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First real job,

and it didn’t go to plan.

Turns out that this whole project will be about learning, and never giving up, NEVER !!

Tube collapsed

I started with the rudder today. Made a fixture from ply wood to make the first bend in a 7/8″ tube. There are 4 bends with a radius of 6 inch. But when I started I saw the inside wall of the tube started to collapse, so I stopped for now. Not happy with that but surely I will find a solution or this.
Maybe it is OK as you can’t see this once it is covered, so maybe I just need to continue, and if what you see here is all than it’s probably OK.

Posted a question on the Yahoo Airdrome Builders website, see what advice the guy’s have for me.


Shot peen


I have my “Shot peen” 1mm little steel balls!! I am going to use them to fill up the aluminium tubes, so when I bend them they shouldn’t kink or deform any more.

But wait: I saw the delivery van from Bullet Freight coming into work yesterday, just as I was leaving for home, and I thought oooh that might be for me, because I knew they were used by the supplier. Today I asked the lady at reception, and she said; “yes they were delivering the metal balls, but the bag had split and they were going to reorder it”.

Oh no I thought, I won’t have it in time for the weekend. So I rang them and they said I could have what was left over from the bag. They are just around the corner from work so just went there and picked it up. It’s a paper bag with a little hole in it, so I have almost the whole bag plus what they swept from the floor of the van !!!

Yes, so now I can start bending !!

Bends without kinks

My first real day working on the Bleriot. The shoot peen did make a big difference. After filling and compacting and more filling up, it just bends without any kinks. Really happy about the result!



Then the first rivet. Wow that riveter goes really well.




It’s starting to look like a rudder. Next are four ribs made from sheet material. First I will make a “bender” to bend them.


Today my first job was to make a little “bender”. I made it from 2 bits of 4 x 2, 5 hinges and a steel trip. Works great !!! Really happy. The steel strip has a bit of a radius on the end, so when I bend the rib in this case for the rudder, it had a nice radius and no problem with cracking or braking, so that’s all good 🙂



The rudder is almost done now, just two more ribs to do and a few gusset plates.

I now realize why I had the problems bending the outside tube. Robert gave 7/8 inch tube but all photo’s I have seen so far and even my drawings suggest that the tube should be 1/2 inch. Spoke with Robert and yes he had made a mistake on his bill of materials.

Bending ribs

Tonight I spent some time in the living room, bending the last two ribs for the rudder. I knew it was going to take a bit more time because my “bender”, shown above is just a little bit to short for these two ribs, but they are the only two long ones.

All other ribs are short enough to fit.


Drilled holes in the centre vertical of the rudder for the wiring to come through, to power the anti collision light. Also made a hole in the back of the fuselage, so the wiring goes all the way through the top right longeron of the fuselage.

I am hoping that I can use a vacuum cleaner to suck a string through that longeron and then pull the electric wire afterwards.

The advantage doing it this way is that the aluminium tube acts as a shield, stopping electromagnetic radiation from the wires interfering with the radio. Ah well that’s the plan anyway 🙂

Fuselage with rudder in shed

Today I mounted the rudder to see if I could park the whole fuselage with rudder into the shed. Its a bit of moving backwards and forwards, but it worked.
This means I can start finishing the rudder:

  • The fabric !!!!!!!! (will start with that tomorrow)
  • The wiring for the anti collision light 🙂
  • And the steel control cables to the pedals.

Wow that will look great, cant wait to see it. Nicki was very surprised and happy when I mentioned the fabric 🙂

Preparing for fabric

OK I have started preparing for the fabric. Finally !!

Used sticky plaster tape from the pharmacy, 3M stuff, to cover all the sharp edges and rivets. This is to stop the fabric from rubbing against it, and ripping over time.

Tomorrow I am meeting Greig, who has done this a lot so I can ask him all the things I need to know about fabric.