Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bucking rivets

After removing all the paint from the airplane, we were able to begin with the major work of replacing some of the aluminum skins. In the rear of the cabin, we knew there was a problem with corrosion. Battery acid, soda pop, and other unmentionable fluids had found their way below the floor and into the belly of the aircraft. After drilling out the rivets that held the aluminum sheets in, we took a new sheet of 2024 T3 aluminum of the same thickness (0.032) and used the old skin as a pattern for holes, drilling and clecoing it to a table. The outline was then traced and cut with tin snips. After a phosphoric acid etch and a conversion coat of Alodine, all skins received a covering of green zinc chromate primer. Then they were fit into place on the airplane, and riveted back on. The same process was used for the flooring from the rear of the baggage compartment to under the pilot/copilot seats.

All of this took about 3 weeks of work but went quite smoothly as we had the help of Don, an aviation mechanic on loan from JAARS for three weeks. Don is a sheet metal wizard! I learned some new techniques working with him for a week. Nathan got in on the act as well helping to buck rivets. Those long arms come in handy! He may not be Rosie the riveter, but his wife thinks he is just as cute.

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