircraft but should apply to any sheet metal construction airplane.

Required Tools:
Pneumatic Air Drill, minimum 2,600 RPM
• Standard Length #40, #30, #21 and #10 Drill Bits
• 12” Long #40 and #30 Bits
Countersink Cage with #40, #30, and #6, #8 and #10 Screw bits
• Hole De-burring bit

Optional Tools
• Drill Press, bench type of floor stand type
• ¼-28 Threaded Air Angle Drill and Bit Set, minimum 2,000 RPM
Air Swivels for all Air Tools
Drill Bit Stops, Spring Type
• Full Set of Wire Gauge Drill Bits
Wire Drill Gauge for Checking Bit & Countersink Sizes
Battery Drill for de-burring
Hand Speed De-burring Tool
• Drill Hole Guide Set
Hole Saw Set for Instrument Panel
• Plexiglass Drill Bits