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Old 03-26-2017, 12:33 PM
Djgeib Djgeib is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Fernandina, Fl
Posts: 52
Default Success and problems while rolling leading edge

I'm proud to say I've made to the point to be able to roll the leading edge of my empennage parts. Started with the rudder. Picked out a 1/2 galvanized pipe (7/8 outside diameter ) for the roll. Used Gorilla tape as I fount regular duct tape tended to rip along the seem of the pipe and skin. Had great success with the top small piece of rudder. The middle section took a good bit of manipulation to fit after the roll. The bottom section has a substantial gap that I'm afraid will put too much pressure on the skin to close. Should I roll the bottom section with a larger diameter pipe?
Doug Geib
RV8 empennage complete
QB wings started
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Old 03-26-2017, 12:54 PM
ERushing's Avatar
ERushing ERushing is offline
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Underwood, WA
Posts: 380

This worked well for me:
Eric Rushing
VS, Rudder, HS, Elevator, Tailcone - Complete
QB Wings - Complete.
QB Fuse - In Process. Tail & Fuse are one.
Molalla, OR
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Old 03-26-2017, 02:05 PM
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wirejock wirejock is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 2,903
Default Rolling edge

It looks like too small a radius but it seems to fit just fine.
I used both 1/2" and 3/4". Pipes were drilled in the ends for screwdrivers to be used for leverage. Two huge J-hooks are the pivot. Ends of the J-hooks are rounded so they can ride up on the skin. Control surface is on an old shower curtain so it can slide. I used black Gorilla tape as well. First roll is done with the 1/2" pipe just to get the edge curve then 3/4" pipe finishes it off.
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 12/01/2017. Plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (1,800+ hours)
HS SB, empennage, tanks, wings, fuse, working finishing kit
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 03-26-2017, 04:45 PM
Reflex Reflex is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Kansas
Posts: 85

Very timely post as I just finished my rudder yesterday. If there's an award for spending the most time on a leading edge, I think I may win. I used the "J" hook method and found that the small section was the toughest. The bottom section went together the best and quickest for me.

What I found/realized is that:

1) Nowhere in the plans does it give you an idea of where the apex of the roll should be. Perhaps this should be obvious..but it wasn't to me <smacks head>. The apex of the roll is about 1/2" from the the spar flange.

2) There should be almost no bend at the edge of the skin. The rivets go on the tangent. So, in essence, that area should be flat.....or almost flat If it's not, then the skin will tend to curl back in toward the spar when the proper bend is made (closer to the spar).

2) The pipe (or whatever your using) should be parallel to the spar...not parallel to the edge of the skin. If it's parallel to the edge of the skin, the "small end" will be closer together than the bottom (big) end after the bend.

3) The most important part of the bend is between the apex. It's also the toughest to spot to manipulate.

4) I learned that the top skin should be bent before the bottom skin. When the top is completed, the bottom skin can be manipulated under the top skin. This only needs to happen once as the bottom skin can be massaged without having to move the top skin out of the way.

For the lower section, I started with 1" PVC (1.315 OD). Placed it parallel with the spar as far from the edge of the skin as I could and still get the skin to bend 90 degrees. I followed the 1" PVC with 3/4" PVC (1.050 OD) just a bit closer to the spar. I ended with a 1/2" OD steel bar up against the spar flange, clamped it with "J" hooks, and massaged it by hand until I had all the bend I could. After that, the remaining curve was done by hand. There was very little left to do.

The first section (small) took about 3 hours to get right...and I'm still not completely pleased with the results.

The middle section took forever. Probably 5+ hours. Then I figured things out.

The lower section took about an hour and came out perfectly.

In looking at your pictures, it appears that the apex of your bend is too close to the edge of the skin. I'd use a smaller diameter tube or pipe and try to get the bend closer to the spar. This will bring the edges together without the fear of creasing the skin at the spar.

Hope that helps.
Dues Paid for 2018
Working on Empennage

Last edited by Reflex : 03-26-2017 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 03-27-2017, 01:19 PM
Djgeib Djgeib is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Fernandina, Fl
Posts: 52

Thanks for all the tips. I was able to use a slightly larger diameter pipe this morning to increase the radius of the large section and move the bend closer to the spar. It took quite a bit of manipulation by hand assisted with gorilla tape. Don't think my rolls will win any awards, but it's all together. Will take advice and try to do better on the elevators. Right one is ready to go now..
Doug Geib
RV8 empennage complete
QB wings started
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