Nose Ribs

first rib.jpg (51860 bytes)  Between planting the garden, attending multiple BBQs, and even one parade, I managed to spend a considerable amount of time out in the garage this weekend.   I actually cut my first piece of aluminum!  Yay!  It's just a blank at this point but at least I started in on it right?
  So, here's where I'm at.  I marked the locations of the lightening holes on the formblock. I also marked how far out the flange would be.  Then I drilled and bushinged (is that a word?) the centers of said holes.   I thought I had finished the sanding and drilling of the wing rib template.  No such luck.  Seems I needed to spend a bit more time on that.
old_bench.jpg (73612 bytes) Another bright spot on the weekend was the removal of my old bench, and replacing it with a proper work surface.
newbench.jpg (87290 bytes) Out with the old   and in with the new.
May 30  
first_nose_rib.jpg (64508 bytes) I drilled and cut my first nose rib.  It came out pretty good, but I know I can do better.  I'm starting to think that I'll need to try different methods of cutting.
May 31  
  I broke out the router  and a 1/8 round-over bit tonight, and eased the edge of the form block.  Nothing much else happened.  I cut one more blank out of aluminum and called it a night.
June 1  
formed_noserib.jpg (44230 bytes) Tonight I drilled out the jig pin holes to receive drill bushings.  I also finally hammered my first rib sort of into shape.
formed_noserib2.jpg (50939 bytes)  
formed_noserib3.jpg (66564 bytes)  
June 2, 3  
router_jig.jpg (52399 bytes) Major visual progress this weekend. It was a rainy weekend.  Not good weather for Honey-dos, perfect for working out in the garage.   First, after looking at my first attempts at creating nose ribs, I decided that I would never get the quality ribs I wanted if I had to hand cut each rib.  So I spent part of Saturday creating a routing jig to help make all of my nose ribs uniform.
router_jig2.jpg (65056 bytes) The proof would be in my test pieces.  I readied the blanks and loaded them into my newly formed jig. One thing I noticed right off the bat with this setup.  The outer support ring is perfect.
shimming_router_jig.jpg (53015 bytes) Perfect if you don't have any blanks locked into the jig.  Once you load up the jig, the outer ring is now lower than the inner template by .025; more if you are cutting multiple blanks at once.  The answer was as simple as a few pieces of scrap aluminum.  For my test I used one shim under each corner.   I'll increase the shims as I cut more ribs at one time.
pk_loading_noserib_jig.jpg (89763 bytes) Here I am loading up the nose rib router jig.
first_routed_noseribs.jpg (78611 bytes)

Very, very pleased with the results.

With the router method proven to my satisfaction.  I put my tools down for the day.  The PBR was in town.  So off I went to see the Bulls beat up on the cowboys for the night.

June 4  
  Sunday dawned another beautiful drizzly day.  I pretty much made a bee-line out to the garage once I had downed my morning coffee.
half_of_the_nose_ribs.jpg (92637 bytes)  I put the new jig to work.  I couldn't spend all day out there, but I did manage to cut almost half of the nose ribs today.
pk_routing_noserib.jpg (81517 bytes) I even managed to film a few short videos of the routing process and the forming of the rib flange.  If my technique is poor and you have any tips for me; I can be reached through or the Bearhawk mailing list.
formed_noserib3.jpg (66564 bytes)  forming flange video click on image to download video
June 5  
  Tonight I cut and routed another 10 nose ribs.  Same method and results as above :)
June 6  
  I have an EAA meeting tonight.  So, most likely no work will get done.  I'll probably squeeze in some plans reading or something though.
June 7  

I finished cutting all of my rib blanks tonight.  Of those blanks I've got 4 shaped.  and 26 routed.  That leaves me with 16 rough cut blanks to drill and finish cut.  Then it's on to deburing and bending the flange.

It's also time to start thinking about creating the template for the middle ribs and making room for storage of these  ribs as I complete them.

June 8  
  Tonight I put the router and rib jig to use and finished cutting the last of the nose ribs.  I also used my scotchbrite wheel and deburred about half of the nose ribs.
June 9  
  I spent about 1 hour out in the garage tonight.  I separated all of the routed ribs into two piles (right and left) and proceeded to hammer the flange on a few of the ribs
June 10  
  More of the same.  Surprise surprise, another rainy day.  I had a bit of running around to do, but managed to hammer out another 10 ribs.
June 11  
formed_fluted_noserib_closeup.jpg (49758 bytes)

Today I finished hammering the flange on the first batch of 23 nose ribs.  I also routed the radius on the second side of the master form block so I can start hammering the next set of 23.

Once the routing was finished.  I also started fluting some more of the ribs I had created the flange on yesterday.

