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Old 12-20-2017, 07:11 AM
guidoism's Avatar
guidoism guidoism is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Posts: 21
Default Fabricate W-726 tie-down spacers without bandsaw?

I don't own a bandsaw or drill press. How might I fabricate these without these tools? I figure I can buy a $10 hole-saw for my air drill for the hole, but for actually cutting the pieces out of the stock what should I use?

I have a electric jigsaw. Would it be possible to use that with the right blade? Or should I do it by hand with some other tool?
Guido Bartolucci
RV-8: Empennage Finished, Working on slow-build wings.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:16 AM
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N329JR N329JR is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Sharpsburg, MD
Posts: 39

You could make the length cuts with a hand "Hacksaw" with appropriate metal cutting blade and of course file and polish as needed.
If you make the hole with a hole saw, I would recommend using a slower turning electric drill motor as opposed to your higher rpm air drill.
RV-6 (Dad's RV)
RV-8 Empennage 95%, Wings 90%, Fuse 1%
2018 VAF Gladly Paid
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:20 AM
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Mel Mel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas area
Posts: 10,088

Ian types faster than I do. I was about to suggest that you not use an air drill with a hole saw. Hole saws need slower turning and air drills have no power at slow speeds.
Also PLEASE use clamps when using a hole saw. Those thing can get nasty!
Mel Asberry..DAR since last century
A&P/EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor/Nat'l Test Pilot School
Specializing in Amateur-Built and Light-Sport Aircraft
North Texas (8TA5)
RV-6 Flying since 1993, 172hp O-320, 3-Blade Catto (since 2003)
Legend Cub purchased 12/2017
FRIEND of the RV-1
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:22 AM
BobRV7 BobRV7 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Loveland, Co
Posts: 72

I guess you are talking about the round holes, Ace hardware has hole cutters for your drill or drill press. I didn't cut the holes out on my W-706.
These work pretty well for cutting AB or AA or there is always the hack saw:

You should look into getting a band saw you'll probably need one if you are building a standard kit and here is an EAA video on how to cut aluminum with a band saw:
Bob Eggleston

Last edited by BobRV7 : 12-20-2017 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:26 AM
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fl-mike fl-mike is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 972

I think the hole is kind of optional. You are asking for trouble trying to drill that hole without a good clamp and drill press! Count you fingers! (drill both holes first, before you cut to length)

For the basic cuts, you'd be amazed what you can do with a vise, hacksaw, and files. Lately I find it faster to just grab the hacksaw for most cuts. Of course, I have a mill to true up the edges on the thicker stock.

Put a benchtop drill press and belt sander on you Christmas list!
Mike W
Venice, FL
RV-6A. Mattituck TMX O-360, FP, GRT Sport EFIS
N184WM reserved (RV-8)....tail kit done, slow-build wing done, slow-build fuselage started.
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:33 AM
NavyS3BNFO NavyS3BNFO is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 73
Default Hacksaw

Like Mike W said, use a hacksaw. I used a vise and hacksaw for cutting the W726 spacers to size and used my unibit for the hole. I would echo what others have said and drill the hole before cutting to size. It makes it easier to clamp the piece down while drilling. BTW, the hole diameter is supposed to be 1" IIRC but I only had a 3/4" unibit so I left it at that. I don't think the hole diameter is structurally critical - it's just weight savings.

I also used my hacksaw and files for cutting the T405 tank brackets. You can't make curved cuts very well (at least I couldn't) so I just broke them up into a couple straight cuts and took it down to the cut line with my file and belt sander. Finish up with scotch bright wheel. Worked out well.

RV-8 empennage DONE
Wings in progress

Last edited by NavyS3BNFO : 12-20-2017 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:14 PM
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az_gila az_gila is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: 57AZ - NW Tucson area
Posts: 9,617
Thumbs up

I fnd that a 2 inch cut off disk on a Dremel can work well, followed up with a quick file - or a sanding if you have a 1 inch belt sander.

Made by House of Balsa and available from most hobby stores.
Gil Alexander
EAA Technical Counselor, Airframe Mechanic
Half completed RV-10 QB purchased
RV-6A N61GX - finally flying
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La Cholla Airpark (57AZ) Tucson AZ
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Old 12-21-2017, 02:08 PM
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guidoism guidoism is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Posts: 21

Closing the loop on this. I ended up drilling a pilot hole with my air drill, then drilled out the circle with my new 1" circle cutter on the electric drill, then cut the piece off with my new hack saw. The hack sawing took a little while but it was probably a lot less time than buying and setting up and learning how to use a band saw. Thanks all for the help.
Guido Bartolucci
RV-8: Empennage Finished, Working on slow-build wings.
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:03 PM
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vernon smith vernon smith is offline
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Naples FL
Posts: 145

I'm guessing this piece is made from 2" X 2" X .125" aluminum angle as supplied by Van's. If correct this is usually 6061 T6. I'm curious, how many major fabrication projects like this are necessary to complete most of their kits? Ten, twenty, more?
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Old 12-22-2017, 01:06 AM
daveyator daveyator is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: adelaide, south australia
Posts: 142

Sounds a bit curmudgeonly, but if you can afford to build an aircraft, and then own it, a cheap bandsaw and drill press are very minor purchases. They will come in handy more than once.
I use my scotchbrite wheel in my drill press for almost all deburring work.
Just my opinion, others will no doubt disagree.
Cheers, and happy Christmas
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