Riveting the Rudder

Time: 5 Hours

I had to fly a morning trip today which gave me the rest of the day to work in the hangar. First up was to rivet the substructure of the rudder. I started with the top rib that has the fiberglass attach strip riveted to it. I used my new 4″ no-hole yoke with my pneumatic squeezer.

You leave the last 3 rivets open so you can attach the skin at the same time.

Then I fit the counterbalance weight to the upper rib, I removed it to make it a little easier to move the rudder around while riveting.

Next was to rivet the rudder horn, horn support, spacer, bottom rib, doublers and the 3 nut plates.

One smiley face today!

Once the substructure was all done I added a “chewing gum” size blob of RTV(a silicone like material) to all the rudder stiffener trailing edge ends that are already attached to the skin. This is supposed to help alleviate any cracking on the skin from vibration. Then it was time to slide the skin over the structure.

Then I went around the rudder riveting the edge rivets. I used a couple different yokes and my gun/bucking bar to get all the rivets.

There were only 2 rivets that I just couldn’t get too, the last rivet on the leading edge, left and right, on the top of the rudder. There are several special tools that can get to these rivets but Vans allows you to use blind rivets and I figured there was no shame in using those. When filled they will look just like solid rivets after painted!

A little touch up on several spots of the primer and that will be done. Next up… Bending the leading edge of the rudder. This is a tough job as you want a nice rounded leading edge and you can easily put a crease where the spar ends and that doesn’t look good. I will require the help from my resident pro builder, Glen.

Rudder Priming

Time: 4 hours

Today I spent the morning at St. Charles, IL to watch the Memorial Day parade and pay tribute to this who have served and those who are serving our country to keep us free. Their sacrifice and dedication is what allows me to do things like build my RV and for them I am truly thankful!

When I returned to the hangar I started the priming of the rudder substructure. I will get to rivet sometime this week after the primer cures.

Rudder Prep

Time: 2 Hours

For the last 5 days or so I have been fighting strep throat. It seems the older you get the worse that is. High dose antibiotics and a lot if rest has me back from the dead and among the living. Not how I wanted to spend the Memorial Day weekend but that’s life I guess. I felt good enough yesterday to get a couple of hours of work done in the hangar. This was just prep work for the priming of the rudder substructure. All the dimpling, deburring and edge finishing has been completed and all ready for primer.

Rudder Assembly

Time: 4 Hours

I spent the afternoon yesterday working on the rudder substructure. This included the fabrication of the rudder horn spacer and the rudder fiberglass bottom attach strips.

Next was the rudder horn brace trimming. I have read where builders have run into some edge distances on the finished product due to to much trimming. So I measured several times and came up with a good line.

The next job was to enlarge a hole at the end if the bottom rib so that the hinge rod end can fit through.

A little trimming and shaping on the rudder horn and the brace to get a good fit.

The rudder attach strips, the attach point for the bottom fiberglass tips, needed to be lined up so that they could be matched drilled.

The finished rudder, now to disassemble it, mark it, edge finish it, deburr it, dimple it and prime it. Then I can put it all back together and rivet it.

Bending Rudder

Time: 1 Hour

Last night I ran over to a friends home to have some expert help with bending the trailing edge of my rudder. This process is required to get a narrow and straight bend at the end of your rudder. The catch is that you want to maintain a nice round radius in this spot. Van’s gives you plans on how to make a “break or brake” to bend your rudder. It’s simply made from 2×6 wood and hinges. You then wedge your rudder in the opening and use force to evenly bend the skin. I used a 3/16 wood dowel taped to the inside of the rudder skin to help maintain a good radius while bending.

After several “easy” squeezes we got it to the perfect position. The radius was perfect and a nice clean line down the trailing edge.