June 12  
  I fluted one, count it one rib tonight. Eh, it's one less rib to do tomorrow :).
June 13  
  No fluting tonight.  Instead I started hammering out the second set of 23 nose ribs.  10 down 13 to go.  The only tricky part was making sure that I was flanging in the right direction.  I solved this by strategically placing notes to myself right on the form block.
June 14  
  I cleaned up a bit tonight.  Collected Aluminum shards and stuff like that.
June 15  
pkparagon.jpg (154868 bytes) I wouldn't expect anything to get done this weekend.  Maybe  Sunday if at all.  I'm heading out for a weekend of Dirt-biking with my friends from   We'll be spending the weekend riding the trails at Paragon adventure Park.  Lots of Rocks and mud and rocks, and roots, and rocks.  Should be a good time.  All work and no play makes PK a dull boy!
pkflying.jpg (25867 bytes) WoOT!!
June 19  
  I survived my weekend of dirtbiking.  If you care to read up on how it went,  you can visit my Swamp Yankee Paradise Blog

As for building today; I will be at work until past midnight so no work will be done.  I plan on resuming construction in earnest tomorrow afternoon.

Well, whaddya know?  I actually made it out to the garage last night after all.  I got home right around 11:30pm. I went out to the garage and measured the chuck on the drill press.  I needed to know how big it was so I would order the correct hole cutter.

June 20-21  
  Note to self:  if you plan on hammering flanges DO NOT hammer them after the Mrs. has gone to bed.  Lets just say she wasn't happy!  But, I did get another 10 ribs flanged
June 22-25  
  Wednesday through Saturday morning were a blurr.  Way too much time spent at work.  I haven't tallied it up yet, but I worked 20 hrs just on Friday into Saturday.  Once I woke up Saturday morning I headed over to Captain John's house to check out how he was doing with his RV-7.   I brought some of my ribs along so I could get his critique on my work. I would say I got mixed reviews.  John, as usual, had lots of information for me.  I took in most of it, but I was still kind of foggy from my last work day.  I really like having people within driving distance that I can show my work to and get feedback.  It's the only way I'll improve the quality of my work.  Thanks John.
June 26  
pkseamingnfluting.jpg (92331 bytes)photo credit: Frank Nowak I had volunteered to work a booth for my Local EAA Chapter 1363.    Since I knew I would be there all day.  I brought my plane along with me.  I stuffed a dozen or so ribs into a back pack along with my fluting and seaming tools and headed to the show.  

The weather was horrible.  Most of the day was spent dodging raindrops.  Surprisingly, there were still a couple of thousand people in attendance.  A couple of the aerobatic pilots tried to put on some sort of show for the crowd, but mostly it was all static displays and overpriced food.

the_booth.jpg (62821 bytes)

Since I didn't know too much about the planes we had on display I set myself down on a chair and began fluting and seaming my ribs.   I was shocked at how many people would stop by for a few minutes to ask questions.  Seeing someone actually working on a project really seemed to draw people in toward our booth if for no other reason than to figure out what was going on.  

So, not only did I get to spend the day working on my project, but I introduced a number of people to the idea of homebuilding.  Weather aside, it was a good day.

June 27  
  The nose ribs have all had their flanges hammered.  I've got a few more than 1/2 left to flute and seam.  From there it's on to the lightening holes
June 28  
  No progress.  Tonight was a "clean up the garage some more" night.
June 29  

I'll give you three guesses what I did last night.  Yup, more fluting.  The pile is getting smaller.

I'll be off on vacation for the next week so I may or may not update this site.  I will definitely be working on the plane though.

June 30-July 9  
  I'm back from vacation.  I needed to get back to work to get a rest :)

I tried to make time for the plane.  Most days I was successful; if only for small blocks of time.  The rest of the week was taken up with haying, making a corn maze, and rebuilding my dirt bike.

Out of the whole week my most productive day visually was yesterday.  I finished fluting and seaming the flanges on the nose ribs, and I started cutting out the lightening holes.  I'm hopeful that I'll finish cutting those holes tonight.

July 10  
noserib_drillpress_jig.jpg (104782 bytes) Here is the setup I am using to cut the holes in my ribs.  The same template that I used to cut the ribs is used to hold the ribs in place while I cut the hole.
A video of the cutting process.  Not terribly exiting stuff, but here it is.(1.8 meg)
noserib_onehole.jpg (84896 bytes) A picture of one rib after getting it's first hole
hole_scrap.jpg (72204 bytes) I know I'm showing my age here, but remember the game tiddly winks?
46_fluted_seamed_onehole.jpg (97871 bytes) And here they are 46 nose ribs with their first lightening hole cut.  I still need to flange the hole.  I've decided to use "Bob" sticks.  The making of the sticks might just be a story unto itself.
July 10  
ash_tree.jpg (128764 bytes) In the Bearhawk Book there is a reprint of the winter 1995 Bear-Tracks Newsletter.  In this newsletter there are drawings for "Bob sticks".  Bobsticks are a tool that Bob Barrows  used to flange his lightening holes.  It is suggested that the stick be made out of a hardwood.  It further stipulates that Ash is a good choice. Well, it just so happens that I have a large ash tree in my back yard.  You can see where this is going already can't you?
ash_branch.jpg (105856 bytes) Just taking a branch off of this tree wouldn't work terribly well.  The wood would be green, it could warp, and the Mrs. wouldn't be happy that I was lopping off branches to make a tool.  Luckily, there are a number of dead branches on this tree that could stand to be pruned off without much notice being taken. With that, I present you with. ..  a branch.
piece_of_ash.jpg (75027 bytes) I surely couldn't work with such large branch, so I cut off a one foot section.

