The Dragonfly

Last Update-03/13/2010 01:40 AM


Well, I just returned home from my trip to Zenair in Mexico, Mo.  Man, what a fun trip!  I decided to get to work on the rudder tonight.  Here you can see the rudder nose rib, and the rudder tip below.  The nose rib helps form the leading edge of the rudder and the tip forms the very top edge and seals it shut.  I've decided that I will use masonite for the bending blocks when I only need one part.    



I experimented first with these two pieces and it worked great.  It only took 2 hours to form both and that includes laying out and cutting the form blocks.  Man this is fun.  I hope to have the whole rudder done in a few days.





It looks as though I got so caught up in building rudder parts I forgot to take pictures.  It's just the same as the other ribs.  I used a form block to build the spar but if you do so you may want to be careful.  Your rudder spar can end up looking like a banana.  I used a special backing block I made to help lay the flanges over with a 2 x 2 piece of angle to avoid stretching the flanges.  VERY TOUGH.  You really should use a brake.  I will not try that again and I got lucky with my spar .


Here it is all cleko'd together.  WOW, now I think I can almost run around and make airplane noises!






Just the back side of the previous shot.






Primed, cleko'd and ready for riveting.

At this point you really start getting excited.





Here is what the rivets looks like after they are pulled.  I bought the pneumatic rivet gun from Zenith while I was there.  The gun works great so far.  It's really nice after cutting all this metal by hand not to have to pull on that dang rivet gun. 

WORTH THE PRICE !  (89.99 at the time and that includes the machined heads-BUY IT)



Here is the lower edge of the skin as it meets the bottom rib.

The skin doesn't go all the way down to the bottom at the spar. The lowest rib comes up to meet it as you can see in the picture.




A shot of the skeleton inside the skin.  Wow.  Kinda looks like a rudder for and airplane, hmmm.






A few clekos and I'm spent!  I have worked 14 hours this weekend on the rudder.  I almost got the whole thing done.  Oh well, I figure one weekend to build this much wasn't bad





1/24/05 Monday 

Tonight I cut the skin for the nose and the two small front spar covers.  I drew a center line on the skin and hand bent it over a 1.5 inch pipe.  Worked pretty good.  Then, once the bend was started, I laid it on the table, aligned the trailing edges and forced it into shape by pressing a 2x4 toward the nose bend until it was roughly the shape I needed, all the time watching the center line on the radius.



I need to pick up some more clekos from Airparts tomorrow before I can go any farther.  If I pull anymore out of the skeleton its going to fall apart!





You can see how the tip rib is overlapped by the front skin.  I'll mark this from the inside and when I'm done drilling and cleco'en I'll cut it off when I debur the pieces




1/25/05 Tuesday

Only one week after returning with my new set of plans we have a bouncing baby rudder built from scratch.  I'm pretty excited at this point and can't wait to get riveting.  Just need to de-cleko, debur and then pop this bad boy together.   At least now when I run around the house making airplane noises I have something that looks like it came from an airplane !



This view really shows the size of the rudder.

Its amazing how light it is. 





1/28/05 Friday

It's almost done.  I'm riveting the skin to the frame for good and man is it cool!





Kayla, my eight year old,  is learning to use the cleko pliers.  Kids can learn anything.  They are like sponges soaking up all the knowledge you have to offer.  She loves working with dad.     





After a few turns at the rivet gun she was a pro.  I had to help her just a little because this thing has a small kick and has tendency to scratch if you let is bounce to bad.  She was having a good  time.





Here Lesli tries it.  I thought is was funny when Kayla, my daughter, had to show her how to use the cleko pliers correctly! 

She was having so much fun I had to kick her out so I could have some fun.  I mean you don't want to give away all the riveting this early on!



Look at that smile!   I hope she is this happy after 5000 more!





Well, here it is.  I have all but a few of the rivets in (I ran out) and it looks good.  Hard to believe that just a few weeks ago this was only a pile of metal. 





Profile shot.  The clekos in the lower spar will have to stay until I add the lower spar fairings later.





Right click HERE and "SAVE TARGET AS" to view a video of Dalton riveting the skin.





1/28/-1/30/05 Friday, Saturday and Sunday

This is either going to be the silliest or most useful thing I've ever built.  I know it isn't going to be pressing out ball joints and such , but it will press the flanges into the holes in the ribs and spars nicely I'm sure.   Now I need to turn out the punches to create the flanges.




This press is made from 2 x 6's and a 4 ton bottle jack.  I can change out the bottom plate as well as the press plate to allow things to pass through the center.  I still need some bungees or springs for the return lift system.  The eye bolts are 8" long and go all the way through the 6" width and attach with a nut and washer on the other side.

Dimensions are:

 36.5 inches high,  27 inches wide,  16 inches between the legs.