Making a Brake for It

I apologize for the punny title, but since my last entry I’ve literally been making a brake for it! As I mentioned last time, I bought the materials to make my version of the “Dave Clay” bending brake that I could use for making lots of the parts for the plane. The last three weekends have been spent drilling, and drilling, and drilling those heavy pieces of steel. I lost count, but I know there’s over 100 holes in the project. That job was made easier by using good, sharp drill bits!

I started out using the drill press, but quickly decided it was easier to just clamp it together and drill it on the floor using a powerful hand drill.

Here it is all clamped together, drilling in progress.

After getting it all drilled and the hinge attached, I started looking at my bench and realized over the years it had sagged and was no longer flat. Drats! Time to get some fresh lumber and plywood and make a new (and stronger) top.

After getting the frame done and the plywood attached, it was starting to look more like a bench.

Meanwhile, I realized this sucker was too heavy for me to lift back onto the bench and get it clamped for (more) drilling! Luckily my friend Brian was in town for the F1 race and gave me a hand.

Brian also has good taste in cars, though one might call him a copy cat since I had my S4 first…

Square tubing was cut, drilled and bolted together for the handle.

And by the magic of the internet, suddenly it’s cleaned, painted and re-assembled, complete with helper-springs on the ends that allow me to lift the clamping leaf off the part with one hand (despite the near 50 lb weight of it).

And finally, the payoff… the first actual part off the brake! Yes, it’s massive overkill to use an 8 foot long brake on a rudder rib, but hey… it worked!

You can see all the photos I took of the bending brake and workbench construction in this Google photo album. Enjoy!

Tooling Along

I have no actual airplane parts to show since my last post, but I have acquired some needed tools and supplies! Bandsaw blades, Scotch brite pads, drill bits, clecos, and a new Super Shear file from TM Technologies. These files are not cheap, but are absolutely amazing in their ability to cut aluminum smoothly.

I also picked up the metal to make my “Dave Clay” bending brake. I’m doing an 8 ft version so I can make the elevator skins. I purchased the stabilizer spars, I figured those would be too fiddly to bend on a home made brake.

Also since my last post I took a bit of a vacation and attended the Zenith Aircraft 25th Annual Open Hangar event. It was a lot of fun, and you can see all the pictures I took in this album.

While there I got to take a flight in the Cruzer, and it is a sweetheart! Did I return home even more excited to build the Cruzer? You betcha. But I also assembled a nice cover for my plans. 🙂

My next task is building the bending brake, then I will order some more aluminum and start making bigger parts. Fun stuff awaits!