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Old 05-23-2019, 11:19 AM
LCampbell LCampbell is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Columbia, MO
Posts: 41

After a successful visit from my EAA Tech Counselor, it was time to return to the previous assemblies and get them all closed up, which included the Vertical Stab, Rudder and Horizontal Stab. This whole process can be a bit overwhelming, with a 1000 small questions, but they are getting figured out and answered one by one, and it's satisfying to check off complete sections in the build manual.

The Vertical Stab finished up pretty straight forward. The Rudder went ok but had a few minor speed bumps. Surprisingly, the tank sealant/trailing edge part wasn't one of them, as that went smooth, and I think the trailing edge came out nice and straight. Although the recommended pipe to roll the Rudder leading edge worked fair, since the rudder is tapered, being wide at the bottom and more narrow at the top, it's really not the perfect shape to do this. It gets you close, and the rest is just done by hand and enthusiasm. In the end, I think it turned out ok, without it wanting to crease at the spar. The counter weight and bending the skin around it, was a surprising challenge, mostly because when making the bend, I ended up around 1/8 of an inch too close, and the lead weight did not want to fit back into position. So, since it's not like I could flatten the skin out and try again, nor could I shave lead off the weight, something had to give. In the end, I used the rivet gun itself with a flush rivet head and worked the lead to give it a slightly tapered, and rounded edge on the sides to better fill the space, and allow me to pull both skins in. With much grunting, groaning, and gnashing of teeth, I got it to an acceptable place.

After the couple of challenges on the Rudder, closing up the Horizontal Stab was quite relaxing and enjoyable. I'd say the roughest skin rivets so far, were the inner nose ribs, mostly because the skin and the rib really didn't want to be next to each other on a few of them. Other than those few, the rest went smooth. I did learn of the trick of a simple piece of the making tape on the flush rivet set, to significantly reduce scuffing up the skins. It's surprising how long that piece of tape lasts, and how much it helps. As I said at the start, so many little things to learn, but that?s part of the fun.


A funny remark from my EAA Tech Counselor when looking over my build log, was telling me you should have some pictures of you in there, so it show's you're the one doing the work. After a chuckle, here's the obligatory 'me' picture.

Pleased how the trailing edge came out on the Rudder.

Rivet gun + lead weight = custom fit shape.

Snug fit, but lead weight now fits in the space like a glove.

Last edited by LCampbell : 08-28-2020 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:29 AM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 16,182

Looking good, you are moving right along.
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:38 AM
LCampbell LCampbell is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Columbia, MO
Posts: 41

For what seems like simple objects the elevators sure do have plenty of steps to them. All done now and it went pretty well. The biggest speed bump was joining the club of the twisted elevator trim tab. I remade the left one when the first try produced a trim tab with a quarter inch of twist to it. I guess I got lucky, because the right one came out just fine. When remaking the left one, I did just about every step, with the tab weighted, clamped or taped to the glass table top trying to keep it straight. When it was done, it came out close enough to be happy with.

When it came time to rolling the leading edges, I thought that since they were straight rolls, unlike the tapered ones on the rudder, that they would go easier. I’m not sure the reason, but when it came time to roll them, I was practically doing a chin up on the pipe, trying to keep it against the table top, while my wife was trying to roll the pipe and we were both getting no-where. I thought… there has to be a better way, without all the grunting, groaning and gnashing of teeth. So, I took the pipe, and cut it to lengths that worked, and then cross drilled some ¼ inch holes through it, 45 degrees apart from each other, and a bit offset. Dressed up the holes a bit, then cut some ¼ inch spring steel rods that I had, to about one-foot lengths. Add in some clamps to hold the whole thing tight to the table top, and it made rolling the leading edges a piece of cake. Now, they could be done all by myself, nice and slow and controlled. As the pipe rolled about, just pull the top pin while still holding it in place with the second pin, and insert the one removed on the next hole that’s opened up on the pipe.

So far so good, and one more section in the ‘done’ category…. Now on to the tailcone, and still having a blast.


Under construction

Rolling the edges with little force or effort. Once they get to about here, I'd have to remove the clamp in the center of the rolling skin as it would be in the way, and have to resort to just a clamp at both ends.

Close up of clamp holding pipe to table, and rods doing the rolling work, showing offset.

Take 2 at an elevator trim tab, keeping it to square to the tabletop for about every step.

Finished result, without the twist of the the first attempt.

Nice and straight elevator trailing edges.

