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Interesting alternative to welding


Jun 10, 2015

How practical is it for a Sonerai frame?

What I retain so far is the problems with quality control and low tolerance of errors in welded structures that are subjected to vibrations as in airplanes.

Heat also affects the metals in a detrimental way, and welding is akin to a craft perfected over years that is inconsistent across builders based on experience and methods.

Seems that in 2015 glues have also come a long way:


What do you guys think?

As a software engineer I am always thinking outside the box... actually I find the younger programmers way more conservative than me, but I was able to create a software project for my company alone, and using the most bleeding edge programming methods and taking chances that paid off. It is proof that thinking outside the box can be quite advantageous if one knows what they are doing and does extensive research.

I believe the same could apply here to speed up the process but also to tighten the reliability of the whole system using the latest bonding methods.


Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2006
Manchester, PA
You would have to redesign all the joints for lockbolts. Your airframe would be heavier and most likely the heads would make a bumpy look under the fabric.

Glue? Never.

I'm all for experimentation but welding has proven itself so well over the years... why bother?



Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2015
Commerce Township, Michigan
The bolts look to be a one trick pony and would not accommodate the multitude of needs of an airframe. You are also talking about a huge weight penalty and no understanding of what strength and life they have. Welding is pretty simple and tolerates amateurs pretty well. Its not often (have we ever?) you hear of an airframe coming apart because of welds and I have seen some really ugly welding on planes that have hundreds of hours.

I am not opposed to "glue" but the strength of what you provided is not even close to what even a bad weld will provide.

I often thought that a carbon fiber tube fuselage with manufactured intersections that are applied with epoxy would be a light and strong combination.


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
Welding is fun, just follow the Sonerai plans and don't deviate or you will overcomplicate the process and may never finish.


Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2007
Escondido, CA
Hear! Hear! There's plenty enough you will have to invent on your own without trying to refigure out someone else has already figured out for you. Proven, well thought out designs like the Sonerai have lots of examples flying. Others, not so much (the Questair Egg, even the Beech Starship comes to mind). Radical changes like what is being discussed in this thread put you squarely in the second category. It's fun to think about, but to actually do it? Meh.

Everyone gets spooked by the idea of welding. Me included, at one time. Don't sweat it. Pick up a torch, practice, then when you feel you are ready, go build a fuselage.

My 2 cents.



Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2007
The ideas of glue and lockbolts and so on are great fun as ideas. However one day it comes to the first flight. That's different and so is owning and flying a plane made that way. I have changed homebuilts just because some thing was always on my mind when I was flying it. So have many of you. For the most part an Oxy-acet welding fuselage is worry free. That's worth alot.


Trying to get airbourne
Apr 5, 2011
North Bay, On, canada
Well ..... a fine thread for sure :)
So my 2 cents worth
The huck bolt (listed in the link above) is used extensivley in mining fabrication (one of my past professions...lol) but in essences it is just a bolt with a steel lock nut. You could do the same with a AN bolt and a lock nut
There is one aircraft that I know of that uses a bolt together sturcture (the affordaplane) but it does so because it uses aluminum square tubing rather then steel tubing and for anyone who has ever tried to weld aluminum you know how difficult that can be. (I am working on perfecting that talent... its not going well .....lol)
But in my opinion (I am a mecahncial engineer/ designer by profession with over 25 yrs in design and fabrication) if you are building a steel tubulur structure then the strongest, cheapest method is to weld.
If the primary load bearing strucure is aluminum then please dont trust your life to welding or to epoxy glue.... bolt, bolt, bolt

Glue.... well I believe in JB Weld 2 part epoxy for things like secondary aluminum (not steel... I still weld those) brackets. Works great and is easy to use. Just dont use it on anything that is highly loaded or anything that can casue catastrophic failure if it breaks

So my 2 cents worth .... for what its woirth ;D