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Thread: Fabing Piper(ish) Rudder / Elevator Ribs

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    Fabing Piper(ish) Rudder / Elevator Ribs

    I remember (?) seeing some posts of the process of fab'ing the ribs for the elevator/rudder but can't seem to find them. (Olibuilt? Was that you?)

    If not already obvious, I am curious from the experimental fabrication point of view, not a legality/morality/usefulness/"you will shoot your eye out" point of view.

    Any links/tips/hints/etc would be greatly appreciated.


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  2. #2

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    ever consider making them airfoil shape?

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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Fabing Piper(ish) Rudder / Elevator Ribs

    I think I would bend the slight edges. Then press a die made of Corian into a rubber sheet. Then slide it off die. You must back up the corian with something like hard wood or thick aluminum or it will crack

    Other approach do edges slightly on bar folder. Then use press brake for the inner bends. Might have trouble on the small ends using this approach


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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KTbgoWdb5d8


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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LBtmkfSJhwQ


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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by tempdoug View Post
    ever consider making them airfoil shape?
    I was considering that for the horizontal stab ala Zenith and lesser so Bearhawk.

    Building them straight seemed to be a bit of a challenge without tool dies for the brake, so I was going to start there then work towards an airfoil shape.

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    Thanks for the video links. I never considered attempting a rubber hydro-ish-form for this, but will go watch and learn!

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    Marty57's Avatar
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    I made my own. Each rib is different by length. They were easy to cut on the angles and form the "U" channel needed. The 15 degree bevel in the rib to protect the fabric was done with block of wood formed to match each rob and bent with a rubber mallet; surprisingly easy. Here's a link to my website that shows how I did it. http://www.marty2plus2.com/past-post...y-feehans.html

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    Olibuilt's Avatar
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    I've done it on a regular finger brake. I didn't need any forming block or rubber mallet.

    Started with the 2 edge bend, then the 2 90 degrees.

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    Marty57's Avatar
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    My bender won't make the 1/8" edge bend; too small to grab. If you do the edge bend first, how do you do the second bend without flattening the first bend?
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    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty57 View Post
    My bender won't make the 1/8" edge bend; too small to grab. If you do the edge bend first, how do you do the second bend without flattening the first bend?
    Marty
    I remember using some bar stock between the finger and the part to bend so it wouldn't flatten the edge.

    But it was easier to cut oversize so you could clamp down more for the edge bend, then trim down.

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    Those ribes are pain to fab. I welded in 3/8 ×.035 in place of those ribes on the elevators and rudder. Powder coated then epoxied 1/2" hard balsa. Sanded to shape. Epoxie varnish, then cover. Been there 12 years and hasn't rotted away yet!. You are building experimental. Those plans are someone elses idea. Experiment!
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    Quote Originally Posted by don d View Post
    Those ribes are pain to fab. I welded in 3/8 ×.035 in place of those ribes on the elevators and rudder. Powder coated then epoxied 1/2" hard balsa. Sanded to shape. Epoxie varnish, then cover. Been there 12 years and hasn't rotted away yet!. You are building experimental. Those plans are someone elses idea. Experiment!
    I was considering taking some .020" 4130 tube, cutting a shallow V down the seam to allow me to make a very slight cone, then welding the seam and ends to the different sized main tubes. Besides being much easier to fab, it seemed like it would already be round so it doesn't cut into the fabric. I thought I was being all sorts of creative...

    Are you saying you just welded in tube then used balsa to make the transitions smoother? Genius. Biplanes do that sort of thing all over the place so I should have thought of it myself!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olibuilt View Post
    I've done it on a regular finger brake. I didn't need any forming block or rubber mallet.

    Started with the 2 edge bend, then the 2 90 degrees.
    Those must be really narrow fingers on that brake to be able to do those bends??

    You make everything look easy with the fab on your airplane, so I shouldn't be surprised you didn't have any trouble with this part.
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    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    If you have access to a regular bending brake making those Piper style elevator/rudder ribs is easy. The challenge is the narrow trailing edge area. When you bend them into a "C" channel the 3/8" trailing edge will deform on a standard leaf. No problem as you can reshape the 3/8" trailing edge part of the rib with some flat bill sheet metal seam pliers. If you use a standard brake then make sure the leaf is set back enough for a acceptable bend radius. I use 20 ga. mild steel for these. Easy to form and cheap enough to make mistakes with for a learning curve. No need to overthink this part, no elaborate tooling needed.
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cub junkie View Post
    If you have access to a regular bending brake making those Piper style elevator/rudder ribs is easy. The challenge is the narrow trailing edge area. When you bend them into a "C" channel the 3/8" trailing edge will deform on a standard leaf. No problem as you can reshape the 3/8" trailing edge part of the rib with some flat bill sheet metal seam pliers. If you use a standard brake then make sure the leaf is set back enough for a acceptable bend radius. I use 20 ga. mild steel for these. Easy to form and cheap enough to make mistakes with for a learning curve. No need to overthink this part, no elaborate tooling needed.
    Thanks, I appreciate the details.

    I have a small bending brake, but not one wide enough to do these parts...

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    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cub junkie View Post
    If you have access to a regular bending brake making those Piper style elevator/rudder ribs is easy. The challenge is the narrow trailing edge area. When you bend them into a "C" channel the 3/8" trailing edge will deform on a standard leaf. No problem as you can reshape the 3/8" trailing edge part of the rib with some flat bill sheet metal seam pliers. If you use a standard brake then make sure the leaf is set back enough for a acceptable bend radius. I use 20 ga. mild steel for these. Easy to form and cheap enough to make mistakes with for a learning curve. No need to overthink this part, no elaborate tooling needed.
    That's what I was thinking. These were the first parts I made on my project some 2 years ago. I can't remember having any particular trouble. I used a basic bending brake and 20 ga. mild steel too. I think I messed up a couple pieces at first until I got the hang of it.

    I do remember using 1/4 square stock to offset the fingers a few times to preserve the little oblique edge bend. You jogged my memory because I later just shaped them up using some seam pliers I had from an aluminum roofing job.

  18. #18

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    The easiest way I have seen, is to use two pieces of Piper "C" Channel per rib. You know, the the material the bird cage is made from. Notch the channel to fit the top and bottom at the leading edge. At the trailing edge, notch and and taper the channel sides to fit the smaller tube. Do not weld, but Braze the channel to the tubes. Fast, light and easy.

  19. #19

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    what does jay at javron get for them? even if your set on making then yourself, just wondering?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ulpilot View Post
    The easiest way I have seen, is to use two pieces of Piper "C" Channel per rib. You know, the the material the bird cage is made from. Notch the channel to fit the top and bottom at the leading edge. At the trailing edge, notch and and taper the channel sides to fit the smaller tube. Do not weld, but Braze the channel to the tubes. Fast, light and easy.
    That is what I intend to use for my rudder and elevators. The C channel can overlap it's mate as an option to tapering the small end.

  21. #21
    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    I don't dispute doing your way by any means. The downside is unless you get a smokin' deal on the tubing then 4130 tube in any diameter is 3 plus bucks a foot anymore. 20 ga mild steel sheet stock is much cheaper. Piper channel ain't cheap either.
    Quote Originally Posted by don d View Post
    Those ribes are pain to fab. I welded in 3/8 ×.035 in place of those ribes on the elevators and rudder. Powder coated then epoxied 1/2" hard balsa. Sanded to shape. Epoxie varnish, then cover. Been there 12 years and hasn't rotted away yet!. You are building experimental. Those plans are someone elses idea. Experiment!
    Last edited by Cub junkie; 11-24-2019 at 12:41 PM.
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