Last edited by LCampbell : 09-16-2019 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 12-05-2019, 03:56 PM
LCampbell LCampbell is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Columbia, MO
Posts: 41

When coming to a close of the tailcone section, you really have a sense that you're building an airplane, which is fun when it starts to come together. At this point, it's all done except a little of the fiberglass work, which should be done in short order. My Tech Counselor suggested that I leave the top rear skin only clecoed in place for now, to simplify access to wiring and other things for later. Since he's navigated numerous RV's and several RV-10's specifically, it sounded like good advice.

I finished my first 'modification' from the plans, which was adding a simple fairing over the rudder cable exits. I wanted a more finished look, and also wanted to maintain the flush look. It took some time, but I eventually figured out how to position a grid to the fuse side, so that I could transfer the stock cable exit slot, to my new backing plate, then be able to position it where it needed to go, after I had removed the original slot, all while maintaining my needed edge distances. Overall, I think they turned out looking great.

All the rest has gone smooth so far. I had one blasted rivet in the tailcone bottom, that I had a bear of a time setting, just due to the odd angle. I eventually got it done, with some help from my son, Daniel. Up until this point he was only doing the bucking bar, and he kept pestering, "I want to run the rivet gun", which I would repeatedly answer, "Not yet". Finally, on this rivet, I wanted to focus on the precise hold on the bar and turned him loose with the gun. He's normally always joking about, but when I handed him the rivet gun, and said this is the LAST skin rivet, he was all business and did a great job with it.

For all the nuts or bolts placed for good, I'm torquing them and marking them with torque seal. This was really a challenge for the retaining nuts on the rod end bearings. I had to mill down the thickness of one of the crow foot ends to get it in the space, but eventually got it done.

Slow build wings arrived a few weeks ago, and with some luck, will be starting on them Jan 1, after finishing up the last of the fiberglass work. As seen in the last few photos, the basement shop starts to get small very quickly.

This was how I transferred a slot to a new piece and yet have it go back in the same place, after having destroyed the original slot and removed it: First new backing plate has a slot cut to match original one, then trace the plate on the top, then lay out grid to mark end of the original slot, plus some alignment marks. Trace out top cover plate, then remove all un-needed skin material. Lastly, reline up the original reference marks.

My son Daniel learning how to man a bucking bar.

After 5 attempts we finally get 'the' rivet set (there's always going to be one, isn't there?), with Daniel happy to have finally been turned loose with the rivet gun.

It just seems wrong to put tools in the mill and cut on them.....

My dad stops by to help attach the tail feathers.

Last edited by LCampbell : 08-28-2020 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:46 AM
lr172 lr172 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Schaumburg, IL
Posts: 6,785

good luck on the build. My 10 should be out of Phase I later this winter and I visit Columbia via plane frequently, as my son attends Mizzou. Let me know if you would like to see the plane on one of those visits.

N64LR - RV-6A / IO-320, Flying as of 8/2015
N11LR - RV-10, Flying as of 12/2019
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:53 PM
LCampbell LCampbell is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Columbia, MO
Posts: 41

Larry, That sounds great, drop me a note when you'll be through, as I'd like to see it. So many details, and it's always good to see how others have tackled different aspects. I'm just about 15 minutes from the Columbia airport.
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Old 12-07-2019, 04:42 AM
RV10Man RV10Man is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 1,167

Lance, when I built my -10 I cut an "inspection" hole in the rear inspection plate of the tailcone. IIRC, it was about 1 1/2" diameter, riveted a piece of plexiglass on the inside of it. I did this so I could see the elevator control horn/pushrod during preflight.
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:26 PM
LCampbell LCampbell is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Columbia, MO
Posts: 41

I was going to let the last update stand for the end of the tailcone work but thought someone might find some use out of this addendum fiberglass update…

I will totally come clean that when it comes to aluminum metal working, I’m at the bottom of the learning curve. But when it comes to fiberglass, I’ve been working with it for ages… different cloths, e-glass, s-glass, carbon, Kevlar, different resins, additives, micro-balloons, cabosil, cotton flox, vacuum bagging, etc.

So, after spending the last year being blown away with the incredible accuracy of every prepunched, bent or formed piece of aluminum, I was surprised that the fiberglass wasn’t up to similar standards. Two photos below show how out of shape one of the worst was. I know that shipping or not storing it properly can deform it over time, but still, some of these were quite out of shape. I decided to solve it 3 ways…. First I clamped it for several days in the shape it should be. Then for the worst of it, applied gentle heat while clamped and pushed into the shape it should be. I’ve found you have to be incredibly careful here, but it can help. For example, the HS leading edge fairing pictured below, I applied 150 degrees (the most I would feel comfortable with) for about 5 minutes with a heat gun (monitoring with a temp gun), then let it cool down on its own for the next hour with the clamps still in place. After that process, it retained about 80% of it’s new, proper shape.

