Initial Rudder Assembly, Fabrication, and Drilling

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With the girlfriend out running errands, and the house to myself, I got to make as many loud noises as I wanted this morning.

First, I jumped back to the part in the directions where they have you enlarge the hole on the flange of the rudder bottom rib to 3/8″. I started with a #30, then #21, #12, 3/16″, 7/32″ and finally, 3/8″. (I may have also used a 5/32″ in there, too, I can’t remember. You can see it turned out pretty well. I didn’t take a picture every step, just a few so you get the idea.

Here's the #21.


I think this might be the 7/32."

Finally, with the 3/8" bit. Looks good to me.

Then I disassembled to check the hole clearance on the flange.

Think I have 2 times diameter? Nope. Apparently, this is okay, since it is not a structural hole. This is as designed.

Next, time to fabricate R-917 (shim) per the plans. From other builders websites, I’ve gathered you are supposed to use the Trim Bundle, Emp.

Here's the trim bundle, fished out from one of my workbench shelves.

To give you an idea of what is included, there are 4 pieces of .032″ on the left, 3 pieces of .016″ in the middle, and 3 pieces of .025″ on the right.

0.032", 0.016", and 0.025", respectively.

The plans call out .032″.

Here's my piece.

Of course, it’s 2024. You can see the callout on the plans in the lower right corner.

I drew some lines on the piece...

I transfered the dimensions…


Then, I made a rough pass with snips, and finished up on the scotchbrite wheel.

Scotchbrite wheel, compressor, and the newly fabricated R-917 shim.

I centerpunched the two outer hole markings, and drilled one hole to #30 per the plans, and one to #40. My plan is to matchrill the #30 hole (top one in the following picture), cleco it down, and then enlarge (matchdrill) the #40 hole to a #30 once I have everything fitted correctly. Here, you can see the lower hole in the shim doesn’t line up perfectly.

Lower hole doesn't line up perfectly. I used a file and the scotchbrite pad to clean up the right edge before enlarging to #30.

Next, they have you lay in the Rudder horn (R-405PD), cleco, and matchdrill the 4  upper #30 holes (right side of the picture).

The clecos on the right are holding R-606PP (spar reinforcement) on the forward side of the spar.

Next, they want you to round out the edge of R-405PD horn so it lays in nicely with the R-904 bottom rib. You can see here, it won’t work as is.

No good. Must round.

The scotchbrite wheel made quick work of this.

Much better.

After clecoing everything back to the spar, I flipped it over and matchdrilled all of the remaining #30 holes through the reinforcement plate, spar, shim, and rudder horn.

Matchrilling glory.

Then, I loaded up the #40 bit and matdrilled all of the holes in the counterbalance skin. Pictures of matchrilling aren’t interesting, so I just took one once I was done.

Boring matchdrilling.

THEN YOU GET TO CLECO ON THE SKIN! Wuhoo! Left side first…

Wuhoo! (Saggy trailing edge wuhoo, but wuhoo nonetheless.)

Then flip the bad boy over…

Ready to cleco on the right side.

And cleco on the right skin.

It's starting to look like a rudder.

Then, slide in the trailing edge wedge.

Trailing edge wedge...

Crap, I started clecoing it in backwards. This v shape is supposed to go forward, and the pointy end back.

It would be kind of a cool looking trailing edge,

Once I got it in the right direction, I took a step back to admire how much my rudder looks like a rudder. Then, I matchdrilled the remaining holes in the skin. There were a hole bunch, but I only took one picture at the end. Here you go.

The two skins completely matchdrilled.

Once that was done, I grabbed the rudder brace, and heeding some great advice from other builders, drew my cut line north of the guide holes.

Here's the left side.

And here’s the right side after the cut.

The right side guide hole is underneath the sticker. Sorry.

And the right side after cutting. You can see I stayed away from the line when using my snips. I’ll approach it carefully with the scotchbrite wheel.


After getting the brace close, I went through a couple fit and trim iterations before finally getting a good fit and getting the holes matchrilled.

Good fit, and matchrilled successfully.

With the brace complete, it was time to move on to the fairing attach strips. Here’s the piece they want you to use.

Rudder attach strip stock. Say that three times fast.

After trimming to 18 inches.

Two attach strips and a pieces of scrap.

Then, I transferred the dimensions on the drawing to the two strips

Ready to snip.

Then, I used the snips, clamped the two pieces together, and took them over to the scotchbrite wheel for some cleanup.

Here they are, ready to be drilled to the rudder.

To drill them on the rudder (without a lot of guidance from the manual), I clamped them in place (once I figured out where I wanted them, which appears to be up to you). I left about 1/16″ between the diagonal cutout on the strips and the back of the rudder brace.

Clamped, and ready to start drilling.

Because I generally don’t like drilling into my own fingers, I use two clamps around two holes, drill those two, and put a cleco in the second hole.

Clamp and drill, drill, cleco. Clamp and drill, drill, cleco. Down the line.

Here’s the after shot for the right attach strip.

Right attach strip complete.

I repeated the process for the left side. You don’t need any pictures, do you? Fine. Here’s an after shot.

Both attach strips done.

Finally, I found one rivet on the left skin that I wanted to drill out.

Sitting a little proud, eh?

#40 dril, right down the middle.

Centerpunched and drilled.

Then, I flip the bit around (or grab the back of a spare bit), stick it in the hole and…

Ready to remove the rivet.


The rivet head pulling out.

After that, you are usually left with the shaft and shop head of the rivet stuck in the hole.

Part of the rivet remains.

You can use a punch or drill bit to push it out the backside.

Here's the hole, ready for a new rivet. Looks like I may need to clean up the hole a little on the right side. I'll take a closer look once I pull the skins off the skeleton.

Great day today. No rivets set, and one drilled out, but a ton of productive loud noise time while the girlfriend was out doing errands.

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