Section 6 – Vertical Stabilizer

The vertical stabilizer is made up of relatively few parts, all of which (except for the outer skin) are shown in the photo above. I imagine that’s why Van’s has every builder start by constructing the vertical stabilizer: it goes together fairly quickly and so is definitely a confidence builder. On to the build:

12 April 2021

After some preparatory work (re-bleeding the Numatx rivet squeezer, exchanging the wood cutting blade in the band saw for a metal cutting one) in the morning, this afternoon, I overcame my anxiety about messing something up and completed several tasks on pages 06-02 and 06-03:

P06-02 Step 5: Modified the VS-01401 Front Spar Doubler using the band saw. I then deburred it carefully so I wouldn’t scratch up the spar when I clecoed those parts back together for the next step.
P06-02 Step 4: Trimmed the VS-702 Front Spar with the band saw, then …
… used the belt sander to get it to the final length …
… and radius the edges of the flanges.
P06-02 Step 6: Dimpled the VS-01401 Front Spar Doubler as well as the VS-702 Front Spar using the DRDT-2 and a set of Avery dies
Note that the top 4 holes don’t get dimpled!
P06-03 Step 1: Final drilled (#12) the rudder attach holes in the VS-410PP, VS-411PP, and VS-412PP Hinge Brackets using the drill press

After a fairly thorough deburring of these parts, I decided to call it a day, as the next step involves correcting a bend in a rather thick (and important) bit of aluminum, and I didn’t want to do that at the end of a work session!

I spent more time on each of these tasks than was probably necessary, but I wanted to be methodical and to avoid making a mistake. I’m sure things will move along faster as I gain confidence in my skills!

Worked on: Page 06-02 (completed steps 4, 5, 6); Page 06-03 (completed step 1)
Time spent: 4 hours

18 April 2021

I spent an hour last night straightening the bow in VS-808PP Rear Spar Doubler — I didn’t get it perfectly flat (or to within the 1/16″ that Van’s specifies), but numerous posters on VAF stated that particular part didn’t need to be very flat, as assembly would flatten it the rest of the way without distorting the parts to which it was attached.

This evening after work, I did some preliminary preparation of VS-808PP: I wanted to see what method worked best to smooth and deburr a thick piece of aluminum. I started with a file, which worked fairly well in that it produced a nice smooth edge. However, it was quite a slow process, and I had to reposition the work in the vise several times. I then decided to try smoothing and deburring the opposite edge using my bench grinder, which is fitted with two different Scotch Brite wheels. This went much more quickly and produced a nice shiny (though slightly bumpy) edge. I decided to continue with the Scotch Brite wheels, and I soon had finished most of the outer edge. I then completed Step 2 on Page 06-03, which involved temporarily assembling several pieces that will make up the rear spar:

P06-03 Step 2: Clecoed the VS-808PP Rear Spar Doubler to the VS-803PP Rear Spar, then clecoed the VS-410PP, VS-411PP, and VS-412PP Hinge Brackets to the assembly. I discovered that I had to use a #30 reamer to enlarge the holes in the hinge brackets in order to get the clecos to fit. Per the instructions, I did not enlarge the corner holes in the lower VS-410PP bracket.
Worked on: Page 06-03 (completed Step 2)
Time spent: 2 hours

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