I have had a go at working with aluminium for the first time. Working out quite well.. Right now I have three ribs mostly completed. Two inner ribs with a relief in the corners and one without the relief which will be on the of the ends for the tank. The relief is not cut in the ends as the corners will get welded.
Last thing to do is final sand the edges and then drill/cut the lightening holes with a flanging to finish. Then it will be onto the tank skin.
Aside Posted on
Ok given my wing kit despatch is now 3 months late, I am running out of things to do. So in order to keep making some progress I have decided to have a go at something new, the top wing centre section fuel tank.
I have ordered the aluminium sheet locally and ordered parts from Aircraft Spruce. I found a bead roller and sheet metal brake online so am fully equipped to do this.
This week I started with making the template/jig for the ribs for the tank. In the picture below the 5/8″ thick template will be used to bend the flange edges over the template. You can see the template sitting on the template for the inside dimensions of the actual spacing between the spars. The tank will be about 40″ wide. If you are building this tank, note that the Steen plans have the incorrect width of this tank on the plans. Re-measure to be sure. I also want to put a capacitive probe in it…these have about 3/4″ on the outside of the tank so you need to make allowance for that spacing. Remember the tank needs to be centred to be balanced too so whatever space you leave on one side, you will need on the other.
With the spar glued, next step is to get the metal spar attach brackets finished and finally mounted onto the spars themselves. This is really the next step to getting the centre section assembled. I didn’t want to weld the brackets given my limited skills and lack of equipment, so off to GoAir we go, again. Heres what came back.
The spar attach brackets have been media blasted – which explains the difference in color between them and the steel tube. Nice and clean!! I dont have a lathe and need the caps that sit in the end of the compression tube to be turned and they did that as well after I found some mild steel rod. All fits together nicely