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Old 06-01-2020, 07:31 PM
Florida Boy Florida Boy is offline
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Melbourne, FL
Posts: 36
Default Rudder TE Riveting Technique Question

First build project--having fun so far--but still in the early learning stages.

Specifically, I'll be starting soon on my rudder trailing edge. Double countersinking is done in the TE wedge, double sided tape is standing by, and everything is dimpled and ready to go as soon as I finish attaching the stiffeners and shear clips to the skins.

I've been studying ahead to the trailing edge instructions and have seen some warnings about the difficulty of achieving truly straight TE's. Also seen some posts about twists occurring in the TE as rivets are final set in the double flush fashion required. Some posts have referred to setting half of the TE rivets in one direction and half in the other to minimize twist.

OK, finally the question: Since the direction of the shop head is "builder's choice" on a rudder, has anyone tried alternating rivet direction with every other rivet in the TE? If every other rivet had the shop head on the same side, alternating with manufactured heads would that not tend to offset twisting tendency? Would it look lousy as a finished product?

Maybe I'm overthinking it--wouldn't be the first time--but just curious.
Randy Carmichael
Rookie Builder
Melbourne, FL (KMLB)
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:47 PM
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wirejock wirejock is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 4,830
Default Twisted edge

Some builders do it. The twist is generated when rivets are set in a row. If you jump in a random pattern like partially setting them then increasing till they are all set, the edge will be straight. Worse thing is to fully set them one at a time in a row.
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 12/01/2021, plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (3,000+ hours)
Empennage, wings, fuse, finishing kit done. Working FWF
I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:07 PM
azflyer21 azflyer21 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Scottsdale AZ
Posts: 284

I alternated every other rivet direction and my TE came out very straight. I did use the double sided 3M tape, for me I found that a double layer of the tape has a better bond.
Kevin Lippert
RV-14A N1402 Flying 03-2020
Phase 1 Complete 07-12-2020
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:31 PM
Allan Stern Allan Stern is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cape Coral, Florida
Posts: 299
Default TE rudder

I found the 3-M double sided tape didn't stick the rudder skin to the wedge with one strip each side as I would have liked. It was adequate and I used the instructions on how to rivet. The edge was not perfect and had a very small imperfection. Mostly straight. I had concerns and thought trailing edge had to be perfectly straight. Plane is flying and have noticed no problem with rudder.

If I did it again, I think I would pro seal the rudder edge, cleco it until it had dried cleaned hole up and then rivet it.

4 time builder
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Old 06-02-2020, 02:52 AM
Richard Connell Richard Connell is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 312

I glued it all together on my -7 15y ago.
Clecoed to some thick al angle. Left it for a few weeks while I got the courage up to rivet it. No alternating of the rivets and it turned out perfectly.
10y later being a bit more gung ho I used the 3M tape on the -10 and knocked it out in a few hours. It?s straight but I?m probably not as happy with it as the original one. The tape kind of holds it together just enough to get it done but gluing the whole thing straight first seems to give a superior result. More work though.
Just another data point.
RV7 VH-XRC Sold :-(
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:22 AM
2of5 2of5 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Leamington, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 77
Default I used

Proseal, with plenty of curing time. I also partially set every 10th rivet (all heads on one side), then gradually set them fully.

Starting at post #19 in this thread.
Todd N.
Southwest Ontario
RV-14 - #140665: finishing tailcone, fuselage and finishing kit ordered.
2021 Contributor
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Old 06-02-2020, 01:54 PM
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bk1bennett bk1bennett is offline
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Sachse, TX
Posts: 82
Default Follow the directions provided by Van's


I followed the tape and the rivet approach defined by Van's on my rudder trailing edge for the RV-14A and it came out very nicely.

My experience on this, and several other questions posed as to which way to approach a step in kit assembly, is to follow the Van's Aircraft instructions. I have read many different takes on this forum, but in the end, when I follow the Van's approach it works.

Honestly, I think the tendency is to overthink. This forum is a wonderful thing, but, for me, unless I have a really good reason to deviate from plans, I will follow them as closely as I can.

This is only my first build, and who am I to say that I know better than a team of experts that sold over 10,000 kits?
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Old 06-02-2020, 04:50 PM
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mike newall mike newall is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Yorkshire, England
Posts: 2,213

Never taped.

Never Prosealed.

Always straight !

Random riveting is the way and cleco in every hole.

Also check out the funky offset rivet thang from Cleaveland - it allows for the angle and allows you to double flush. Very snazzy.
"I add a little excitement, a little spice to your lives, and all you do is complain!" - Q

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Old 06-03-2020, 02:02 AM
griffg griffg is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 48
Default Rudder trailing edge

I glued it together and then clecoed aluminium angle to both sides and left it to cure. Then I used my pneumatic squeezer to do the initial rivet set and then back riveted for the final set. I put the rivet heads all on the one side plus I went up a half size in rivet length (i.e. 3.5 to 4). The trailing edge finished up straight and it is very difficult to see which side has the shop head.
Gordon Griffin
RV-7A under construction
Catto 3 blade prop
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:14 AM
Florida Boy Florida Boy is offline
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Melbourne, FL
Posts: 36
Default Got 'er Done

Well, the trailing edge is riveted, and meets my QC standards--however inexperienced they may be.
I decided to use the 3M tape, and followed the manual procedure with the exceptions being that I alternated/opposed every other shop head along the TE and that I avoided back-riveting by using Cleaveland's handy little specialty flat squeezer set. Nothing to compare it to, since this is my first build, but the tool sure did come in handy. Pre-set each rivet with my hand squeezer then moved the special set to my air squeezer for the final set. Worked nicely IMO.
Only one problem. Seems that Van's forgot to include my second rudder. How do they expect me to fly with just one?!
Randy Carmichael
Rookie Builder
Melbourne, FL (KMLB)

Last edited by Florida Boy : 06-04-2020 at 05:31 PM.
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