CHAPTER 44 - Final Prep and Riveting

With the fuselage finally skinned, I couldn't resist a couple of shots of what we referred to as 'the Metal Porcupine'. It's got enough clecos to hold everything firm and I have, amazingly, enough left over to saturate a particular skin for riveting. But first, I have to take it all apart so the inner sides and mating surfaces can be primed. The temperatures were dropping, but I could keep it warm in my garage so I'd paint there, wait for it to set, and then open the garage door to vent. The overspray was not too bad, but it really showed up on the aluminum skins. The third photo shows how I left the plastic with my markings on the skin, though I had to trim a little more when it came time to rivet.

Next you can see how it looked after the aft skins were riveted. There is grey primer around all the joints and the bottom skin really shows signs of the overspray I was talking about. However, you can see markings in it; I later used a rag to wipe the overspray off. It had been dry before it settled. A closeup of the right side shows the primer mating area for the step (riveted later) and you may also be able to spot the strip I used to correct my geometry error when trimming the side skin. However, that bend came out looking good; a bit of filler and you'll never know. The following photo shows the side done correctly; not a lot of difference. I used a forest of clecos around the joints because I didn't want anything to move. I also used ProSeal along all the mating surfaces to eliminate possible chafing.

The next-to-last photo shows the entire fuselage riveted, with the exception of the steps and tail, which will be riveted with the fuselage upright, and some rivets around the firewall flange. The last photo shows those clecos, which are only on the side skin. They will be done after the cowling is in place because they hold the hinge strips (or in my case, I hope, the strip for the camlocs). They aren't on the bottom because there is an angle on the aft of the firewall where the bottom skin gets riveted; it doesn't need the forward flange drilled at this point. You can also see how I had to trim the plastic a bit to rivet around it.