Finishing the Rudder

While Tammy and Acacia were taking a nap, I decided to sneak off to the shop and get some work done on the airplane.  Since the trailing edge of the rudder was completed a few days ago, its time to finish it up, and that means bending the leading edge and threading in the mounting hardware.  I started off by bending the leading edges, which is done exactly like the elevators in previous posts.  I used Gorilla tape on the leading edges, and then a piece of wooden dowel rod as a rolling pin to roll the edges gently into a nice curved shape.  

Once both sides have been rolled I had to finish the bends by hand to make sure the skins are lining up with the pre-punched holes, and to make the leading edge bend nice and neat and smooth.  This is not a gentle process, and takes a lot of work to get the metal where I wanted it, but ultimately I got the bends to where I was happy.  Then I used 3/32″ clecos in the #40 holes to hold the bends while I match drilled everything to a #30 hole for the AD-41-ABS blind rivets.  As I drilled the holes, I replaced it with the larger 1/8″ cleco.

Once I had all the holes match drilled, It was time to deburr the holes.  Since this part is hard to get to, I used a scotchbrite pad on all the surfaces I couldn’t reach with my deburring tool and made sure they felt nice and smooth with my fingers before moving on. Once the holes were deburred, I clecoed it all back together using 1/8″ clecos and started the blind riveting process, one hole at a time. These came out looking pretty good!

I decided to go ahead and thread the eye bolts into the mount holes of the rudder and get them roughly into position.  I picked through my hardware bags until I found the proper eye bolts, and their jam nuts, then I coated the threads with a good helping of Boelube to help with the platenuts.  I threaded them all in, and got them to roughly where they need to be per the plans as far as depth.  I will temporarily mount the rudder to the vertical stabilizer in a few days to do the final alignment of the eye bolts, and then tighten the jam nuts fully to set their position.  I am happy with how the rudder came out!

Here is a gallery of all of tonights photos:

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Hours Worked: 1.5


Bending the Left Elevator Leading Edge

After getting the right elevator bent,  it was time to move on the left.  This process is pretty much identical to the right elevator, so I will leave out all the details.  I did it exactly this one the same way as I did the right.  First up is to break the edges of the top skin to help the lap joint form a nice tight lap.  I used my edge breaking tool to do this.  Then, starting out by bending the top skin leading edge, I used a dowel rod and gorilla tape to roll it to the right bend, and then finished it off with my hands.  I did the same with the bottom skin.   Once all the bends were made, I clecoed them together.

The next step is to match drill all the holes to a #30 hole for the AD-41-ABS blind rivets. I did one hole at a time, and replaced it with a 1/8 inch cleco as I went. Once all the holes were drilled to the proper size, I unclecoed everything and deburred the holes with a scotchbrite pad.  Then, re-assembled everything back with the clecos to hold them in place while I set the blind rivets. I worked my way down the leading edges, removing a cleco and setting a blind rivet as I went.  Eventually, it was all riveted together and looking good:

The last step for the night was to install the AN316-6 jam nut onto the  MD3614M rod end bearing, and then insert that into the plate nuts on the spar.  I used Boelube on the threads to make this a bit easier, because platenuts can be hard to thread into.  I don’t have my rod end bearing tool made yet to thread these all the way in, nor do I have a caliper to measure the distance, so I just threaded them in a few turns and I will come back and get them set to the proper depth when I have those tools.  I need to do this to the right elevator as well.  Here’s the photos from tonights work:

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Hours Worked: 1.25