Friday, October 17, 2014

Coco's Fidy Tree continued...

What can I say, Coco's trailer is getting some major cosmetic surgery. 

The entire lower portion of the exterior skin is being replaced. 

There were some major rashes, a few worry lines, and number of wrinkles we wanted gone.

90 running feet of new Alclad was ordered up from one of my favorite vendors; Airparts Inc. I cannot say enough good things about the gang over there. They give me excellent service and regular shipping gets it here in two days.

They cut me out a few custom lengths. I always order my Alclad with a PVC film applied to protect it from scratches during fabrication. Always spend the extra few dollars on this film. Here is one panel an inch short of 20 feet long. I roll it out face down. 

The original panel is laid face down on top of the new sheet. I begin at a corner and drill through the rivet holes followed by a clecko to hold it in place. All lines are traced out then cut out using a variety of tooling. Mostly I just use hand sheers.

Then presto, the new panel fits like it was made for it. 

Above is my clecko box. This is one of the coolest tools at FTW. What it does is so highly specialized, but it does it so perfectly. Basically, they act as a temporary or spring loaded rivet. I love my cleckos for another reason also. FTW is their second lease on life. They originally were used at Boeing to build jets. Once they go through just a few builds, Boeing considers them surplus. I know the surplus buyer and I buy them from him. I find this rather apropos since originally Airstream bought the aluminum Boeing did not want and used it to to build trailers. 

Drill, clecko, drill clecko, thousands later it is ready for actual rivets.

All the way around the trailer this was done. Drill all the rivets out. Remove the panel. Copy it. Re install the panel. Rivet into place.

There is that film being pulled back.

We also did two upper panels. There were three separate attempts at some sort of stove vent system. There were also some sort of furnace and stove vent penetrations. This took a serious toll on the panels and replacing them was easier than patching them.

Here are those steps again. Drill out all the old rivets.

Remove the original panel. Copy it.

Install the new panel with cleckos. I mighty add that first, it  all is drilled using an 1/8" bit and copper color cleckos are installed. I then remove every other one and drill with a #21 bit for the buck rivet. A black color clecko is used in that hole till it is replaced with a bucked rivet.

And that is how you rebuild an Airstream…

Next post will be about the Herh Standard window used in this trailer. It has a lot of them. Each one requires a lot of attention to rebuild. I will cover all that in a further post.