Rudder – Part 7

So I’m a little behind in my posting / video editing.  With that said, I’m working on getting caught up.

After finally making a trip to the local hardware store, I finally had the right size pipe as well as some “gorilla tape” to help finish up the rolling of the leading edge.  Honestly it wasn’t a terrible process, but it was slightly annoying and I ended up using two different size PVC pipes to get a decent fit.  Others have commented that the two sheets were not laying flat when they riveted their skins together, but honestly mine turned out decently.  Maybe one or two spots were lifting a bit, but decided to leave them as is for now.

Then I moved to the counterbalance and proceeded to mount the lead weight and fold over the skins. Mounting the nutplate was slightly difficult since I don’t have any nutplate jigs.  I was hoping that the skins wouldn’t pillow on the counterbalance, however I wasn’t so lucky and ended up having to install a blind rivet in the middle of my counterweight.  Oh well.

I talked to a few other builders about the minor dent at the top of the rudder.  Basically the advice was to keep moving forward and when I go to put the fairing on I can always fill it a little bit with some micro if I really want to.  The skin didn’t tear and non of the ribs were damaged.  Just cosmetic damage and I should worry.

It’s funny, looking back when it happened I felt like it was such MAJOR damage, however now in hindsight it’s really pretty minor.  Heck, the 172 I’m currently flying has much worse “hanger rash” and it flies just fine.

Chalk it up to being a “first time builder”.


Rudder – Part 6

This is a pretty short update.  Since I didn’t do the best job cleaning up the tank sealant on the trailing edge of the rudder I had a bit of work to remove the sealant that seeped out.  I went ahead and finished up the steps on Page 7-10 (even if I was a bit out of order on a few of them).  For the trailing edge double flush rivets, I decided alternate the shop heads of my rivets.  Not sure if that will be a cause of concern in the future, but honestly I think it’s fine.

Before I roll the forward edges of my rudder, I had a minor accident that left some creases on the top of my rudder.  Basically I had the rudder standing up on its end and a nice gust of wind knocked it over.  At the time it happened, I felt like this was the end of the world.  I’m finally calming down and think that it’s mostly cosmetic and something I can fix.  I honestly was thinking I would have to scrap the whole thing, but think I can correct the damage.  Hopefully at worst I will have to remove the top rib and use some wood blocks to try to flatten out the skin a little bit?  I’m absolutely following up with a note to VANS, but in the grand scheme of things this isn’t a big deal.

I’m expecting some help in the shop this weekend, and plan to finish up the Rudder (Chapter 7) and possibly make a good dent on the Horizontal Stabilizer.

Rudder Part 5 -Trailing Edge

In a previous post I was discussing the fact that I can get some of the 3M tape to use on the trailing edge of the Rudder vs using the tank sealer.  After doing a bit more research I was seeing multiple comments from people that were getting better results using the Tank Sealer approach vs the 3M tape.  Since I will have to use the tank sealer for the tank anyway (and already had some sealer on hand) I decided to go with the tank sealer method.

Set aside a 2 hour block to make sure I could get it all done.  I previously purchased a mixer adapter for my drill as well as a surplus sealant gun.  I ordered a 3.5 oz tank sealer in a tub so I could easily mix it up and use the dispenser.  Honestly it wasn’t that big of a deal.  Maybe if I was mixing it manually and didn’t have the dispenser things would have been a bit more difficult.

Using the gun I dispensed a line of sealant on the Trailing Edge, then spread it thin using a wooden stick.  Apply to both edges, then cleco into place just to hold it down. The directions recommend to get a second person to help hold the top skin while you blind rivet the ribs, but I didn’t have one.  Some scrap wood to keep the skin off the Trailing edge and the sealant, and I was good to go.  (My big hands don’t work well in those small spaces, but that’s just me.)

Currently this puts me at a work stoppage for a bit while I let the sealer cure.  Only so much room in the garage and plenty of other things to do around the house.  I may be able to fabricate some of the next parts for the Horizontal Stabilizer but we’ll see.

Rudder – Part 4

This week I have limited time to work in the garage, but was able to make some progress.  While I wasn’t able to get video of it, I was able to prime the Spar,trailing edge, and the replacement striker plate this week using my Primer Pistol.  This was small enough job that I didn’t want to use the HPLV gun and it only took about a 1.5 film canisters to cover.

The timelapse picks up with me starting to dimple all the ribs, spar, and skins.  I mentioned in my Training kit that I picked up a set of the Cleaveland Tool SubStructure Dimple dies.  I used these on all my ribs and spars.  I’ll say that I am very happy with the results and how easy it is to rivet everything together as the parts sit flush.  I honestly haven’t tried to do everything with the standard die set so take my feedback with a grain of salt.  Dimpling all the parts was straightforward using the squeezer and DRDT-2.  The directions are already starting to be “less detailed” and don’t remind you what holes you should or shouldn’t dimple.  Lots of doublechecking the plans and sometimes flipping ahead to make sure you understand what you need to do.

I then start to rivet the nutplate onto the Rudder Horn.  I think I spent more time drilling out rivets on the nut-plate than it took me to actually rivet it together.  Hey, it happens.  No harm / no foul.  Just drill it out and install it again.  I’m getting much more comfortable with riveting and drilling out rivets now.

Out of all the work I did this week, my favorite is back riveting.  It’s just so easy, neat and very little chance of making an error that I absolutely loved it.

Completed everything up to 7-8: Step 1 in the plans and hope to get through 7-10 by the end of the week.

