Dec 2020 Wing strut materiel arrives! I used Carlson Aircraft small streamlined struts, .75" internal flat area and I made my own strut fittings with material purchased thru McMaster Carr, 0.75 x 1.00 x 6" (I purchased 2 x 12" pieces and just cut them in half. I made my wire bracing fittings out of thick 4130, around .08 and cut to fit and accept turnbuckles or shackles as necessary. I have not installed the wire bracing as of Dec 2020, but plan to use 1/8" SS.
6-12 Oct 2010As I approached making and installing the wing struts, I re-learned another Pietenpol Lesson Learned, to not make your metal fittings to early. But in this case we really almost have no choice. The anding gear/wing strut fittings do not align with the wing strut attachment fittings. Therefor I needed to pull them all off, heat and slighty bend them to the correct angle. with my new strut material, purchased from Carlson Aircraft, I was able to determine the correct angle, then got to work. The pictures show all the work dissassemling and reassembling these brackets after corrected. Hours: 4.0
Dec 2020 Lazer leveling the Piet in prep for the wing struts. Hours: 1.0
Dec 2020 - Jan 2021 Making wing strut fittings. Notes: More pictures, less writing, lol. **The wings are inplace and laser leveled (initially), and the wings are braced up in position, now struts can be made in place. I made my own wing strut fittings, cutting and grinding as needed to replicate others I had seen. As a note, in general terms, Aluminum cuts, grinds, and even sands very much ike wood. I was reminded of this by a friend, so I take no credit for it. I decided to purchase an aluminum table/chop saw blade (I could only find a 7 1/2" lcoally, but would have preffered a 10"). Anyway, it cut the aluminum block cut like wood. I used 1" x 3/4" x 6" aluminum 6061T6 from McMaster Carr. I cut the slots (very carefully) on the table saw. Because the wings are slightly set back from the plans, the angle between the attachement points is slightly off (about 4 degrees). Instead of accepting straight fittings (and the anged sold by companies is to big an angle in my opinion), I make slight adjustment in the fitting at the wing end, to make the fit closer and the angle match down to the fuselage fitting. I fit the fittings on both ends, doing a bit of table sander grinding until each fitting slid in their respective ends of the struts nice and snug. I then installed the stuts temporarily. I left the struts a bit long, planning to cut them later, this allowed them to "float" slightly as I marked and drilled holes through each fitting. Because the fittings cannot be exactly straight and for the wing attachement fittings I had pre-drilled, the holes (angle in two dimentions has to be precise to match where they are going, I have a jig to ensure the drill bit is guided correctly (jig is a drill bit guide, or tube with the center cut out for the material, bit goes thru one side, thru the material then has to go back into the guide), this helps drill a hole into one side of a piece, and allows you to determine where the bit will exit on the other side. It also hels to "punch" the center points and exit points, and I used a pin to ensure alignment stalled true while drilling. The fuselage fittings were releatively easy and holes drilled true. On the wing side, remember, there is an angle to the fitting, so I made a jig to hold my drilling jig. I took pictures and you can see the results, the bit enters at an exact point, and exit right were it is supposed to. All fitting aligned perfectly and I as happy about that.
Now, with the attachments fitted on, and the struts "floating" slightly, I re-lasered the wings to ensure everything was straight and true (with balanced dihedral and wing twist etc). Then I carefully marked each strut, removed individually and drilled vertical bolt holes. I reinstalled the struts, bolted them in (temporarily of course) and removed the wing supports (training wheels). I put the supports back under for extra strength untill the wings are covered and more rigid, but I'm not sure this is necessary.