April 14th, 2007
RV Training Project

Van's sells a training project used to introduce prospective RV builders to the materials and techniques used in putting together an RV kit. You assemble a short section of control surface and, in the process, learn the basic sheet metal skills needed during actual kit construction. It is not expensive so I decided I need to learn to rivet somewhere and the thought of dinging up my empennage kit scared the crap out of me.

Ok. Here is what you get minus the book. I ordered it from Van's as well. The training kit comes in a small box. Open it up and you will see the parts below nicely wrapped with shrink wrap.

Skins, rivet bags, aluminum angle (AA), spar, ribs and instructions. I can't wait to get started.

Here is the first piece you make. It isn't a real part form the RV but is introduces you to measuring, drilling, deburing, countersinking and dimpleing. They you use different kinds of Rivets. I squeezed some and riveted others. Not to bad for my first time.

Here I am working on the stiffeners for the top and bottom skins. They are clecoed in place.

Drill, take apart and debur.

Next back rivet the stiffeners in place. I did not back rivet these because I have not yet received my back rivet plate I ordered from Avery. Instead, I bucked them the old fashioned way. I know see why you would not want to do this on your real skins. The skins are so thin they dent and mar easily. I ended up with three smiley faces. I am not too worried about it because this is a practice kit after all.

Now I made a small jug to hold the spar from a 2x4 and some scrap angle. Clamp it to the table.

Rivet the top and bottom skins to the spar. Then squeeze the rivets along the ribs. The rivets near the trailing edge are a real sucker. It is close quarters back there.

The last steps involve back riveting the trailing edge stock and bending the leading edge using a 1"bar.

Here it is. The final result. I made a few errors and learned along the way. I hopefully won't make the same mistakes when working on the empennage kit. I can't wait to start on the real plane now.

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