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Mar 22, 2018, 06:52 PM
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Zbip57's Avatar
I've been stuck fretting about how to make the rudder because, how the heck are you supposed to cross-drill holes through a 1/4" stainless steel shaft?

I first tried it on the softer aluminum fin-pins. I used a piece of hardwood, drilled a 1/4" hole, then drilled a 1/16" hole intersecting through the side of that first hole. Then insert the aluminum fin-pin into the block of hardwood and run the 1/16" drill bit through to drill through the pin. That worked great -- but only twice.

Then I snapped two drill bits and gave up on the rest. I'm just using 1/4" bolts instead now. That's way easier.

So on to the rudder shaft... I get it. You can't just glue a round shaft into the rudder plywood, for fear that the shaft will eventually break free and spin loose. Hence the need for the cross-shafts, solidly fixed through the rudder shaft. But how to drill those holes?

Instead I tried taking some 1/16" stainless tig-weld rod and twisted it around the rudder shaft, secured by solder. Nope! Disappointing. Doesn't work. Solder doesn't hold and the round rudder shaft spins loose.

So I took a grinder to the rudder shaft and reshaped it into a square profile, just the bottom portion of the length that is embedded in the rudder plate. Then twisted the wire tight, and squeezed the tip with vice-grips. That adequately locks the wires to the square shaft.

It took a bit of fiddling to ensure the three twisted wires ended up straight and parallel, but they're good and solid.

Then I epoxied the shaft and wires securely into the rudder plywood. It's solid!

The first application of epoxy filler needed a bit of sanding, and since then I've subsequently applied a second thin coating of epoxy filler on top of that. Waiting for that to cure now, then sand some more, and wrap it in fibreglass.
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Mar 22, 2018, 08:45 PM
Mad on modding
robcrusoe's Avatar

Rudder stuff

I sail on freshwater only so toughened steel piano wire works fine in marine quality ply.
Might have posted this elsewhere but basically I make an angled bend well down so it cannot move after gluing and finishing. Also deeply score the shaft so the epoxy gets a solid grip on it.
I grind a flat notch at the head to take a double armed steering fitting. A notch is better than just a long flat, the notch will holed the rudder for some time even if it gets loose. A flat will just murmur "diving!"

Tip: Don't use aerosol paint to finish, no matte how well it goes on, it degenerates too quickly. Brushed on enamel with brushed on clear coats is long lasting.
Mar 23, 2018, 12:28 PM
sailtails - YouTube
Gary Webb's Avatar

Drilling thru round rod (rudder or fin pins)

Thanks Zbip57 for bringing this topic up. I use a couple of simple "tricks" to make this job easier, whether drilling stainless steel or aluminum.
First, I file a small FLAT(s) on the round surface, then CENTER PUNCH the spot(s).
Then HOLD the piece SECURELY. (Hold it in a vise or clamp it down to a bench or a larger piece of wood)
Drilling can be done by hand held drill (yes, I have done it this way) or preferably, with a drill press. In either case, use a sharp drill bit and oil, almost any kind of oil.
Lastly, don't be intimidated by "stainless steel". There are different types, but most are actually rather soft and not hard to cut or drill. Don't try to go too fast, if drilling larger holes (1/4" or more) drill a 1/8" pilot hole first, then use SLOWER drill SPEED for the larger bits. Stainless does not transfer heat as well as other metals and high speeds can cause enough heat to not only burn up the drill bit but also harden the surface of the stainless steel, making it very difficult to drill.
Cheers, Gary
Mar 23, 2018, 05:10 PM
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Zbip57's Avatar
Thanks Gary! You make it sound so simple.

I'm already committed with my rudder assembly, but I think I'll have another go at the aluminum fin pins.

I did buy nuts and bolts for hanging the keel fin but, although those work just fine, I can see how in the long run they might get tedious. Always need to remember to bring along spanners for those bolts whenever wanting to mount/dismount the keel fin. Then there's the ever present danger of inadvertently over-tightening the bolts and crushing the fin box. That'd be tragic.

Your fin pins are a much more elegant solution. No tools required, and no chance of ever over-tightening. That does seem worth doing.
Mar 23, 2018, 05:22 PM
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Zbip57's Avatar
Originally Posted by robcrusoe
I grind a flat notch at the head to take a double armed steering fitting. A notch is better than just a long flat, the notch will hold the rudder for some time even if it gets loose. A flat will just murmur "diving!"
I can certainly see the value of grinding just a notch if the set screw in your steering arm is the only thing that's holding the rudder shaft from falling out the bottom of the boat.

