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Hints and tips


I've found that, when putting a straight line bend in ali sheet, it helps to use a piece of wood/MDF/ply that’s the length of the bend to hammer onto. I you just hammer along the line of the bend, the resulting crease can look a bit wobbly but hammering onto a length of wood can give a cleaner fold.

Pete Willmin

Cutting Guide

Here's a little something that I have found useful for setting up straight jigsaw cuts in ali. It took about 10 minutes to make and saves a lot of time in setting up.

  1. Find a bit of scrap and butt it up to (not under) your straight edge.
  2. Make a jig-saw cut about 3 inches long.
  3. Trim out and clean up.
  4. Put a bend in the top to make it easier to pick up and place.
  5. To set up your cuts, put your straight edge onto your marked sheet and use the guide to see where the fretsaw will cut. Using the guide at each end will establish where your straight edge should be. Clamp up and …
  6. Make your cut.

DO REMEMBER! If you change the blade set-up in your jigsaw you may have to make a new guide. Check on a bit of scrap to make sure the cut line is identical.

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Wiping a paraffin soaked rag or tissue along the cut line to help lubricate the cut, it helps enormously.

Pete Willmin

The drill required for drilling hundreds of holes for the rivets (1/8" or 3.2mm) are a bit fragile and flexible. There are more robust drills available called stub drills which have short flutes designed to drill shallow holes and the drill is much stiffer.

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I found this double-ended fella when clearing out stuff taken from a friends deceased father-in-laws garage but its 4.0mm and I failed to obtain similar ones in any sizes - what a pity.

David Tocher

Pete Willmin e_mailed me to point out that a double ended drill can cause damage to the chuck if it slips.


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David Parr AKA Silverfish commented that he has potential problems with the rear suspension arm and might have to butcher the bodywork if it had to be removed. That got me thinking so I made a cut-out in the rear panel to gain access.

The panel has a doubling plate rivetted round the edge of the cut-out and the cover is retained by far too many screws!

I used rivnuts to retain the panel. They have a small raised flange on the front side when pulled. If they are not recessed then the cover will be proud of the surounding panel. I dimpled the panel with a the dimpler I made from scrap aluminium bar stock. The picture shows a sample dimple below the hex headed machine screw.

David Tocher

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A method for forming a captive nut

Using 1.9mm sheet it is possible to form a housing for a captive nut. Drill a hole the same size as the thread(nominal). Using a 12 point socket, 3mm larger than the spanner size for the thread as a female mould, stick it with double sided tape as accurately as possible over the hole.

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Sit a domed nut for your chosen thread size over the hole. It will tend to self-centre. Use a press or a vice to push the dome of the nut into the hole and open end of the socket. Press till the nut is flush and the metal is flat around it.

You should end up with a formed cup holding the hex part with the dome penetrating the metal. This can then be fixed as you will on the back-side of your panel.

I used these with a brace plate for a through-floor fixing for an adjustable foot-rest as the dome end stops water etc.

The R/H one in the picture was done using an ordinary nut with no hole drilled and slightly larger socket. The end pops off as it bottoms. Alignment is more difficult without the hole.

Duncan Grimmond

Surfing the web

Want to know how to polish yer Pembleton until the shine hurts yer eyes? See The Swift Method to a Mirror Finish for an explaination of how it can be done Here's another site covering polishing metal English Custom Polishing

David Tocher

Ever wondered what all those number on switches and other electrical bits and bobs on your car meant? Here's a guide to understanding DIN wiring

David Tocher

I found these books in my local library.

all by Tony Bingnelis, published by EAA Aviation Foundation. There are lots of ideas in the first two on finishing the cockpit of a plane. It's given me some ideas for my build.

David Tocher

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