Rudder spar riveted

Once I got that shear clip in the rudder fixed I was finally able to move on to the next steps. This involved getting the rudder spar riveted to the rest of the rudder. It uses several blind rivets to join it to the shear clips and then solid rivets to join it to the skins. For the solid rivets, I started by using my pneumatic squeezer with the 4 inch no-hole yoke because it is the only one I have with the reach to get past the skin on some of the rivets. This worked pretty well but I didn’t like how slanted that yoke makes the rivets due to how much the yoke flexes so I switched to the rivet gun with the flush set and a bucking bar. I’m not very good with the rivet gun yet so I ended up putting a small dent in the skin.  That’s when I got my wife to help me. She used the gun and I held the bucking bar. This worked much better than doing the rivets by myself.

Next up was the trailing edge. We went slowly and followed the instructions in the plans and I am happy to say that it was pretty uneventful. The edge never seemed to start to curve or get wavy at all. Here’s the best photo I could get of the edge.IMG_20170318_152139

Unfortunately the leading edge didn’t go as well. The plans recommend using a 1 1/4 inch pipe to roll the leading edge so I went to Home Depot and got a 1 1/4 inch PVC pipe (I accidentally bought 1 1/2 inch pipe instead of 1 1/4). The problem with that was that the inner diameter of the PVC pipe is 1 1/4 1 1/2 inches but the outer diameter is closer to 2 inches so when I tried to roll the edge with it I was barely able to get the edge to bend at all. Luckily I had some 1 inch PVC pipe which had an outer diameter closer to 1 1/4 inches. This worked better but I didn’t do a very good job. Part of the problem was that I cut the pipe down to be a little longer than the largest section of skin that I needed to roll. This didn’t give me much room to grab the pipe to roll it, especially on the shorter sections of the skin because this meant the pipe was right up against the spar. For the last two sections I rolled, I had my wife’s help and I used a much longer section of pipe that stuck out well past the end of the rudder so I could really get the leverage on the pipe that I needed to be able to roll the edge as far as I could.

I should have gone back and done all of the other edges I tried to roll with this longer section because they weren’t rolled nearly far enough. This meant that it took a lot of effort to get the skins together to try to cleco them. I got only a couple clecos in before I realized I need to do a better job rolling the edges and tried to take them out. By the time I got one of the clecos out I had a hole that looked like this:


Things had been going so well on the rudder for that last few days and that made this really upsetting. I was thinking I would drill out the damage and then make a plate that went behind this hole and extended to the holes on each side but another suggestion I received was to just put additional rivets next to the hole. I think I’ll do that since it should take less work than making a plate to fit behind all of the holes.


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