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Normal Topic Wing and Landing gear struts, and Wheel Pants (Read 89 times)

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Location: St Louis, MO
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Re: Wing and Landing gear struts, and Wheel Pants
Reply #2 - Oct 6th, 2021 at 8:30am
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Good question, I'll add to what Tom has already said.

The basis for all decisions is weight effect. Are we building to fly or just display? Weight additions tend to affect smaller models more, so we'll always keep in mind the trade-off between structural strength and flying ability.

For landing gear and wing struts, the simple approach is to make these out of light balsa and glue them right to the basic structure. Often, that means attaching these parts to 1/16" stringers and wing ribs. While this may be the easiest and lightest way, it probably won't be the strongest. Given the nature of test flights, we might expect some breakage during these flights. We can reduce this possibility with some simple additions but always at the expense of weight.

Use the stiffest balsa you can find and have the grain run lengthwise. You can sandwich 1/32" sheet for a stronger strut but this adds weight. Usually, the wing/fuselage mount is fairly strong and the strut helps to hold the dihedral more than anything else.

I try to avoid gluing wood to tissue if possible. To avoid this, I'll add a little wood to that area to provide a better glue foundation. For this model, that means using pieces of 1/16" added to the fuselage stringers and wing ribs where the struts join.

Tom mentioned wire. I use very small diameter piano wire (similar to U-control leadout wires). Model shops may still have this. This allows me to beef up the landing gear strut without too much weight. I also use bamboo to do the same thing.

Keeping everything in alignment can be a challenge. Some folks build a simple cradle to hold the major parts during final assembly. Often it comes down to basic "eyeballing"!! In any case, be careful since a misaligned plane may never fly straight!

I've included some example using an old Comet plan. Note the added wing rib and fuselage wood to increase the wood surface for gluing.

The wing struts were laminated using 1/16" stringers instead of cutting the struts from sheet wood. Stronger but a little heavier.

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Stick & Tissue

Posts: 12310
Location: Kelso, WA 98626†USA
Joined: Jan 9th, 2010
Re: Wing and Landing gear struts, and Wheel Pants
Reply #1 - Sep 21st, 2021 at 4:58pm
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As with any modeling project there are an abundance of approaches to landing gear and wheel pants/spats.†

Often it depends on the size of the model and it's requirements for strength and whether there will be wire structure involved.†

Most Dime Scale and smaller models such as Peanut and Pistachio size will not have wire involved.† If wire is involved it will be very thin music wire almost guitar steel string size.† These are usually sandwiched between balsa cross members in the lower part of the fuselage box/former members.† There is usually a shape on the plans for the wire gear reinforcement pattern.† But most of these small models won't have wire involved.† Usually there will be a balsa strut with a paper fairing adding shape to the gear strut if it's non retracting gear.† A straight pin is often used to attach the wheel to the strut.

Retracting gear aircraft will leave the option to the builder to make fixed gear in the down position or add some sort of receptacle like an aluminum tube or paper tube to receive the strut top when not flying the airplane.† There are many† examples of these in our many build posts of various modelers.† I personally make mine out of paper tubes wrapped around a toothpick or bamboo skewer depending on the size of the strut diameter.† I then harden the paper tube with cyano glue (super glue thin) before attaching it to the wing where it's needed at the proper angle.†

For larger models you find larger piano wire is suggested for the gear struts.† These like the smaller models with wire will have a pattern for the gear wire to be bent to shape.† It will usually be fastened to the fuselage with either a similar balsa sandwich of cross members.† Sometimes aluminum or brass tubes are used to place the wire in the fuselage. I'm sorry I don't have some pictures available to show the different types of constructions at present.† I'll look around and see if I can find some to copy for here.

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This isn't flying! It's
falling with style!

Posts: 20
Location: Jonesborough, TN
Joined: Aug 10th, 2020
Wing and Landing gear struts, and Wheel Pants
Sep 21st, 2021 at 1:56pm
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Hi Fellas, I have another issue for the Beginners section that I havenít found help/guidance on anywhere. I have questions on building planes with rigid landing gear struts, wheel pants, and wings struts. I recently built an 20" Easy Built Stinson 105 and difficulty determining† where these items are specifically located and how they are prepared and installed. Can you all lend some advice on building techniques for getting the aforementioned ancillary parts aligned/installed correctly?
« Last Edit: Sep 25th, 2021 at 2:01pm by Z-man »  

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