But with the top of the rudder shaft threaded and supported by nuts and washers, then the set screw in the steering arm only serves to prevent the arm twisting on the shaft. To remove the rudder, it's just a matter of undoing the wing-nut on top, then loosening the set screw on the steering arm just enough so the arm slides off. If the flat section is ground all the way to the top of the shaft, then the set screw only needs to be slightly loosened. If instead the set screw seats into a notch then the screw needs tobe backed right out to remove the steering arm.
Mar 23, 2018, 09:03 PM
Cheers and beers!🍻
Another helpful hint for drilling stainless steel is to make sure you are using a ‘COBALT’ Drill bit. They are more expensive but ohhh so worth it!
Mar 24, 2018, 07:56 PM
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Zbip57's Avatar
Originally Posted by Zbip57
I think I'll have another go at the aluminum fin pins.
Mar 29, 2018, 11:39 AM
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Zbip57's Avatar
More progress. I've stained the deck. Additional coats of varnish still required...

I learned another thing along the way. (Too soon old, and too late smart.)

In his plans, Gary suggests painting the deck, not staining. I think I know why now. All the spots where I was bit sloppy with the glue, those really didn't matter much before. But all those spots, no matter how much I sanded beforehand, won't accept the stain. So while the clean wood stains up nicely, all the glued spots remain the original blond colour. Painting a solid colour would hide all that.

Oh well, so it's good from far, but far from good. It gives it a deliberately weathered look. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I decided to extend the flared trumpets, where the sheets come up through the deck. If those are too low, i.e. flush with the deck, if (when) water splashes across the deck, I didn't want it going straight down those pipes.
Mar 29, 2018, 11:52 AM
Cheers and beers!🍻
Looks great! Exciting times at every step!
Mar 29, 2018, 12:36 PM
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Zbip57's Avatar
Originally Posted by Jimbo Sailor
Looks great! Exciting times at every step!
Sometimes a little too exciting!

Another thing I learned, which should have been obvious...

Pieces that fit perfectly prior to assembly, will no longer fit perfectly after three coats of paint. Duh.

After much fussing to fit the servo into the wheelhouse in such a manner that it could still be removed if ever required, and making the compass binnacle, and buying a ship's wheel, staining and varnishing the top surface of the wheelhouse, painting the sides white, adding grab rails on the sides, staining and varnishing and attaching the wheel, gluing down the compass, staining and varnishing the rear hatch cover, I finally worked up the nerve to commit to gluing the wheelhouse permanently to the hatch cover.

Except, with the paint and a thin layer of applied epoxy, now it fit a little too snug and didn't want to stay in place while the epoxy cured. No problem, I thought to myself. I'll just clamp it down until the epoxy sets.



The clamp slipped and fired the pieces off my table!!

I see the wheelhouse with heavy servo already installed, with sticky epoxy already applied, with compass attached, with delicate and vulnerable wheel attached, all flung off the edge of the table and drop toward the hard floor. NOooooooooooooo...

To save it from smashing onto the floor, I instinctively kicked my foot out hoping to cushion the landing. Ya right.

Instead I drop-kicked the poor thing, punted it far across the room, where it splatted against the wall. Brilliant! I'm such an idiot.

I'm expecting find the wheel shattered, compass smashed, grab rails snapped having torn big chunks of white paint off the sides of the wheelhouse. But no.

Incredibly, other than dirt embedded in the 15-minute epoxy which (happily) could still quickly be scraped off, the only damage was some crushing to the right-rear (starboard-aft) corner of the top of the wheelhouse.

You can see it in this photo. That corner is flattened.

I lightly sanded the splintered edges, applied more varnish, and now it merely adds a bit more to that deliberately weathered look...
Mar 29, 2018, 12:50 PM
Registered User
Zbip57's Avatar
While I was slumped at my worktable, contemplating life and trying hard not to cry over crushing the corner of my wheelhouse, this little guy came right up to my window to console me.

How cool is that?
Mar 29, 2018, 12:52 PM
a.k.a. Bob Parks
bbbp's Avatar
Standard kitchen vinegar will dissolve the uncured epoxy, just like alcohol, and is somewhat harmless, if you ever need to remove wet epoxy.

Mar 29, 2018, 01:04 PM
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Thread OP

Live where the wild things live!

Originally Posted by Zbip57
... this little guy came right up to my window to console me.

How cool is that?
Sweet! Don't you love having wild neighbors? Our granddaughter was visiting on Christmas Day when a mother and calf moose ambled right up to our doorway. Lily loves mooses and was so excited!
Mar 29, 2018, 07:54 PM
Cheers and beers!🍻
Zbip57...OMG! I think I just found my identical twin brother separated at birth!
I had the same kinda problem with incompatible paints I used on the hull interior that had to be completely stripped out and re done! Good that we can laugh at ourselves
Mar 29, 2018, 08:13 PM
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Claybury's Avatar
Originally Posted by Zbip57
While I was slumped at my worktable, contemplating life and trying hard not to cry over crushing the corner of my wheelhouse

How cool is that?
Boat builder “Dynamite” Payson advocated having a Moaning chair in the shop. When you screwed something up you walked away from the work, sat in the chair and had a cup of coffe while you bemoaned your fate. Then you got up and went back to work.

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