Weeks 34-37: Rivet filling
Since the last update I have just been continuing to fill rivets. I am still waiting to hear when the replacement fuel tank skin will arrive, and I'm hoping to get it before fully committing to the fuselage.
I managed to grab a neighbor to help flip the right wing over so I could work on the bottom. While filling the rivets I decided to assemble the access panels so I could fill the rivets in those as well. I decided to deviate from the plans slightly and use #6 screws to secure them instead of the M4 screws called out. I am already using these to secure the wing tips and this will reduce the tools I need to carry.
I am using the same process to fill the rivets, but switched from MEK to acetone for cleanup. It works well enough and isn't as toxic so I don't need the same PPE to use it.
After completing the right wing and half of the empennage I decided I wasn't happy with the finish of the domed rivets. The factory's instructions say to sand the rivets after filing, and while my method leaves a smooth surface on the filled portion a lot of the rivets have a burr remaining from when they are pulled. I don't know if this is enough to cause any extra drag and affect performance, but it will probably be apparent after painting so I decided to file them down to be smooth.
I went through a couple hand filling and using a Dremel, but the best method for me is using a oscillating multi tool with a sanding attachment. I am using the finest sandpaper I have for it (240 grit) so that I don't do too much damage to the skin if I slip. I also masked off most of the sandpaper surface to help protect the skin. I'm getting pretty effective now, but I scuffed up the skins a bit learning the process. I just cleaned those areas with Scotch Brite and I don't think they will be visible after painting.
Once I finish filling and sanding the rest of the empennage rivets, I will go back and sand the rivets on the right wing. If the replacement fuel tank skin gets here when I am done with that then I will finish up the left wing. Otherwise I will start prepping parts for the fuselage.
Last week I also found out the engine could have up to a year lead time, so I am getting that on order now. I am also ordering the upholstery as well since that has a significant lead time as well. I decided to go with light grey in the center of the seats with charcoal on the sides and orange stitching. Hopefully it looks good!