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Empennage Tubing

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  • Empennage Tubing

    I'm ready to submit my tubing order to Wicks. They have a 10% off deal on tubing this month and are less expensive then Aircraft Spruce or Airparts. Am ordering Erics Builder Manual Volume II today. I have little experience bending tubing so this is new ground for me. My question is this, all the empennage tubing lengths except for the rudder/elevator trailing edges are 5' or less. Cheap shipping. Full length trailing edges are 80" or so, not so cheap. Could the elevator TE's be fabbed from 3 short pieces (trim tab trailing edge a seperate piece). I had planned to fab the elevators from one piece of trailing edge and cut away the trim tab after final welding. This kind of process has worked well for me in modeling and full scale. The rudder TE could be 2 short pieces with the tail light mount installed. Is any of this worth the effort or should I bite the bullet and pay the extra freight, and get full length tubes? Should I add length to the trailing edge tubes to facilitate the bending process? Working with multiple trailing edge pieces sounds cumbersome.
    Patrol #30

  • #2
    I've spent zero time looking at the trailing edge but with any material, I've caught myself several times wishing something were longer. Never once have I caught myself wishing it were shorter.
    Scratch building Patrol #275
    Hood River, OR


    • #3
      Jerry I bent and formed the rudder, horizontal and elevators. You are correct regarding the length of tubing to be bent. You can not continue a bend in a tube all the way to the end, so there is some scrap material. The leading edge of the horizontal stab took some serious muscle but I found the small 3/8 tubing for the trailing edge to be more difficult to get a consistent arc and stay on the same plain. I am sure I would not have been able to get a consistent arc if the tubing had a splice in it. I should mention that all joints must be made a specific way.
      I am not very good a shaping the fish mouth, in particular at the second end. I would have had a lot of scrap tubing. I purchased a fuselage kit from VR3 tubing and I imagine Marks tubing package is good as well. The cost of the kit was not that much more than the raw material considering the wasted tubing I would have had. A perfect fit at each joint made for a better and easier weld and the fuselage was welded up in about 2 ½ months.
      Have fun
      Patrol (modified)


      • #4
        The extra length gives you additional leverage in bending. 3/4 and especially 7/'s tougher than Chinese arithmetic. Plus, the TE "sweet spot" might wander a bit. Namely you are bending a tube and can't quite get the arc quite right. Then you discover by moving the tube left or right an inch or two and it's a perfect match.


        • #5
          Tubing order placed. Chewster, good advice. Ed, alaskabearhawk, I decided to go the scratch build method. I want to learn how to bend hard tubing like you guys. I may regret this. However, I fear no tube, I will prevail. My scrap pile will be magnificent. Think of the lamps I'll be able to build.
          Patrol #30
          Last edited by geraldmorrissey; 05-29-2020, 09:05 PM.