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Thread: How to roll form aluminum sheet without a slip roller?

  1. #1

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    How to roll form aluminum sheet without a slip roller?

    I'm building an experimental super cub and the next task is building the cowl. I've read some posts on this site about building super cub cowls from scratch and using a PVC tube to help form the curvature of the panels. But the missing piece for me is how the top, bottom and doors are formed using this approach without a slip roller.

    Can anyone point me to another post or resource on this topic? Or can anyone explain the process in more detail?

    Any help would be much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
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    You can 'roll' the curve into a sheet by clamping two pieces of strapping or 3/4 board to the end of the sheet and use that end to roll the sheet over itself on a smooth, clean surface. Hope I'm explaining it clearly enough without pictures. You can get a pretty tight curve this way. The PVC method, if it's what your referring to, is more for very tight curves like leading edges. In that case you 'vacuum bag' the sheet around a piece of PVC with holes drilled in it, tape off the edges and ends to seal and suck the air out with a vacuum.
    I'll look for pictures.
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  3. #3

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    I made this roller for the leading edges and also my cowlings just drilled a couple of holes to tighten/ loosen the curve.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Use 5052 on the cowl doors and form over a large pipe making small adjustments at a time.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  5. #5
    Olibuilt's Avatar
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    Did mine flat, without rolling. Even painted them flat, unassembled. I had in hand: 2024 for the cowl doors and 6061 for the boot cowl

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6

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    If you are close to Utah, you can use my slip roller....

  7. #7

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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I actually landed on Bearhawk Builder's approach. It's super simple and effective. I had to work slowly but the results were surprising. I'll post some pictures once the progress is further along.
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