The last step was a divergence from the plans in a minor way. The foam blocks which are to be used only temporarily, I decided to incorporate permanently. First off, when properly shaped, they totally lock in the fairing shape they should hold. As step one, I applied the correct number of layers on the interior, at the same time the blocks were being glued in, providing a chemical bond between the two. Once the resin cured, I could go to the face, and sand the soft foam right back to the edge of the fiberglass. The foam sands like butter and stops when flush with the fiberglass. Then, so that the new face fiberglass would have a good hold, I took a very small Dremel bit, and cut a tiny amount of the foam away next to the original outside fiberglass (about ¼ inch deep by 1/8 inch wide). Basically, I was making the space that for the foothold ‘fillet’ to tie in, in what was just a but joint between the edge and the new face fiberglass I was about to add. The fillet was liberally mixed with micro-balloons so it’s weight would be kept to a minimum, and with it still wet, I laid down the face fiberglass, with an overlayment of three-quarter ounce deck cloth fiberglass, locking it all together chemically. That gives a pinhole free, very smooth surface with which to work on. I weighed the foam blocks I was leaving in, and all 3 totaled up to .70 of an ounce… add in the little extra resin that would not have been there otherwise, and you’re looking at the addition of about an ounce. But, now I could just about stand on them, and I will know they will hold their shape properly in the long run. A final point to the foam, is that it’s been sealed with resin on all sides. Should it come in contact with solvents, fuel or other things that might want to dissolve it, it has some protection. But the empennage should be fairly removed from these.

Another modification I did was that I was concerned about the mechanical strength in the long run with the rivet holes, and subsequent countersinks in the edges of the fiberglass. I’ve seen other environments that vibration over time, will slowly fail the fibers, one by one, and either enlarge the hole or propagate a crack to the narrow side. I’m sure it’s fine as is, as people have been having success for years. But for me, for the addition of what was just a couple ounces, I could cross it off the list of things to worry about. Kevlar can be a pain to work with, but there are certain applications that I find it can be useful, specifically where it might be met with physical abuse, such as the backside of a pulled rivet, vibrating. I used a Kevlar 1 inch tape, cut in the proper strip lengths, then laid them out on my glass table top, with plastic down under it. I wet them out, then squeegeed out all the excess on the nice flat surface, keeping weight down to a minimum, and then inserted the wet strips into place. Once cured, it drills fine, and when I was doing the pulled rivets, heard no fibers or other crunchy sounds, that can come from compressing fiberglass.

Last bit was just plain body work. There were thicker areas to fill, such as the front of the rudder top cap or the front of the elevator caps, as the shape was not even close. I used epoxy with a very liberal mix of 80% microballoons, and about 20% cabosil, to keep it from running, mixed to about a peanut butter consistency, making it pretty light. It’s pretty good about not developing cracks later if you have to do it thicker unlike other solutions, especially with the cabosil in there. The red ‘bondo’ I use only as a final, feather thin stage, as it is not very light. It sands easy, and when adjacent to harder materials, is great for that final little bit to get a good surface.

I was curious how much weight my extra primer / bondo added, so I weighed one of the elevator tips at the different stages. Bottom line was that it added only .08 of an ounce. The key to keeping the weight in check, is you have to spend the elbow grease and wet-sand most all of it back off. You save the weight, and you get smoother and smoother results in the process.

Take the above with a grain of salt from this new builder. Just sharing my steps, and your mileage might vary, but I thought this might be helpful for some.

"Out of the box" mismatch of leading edge fairing with elevator.

Also too wide...pushing it in and up a bit, helped solve it being too low in the center.

Kevlar reinforcement about to be wetted out here on the table, where all excess resin can be squeegeed out. The sticks visible inside, are just temporary, to help hold the proper shape when off the plane.

Face fiberglass curing on the foam being left in. Note the white around the perimiter, creating the greater grip 'foot' filet in the foam, and against the original fiberglass. All laid up at same time so chemically bonded as a unit.

Final result

Plastic protecting the metal, and resin/micro/cabosil mix correcting the shape on the front of the original rudder cap.

Although this looks like a lot of primer and filler, what's shown here, has added just a tiny fraction of an ounce, as it's been sanded feather thin.

Final results... shapes that match.

And gaps that match.

Last edited by LCampbell : 12-16-2019 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:28 AM
BillL BillL is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Central IL
Posts: 6,381

That glass work is not too bad to do, but the fitting and matching and bodywork is a pain and time consuming! My early 7 pieces did not fit as nice as yours . .

Nice summary!!

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Old 12-17-2019, 07:29 AM
herb.b herb.b is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Buckhart, il
Posts: 36

Very nice write up.
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