Rudder Part 3 – Primer

So more reading and I’m trying a slightly modified technique.  Decided to wet scrub the parts for the Rudder today before wiping down with Acetone.  Also remembered to mix up a bit more AKZO than I did last time to ensure I have enough for all the parts.

Today was a bit on the cooler side (between 55 and 60 out) so I’m not sure it was optimal AKZO weather.  Not really wanting to wait till Friday, I decided to go for it.  Again laying down some cardboard in my front yard and lining up the parts.  Honestly I need to spend a few hours and build myself a spray box (or just a spray platform out of PVC pipe and chicken wire).  Think I put a decent coat down, but not sure if I had my HPLV gun set up or properly cleaned.  Still need to get the spray gun wrench from Harbor Freight so I can properly clean the stupid gun.

I got all the prep filmed, but didn’t put the GoPro outside to capture me spraying.  I did miss a few spots, but was able to hit them before I cleaned up all the AKZO.  At this point all the parts are drying in the garage and I plan to hopefully finish up my Rudder (minus the bending of the leading edge) on Friday?  Not sure if I’ll try to bend it myself, or if I’ll enlist the assistance of one of my local builders to make sure I do it right.

After all was said and done, I realized I missed two important pieces when I sprayed.  The trailing edge, and the Spar.  Oops.  Looks like I’ll have to get those sprayed with the Primer Pistol.  Also the replacement Rudder striker plate arrived, so I can hopefully get that matched drilled, countersunk and primed as well.

Timelapse of my primer prep:


Prep for the weekend

This week was basically back to “normal”.  I spent a total of about an hour working on the RV and really only was able to put the bend on the trailing edge of my rudder skins using the Cleaveland Edge Forming tool.  No need for me to show you how it works as they have a great tutorial video on their site.  I didn’t use this when I was doing my Practice kit, so we’ll see how it looks when I get the rudder attached.   Speaking of the rudder, I had been doing some research and getting ready for this weekend and purchased some Proseal in anticipation of needing it.  HOWEVER:  it seems that with the newer RV14’s the guidance has been to use some 3M adhesive tape.  While not called out in the plans, the description on Vans Website is very interesting

3M F9460PC Tape

Double Sided for Construction

Used for control surface trailing edge assemblies (replaces the older tank sealant method).

1 roll (1/2″ x 60 yards) will suffice for a complete airplane, even the RV-10.

Well, I think I’ll try this vs Proseal as it sounds like it’s a bit cleaner!  Also decided to purchase some additional items from Cleaveland Aircraft.  Got a set of Rudder Cable fairings, the threaded tie-down block, tail light adapter, and the drill jig for the trailing edge.  All of these arrived yesterday so I have everything ready to be productive.  Also should have the panduit ligntening hole brackets by this evening so I can potentially start to button up the Vertical Stabilizer.


Now to admit to another “oops”.  In drilling my rudder striker plates, it seems that my countersink bit allowed me to drill a bit too deep.  Reading online there were suggestions that you could use JB weld or make a shim for places where you may have countersunk something a little too deep, however after discussing with Vans it seems that the best approach is to replace the part.  This plate will take a fair bit of abuse, so why set myself up for an issue down the road (and a potentially annoying repair) when I can just order the $4 part now and be done with it. If I had the correct thickness stock material, I could have just fabricated it as this is a simple part, however I don’t yet have any material of sufficient size.


Hopefully this also arrives either today or tomorrow so I can have both the VS and the Rudder completed this weekend?  I expect my progress to significantly slow down as the next few sections are much more involved and I have other commitments that need my attention (work, family, life, etc).


Rudder – Part 2

Another productive day in the Garage.  With great weather outside, I was able to spend time working while my girls were out playing in the yard.

With most of the rudder components fabricated, it was time to start assembling the rudder so I could final drill everything. Got the skeleton assembled, then added the skins and it started to look like a rudder!


Because this is a control surface, you need to take a little longer to ensure you are not adding a twist into the part.  This requires a more measured approach to match drilling and adding clecos for EVERY hole along the spare (and trailing edge).  This is a lot of clecos and it towards the end of the day my arms and hands were quite sore.

With the drilling done, it’s time to take everything apart and start to deburr everything.  By the end of the day, I had completed all of the deburring except for the skins.  Tomorrow I’m planning to put the bend on the trailing edge using the edge forming tool (hopefully without messing it up).  Not sure when I’ll have enough time to clean and prime the parts.  This may not happen until Saturday, so I’ll have to figure out if I’ll start the first few steps of the next section, or if I’ll just put my toys away for a few days.

Rudder – Part 1

The first few steps for the Rudder are cutting a bunch of parts and cleaning them up.  Once again I’m probably overthinking it, but I’m spending a lot of time cleaning up each part and removing any sharp edges.

My bandsaw wasn’t large enough for me to cut some of the parts, so I ended up using the left and right aviation snips.  Honestly they work fine and after using the belt sander to clean off the edges (and square them up), all the parts look great.  To deburr the edges, I finally broke out the 6″ scotchbright wheel on my bench grinder.  After mixed success using it for my practice project, I finally decided to remove the “safety cage” to give me better access to the wheel with those long parts.  I’m sure this isn’t the best way to use the bench grinder, but it works for me.

After getting the kids to bed, another 1.5 hours working on page 7-4, Steps 1-3.  Didn’t have enough time to start deburring and cleaning up the rudder spar, so I’ll have to work on that tomorrow.  All in all good progress today!