Rib Construction
A few preliminary images ... many more to come.   .... Also, visit Charles Snyder's Blog ... http://www.cwsnyder2001.blogspot.com/

I can now form the flange with one-and-one-half passes of the fluting pliers; plus, a few flattening taps on the back side.  It's amazing how quickly the skill builds. The first and second ribs required quite a bit of  chasing.  Also, I can now use a good rib as the pattern for where and how deep to flute.

I cut and form the parts; then I drill one of each pair of holes under size (#41) using steel drill guides.  I finish the edges, polish as necessary.
The next day when I'm fresh, I double-check the alignment then drill the second holes and rivet using a rivet squeezer.

If a part does not pass the fit-to-template test, I may drill the second hole offset to correct the problem.  Then if the adjustment is not that much, I can ream out the first hole to #40 and maybe even #39 or #38 and still use the 3/32nd rivet.  If the hole is still not round and aligned, I then drill out to #31 or #30 and use a 1/8 rivet.  If that fails ... scrap and build a new part OR before even getting that far ... set the part aside to be used on the next rib and offset the holes on the mating part.  There are a lot of options when you are making built-up ribs.  But the little time invested and almost zero cost of the aluminum encourages one to scrap even slightly questionable parts.

Click on photos for a larger and more complete photos.  A few images are huge and may be slow to load but they offer much more detail.  
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100 years of progress from the 1903 Wright Flyer to the UltraCruiser.
First ribs I have built - one for a museum and the other to fly!
Hole is flanged.

Nose rib modification suggested by Charles Snyder and also the
Aviation Magnet leader at Washburn High School.
Hole not flanged yet.

"Ivory" fluting pliers per Australian Peter Denny.
Actually you buy these from Avery Tools.

Hole flanger die built by Dale Johnson, lead builder on the
1903 Wright Flyer for the State of Minnesota

Correct position for fluting rib flanges.

Wrong side up!
Not shown in this view ts the word "OVER" written with a
Sharpie pen on the "bottom" side.

Note: crimps have to be carefully placed so as not to interfere with verticals.
Also note the steel drill guides, one for each vertical channel.
These were built from the steel inserts in scrapped Pendeflex folders.
In the blown up image you will see the electric drill.  Air drill not needed here.

This is not a toy!!!! .... 18 inch bending brake
With the blown up image you can see how I have drilled holes in
which pins are placed to provide automatic depth gauge for the
one-half inch and one-quarter inch flanges.

The extra holes indicate measuring or drilling error.
Availble from Harbor Freight for $34.99

Note: I built two custom brakes and junked them due to poor results.
I borrowed a brake from my EAA chapter.  It was sprung and no good.
I now use a 48-inch brake at the airport for larger work.

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Web address of the page:  http://quid.us/hummel/rib.html
Created: 2/4/2009