Sheet Metal 101

Me doing some good ol’ deburring with a flat file

Another day, another workshop! Yesterday I headed over to the Sheet Metal 101 class with Louise, who’s obviously graduated from the beginner course, but wanted to get a better feel for how the regular sheet metal practical is presented as opposed to the women’s one we attended on Monday.

We sat for a half hour long presentation, which covered everything from aluminum strengths (6061 versus 2024, that sort of thing) to different types of rivets (Series 470 vs. 426). The speaker also emphasized the importance of safety. We learned we’d be setting both universal and countersunk head rivets.

This was my first time using a rivet gun and bucking bar. Ta da! Note the strategically placed sticker 🙂
Participants learning to drill aluminum (left). My guides, Louise Hose and Roger Cosh (right), who’s built an RV-14A with his wife, Juliette.

After Monday’s lesson, I was familiar with drilling and deburring, but in this class I learned to dimple using dimple dies and countersink holes with a caged countersink. I also learned to squeeze rivets (I’m weak—I see a pneumatic squeezer in my future, or y’know, pull rivets…) as well as use a rivet gun and bucking bar, which I had one of my helpers hold. It was a great intro course that lasted about an hour and 15 minutes—a good first step stone for anyone interested in building an aluminum airplane. It was also nice to take a break from walking.

It was a packed house at the 1:00 workshop.
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Ariana Rayment
Ariana Rayment is an instrument-rated private pilot from Tacoma, Washington. She discovered her love of flying through her former purchasing role at Glasair Aviation. She loves the Reno Air Races, where she stands alongside Jeff LaVelle as his crew chief and pals around with her friends in Sport Class.


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