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Date:  5-14-2009
Number of Hours:  2.00
Manual Reference:  
Brief Description:  Wing Rib # 4

Another wing rib. There's nothing new to write about the basic rib construction technique. Instead, I've got some comments on my building site and more ideas on time saving when building ribs.

My shop is next door to my office so I'll typically go into the shop around 7:00 a.m., get an hour or so of work done on the wing, then return in the evening for another hour or two on the plane before returning home. Even though I don't have the convenience of having the shop in my home, this works out pretty well. Also, my shop is next door to an aircraft maintenance company so when it comes time to fit systems, scrounge a piece of hardware, etc. that will come in handy.

Since I can't bring myself be less precise when trimming uprights, where else can I refine my process? Applying the epoxy to the ribs is very time consuming. You would think it would be quick and easy: slap some epoxy on the rib! But, it takes time. You cannot get it all over the jig, you have to get it only on the 1/4" wide cap strip material. And, you have to apply it only where the gussets will meet the cap strip. And, you have to make sure there's enough epoxy to you don't get a glue starved joint.

Intially, this took about 25 minutes per side per rib. I've gotten a little more efficient but it still takes about 15 minutes per side. Also, stapling the gussets in place is a bit finicky, too. When you set a gusset in place, fine. But when you apply pressure, they slide around and move out of place. Ugh. And they have to be place very precisely so that when 18 of a given rib are lined up, all of the gussets line up perfectly. Remember, we'll be able to see them through the fabric of the finished plane so they had better be right.

Using a hypodermic needle (without the sharp tip) is the only way I can think of to decrease the time required for this process. However, I would need 50 of them at $xx apiece and I would waste some epoxy getting it from the mixing container into the syringe. I'll check out the pricing Monday.
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