Today was a great day to work in the shop. Went out in the garage to see it was 60 degrees with the door down. For a second I got mad at myself because I thought this could only be possible because I left the heater on all night and blew a bunch a money. Nope - walked out the back of the garage onto the deck and it was even warmer outside. This year has been great temperature wise. Very very mild for us.
I finished up the last two interior ribs on the left tank today. I figured I would take pics of the process I used. First I take the cleco out of the dimpled hole. Notice there is a little sealant in there. Also, notice how close the leading edge cradle is to the rivet line. Since I am doing this solo, to keep the rivet gun from walking on me, I use the cradle and the next cleco to hold the gun in place. I can attest that it works great. All my interior ribs were done this way and not even a hint of a ding.
Its hard to tell from this pic, but it is the above hole with some more proseal put into it with a toothpick. I do this to ensure there is no chance of a leak at any of the rivets.
Next I put the rivet in place. I pick the rivet up with my fingers and lay it in the hole very gently. My main goal is to avoid getting sealant all over my gloves. The more sealant on my gloves means the more crap I got to clean up and move times I gotta take a break to change gloves. So to get the rivet into the hole, I use an awl. This also gives me a chance to see if the rivet isn't sitting straight.
And a line of rivets completed. Notice how the sealant oozes out from around the rivet.
A quick swipe with a MEK soaked rag and the mess is gone.
And voila, I got this tank's interior ribs banged out in 2 sessions in less than 24 hours. All that's left are squeezable rivets. Well, there might be a handful of rivets I have to shoot and buck -- but its not many.
I have seen all kinds of crazy tools made to seal the tank. After trying different ideas, this is what works best for me. I split a popsicle stick into 4, and use my free syringes from Target. The syringe is great for forming the fillet around the ribs. You can hold it in one hand and push sealant into the voids under the rib. I don't know how else you can get this full coverage.
Next was onto the misc. stuff associated with the wings. I modified the bushings for the capacitive sensor wire by notching them with my dremel knockoff. This took a whole 5 minutes.
Next I cut up the tubing for the capacitive sensors.
Hard to tell from this picture, but these are AN470AD6-? rivets. The top one is the shortest one that you can buy. I used these to seal the tooling holes on the outboard rib and needed them to be a little shorter. So I marked them and cut them short with a cutoff wheel on the dremel.
After a lot of prep work, I sealed some of the misc stuff with the tank. This is the outboard rib. You will notice that I have an extra sealed hole on the top, middle. This was a screwup of mine earlier. The AN470AD6 rivets are impossible to set with a hand squeezer. I maybe half set them and then gave up. The way I see it is this hole isn't structural and I sealed the rivets three ways. Gas would have to get through the outer sealant barrier on the shop head, then because I set set them, it would have to sneak between the rivet shaft and the rib hole, and finally, it would have to sneak by the sealant on the manufacturers head. No chance in hell of this leaking.
I also set the nose plate. I put a very thin skim of sealant on this before I riveted it to the rib.
With the same batch of sealant, I put in the fittings for the vent, fuel return and BNC connector for the capacitive sensors. Also, there is a 1/8" rivet for an oops hole I made.
Finally, I covered the capacitive sender plate connector with proseal as prescribed.
This is the exterior look of my inboard rib.
I also put in my fuel vent tube. Lots going on today.
Finally, I went to sears today to pick up a missing socket I needed. While I was there I picked up a $9.99 pop rivet tool for the baffels. I wanted to get a 5 buck one from Harbor Freight, but I am never around that side of town. Gas alone would of run over 5 bucks, not to mention time. So screw it. I think I don't have anything else I need to get to finish these tanks. TANKS SUCK!
Last Modified: August 13, 2023