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Old 09-02-2018, 10:26 AM
N804RV's Avatar
N804RV N804RV is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mount Vernon, Wa
Posts: 740

I suspect the elevator trim tab is probably the #1 open stock purchase from Van's. I made a total of 4 attempts on my elevator trim tab. And, I finally just accepted #4, even though it wasn't perfect.

Using the form block inside the trim tab, wedged into the V jig didn't work for me. The whole thing kept moving no matter how much I tried to wedge and clamp. One thing I concluded is that the size and shape of the form block isn't as critical as securing the form block to the work piece and both to a solid surface so that it doesn't move. And, the bend line must be as accurate as possible.

I used my heavy steel backriveting plate to form the tab bend lines. I secured the trim tab under the steel plate with a couple of C-clamps on the edge of my work bench. And, I took my time in aligning the steel plate precisely to the bend line I marked on the trim tab with a fine point sharpie.

Then, I started the bend by hand, just pushing with my fingers until it was bent enough to work a 1 inch block (just a piece of wood from the scrap pile) under the edge. I then used the wood block and a mallet to finish the bend.
Ken W.
Mount Vernon, WA
2020 VAF Supporter
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:50 AM
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rvanstory rvanstory is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: New Braunfels
Posts: 380

Originally Posted by SteFree RV-8 View Post
Any help is appreciated. If nothing else, does anyone have a good set of pictures for how they did this?
Steve, I feel your pain! I had the same frustration with this. Here is a post of how I overcame the obstacle. In my opinion, the problem starts with the Van's wedge. Once I abandoned their method, it turned out to be a non-event.

Hope this helps!
Randy Vanstory
Flying RV10 - N783V
1st Flight 08/20/2020
Donation Happily Made 2021
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Old 04-16-2021, 08:58 PM
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cgeyman cgeyman is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Missoula MT
Posts: 41
Default trim tab woes

i didn't like van's method; my blocks also kept slipping a little and messed up my trim tab bend. also i didn't like the rivet gun method to pound it. I bought a ten dollar sheet metal vise grip at harbor freight (also on amazon by irwin) that bent it right where i wanted it and both sides came out matching perfectly. wished i had started with a simple bending tool.

eg IRWIN VISE-GRIP Original Locking Pliers/Sheet Metal Tool, 8-Inch

oh well; live and learn.
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Old 04-16-2021, 09:25 PM
CoolDadTed CoolDadTed is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Littleton, MA
Posts: 21

Thanks for refreshing this old thread.

After a couple of attempts, I had good luck with an interlocking wedge that didn't slip at all. You can see what it looks like in this blog post:
Ted Ross
Littleton, MA
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