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Installing a Platenut for a #8 Screw

by Marc DeGirolamo

All airplanes have such things as inspection covers, panels, and fairings that use screws as holding devices.  The screws go into platenuts—nutplates, anchornuts, whatever term you wish to use.  The RV, being a metal airplane, has lots of these in the airframe.  There are any number of ways to install these critters.  Using a jig and doing them one at a time is one way, but if you have to put a lot in can be rather slow.  Here is how I have done them....

1. Put the part to be attached with nutplates on the plane, and clamp it to hold it in its final position.

2.  Mark out where you want the platenuts ( make sure you have sufficient edge clearance).

3.  Drill all holes #40 and put in clecos.

4.  Enlarge these holes to #30.

5.  Mark and take off the part and set aside.  Put a platenut in every hole.  Use a # 30 cleco in the center of the platenut and through the # 30 hole you just drilled.

6.  Put the # 40 bit back in the drill.  Use the holes in the platenuts as a jig for drilling the rivet holes.  Drill one hole, and  put something into it to keep the alignment ( a rivet , cleco, awl whatever—you don’t want the platenut to move when you drill the second hole) and drill the second hole.

7.  Take all the platenuts off.  Deburr and dimple or countersink the rivet holes.

8.  Enlarge the center hole so the screw will go through, and you can dimple it at this time if platenuts are the countersunk ones—make sure you dimple the right way!

9.  Put the platenuts back on with clecos and put rivets in them.  Rivet the platenuts on.  A Rivet Squeezer works best but they can be pounded too.

10.  Enlarge or dimple the holes in the part ( the # 30 holes you drilled in step 4 —do you remember where you put it?) for the # 8 screws.

Voila ! All done—perfectly.

Alligators to watch out for:

  • edge clearances on all layers being drilled
  • if a symmetrical cover or piece, make an indexing marks, so the holes will all line up later.
  • don’t drill your finger!

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