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Tab locator

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  • Tab locator

    This is a mod for the tool Eric Newton demonstrates in his builder manual. I wanted to have something that could locate tabs inside and outside the frame tubes.
    Welded piece of .090 4130 with hole sawed in big enough to have edge of 1.5 inch tab in center. Then drilled holes to do inside and outside frame tabs. Example of tab located for front door jamb. Put a spring clamp on the tab and remove Cleco before welding or it will be cooked and unusable ( I have burned a few!) The whole tool. My table always looks like this when I am making a lot of progress. Built the seat frames this am.

  • #2
    That's a clever tool. What is the purpose of the long arm? Could you get away with just the plate?


    • Bearhawk535
      Bearhawk535 commented
      Editing a comment
      The long arm is to rest across the fuselage in the same plane to lay flat. Used the clamp in one picture for vertical positioning. If I need it longer to reach other side I just clamp on an extension

  • #3
    My impression was that the long arm allows you to rest the tool/tab on the work so that your other two hands are free for operating the torch and filler rod. Using the clamp as pictured would allow you to skip the long rod, but then it might be a little bit harder to get the alignment straight.


    • #4
      Im gonna use it!!!


      • #5
        One suggestion.

        On my LSA(and I expect most of the others) almost all the tabs had a symmetrically placed mate. Perhaps one could make two of these that telescope together(or clamp together with a piece of angle) in the middle? That would make it easy to place both at once.

        I used a leftover piece of Piper C channel. To place symmetrical tabs, I clamped it level/square across the fuselage and then clamped the two tabs in place. But since it wasn't as nice a tool as the one described, I only tacked the tab in place and then had to remove the C channel to finish weld. Things would have gone quicker if I could have done the finish weld while the locator tool was in place.

        And there are lots of tabs.....


        • #6
          I ran into this nifty gadget by accident this week.

          But for simplicity, you sure can't beat the OP's tool and those similar to it. Gets the tab flush to the outside surface every time.


          P.S. - I did read that the magnets in the the MagTab can interfere with a TIG arc, depending on where it's being used.
          ​Christopher Owens, EAA #808438
          Project "Expedition"
          Bearhawk 4-Place Scratch Built, Plans #991
          Bearhawk Patrol Scratch Built, Plans #P313
          Germantown, Wisconsin, USA