Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Monday, September 5, 2011

Last Day of the Labor Day Thrash.......I saw the light, Part 3

OK where was I?  I left off with the marks on the back of the trailer.
So, we have the center hole.  No turning back now.  Now that I have a 4.5" hole cut in the sheet metal, it gets kinda flimsy.  So, I need to stiffen it up with a doubler.  Generally,  doublers need to be heavier than the base metal.  So I opted for .063".
I drew it out using the redneck compass method.  I cut it out using a jigsaw, which is time consuming.
This is the doubler in rough out mode.  I laid out the hole pattern and did a few other things that I left out that are self explanatory.
I clecoed the plate in place.  If you don't know what a cleco is, I'll explain.
This is how I store my clecos.  Just drill a series of holes in a piece of aluminum.
Clecos are used mainly in the aircraft sheet metal business.  They come in all shapes and sizes, but here is a general rule of thumb.  They are coded by color, by drill size.  For instance, a silver cleco is a number 40 drill bit.  A #30 is copper colored, a #20 drill bit is black.  This is a chart I stole from Aircraft Spruce's website.  

You can buy used clecos from a place called "The Yard" in Wichita, Ks.

How do they work?  Basically, you drill a hole in both parts and using special "cleco Pliers", you depress the cleco and push it through both sides, then release.  You're done.
This a pic of the doubler installed with the light in place, kinda ugly.

The rings were riveted back on using solid rivets, which stiffened up the skin in a major way.  I added nut plates to the backside, so I don't have to tear out the sidewalls if I need to remove the tail light lens.  Now I can remove the 4 screws and access the tail light from the outside easily.

The final product.  I still need to round up the chrome pieces to dress it up, but I still have time.