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  #1  
Old 12-20-2016, 01:31 PM
jwbruce jwbruce is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Starkville, MS
Posts: 18
Default The 30 Cent Longeron Bending Device (for parts F-1013-L/R and F-1046-L/R)

Someone else may have come up with this before, but I didn't see it anywhere in my web searches. I will drop this here for anyone interested. (Sorry for the poor photos. My phone has a lousy camera.)

The first thing required in Section 29 (Fuselage Side Skins) is to curve/bend four pieces of 3/4 x 3/4 x 1/8" thick aluminum angle to make four side wall longerons -- parts F-1013-L, F-1013-R, F-1046-L, and F-1046-R. The whole point of angle is that it does not bend easily, so this is a hard, sweaty job. Vans instructions tells you to secure the angle in a vice, pre-load the angle sideways, and bang the angle with a rubber mallet. You repeat this every inch along the angle and monitor your progress with a template piece of aluminum F-1046. I tried this approach for pieces F-1046-L&R. It was hard work, the results were not the best. Either the angle didn't bend at all, or it bent too much. Then, you had to pull the bend back out of the angle. After about 6 (YES, SIX) hours of beating angle, I finally had two of my four curved longerons.

I thought: "There has to be a better way". Online, other builders mentioned the Orndorff method used in RV-7 builds. This approach has you clamp the two matching parts (L&R) together. Secure in the vice, preload, and hammer downwards to create two parts simultaneously. That approach will not work so well for longerons F-1013-L and F-1013-R since they are two different lengths. Plus, it seems to me the Orndorff method just makes the work twice as hard since you are attempting to beat two angles into submission simultaneously. (It does, however, tend to keep the angle in one plane while Van's suggested method does not.)

I also found a clever little longeron die for sale from Buller Enterprises. Nice bit of kit, but it costs $40. I have already sweated and banged out two of my four longerons. I would borrow one of these from someone I know if they had one, but I don't know anyone who owns this cute little tool. And, I am not going to spend $40 plus shipping to get this die to form two silly pieces of angle.

So..... it looks like I am on my own. After sleeping on it, I came up with my idea. The "30 Cent Longeron Bending Device" inspired by Buller's professionally designed die.

I need my 6" Wilton vise, some duct tape (gotta use duct tape in any good solution), and 30 cents. More specifically, I will need six US nickels.

#1) Use little strips of duct tape to create three double-nickel stacks



#2) Duct tape two stacks on the ends of one vice jaw. Tape the single remaining double stack to the middle of the opposing vice jaw.







#3) Insert your angle into the 30 cent longeron bending device. Tighten until the vice lever gets snug. You will see the angle bend slightly. Release. Slide the angle down a couple of inches. Repeat.



#4) Work up and down the angle about three times checking against the F-1046 template. Don't crank the vice down too hard. It can really put a good bend in your angle. (If you do, just pull the bend back out of the angle.)

That's it. Took me about 20 minutes to get a nearly perfect bend on the F-1013-L and F-1013-R longerons. And, no banging with a hammer and not too much exertion.

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  #2  
Old 12-20-2016, 01:55 PM
jwilbur jwilbur is offline
 
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Wow. That looks simple. Not only did I do this Van's way, taking me four hours. I had to do it twice after a bad install error the first time. And it took 4 hours the second time through, too. Wish you had posted this a couple years ago.
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2016, 02:06 PM
TFeeney TFeeney is offline
 
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Location: Floyds Knobs, IN
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Very clever indeed.

Any marks left on the angle? Sharp edges from coins...

Any out of plane bending? Hard to tell from the last picture.
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  #4  
Old 12-20-2016, 03:11 PM
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wirejock wirejock is online now
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
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Default Bending dies

Very clever!
Cut two strips of thin sacrificial aluminum to prevent scratches or dents.
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  #5  
Old 12-20-2016, 03:21 PM
jwbruce jwbruce is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Starkville, MS
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The double layer of duct tape on the vice and nickels prevents anything more than very superficial scratches. Nothing worse than scuffs already present on the angle from handling or shipping.

Absolutely no dents from the coins. I was kind of surprised, actually.

The angle does seem to bend out of plane just bit. The horizontal side of the angle is not being formed or constrained like it would be with Buller's dies. So, when the angle's vertical side bends, the horizontal angle side will pucker a bit and pull the angle out of plane. However, the bending out of plane was far less than I was seeing when banging with a hammer. Turn the angle 90 degrees in the vice, and give it a bit of push/pull and I could make it planar again.
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2016, 06:56 AM
Electrogunner Electrogunner is offline
 
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Very nice, thank you for sharing. I have bookmarked this as I am about to order the fuselage kit.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2016, 08:25 AM
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ppilotmike ppilotmike is offline
 
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Location: Denver, CO
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Default Nice Trick!

I borrowed longeron bending dies to bend mine. They are machined aluminum halves that fit together and have a curve in them. Basically, they work the same way (i.e. you put them in your vice and clamp down on them to bend the longeron, little by little). One benefit of the dies is that they capture both legs of the longeron angle. So while one leg bends, the other leg stays a nice and perpendicular. However, this is a nice, cheap alternative if you don't have a buddy with longeron dies. Good trick!
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2016, 09:10 AM
Joker Joker is offline
 
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Location: Cincinnati
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Wink 30 cents vs $40?

30 cents seems like a lot. Do you think pennies would work?
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  #9  
Old 12-21-2016, 12:07 PM
jwbruce jwbruce is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Starkville, MS
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by ppilotmike View Post
I borrowed longeron bending dies to bend mine. They are machined aluminum halves that fit together and have a curve in them. Basically, they work the same way (i.e. you put them in your vice and clamp down on them to bend the longeron, little by little). One benefit of the dies is that they capture both legs of the longeron angle. So while one leg bends, the other leg stays a nice and perpendicular. However, this is a nice, cheap alternative if you don't have a buddy with longeron dies. Good trick!

Oh yea, Buller's dies would be much better than my approach as my approach does not constrain the horizontal side. Of course, you could turn the angle 90 degrees and use the coins to take any unwanted bend out.
I found just snugging up the vise worked best. If you crank it down, it will definitely pucker up the horizontal side and go non-planar.

Snug vise. Move angle down a few inches and repeat. At first, the bend imparted is so slight you hardly notice it. Repeat the process up and down the angle a several times. After a few passes, it is there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joker View Post
30 cents seems like a lot. Do you think pennies would work?
For my first iteration, I did try a three pieces of scrap 12-gauge ROMEX wire instead of the coins. It worked for a couple of good squeezes, but slowly the pure copper wire simply crushed. Then I went searching for something harder. I used nickels because (1) I had them handy and (2) they are thicker. Pennies being mostly zinc are probably "hard" enough.... the six-cent bender.
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Flying: trusty (but slow) 1980 Warrior II N8075X
Building: RV-10
StarkVEGAS, Mississippi
2018 Dues paid
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2016, 04:24 PM
mturnerb mturnerb is offline
 
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joker View Post
30 cents seems like a lot. Do you think pennies would work?
The REAL price is the devaluation of $0.30 during the time it's in your vise. Or the "opportunity" cost if you pulled it from an investment account. Probably a small fraction of a penny....

Of course in my case it's the time spent digging in my couch...
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