Building the Wings
Making the Wing Ribs
Rib Blanks First, the parts must be laid out and cut from the appropriate gauge of aluminum.
Rib BlanksFor some parts is is easier to cut one to the exact size then trace around it to make the remainders.
(photo date June 10, 2000)
Rib Form Blocks Next, the aluminum rib blanks are clamped against plywood rib form blocks.
(photo date June 10, 2000)
Rib Forming The flanges are hammered down around the plywood rib form blocks.
Nose Rib The shaped part is removed from the plywood form block.
(photo date February 25, 2001)
Hand Seamer Sometimes the hammered flange needs to be straightened or bent further with a hand seamer.
(photo date June 13, 2000)
Fluting formed ribs Since the bent edge of a curved flange is a longer length then that of the bend itself, the part will warp. Fluting, which is carefully placing "crimps" in the metal, will shorten the flange, straightening the part.
(photo date December 11, 2001)
Rib with holes Lightening holes are then cut into the formed rib blanks.
(photo date June 13, 2000)
Flanging holes The lightening holes are then flanged either by hand as shown at left or with a pressed die to stiffen the part.
(photo date April 7, 2001)
Assembling the Wings
Wing Skeleton The wing ribs and spars are carefully aligned and then drilled. The pieces are temporarily held together by clecos, which are the brass-colored or black pins.
(photo date July 28, 2001)
Rib Stiffeners The flimsy, lightweight ribs are stiffened with small pieces of bent aluminum angles.
(photo date July 28, 2001)
Spar Doubler Likewise, the spar is strengthened with lightweight doublers.
(photo date July 28, 2001)
Fuel Tank Brackets Brackets are added for installing the fuel tanks in the wings.
Fuel Tank The fuel tanks are covered with cork then installed into the wing.
(photo date June 20, 2002)
Fuel Sending Unit The fuel sending unit is installed into the fuel tank and wired to the fuel gauges.
primer paint Parts are primer painted wherever they will be joined to another part.
(photo date September 22, 2001)
Bending Nose Skin The wing's nose skin (leading edge skin) is rough formed by bending it around a piece of pipe.
Wing Straps The wing is the covered with its metal skins. The nose skin must be tightly pulled into place by ratchet straps.
Skinning the Wing Sometimes scrap boards are needed to help the straps hold the skin in place, and keep the straps from crushing the wing. Notice the wire hanging out of the wing; it is for the position lights. All wires must be in place before the wing is riveted shut!
(photo date June 6, 2002)
Fitting the Wing Tips The wing skins must be trimmed to fit the wing tips. It is very important to be extra careful at this step so that the entire wing is not ruined by careless trimming.
Wing Racks The finished wings are stored out of the way on wing racks.
making centering punches The wings are attached to the center spar with bolts and splice plates. The splice plate holes must accurately line up so here I am making a centering punch from a piece of rod using my drill press and an angle grinder.
Installing the Wings
Installing the wings Finally, there is room in the hangar! The wings are bolted to the fuselage center wing section.
(photo date March 28, 2004)
Wing splice The wing's leading edge skins need splice plates.
(photo date March 28, 2004)
Leading edge splice The leading edge splice plates are cleco'd to the wings.
(photo date March 31, 2004)
Leading edge splice cover The leading edge splice gap is covered with a formed cover strip.
(photo date September 21, 2004)

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