August 19th , 2007
Rivet Trailing Edge, Roll LEading Edge. Finally Done!

After a week, I am finally back on track with this rudder. I was out of town in San Francisco and then we had a birthday party to plan for my daughter. This rudder seems to be taking forever to complete! After setting for several days, the 2 part sealant I used on the trailing edge has really had a change to cure. Everything still looks nice and straight.

I am using 3M painters tape (the blue stuff) for riveting. It is cheaper that rivet tape and works just as good. It peels off easily and doesn't leave any residue. Here I have the rivets taped in place ready to flip over and back rivet. THe plans say to rivet ever 10 or so rivets and check your work, then every five, check again and so on. This method worked well.

I ended up with a nice straight edge as you can see. Using the two U channel bars clecoed in place really worked well for me. Thanks Eric for the idea!

Another angle. I am really happy with the results. The whole trailing edge process really didn't take that much time. All those stiffeners, well, that's another story.

I used a scotch brite wheel in my drill to clean up the trailing edge where some of the glue squeezed out. The wheel takes it right off.

On to the leading edge. This seems to be dreaded by most builders. Again, after having done it now I would say it was not all that bad. I think the key is to take your time and work slowly.

I bent the sections one at a time based on the advise from some other builders. Here is the pipe I used. It's a 3/4" steel pipe from Home Depot.

Once I laid the pipe in place I put a long piece of blue tape down the entire length of pipe. Then over the top of this I placed 4" strips of tape to help hold it when you reef on the bar. See next picture.

Here you can see I have the right side rolled already. I just slid the pipe down to the next section and so on.

One side is completely done now. If I had this to do over again, I would start with the flat side of the leading edge.

The leading edge is clecoed in place and ready to drill.

On the top portion of the leading edge I didn't have enough room to use the edge roller I got from Avery Tools. You can see that the skins have a gap where it doesn't lay flat. I ended up using my seaming pliers to finish this edge off. See a few pictures down.

The bottom half of the leading edge turned out really well. You can see the skins lay perfectly flat.

I have an audience today. Earplugs in place ready to rivet. Where's the popcorn?

I used this skin rolling tool I bought from Avery to roll the edges of the skins so they lay flat when in place. It worked really well. Be careful not to apply too much pressure. I over did it in a few places. The skins are really thin and don't require a lot of pressure.

Here I am using the seaming pliers to make a slight bend on the upper portion of the skins where the rolling tool would not fit.

All done with the riveting.

I am happy with the results. I used a little hand forming to bring it to final shape.

So we bought a new camera this weekend. It's a Nikon D40x. Our old camera is slowly biting the dust. You can tell from the pictures I have been taking lately that the image is not great. They are not clear and have a weird hue to them. I have been wanting a digital SLR for a while. This camera is actually Kristi's. It's really great.

I screwed the eye bolts in place. A single lock nut secures them. You have to measure from the center of the bolt to the spar.

Now the only thing left to do on the rudder is to rivet those last remaining four holes. I am unable to reach them with a bucking bar or squeezer. I will have to ask around to see how this can be done.

I made some temporary hinge pins from nails I had laying around.

Here's how they work.

My old camera is really getting bad. SOrry for the blurry picture. My daughter has dropped the camera one too many times. Here is the completed rudder and VS minus the fiberglass tips. Everything lined right up and it swings really smooth.

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