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Old 04-26-2021, 07:37 AM
salty salty is offline
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: FL
Posts: 131
Default Just one of those days (for the third day in a row)

We've been chugging along nicely on the empennage for our -10 until this weekend. Man, it just seems like we can't do anything right all of a sudden. We're bucking the rivets for the skin into the front spar for the horizontal stabilizer and it's mistake after mistake. We've taken breaks, walked away, stopped early three days in a row now.

Today we both felt really good and we're ready and raring to go, but after driving 25-30 rivets and drilling out 10 of them or more, I called it early again. We've never done so badly. The only good thing about it is that I drilled them all out nice and clean and we got them back in no harm, though it literally took 5 tries for one of them. That was the straw that broke the camels back and caused us to quit for the day.

Somehow we're just in a really bad groove. Hope it ends soon. Send us some positive waves.
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Old 04-26-2021, 08:32 AM
Weefle Weefle is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Vernon BC
Posts: 95

Hey Salty,

I feel your pain. Iíve moved on from the empanage and starting the fuselage last week.
Hang in there. What has worked for me and my rivet parter ( wife) is to take a break and do something else and try riveting in another location. Is there a different bucking bar you can try. Is you body position ideal. What about the lighting. I know when Iím laying on my back in the empanage itís totally different than standing up with the bar at elbow level. Youíve probably heard this before but take your time. Once you get that first stubborn rivet done it helps bring back the confidence!
Above all try not to get upset with your rivet partner especially if itís your significant other!

BTW I gave up a while ago on being a perfectionist in this build process. Iím striving for doing the best i can, fix what needs fixing and move on.

It will get better


RV-10 in progress
CGMMD reserved
Dues paid till 2022
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Old 04-26-2021, 09:03 AM
wirejock's Avatar
wirejock wirejock is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 4,669
Default Bad run

I've had those kind of days. Wife and I had a day we just couldn't get a decent rivet. We were back riveting. I switched the technique over to wife gun and me bad. Everything went smooth. Never figured out why but we don't back rivet anymore.
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 01/01/2021, plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (2,000+ hours)
Empennage, wings, fuse, finishing kit, now FWF
I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.
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Old 04-26-2021, 09:05 AM
salty salty is offline
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: FL
Posts: 131

Normally the wife bucks and I drive the gun, but this weekend we tried switching now and then, anything to get out of the funk. Nothing worked. We both made the same mistakes bucking. Nothings changed. Weird how it works.
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Old 04-26-2021, 09:27 AM
Ironflight's Avatar
Ironflight Ironflight is offline
VAF Moderator / Line Boy
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 12,793

I find that if I am having trouble getting rivets to work the way I want, the best thing to do is walk away from the kit itself and head over to the bench vice with some scrap aluminum and a handful of rivets. Drill a bunch of holes, put the material in the vice, and install some rivets to figure out what I am doing wrong, and how to do it better.

Just like a golfer, you don’t fix a swing problem on the course, you work on it at the driving range!

Paul F. Dye
Editor at Large - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
RV-3B - N13PL - "Tsamsiyu"
A&P, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Dayton Valley Airpark (A34)
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Old 04-26-2021, 09:30 AM
Mark Dickens's Avatar
Mark Dickens Mark Dickens is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Collierville, TN (KFYE)
Posts: 1,471

There could be many reasons why you're having a problem, so go back to the fundamentals. Turn down the air pressure a little so you can control the gun, make sure the gun is perpendicular to the skin, make sure the skin is flush to the spar flange (or rib or whatever), make sure the bucking bar is held firmly but not so hard that it pushes the rivet out of the hole. If you're not using a tungsten bucking bar, consider getting one since it is smaller for its weight and makes riveting easier. Take some scrap and practice until you get your mojo back

Turning down the air pressure a little reminds of the adage about docking a boat that you should only go as fast as you want to hit the dock. It's so much easier to dock a boat slowly and likewise (and especially with the tungsten bucking bars), you can "slow it down" a little and get rid of that feeling that you're out of control. Of course this assumes you have a good quality rivet gun that allows you to feather the trigger.

Good luck!
RV-8 #81077 Super Slow Build
Dynon Skyview HDX, Titan IOX-370, Dual P-Mags, AFP FM200A FI, Whirlwind 200RV CS Prop
First Flight 11/20/2016
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Old 04-26-2021, 09:44 AM
salty salty is offline
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: FL
Posts: 131

Thanks for all the helpful hints. We've tried them all already. lol

We muddled through the top side over two days of stop and go attempts. Today we set less than 20 rivets on the bottom before calling it. We did practice, we stopped and played with the dog to clear our minds. Then we drive one good rivet and screw up the next. lol

We know what to do and how to do it, we just seem to not be able to do it twice in a row all of a sudden. LOL It really is kinda funny, though very frustrating.

We're not doing any major damage to the structure, I chalk that up to walking away and quitting early enough to prevent things from getting that bad.

We did one goof to the structure on Saturday, but that was an honest human error, and not a huge deal. And we are scratching the primer with the bucking bar more than I'd like, but that isn't too bad either. I think part of our problem is trying not to scratch is screwing up our technique. And yes, we have tape on the bar. It seems like when we scratch we get the rivet set well first try, and vice-versa. lol
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Old 04-26-2021, 11:20 AM
Ralph Inkster Ralph Inkster is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 1,534

Tip 1 - to prevent scratches, apply a thin strip of self adhesive weather stripping or duct tape to the back surface of the bucking bar that rubs against the spar.
Tip 2 - to help hold bucking bar parallel to the spar flange evenly, apply a small piece of soft weather stripping at each end of the bucking bar. Doesn't work in all cases, but where appropriate will help to stabilize bucking bar.
Tip 3 - resist using the bucking bar that looks like a hammer (for use in tight areas only). Instead, use the square bucks where ever possible. Expensive but very worth it, get some Tungsten bucking bars!
built a few RVs, rebuilt a few more, hot rodded more, & maintained/updated a big bunch more
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Old 04-26-2021, 11:20 AM
rockwoodrv9 rockwoodrv9 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Meridian ID, Aspen CO, Okemos MI
Posts: 2,813

When I kept screwing up rivets, I had a friend come over and work with me. It made a huge difference. See if you can get another builder to drive a few with you and I bet it will help.
Williamston MI
O-320 D2A
Flying N376E
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Old 04-29-2021, 08:11 AM
salty salty is offline
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: FL
Posts: 131

We finally broke out of the funk and had a good morning of driving rivets. Riveted for over an hour and only had to drill one out - and no scratching!

The weather stripping suggestion is one I hadn't seen before and it worked really well. Also used duct tape instead of painters tape and that worked better as well.

Thanks to all for letting me vent and providing helpful hints.
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