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Old 05-05-2021, 11:00 PM
ScottK ScottK is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 56
Default Substituting rivets

Hypothetically, if someone were skinning a horizontal stabilizer, got the front spar riveted, then switched to riveting the ribs but forgot to switch to the shorter rivets called out on the plan...thereby installing 426-3-4 where the plans say 426-3-3.5 ... could such a person reasonably say that it's close enough, and honestly they look pretty good anyway, and it'd probably do more harm than good trying to drill out 30ish rivets. Hypothetically. Asking for a friend.

I did learn today that you can nicely buck a rivet that's too long to squeeze without clinching. So there's that.
Scott K
KU42 / RV-9A [Wings]
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Old 05-05-2021, 11:12 PM
PilotjohnS PilotjohnS is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Southwest
Posts: 1,723
Default longer yes

In my view, rivets can be longer than specified in almost all cases, as long as they don't clinch over. A few times I had to go longer to make a nicer rivet. sometimes I think my plane is a work of art. Others probably think it is just a finger painting.
John S

WARNING! Information presented in this post is my opinion. All users of info have sole responsibility for determining accuracy or suitability for their use.

Dues paid 2021, worth every penny

RV9A- Status:
95% done, 15% left to go
Electrical/Panel 95% done
Firewall Forward 5% in work
Fiberglass 0%, thought i was building in metal?
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Old 05-05-2021, 11:39 PM
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bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,493

Well, you might have totally screwed up your weight and balance with all of that extra weight.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 900 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and Flying Over the Hills Blog
2021 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor, Pre Buys, Build assistance - canopy/tanks/fiberglass/electrical/repairs
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Old 05-06-2021, 12:39 AM
xkape xkape is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: East PA
Posts: 24

It's fine, build on. If the only mistakes you make are accidentally using a few 1 size too long rivets, you're going to have an amazing airplane.
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Old 05-06-2021, 10:03 AM
AlpineYoda AlpineYoda is offline
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 317

There are lots of places where I use Van's plan rivets as a "recommendation". There are plenty of times where there is a layer of tank sealant inside the rivet row, or you are riveting something where fiberglass is involved (where the thickness varies by an amount observable with the naked eye.) Or, frankly, where two bent pieces come together and there is a bit of a gap, and no amount of clecos or clamps holds things tight enough, so a longer rivet helps to pull things together.

Going long is always preferable to going short, as long as the shop head is pretty and not a leaning tower. The next time you order anything from Aircraft Spruce, buy a quarter pound or half a pound of every single 426-3 rivet from 4 to 6, at 0.5 intervals, to keep on hand.

And as soon as the "in my day, we had to smelt our own aluminum" crowd weighs in, they will tell you that the older models are all on your own and the builder always picks his or her own rivets.
RV-10 build blog --
Started 12/19/2019
Engine hung 1/9/2021
Panel hopefully coming fall 2021

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Old 05-06-2021, 11:05 AM
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airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,546

Agreed - as you build on you'll find several more places in the airplane where you put the indicated rivet in the hole and it just obviously doesn't look right, and you adjust up or down as needed to get it right.

After a few hundred rivets you can eyeball it before setting the rivet and know if it's going to be right or not.
After a few thousand rivets you can feel the shop head with a fingertip in a blind area without the ability to see it and know if it's OK or not.
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2021 dues paid
N16GN flying 850 hrs and counting; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440, G5
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
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Old 05-06-2021, 11:17 AM
ScottK ScottK is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 56

OK, I feel better now. My friend does, I mean. Yes. He feels better.

I did get a bunch of extra rivets, only 1/8lb each but that seems like plenty to start. At least it helps offset the surprising number of them that I drop on the floor where they immediately vanish never to be seen again.

For the record - and thank you Bruce for putting the idea into my OCD-prone head - if I mathed this correctly, the too-long rivets have added 286 milligrams of extra mass to the empennage. Obviously I'll need to compensate, maybe I could stick a wad of bubblegum under the instrument panel.
Scott K
KU42 / RV-9A [Wings]
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Old 05-06-2021, 11:33 AM
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Mel Mel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas area
Posts: 11,179

Originally Posted by ScottK View Post
Obviously I'll need to compensate, maybe I could stick a wad of bubblegum under the instrument panel.
Be careful. The instrument panel is VERY close to the Center of Gravity. It would take less bubblegum if you put it on the engine mount. Of course an ample piece of fire-sleeve will be appropriate.
Mel Asberry, DAR since the last century. Over 1,000 certifications accomplished. Discount for Veterans, Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters.
EAA Flight Advisor/Tech Counselor, Friend of the RV-1
Recipient of Tony Bingelis Award and Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award
USAF Vet, High School E-LSA Project Mentor.
RV-6 Flying since 1993 (sold)
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Old 05-06-2021, 12:18 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,997

I keep rivets in empty plastic water bottles. When I need some I use a plastic tray from some microwave stuff to hole those few. It drastically cut down the loss rate.

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Old 05-06-2021, 05:17 PM
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XOverZero XOverZero is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 426
Default Lost rivets?

Nope, not lost. They'll come back. All ya gotta do is just kneel down. You'll know when you find one.
John Halcrow
Tustin, CA
RV-12 120682
Emp/TC done; Wings done; Fuse kit done

"Keep flying. Malcolm Reynolds
Paid up until Aug 2022
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