Rudder assembly

September 23 and 29: Continuing on with assembling the rudder after priming.

Had another of what I thought was an “oops” moment when I saw that I placed the shop head of rivets on the rudder spar on the side of the thinner metal. I took pictures and emailed Vans support asking if I needed to drill these out and replace them.

Sterling replied that the manufactured/shop head standard is not mandatory, as universal head rivets have the same strength no matter the head orientation, and to build on.

Rudder (and first destroyed part)

August 30: Work begins on the rudder. Shear clips cut apart per plans, deburred, prepped. Same with the rudder stiffeners.

Then I destroyed my first part. I don’t have a bandsaw (yet), so when I went to separate the R-00904A-1 from B-1 with metal snips, the flange of A-1 bent away and a small but visible crack was produced. Into the scrap bin with it, and off to order another one from Vans.

Lesson learned: I tried cutting up to the marked line to separate the two parts instead of rough cutting down the middle of the gore between them. Mistake two was using snips to cut thick metal in this manner. A bandsaw is on the shopping list before I get too much further into this.

Living >just< across the border, it’s much faster and cheaper to have things shipped to me in Michigan to my employer’s office there. I work there usually once a week, so it makes thing simpler. And I’ve up until this point had good luck using USPS. But this time, the replacement R-00904 bottom rib was lost in transit. USPS tracking showed it arriving in Portland after departing Vans, then nothing. For a week.

I eventually contacted Vans, who sent out a replacement, FedEx 2 day this time, for an additional $40-plus dollars, but no charge for the part.

The original USPS order eventually updated tracking over two weeks later, showing it was delivered to our front office. I went the next morning but no package. I even had security pull video footage at the time it was allegedly delivered, with no evidence of a mail carrier.

It finally showed up a month after that, mid-October, from who knows where. So nearly two months for a replacement rib via USPS. I refused shipment and Vans just got it back October 23 and processed the return for me. Stellar service from Vans, but I think I’ll stick with FedEx or UPS from now on.