Monday August 28, 2006
Workshop (Miscellaneous)

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The EAA SportAir workshop this weekend was excellent. As I had mentioned, Dan Checkoway was the instructor. I got a big confidence boost plus some specific skills that will help as I proceed with my project.

I drove up to Oshkosh on Friday; with the Chicago construction traffic, it took over six hours just to get to Fond Du Lac, WI, which is 25 miles short of Oshkosh. I got a hotel there. Saturday morning I got to EAA headquarters at OSH by 7:30am for "registration", which turned out to consist of handing my registration form to Mark Forse, the EAA guy in charge of the SportAir workshops.

The workshop began with a few hours of classroom instruction from Dan. We went over rules, regs, the basic build process, riveting, drilling, etc. Then we got to work on the first practice project: two pieces of aluminum skin riveted together with a piece of aluminum angle. It required us to measure and drill 10 holes at both #30 and #40. Then we deburred the holes and edges, dimpled/countersunk the flush rivet holes, and did a bunch of riveting. The project consisted of both universal and flush rivets at both 3/32" and 1/8" as well as a couple of pop rivets. I mainly used the rivet gun and bucking bar, as Dan indicated that was the most difficult type of riveting.

Once that project was complete, we proceeded onward with the more complicated second practice project. It is an actual section of an RV-9 control surface. Although all of the holes are prepunched, it required a lot of deburring and edge-prep. I squeezed some rivets, bucked others, and back riveted some. I would say that the most challenging parts of this project were bucking some rivets where I had to reach in between the skins to hold the bucking bar, countersinking and riveting the trailing edge in such a way that it would be straight, and rolling the leading edge with a piece of water piping.

By the end, I had a decently constructed control surface segment and a whole lot of knowledge and confidence that I lacked before I started. I would recommend that everyone take advantage of some instruction like this before diving into the real project. Dan did an excellent job getting us through the practice projects.

When I got back home on Sunday I did some cleaning in the shop. Monday I went to Lowes and bought supplies to install two new 20A circuits in the garage. Later that evening my Dad and I put them in. Now the air compressor seems a lot happier, although I have had it trip the new 20A breaker once. We'll see if that continues to be a problem.

I got the air drill, rivet gun, and pneumatic squeezer set up and equipped with quick-disconnects. They all seem to be functioning nominally. I also played with some different techniques for doing edge deburring/smoothing on some scrap aluminum.

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