Rudder Assembly
The rudder skeleton with stiffiners cleko'd in place.

Added the rudder horn support at the bottom left
The stiffiners have all been cut to length and dimension and then cleko'd together to form the ribs of the rudder. The aft end of the left skin stiffener goes on top of the right skin stiffener but the forward end has to be placed underneath the spar attachment bracket. This was a step that I messed up during final assembly. During final assembly I failed to ensure that the left skin stiffener was under the forward spar attachment bracket. I had to drill out a dozen blind rivets to fix my error.

Finally getting the skins fitted! The Trailing Edge spacer gets taped in place with double sided tape.

Both skins cleko'd on for match drilling. Not all holes need to be match drilled.

Started attaching the skins for match drilling. The only holes that you match drill are the spar, top and bottom ribs. All of the stiffeners are already sized at the factory and you don't touch them as they are all back riveted.

Riveted stiffiners in place using the backplate riveting technique. It makes for a pretty easy riveting job!

Primer only in the locations where metal meets metal.
 Showing in these two photos what I have speaking to with regards to using primer. I am only applying primer to metal on metal contact points where I have broken through the protective cladding on the aluminum. Adding primer across the entire skin surface just adds unnecessary weight.
Rudder final assemply

The cleko's on the right are holding the trailing edge in place. The trailing edge spacer utilizes double sided tape on both sides to aid in sealing the trailing edge.

 I have nearly completed the rudder assembly. It actually went by fairly quickly. I think I probably have about 12 hours time at this point toward building the rudder. Probably the most difficult part is trying to blind rivet the two skins together. It requires a bit of finesse to attach the first stiffeners together and then work the skin up as you blind rivet each set of stiffeners.

Aside from that, I also learned, again, that it is imperritive to follow the instructions each step at a time and not assume that when it instructs you to rivet the skin to the spar, it does not mean that you can also start riveting everything else at that same moment. There are several steps that require you to rivet in a specific order to be able to have access to all the points that you need to be able to rivet what needs to be riveted.

 I am expecting to have this finished within the next five or six hours of work, at most. The final verdict will come when I see how the trailing edge ended up. That is a big test with the rudder and an area that many builders have issues getting right the first time.


Moved on to the Rudder!

Ribs for the rudder. Each set of ribs comes as one large piece in the kit. You have to cut the piece in half to get the two ribs, and then you have to trim the angle using a steel straight edge and scribe or pen. The bandsaw comes in real handy for this!

This is the tie down strap for the counterweight in the upper forward end of the rudder. You take these two nutplates and rivet them in place. a #10 screw bolts in from the bottom of the counterweight rib, through the lead weight and into these nutplates to hold the weight in place.

This is what the nutplates looked like after I used the squeezer. The squeezer seems to work well on the size 3 rivets. I haven't had much success with the squeezer on the size 4 rivets yet.

Starting to assemble the skeleton for the rudder. Here I have attached the bottom rib, rudder horn, and three attachment point brackets. These will be where the hinge attaches to the rudder from the Vertical Stabilizer.

A close up of the brackets as I am preparing to rivet everything in place.

This is the rudder horn assembly at the base of the rudder.

These two pictures are my initial attempts at riveting size 4 rivets! As I stated above, I was unable to use the squeezer, so these are my first real attempts at using the bucking bar and rivet gun. Overall, not too displeased with the outcome. A few of them are a little over squeezed, but I used the rivet gauge and ensured none of them were under-squeezed!

And this is where I am at as of today! I have assembled most of the skeleton to this point. After this, I will attach the skins and do the match drilling. After that, I take everything apart, debur everything and then final fit and rivet everything together! I should have this all done by the end of the week!

So, as the title suggests, I have moved forward to working on the rudder! As I stated in my last post, I made a couple mistakes and had to re-order some parts and so, while I wait, I decided to move on to the next step. I was able to put in about 8 hours of work yesterday and got this far on the rudder. I'm pretty impressed with how well it came along! I should have this done within the next couple days, which will be just in time for the replacement parts for the VS to arrive and I will be able to finish that as well!

For the most part, the plans have been fairly straight forward and easy to understand. There have been a few spots that I have had to re-read a few times to understand what the plans are actually calling for, but for the most part, it's been pretty easy to this point.


Costly mistakes.....

     So, I have had to re-order parts a few times now. The first was the rear spar for the vertical stabilizer and a rudder hinge bracket because I drilled the wrong hole too large. Now, I have had to order a new rear spar doubler and a new vertical stabilizer skin.

     As I stated before, I am new to a lot of these processes and as such have a bit of a learning curve. So, I delved in to the world of counter sinking the other day and it did not go as planned! The doubler plate for the rear spar on the vertical stabilizer requires several holes to be countersunk to allow for the dimpling of the spar itself. I new of the warning to start small and work your way toward the depth that you are looking for and I even tried to abide by that philosophy. However, when I did that, it didn't make any difference, so I kept adjusting the countersink, thinking that it just wasn't deep enough....... What I didn't realize is that the guide tip of the countersink bit was hitting the workbench and therefore not allowing the bit to make contact regardless of how I set the bit depth. So, when I moved the hole over the edge of the workbench, I failed to readjust the depth first and I ate through almost half the width of the metal, which was far too deep for the rivet head.

     I had considered filling that one hole with epoxy or even trying to make a filler washer out of aluminum and epoxy, but ultimately decided to replace the whole piece with a new one and doing it over. Better to be safe than sorry.

     The other mistake that I made was on the vertical stabilizer skin itself. The upper hole closest to the bend in the skin as it goes around the forward end of the skeleton is a real tight clearance when trying to use the squeezer. I had to try to actuate the squeezer about half way to be able to fit it in to the space. Unfortunately, I didn't line the male dimpler up with the hole correctly and punctured a hole in the skin along the edge of the existing hole. It wasn't close enough to cover with the rivet, so I bought a new vertical stabilizer skin to do it over. I have learned from these mistakes, however. I have learned that I cant try to cut corners and outsmart the build, and that I have to stop and re-examine why something is not working the way I had expected before proceeding.

What are you gonna do?! Now, on to the rest of the build! I am going to start work on the rudder itself until I get the parts in for the vertical stabilizer.

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01Dec17      Rudder Assembly The rudder skeleton with stiffiners cleko'd in place. Added the rudder horn support at the bo...

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