Monthly Archives: November 2011

Bending parts on my new brake

Now that I finished my 8′ metal brake, I have been able to bend a lot of the aluminum channel that is too long for my harbor freight 30″ brake.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to spend less time using this brake than I spent building it.

Here’s the pile of parts I’ve bent since building the brake.

Metal Brake

I decided to build Dave’s simple sheet metal brake for some of the longer bends on the scratch-built fuselage.  I bought my steel from Service Steel, Inc., but didn’t originally tell them I was using the steel in a sheet metal brake and I needed the steel as straight as possible.  Two of the 8′ lengths were almost perfect and I riveted them together with a steel hinge.  The third piece was to be bolted on top to clamp down on the metal being bent, but it was bowed by 1/8″.  Unable to think of a method of bending the steel that didn’t involve doing dangerous things with cars or car jacks, I contacted Service Steel and they let me trade the piece out for a straighter piece that worked great.

Here I am after bending the first 38″ piece.  I am going to work my way up to the longer ones as I determine if I have a sufficient number of bolts and if my handles are satisfactory.

More parts and longerons

Here’s an assortment of parts I’ve been working on.

I’m pretty close to where I can start putting the aft fuselage together once I finish building my sheet metal brake.  Instead of working on the brake, I have been jumping around making all the low-hanging fruit in the fuselage section.  I have been dreading the slots in the forward fuselage longeron that the canopy latches slide into.  I ended up using the jigsaw method to cut the slots.  It is probably a less-than-ideal method, but I decided to just get it done and quit worrying about it.  I am pleased with the results–I just need to do a little more work with the file.

There’s gotta be a rule against using a jigsaw like this.

I used the same technique on the phenolic–in fact I tried it on the phenolic first.

Here are the completed slots and countersunk holes.  I had it all bolted together, but then realized I had more holes to drill and had to take it all apart.


Fuselage splice plates

I cut my splice plates out on the bandsaw and was worried how I would create the precisely chamfered edges.  I ended up getting the critical edges perfectly straight with my vixen file, then used a chamfering router bit to do the edge.  It worked great.

I also bent the parts using the v-block and steel pipe in a vise method.  This is how they are supposed to fit together.

It’s been a while since I had a picture of me working on the plane.  Here I am deburring the holes on a splice plate.