Rudder gap - to remove or not? - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:28 AM   #1
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Rudder gap - to remove or not?

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I have a problem with my ARF assembly. I glued the rudder onto the fin (3 CA hinges and the epoxied rudder steering arm), ensuring that the vertical alignment was good. Problem is, I forgot to check the horizontal alignment - the gap at the top where the rudder and fin slope up and forward is about 1/4"... and the stripes don't line up. Rookie mistake - these are the first CA hinges I've done.

I'm torn between leaving it as is and cutting the CA hinges to start over. I figure that with the hinges cut the rudder post will likely twist loose. Thoughts?

Please forgive the crappy cellphone picture:

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Old 10-03-2011, 08:49 AM   #2
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Re: Rudder gap - to remove or not?

In the spirit of a Monday morning...

I would leave it because:
  • If ever "gravity wins" you have something to blame it on!
  • If it flies perfectly you can claim credit for fixing a design flaw.
  • It is unique and will allow you to identify it if ever it gets stolen.

Ok B.S aside, it will depend on how much damage you have to do to move it and what is the likely hood you will be repairing it some day anyway. Also maybe you just cant stand looking at it!

Now I will leave it to the pros to weigh in on the aerodynamic aspect!

Go fly before it is too late!
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:38 AM   #3
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Re: Rudder gap - to remove or not?

Hi John. Other than the slight gap on the balance horn and the mis-alignment of the decals, I would leave it as well. It will fly fine and when you do a low-pass at 10 feet at 50mph, I dont think anyone will even notice!!!
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:51 AM   #4
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Re: Rudder gap - to remove or not?

Hi John,

I have had success with CA debonder. It was for a different application (removing low profile signal lights I had glued to my motorcycle....long story). After reading about your situation I went and tried removing the rudder on a P-51 I crashed. The rudder was very well attached, with no damage from the crash. Debonder worked like a charm. I only let it penetrate for about 30secs and had to apply a little force, but the longer you let it sit (they reccomend one minute) the easier it'll come apart.

The product is from Great Planes and it is called PRO CA DEBONDER. I checked Great Hobbies website, which is where I got my bottle, but it is no longer available. I did find CA debonder made by Mercury adhesives:

Team Losi also makes debonder:

I've never used the Mercury or Losi stuff.

Also the warning label says it will attack paints and decals. It didn't affaect the ultracoat on my rudder, but I imagine if those stripes you have are stickers/decals you'll have to take care not to get any on them.

Alternatively, you could cut the hinges, and re-install new hinges just above or below the ones you cut. I had to do this on a old trainer I had where half the hinges had broken. I had to cut the other ones to get the aileron off in order to install new hinges.

Hope this helps,

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Old 10-03-2011, 12:05 PM   #5
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Re: Rudder gap - to remove or not?


I too have had occation to remove ca'd hinges, but normally resort to cutting them out with a hobby knife; I didn't think to use debonder. Using a hobby knife can be messy and difficult, thanks for the great tip.

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Old 10-03-2011, 02:36 PM   #6
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Re: Rudder gap - to remove or not?

The debonder would be a first try, but if it fails, all l would do is take a hobby knife and slice the hinges off, there is still lots of room to cut some new slots and add new hinges and just redo it, you got the rudder nice and tight vertically, it would look a lot neater to have a tight gap at top as well.
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:22 PM   #7
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Re: Rudder gap - to remove or not?

I'd fix it. You've heard how a clean car seems to run better, well, a well put together airplane seems to fly better. You may be a rookie but you don't want to look/act like one. Just to make you feel better, most of us have made this and similar mistakes, we just fix them before anyone but ourselves notice!

Habits you form now will be the way you are in this sport/hobby. Take the time to do it right, you won't regret it. It's all the little things that add up that matter.
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:35 PM   #8
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Re: Rudder gap - to remove or not?

Just make a little strip to fill the gap and glue it in, throw a little covering at it and you are done.

"If my being here has made your day a little more pleasant then I have done my job" Red Skelton 1913 - 1997 (famous Comedian)
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:45 PM   #9
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Re: Rudder gap - to remove or not?

Debonder is acetone. Use a syringe or applicator to reduce colateral damage.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:04 PM   #10
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Re: Rudder gap - to remove or not?

Attention to detail is the lesson John has learned here. IMO I bet he doesn't make the same boo-boo twice. Whether you fix it or not is up to you. I would fix it, as you don't very often get to repair a plane that only has one issue. You mentioned this assembly will take a while (due to financial constraints) might as well head up the learning curve.

I was lucky enough to have built a plane from a kit, before I doinked one. What I learned from the build will stay with me until I'm put in an urn. I also recieved a lot of assistance (on-line and in person) from guys who have been building and repairing for years.

Nothing like the feeling of makin' one fly that could have ended up in the burning barrel. Yup, I vote to fix it properly!
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