Rudder 6 (0.5 hr)


Tonight was just not my night.  I had to walk away from the kit because I was too angry over little stuff to continue.

But more on that in a minute. I should have known right from the start that my brain was not firing on all cylinders this evening. I wanted to stop dimpling and finish more parts for priming.  The next step in the manual is to fabricate the the R-717 and R-716 from 032 alclad aluminum.  Okay.  Easy enough.  Where’s the alclad?  Wait a min!  Van’s didn’t include any.  I thought that was odd.  I have plenty of scrap…. but none apparently of the correct size.  Then I spotted the “Trim Bundle, Emp.”  Is that the alclad I’m supposed to use?  It doesn’t say anything about this anywhere.  So, I called Van’s to make sure thats what this pack of alclad was for.  All in all this took me 20 min of my 30 min session.  Measuring the two pieces for fabrication took all of two min.  Then I realized I had to bend the trailing edge before working on the spar. So continuing to fabricate was useless as I decided I should prime the interior before doing that.  Which brings us full circle back to dimpling… and to my mistakes (plural!) for the night. (albeit they are minor mistakes)

So what happened?  The other day when removing the blue plastic from the interior of the rudder I asked my wife to give me a hand.  We were pulling the plastic off as a team and I noticed her bending the rudder rather harshly.   Before I could stop her she had put the smallest crinkle in the skin.  Its barely noticeable and not a show stopper, but frustrating nevertheless.  I couldn’t be mad with her, as it wasn’t her fault.  I should have been paying closer attention.  She was very self conscious that she had made an error and me being upset would have only served to upset her.  Besides, it didn’t matter.  Which brings us to tonight.

The first mistake.  After figuring out what was going on with the shims I had to fabricate, I decided to continue dimpling.  I figured I could do every hole including the holes nearest to the folded trailing edge.  I was right. It can be done, but in my case not well.  I have a small smiley from the skin laying just slightly unevenly.  It too is barely noticeable, and certainly not a show stopper, but enough to piss me off.

The final mistake.  What makes me so mad about this one, is that I was being so careful and I don’t even know how it happened!!! Somehow the male dimple die left a little dimple on the outside of the skin.  I had no weight on the rudder and I certainly didn’t strike it.  You can see from the photo below that its a purely cosmetic problem.  I can most likely completely hide it with a little extra paint or even some epoxy.  But, I really hate to use either of those techniques on a control surface.  I’m beginning to feel like my rudder is going to look like shit!

At this point it was time to walk away.  It was a long day, I was tired, and clearly not performing up to standard.  Continuing to work would not have done me any favors.

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