December 7, 2008

Bending the Longerons - 5.0 Hrs.

Today was an interesting and frustrating session. After studying the plans and carefully marking the longerons and reading all the websites I can to see how it's done, I decided to dive into it. Like so many other things that you don't look forward to, or you dread doing, it's not so bad once you get into it. I ended up following the plans and the manual to the letter. I worked slowly and took my time. Setting everything up took a while.

Here's the method and the madness. I clamped the longeron tightly in the vice. You pull it over the way you want it to bend and then hammer the crap out of it right at the side of the vice. Unclamp, move it an inch, and do it again. It actually works pretty good. You can see the template I made according to the plans, used to check the progress. You're supposed to get within 1/16" of this curve. The area marked for no bending or twisting was secured by a scrap piece of rectangular tubing that I clamped in place. I wanted to make sure it was held firmly straight while I brought the bend right up to the line.

My biggest problem is my 4-1/2" bench vice. It's not sturdy enough. I don't think it was designed for this kind of abuse and it kept giving me trouble. I can't keep the base of it tightened enough to hold. I got the curve finished in the right longeron, and about halfway through the left one when I gave up. I'm either going to have to replace this vice or find someone who has a beefier one that I can borrow for this task. It's a shame because I bought this thing not too long ago. It's almost brand new and I've hardly used it. But it just won't hold. The clamps hold okay... the base wants to swivel. I took the tightening nut off because I think I may have damaged it inside trying to tighten it hard enough to hold in place. I'm going to have to dismantle it and check it out. But I'm out of time for tonight.

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Contact me: swayze "at" europa.com (replace "at" with the @ sign... no spaces... you know the deal)