October 9, 2005

Yesterday I pretty much had the whole rudder assembled with clecos. Now comes the pain in the butt part of disassembling, deburing, dimpling and priming. Some people can do all of that in, like, 10 minutes. Sorry but it takes me pretty much all day.

Here's the screen I use to apply primer. Actually, this was one case were Jommi (our dog) actually DID help out a bit. He basically went charging out the sliding screen door in the back yard...didn't break the screen, but bent the frame. I replaced it a couple of weeks ago and was just about to throw out this old one when I realized it'd make a great screen for priming parts. I just put the screen between two folding plastic saw horses, and voila! Just don't dry your MetalPrep'd parts on it, though. The pieces will pick up this residue from the screen. Ask me how I know this...

This is the trailing edge of the rib at the top of the rudder. There was just no way to dimple this hole...I tried every tool and technique I could think of (maybe someone out there figured out how to do it...send me an e-mail, please. I'd love to know what technique you used). Anyhow, I just ended up countersinking it. It's thick enough (barely).

Update 10/25/05: Dan Checkoway has a very clever and elegant solution to this dimpling problem - bend the stupid thing apart a bit, dimple it, then bend it back. Now, why didn't I think of that?? Thanks Dan!

This is the wedge at the trailing edge of the rudder. You have to countersink both sides. I've seen about 3 bazzilion ways to jig this up in order to countersink it. The problem is that it's at an angle AND the piece is too thin to just place on your bench. The pilot for the countersink hit's the bench on the other side. I contemplated my options. Three sips of beer later, I decided to just hold the stupid thing in my hand and let the pilot/cage on the countersink bit do it's job. It worked out just fine.

Yikes...the dreaded dimple-8. I sneezed while I was getting it all lined up. Apparently, I had my hand resting on the trigger with the safety disengaged (there's not a real "safety" but anyone who owns a pneumatic squeezer knows what I mean...you have to life the trigger in a certain way in order to get it to operate). There's any number of ways of dealing with this woopsie. You can:
a) Ignore it...just put a rivet in there anyway and hope nothing cracks
b) Just leave that rivet out. I mean, it's just *1* rivet out of zillions, and you're not even going to see it (this will eventually be covered with a layer of fiberglass when I install the bottom rudder tip)
c) Order a new skin. 6 Months ago when I started this project, that's exactly what I would have done.

Update 10/10/05: By the way, don't REALLY do any of this (except maybe order a new skin). In fact, don't ever ever ever do ANYTHING based on anything you read on this stupid website. When it comes to building aircraft I'm dumber than dirt.

Update 10/25/05: Vans said, and I quote, "Rivet it, putty it, and forget it". So there you go...

Or d), just drill a hole right next to it for a new rivet and move on. That's what I decided to do. Here's the rib clecoed in place so I can drill another hole.

There's the new hole. Note, I forgot to drill another hole in the rudder horn brace. I'll just do that when I final assemble everthing (and debur and dimple etc of course). The messed up hole goes through the skin, the rib AND the brace as well. What I'll probably end up doing is when I rivet this all together, I'll put some blue RTV in between the skin and the rib at the screwed up hole location, then stick a pop rivet through it just to hold everything together. This won't give any extra strength (although it will attach the brace to the rib) but more importantly will keep the skin from chattering which may lead to a crack later on. I'm debating if that's the right this to do. I have an e-mail into Vans about this. Maybe just RTV with no rivet? Maybe just leave it be? We'll see.

Finally got everything cleaned and primed. The wind was HOWLING today. I had to wait a couple of hours until it eased up a bit in order to prime.

Incidentally, this is how a part should look after being primed. It's tough to see in this picture, but the primer is just a very thin coat that's nearly transluscent. I'm not going to pretend that I'm an expert on primers, or anything, but this is what the manufacturer says and I'm not going to second guess them. That's all you need for protection. Anything else is for looks and just adds weight. I've switched back to AFS from AKZO, by the way. Epoxy primer is just way too time consuming. The AFS is so convenient and easy to use, I'll live with the fact that it's just a bit less durable when I whack it with a bucking bar.

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