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Old 01-07-2018, 07:36 AM
rkbrown819 rkbrown819 is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Cape Cod, MA
Posts: 5
Default RV8 Fuselage Top Skin Riveting

We are nearly ready to rivet-on the forward and aft fuselage top skins. Does anyone have any advice on how best to do this? Is it best to back rivet from the inside or is it best to buck from the inside and rivet from the outside?
Thanks in advance,
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:44 AM
Carl Froehlich's Avatar
Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 2,080

My preference it to rivet from the outside, buck on the inside. The most experienced person on the bucking bar, the newbie on the rivet gun.

The more important aspect is the generous use of shims. Make up a bunch of 3/4” x 3/4” 3/32” dimpled shims of .032”, .025” and .020” primed aluminum. If you can fit a shim between the rib/bulkhead and the skin, it needs a shim. This is how you prevent skin curved surfaces from having flat spots at the rivets.

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Old 01-07-2018, 12:38 PM
Mach.26's Avatar
Mach.26 Mach.26 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Ozark, AL
Posts: 62

Good tip. Thanks Carl ! About to start the fuselage and hadn’t hear of this problem yet ...
Adam Wright
RV-8 Builder 83611
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:22 PM
Rallylancer122 Rallylancer122 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oconto, WI
Posts: 115

We riveted from the outside and bucked inside as well. Cut some boards, get a good light, and take some time to get comfy in there. It's not that bad.

We also shimmed. Sometimes you couldn't tell if you had enough shim until after you put the rivet in and noticed a flat spot. Keep your rivet removal tools handy as it only takes a minute to fix while you are all setup and the results last a lifetime.

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Old 01-08-2018, 12:49 AM
rv8ch rv8ch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGG
Posts: 2,508
Default tape over rivets

I recommend putting a 4" square of clear tape over each rivet, and using the big flat rivet set with a rubber guard. This will protect the skin. Something like these:
Mickey Coggins
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:46 AM
sf3543 sf3543 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 959
Default it depends on your preference

I prefer back riveting, especially if your helper is inexperienced. All they have to do is put in a rivet and place the bucking bar over it while you back rivet. I think it also leaves a better appearance on the outside with less tendency to cause a depression from riveting from the outside. (If you do get a depression from riveting you can tap up on the shop head to reduce the appearance from the outside.)
The front skin is a different animal altogether. You can not back rivet a bunch of rivets, inside the gear towers and other areas if you already have the radios, etc installed. It is possible to drive all of the rivets on the front skin, but some find it easier to use blind rivets in hard to get to areas.
Shimming, as already stated, makes a much nicer final product if you have any low spots. I use aluminum flashing material for shims quite a bit, since it is cheap, very thin and virtually eliminates visible steps in the skin after riveting. Get the skin on as tightly as you can with the clecos for the best results.
good luck.
Steve Formhals
A&P, Tech Counselor & Flight Advisor
RV6 (sold)
RV8 (2)(sold)
RV12 (flying)
RV3B (flying)
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