I’m currently riveting shear panels onto the Westfield’s tube frame. To do this, you clamp the panel onto the frame, and then drill holes every couple of inches for the rivets. The tricky bit when you’re doing this is that if the clamps slip at all between holes, you’re never going to be able to get all of the rivets in. The fix for this problem is this doohickey:
It’s called a cleco. It’s a specialized tool which was invented for assembling the skins of metal aircraft. They come with a special pair of pliers which push down that silver button on the left. When you do that, the other end extrudes out and gets narrower, like this:
If you stick this into a hole you’ve drilled and then let go, it will expand again, and lock the sheet metal onto the frame so that you can be sure it won’t slip while you drill the next hole. After you’ve done this several times, you end up with something which looks like this:
This is the panel behind the seats and the panel which goes along the driver’s side of the transmission tunnel.
After I got all of those holes drilled, I deburred, peeled the protective coating off the panels, and applied a line of Sikaflex-221 adhesive. Then I pulled a lot of rivets. The result looks like this:
It worked pretty well. All of the holes lined up. The only tricky part was cleaning the Sikaflex out of the jaws of the clecos. It used nail polish remover and diaper wipes for that. It worked pretty well, but the smell made me a bit dizzy by the end of the day.
If you’d like to see how clecos are used in aircraft construction, check out this project. He’s building a 1/3 scale model of a B-17. And it is going to fly. If you go through the gallery at his site, you’ll see that he’s using an enormous number of clecos.