Van’s light box kit #1

I have to say, there’s something nice about showing up to build, and not building workbenches and air systems, but an actual kit. It’s not the wing yet, but it’s practice towards that goal, so feels like progress.


I ran into my first issue when dimpling the rivet holes on a tight radius aluminum angle. With non-modified dimple dies I ended up leaving little bumps where the die ran into the curve of the angle. To fix this I ground down the dies. Knowing I would want some fully formed ones as well, I went ahead and ordered some additional #30 dimple dies from synergy air. (If you haven’t read it already check out the post on these special dies.)

If you look closely, you can see bumps from the dimple die.

I had also never worked with nut plates before. It felt weird to dimple such small pieces, but the DRDT2 made easy work of it. 

I used two small containers to keep track of what was dimpled and what wasn’t.

After clekoing one side of nut plates on each spot, I riveted them on with AN426AD3-3s. (I feel pretty cool knowing what that actually means now…:)!) Once one side was riveted, I was able to rivet the other side pretty quickly. Since I was trying to practice different skills, I used different flat sets as well as used the squeezer from both sides. There are definitely combinations that work better than others. Good to know there are many ways to get something done, but I think identifying the best option will be important.

The last thing I got to was to drill out and de-burr the back plate to accept the screws that go into the nut plates.It asked for a #27 drill, but all I had was a #28. I tested it, and the screw seemed to move through it nicely, so I’ll call it good.

That’s it for this session. Next I have to prepare the rest of the sides, and assemble for match drilling. In an effort to practice everything, I’m going to pop rivet the sides, flush rivet the bottom, and universal head rivet the top. I’m also going to do some practice with the hand squeezer.The face is thicker and I will get to do some countersink drilling for AN426s (flush rivets). Looking forward to it!

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