I dare say that it's a fine piece of ash. 

Sorry, I couldn't help myself ;)

ash_block2.jpg (81822 bytes) And here is where it ended up for the night.  A 1x1x12 block of ash.
July 11-12  
  Well, I've met with limited success.  The bob-stick and me aren't getting along too well.  I make it one maybe two times around a hole and I split the stick.  So far I've made 4 different sticks.  I've split all of them.

The other problem I have is getting the metal to form a 30 deg flange as required.  It's close, but I can't seem to get that extra couple of degrees that would get me to my mark.  When I do exert the extra muscle to get the flange where I need it - split-.

I'm going to write an email to the bearhawk group to see if they can guide me on my way.  Two nights it two too many to spend flanging 46 holes.

July 12-17  
  I've spent the last few days tinkering with different versions of the bob-stick.  I'm still not terribly happy with the results.   I tried putting a machine screw through the stick to offer additional support against splitting.  And while the stick didn't split the notch in the tool widened up quickly.  

One of the suggestions was to use Delrin.  I'm going to give that a go.  If it fails to impress, I will make up some flanging dies and press the flange.

 To all of those that offered ideas and possible solutions, thank you.

July 18-20  
  This week was tedious.  It seemed that I was spending more time futzing around with pieces and parts to do the job than I was actually doing the job.
worn_out_ash.jpg (81734 bytes) First there was the Ash bob-stick.  I put a machine screw and wing nut through the stick hoping to keep it from splitting.  Well, it didn't split, but the slot got hogged out in short order.
worn_out_oak.jpg (78481 bytes) Next up was the Oak bob-stick.  I faired a bit better with this tool, but still the hole got sloppy very quickly.
delrin_bob-stick.jpg (69509 bytes) In what would become my final attempt at bob-sticking, I followed the suggestion of some fellow Bearhawkers, and bought a 1x10 piece of Delrin.  

I can't believe the difference!  If I do nothing else with this website, I hope I can save one builder some time with this stage of construction. 

One thing of note that I did.  I cut a slot in either end of the stick.  One slot is at ~30 deg the other ~10.  The greater angle on one side let me start the flange without having the rib edge flange in the way.  The smaller angle gave me the leverage to get the flange to it's finished angle without contorting my arm quite so much.

 Forget about wooden bob-sticks.

                        Builder, go thee forth and purchase thee some delrin for thine bob-stick.  You won't regret it
flanging_workstation.jpg (91025 bytes) I also made a workstation of sorts for the flanging process.  Nothing fancy, but it works. In two hours time I finished up flanging half of the nose ribs.  I don't think I swore even once in that two hour period.
July 21-23  
  I finished up flanging the first set of lightening holes in the nose ribs.  Once I figured out how to use the bob-stick it went very smoothly. Once done with the first hole I immediately started in on  cutting the second, larger lightening hole.
July 24-26  
  I've got half of the second holes cut and maybe 6 of that half flanged.  The heat and humidity makes working out in the garage nasty.  Still I get out there for a bit each night.  Hopefully the humidity will break soon. I also made another workstation and the push tool to work out the distortion that the ribs acquire while flanging the holes.  I'll get pictures up tomorrow.
July 27-31  
pushstick_jig.jpg (87623 bytes) Sorry I didn't get the pictures up as promised.  I took Friday and Monday off.  Nothing like a four day weekend to make some progress. Here are the pictures as promised of the new push tool workstation.  It's pretty simple in construction, just some strips of oak screwed to a backer board.
before_pushstick.jpg (78003 bytes) Here you can see the deformed rib on the push station.  The rib gets deformed during the flanging process and must be flattened out.
after_pushstick.jpg (83271 bytes) Here's the same rib after "massaging" it with the push tool. Sweet!
keith_flanging.jpg (87358 bytes) Here's the obligatory picture of me flanging a lightening hole.
I broke out the video feature of my digital camera again.  The video shows the flanging process.  Click on the image to the left to view the video.  (3.5meg)
46_noseribs_flanged_holes.jpg (102066 bytes) Took me a couple of months, but here they are 46 nose ribs ready for the stiffener angles.