Began the final assembly of the horizontal stabilizer this weekend. Finished riveting the rib assembly and started to lay the skin on for the final time to begin riveting. But in an act that I can only attribute to carelessness or stupidity, or both, I layer downed and riveted the top side first. When I tried to pull the skin over the gussets, I realized I was in trouble. There is no way I can do it. I will try drilling out the rivets and salvage what I can, but my first attempts resulted in damage to the skin. I bought  some new bits today and will try again this weekend before I start working on my replacement parts list.

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Comment by David A. Judkins on August 7, 2012 at 8:59pm

Thanks for the comments and suggestions! I have plenty of rivets to drill out, so I should be able to put several of these methods to use to see which one works best! In the meantime, I'm working on the elevator. Hopefully, I won't screw it up!

Comment by Marvin W Miller on August 7, 2012 at 6:22pm

I use the next size smaller bit 1st. (#40,30,20) Drill all the way through centered. Then the original size bit works slick, easy I think.

Comment by Ron Lendon on August 6, 2012 at 9:20pm

Another note: you don't have to push the stems all the way out, only enough so the drill bit won't touch when removing the heads.

Comment by Ron Lendon on August 6, 2012 at 9:17pm

When drilling out the blind rivets, make sure to first push the stems back away from the domed head and only drill till the rivet head is free then stop drilling.  Pushing the stems back may require more hands or special tools to hold a backup block/bar on the backside of the rivet and a punch, automatic or manual, to push the stem back.

Once the heads are removed you can peel the materials apart.  Use diagonal cutters to remove the rest of the rivets from the back side then smooth up the surface of the rib flange with a hammer and dolly block.

Doing it that way keeps the hole sizes original and you have a much better chance of saving all the pieces for reuse.

Comment by Mark Maltais on August 6, 2012 at 8:47pm

I feel your pain...

I've had to un-rivet more than one part and skin so far.  Best way I found was to use the same size bit as the hole, make sure it's SHARP, brand new is best. I have a variable speed high end air drill and drill at the slowest speed, basically barely turning.  If done right the head will come off and wind up on the bit, then just punch the hole out with a pin punch.  In some cases you will have to shear the drilled head off with a chisel.   Get a sharp cold chisel with sharp angle and it works fine.

I had to undo the entire rivet line on the wing spar (due to a difference on the plans and assembly guide) in one instance and it actually went very well.  Once you get the hang of it, it went really fast...took me maybe 10 minutes to do.  Believe me, it's a good thing these are pulled rivets, solid rivets can be much more tricky!

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