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making rudders

how to make your own rudder

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HMS Consort

HMS Consort

JOHN EDWARDS and his model

steven smith 602/10/2020 11:03:55
63 forum posts
30 photos

So, my first go at making twin rudders.

I am using copper sheet to make a pair of naval rudders for a c class destroyer, a 1/72 scale fibreglass hull that I inherited. on my plan rudders are unusual shape from todays rudders, or one's I can find, hence making my own......

My idea is to use brass rod, and solder it to the copper, end of skills. As I've not done this before, any of it.

Question is... what next? How do I create a stock for the two rudders?

What is needed and where to buy it.

David Marks 102/10/2020 11:18:00
255 forum posts
44 photos

Steven. Perhaps you could explain what you mean by the term "stock"

Tim Cooper02/10/2020 11:36:22
400 forum posts
176 photos


I have bought commercial rudders and changed the shape of the brass plate to suit. On several models I have changed the shape by gluing plasticard on and using filler.


neil howard-pritchard02/10/2020 16:47:37
1707 forum posts
1293 photos

steven, have a look at my build thread here, page 1/2 where I show the building of my purpose shaped rudders for a lifeboat.

I have used this method of fabricating rudders of all shapes and sizes of different types of models, trawlers, tugs lifeboats and warships over the years and they are cheap to make, and never fail can make any rudder to your own needs, and easier than spending time soldering......easy to maintain too.

ashley needham02/10/2020 18:25:37
6983 forum posts
206 photos

Steven. You ask a question to which everyone has their own preferred method of construction, and thus the replies may seem to be at odds with each other, which is not the case.

There is no “best” method as such.

personally I like to use 5mm brass rod, little slot in one end into which the brass rudder shape is fitted and then solder. 5.5mm thin wall brass tube is a nice sliding fit over this shaft.

For the tiller I favour the clamp-on black nylon ones, which can be fitted tight enough to hold, but not so tight that hand adjustment is difficult.

Purchasing a commercial rudder assembly has its merits as suggested and is easy...and probably less expensive than buying the materials needed if you don’t already have them.


steven smith 603/10/2020 10:05:16
63 forum posts
30 photos

Thanks for all your replies, thanks ashley need ham as you stated there are many good ways to produce the outcome needed. good strategy.

Tim Cooper has given me the best idea, as I don't have soldering experience or equipment., but do have 2 rudders, cheers

Thanks to neil howard-pritchard for the build link,

I am now not so

Cheers guys.

steven smith 603/10/2020 11:08:24
63 forum posts
30 photos

Here is my rudder before and after, I think this will work well...

There is a slight loss, forward and aft, but only 5mm, I have dropped the rudder depth a few mm to compensate slightly, but overall it looks well on the hull.  



Edited By steven smith 6 on 03/10/2020 11:10:39

Malcolm Frary04/10/2020 09:57:13
971 forum posts

I have used Neil's method for about the length of time that I have built model boats. Simple and effective. A later thought was to not bend the rod, just file a flat on each side where it is going inside the blade. When epoxied into place, works just as well. Idea grabbed when replacing a Chinese "stainless" rod on a plastic rudder on a yacht.

Smaller rudders, the brass plate method, either using a slot in the end of a 5mm rod, or, using a longer 3mm rod with a flat where the blade is to butt join to the rod. I have been told many times that that can't work with reglaular soft solder. If I had been told that 30 years ago, I might not have done it that way. A 3mm rod has the advantage that tiller arms are cheap - a brass arm ready to accept a hole at the right distance and having a 3mm hole plus a brass screw is cheaply available, free with any dead electrical appliance. It's called a "13 Amp Plug". Choice of 2 arms. Sometimes needs a bit of filing to thin down to make threading a link wire through.

steven smith 605/10/2020 22:02:29
63 forum posts
30 photos

Never even thought about that, and I've thrown away plenty of plugs... and using my favorite

steven smith 605/10/2020 22:04:12
63 forum posts
30 photos

Has anyone got a good strategy for aligning prop shafts...

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