Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by Othman, May 26, 2006.
Yep, finding some interesting stuff. Thanks.
In the absence of expensive brakes and shears. Harbor freight sells a pretty good brake for about $100.
For cutting aluminum, Andy Snips do a pretty good job. Around $30. They cut left, right and straight, and don't leave the rough edges that aviation snips do.
To keep your saw blade from getting gummed up with aluminum, touch it a little when it's spinning with candle wax.
They sell stick wax specifically made for cutting. I use it; I honestly don't know whether it works better than candle wax. The stick wax is also great for putting in long wood screws.
When I built my PPG (lots of cuts of 1" square and round alum tubing and 1/16" and 1/8" sheet) I did almost everything with my radial arm saw with a blade (from McMaster) specifically made for aluminum and plastic. Worked quite well, got quite hot, and you want to push, not pull, the blade into the sheet. Sucks on plastic, though, no matter what they say. I've since picked up a light band saw for light metal and plastic cutting, and will now only use the radial arm saw for wood and alum tubing.
I lust after a mill... currently I make do with a good Rockwell table drill press my father gave me and a cheap cross slide vise (so cheap the slides are a few degrees out of perpendicular!)
P.S. You can build a phase coverter with a motor and some big capacitors; one of my co-workers did it. I don't have the details but doubtless you can find it on Google.
Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hours drive away if your car could go straight upwards.
I found this page some time back to build a home built break.
I was thinking of building one.
I opted to buy one from a car shop that closed its doors, For cheaper than the required parts to build the break.
But here is the link for anyone who wants to not only build a Airframe at home, But there tools as well.
~Home Built Break~
Check out Craig's List in your town. I bought an older but very capable industrial TIG welder that way for a very good price. And it came with a lot of useful accessories that all would have be extra if purchased new.
Lot's of homemade tool ideas here
Several years ago I built an 8' long brake for bending light steel and aluminum. I was at my Son in Laws work ( Machine Shop at
Luke AFB ) and took several pictures of one they had. I went home and duplicated it out of steel from the salvage yard. It works excellent and bends up to .050 x 96" long Aluminum with ease. It will beng thicker Aluminum if the pieces are shorter. With steel it is not as good with the long pieces but it still works well in most cases. I'll take a picture of it and post it--it hasnt been painted so it looks a little rusty --but hey it works -I'll try and edit this post to put in the pix in a couple of days--
Now if I could only find an 8' foot long blade I would attempt a shear--
Here's a neat little pamplet pdf from the cri-cri builders I found.
I have seen plenty of our fabricating customers make their own brakes. Not sure on the shear though, other than a throatless shear, but then it would be up to you to keep it straight.
I use a standard metal cutoff blade on a cheap Skil saw. I clamp a long stiff metal straight edge on the 4x12 2024-T3 sheets. (I cut 2 - 0.065 thickness sheets simultaneously).
The sheets are placed on top of 2x4 boards on top of saw horses. Removable
clamps are placed strategically to keep the 2 sheets from slipping.
Wear safety glasses and ear plugs. Also, go slowly.
To make long, straight cuts in aluminum sheet, many homebuilders us a P-800 Olfa knife.
You tape a straight edge to the sheet, so you are covering the part you want to use. Then score the sheet with the knife about 8 or 9 times. (Depends on the thickness)
Next, move the score to the side of the table and bend it over. It will snap off with a very clean cut. Just like a sheer.
It can also be used to cut access holes and such.
Make sure you buy the P-800 knife, as it’s the only one that works for this.
I use a Stanley box knife for scoring and snapping thin sheet metal and aluminum.... fairly common practice.
I've used a Stanley and the P-800... they P-800 is worlds above. You're not scoring the sheet, you're digging a perfectly straight, several mil wide and deep section right out of it. With patience, you can cut 0.040" 2024-T3; and surely more, but that was the limit of my need and my patience.
Cool... gonna have to try it out.
The P-800 is all the rage on the Zenith lists. I really need to pick one up with all the parts I'll need to make to replace factory parts I'm sure to ruin at some point.
For pieces that have a bit of stiffness, there's a tool called a timesaver which is pretty good for dressing up edges, though a file works ok too.
I'm wondering if you temporarily glued or taped your aluminum to some cheapo board material if it wouldn't be easier to saw.
If you have a piece that's driving you nuts, you might try having it cut by a sheet metal shop. At least if you have or can make CAD drawings. Might not be all that expensive. Also if you have a bunch of identical pieces. The set up costs quite a bit, individual pieces not so much.
With all the job shops going TU right now you'll find your local machine tool dealers willing to make great deals on used equipment of all kinds.
I know this is a pretty old thread, but... I'm working on the wing structure design for my biplane project and I've just about concluded I need a long (8') brake. A little googling finds this thread on the Biplane forum. The link in the second post looks promising.
My wing has two tube spars (and foam ribs with aluminum capstrips), but a bent up C-section of very thin aluminum seems to make the most sense for the back of the wing at the aileron hinge line, and also perhaps for the leading edge of the ailerons. I considered bent C-channel spars instead of the tubes, but I don't trust the accuracy of a homemade brake... any variation could lead to buckling under load.
Of course, if the trailing edge is non structural, I could do it in short sections from rib to rib.
I may also bend up light angles to support the back end of the false ribs. In this case, it'd have to be one piece to maintain sufficient rigidity.
Dullard: someone who can open an encyclopedia or dictionary and only read what they'd planned to.
For those looking for plans to build an 8' brake try the following:
Mac's Machine & Design
Look down the left hand side for bend brake. He charges for the brake plans but they are excellent. I have a copy and once I find the metal source I will be building one. Check it out
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