Why ???? you may ask. Well, if not you... I'm asking that
started out to make a mock-up of the fuel tank, to make
sure it will fit in between the diagonal tubes that I'm
welding into the forward section of the fuselage. Confidence
builds as you build and you/I begin to take on, and tackle,
more challenges. The fuel tank being one of them. Figured
I'm welding now... never thought that I would so... why
not build the fuel tank, like I just built the throttle
quadrants.... and pedals.... and...
Grant it, I'm just in the beginning stages of shaping the
tank right now; making the "ribs" of it so that I can wrap
the .050 aluminum around it. The Skybolt Builder's manual
is coming in real handy for this too.
As with almost any plans built airplanes out there, the
designer shows you the structure of the plane, what tubing
you need to build it, but then leaves the building of accessories
to you. I first heard the guys on the Tailwind Yahoo group
talking about how the Tailwind plans don't show you how
to build the tank. Same thing with the Skybolt. Well....
that's not the responsibility of the designer, or at least
I don't think that it is. He/She is giving you the dream
of the airplane, how you go about creating it is up to you.
you can see from the cut out pattern, I've decided to go
with the traditional tank, with the rounded bottom. Several
of the guys on the biplane forum are squaring off the bottom
so that they can easily attach a smoke tank under the main
tank. I saw where someone made a small smoke tank and placed
it under the floor board. I think that will be my plan of
action. Six, one half a dozen....
I'll be routing the additional fuel tank "ribs" tomorrow.
Need to get some threaded rod, nuts and washers too. Taking
the lead from Manuel, from the biplane forum, I'll show
you how he made his mock-up... soon to be my mock-up too.
May 12, 2008 Makin' me another
think I was going to build a tank. (gulp!)
Took the fuel tank pattern I cut the other night, screwed
it to a few pieces of 3/4" MDF and made me some ribs. Twernt
hard at all. Turned it over and routed it using a bearing
router bit. Took my time and they turned out beautiful.
Actually a minor flaw in one spot that I'll fill in with
some wood putty before making the actual tank. Seems the
plywood decided it was going to crush a little, thus giving
me a slight flat spot on the one corner.
shot of the pattern after I've screwed it to the piece of
3/4" MDF. Had thoughts of using 1/2" plywood but thought
that it warp a little bit more than I would want it to.
Maybe 1/2" MDF would have been a better choice. This 3/4"
stuff weighs a ton. It's a lot stiffer though. Yeah...
made a good decision.
my jig-saw to the piece of MDF to cut off a lot of the excess
wood, clamped it to my Black and Decker Workmate workbench
and routed all four pieces in short order. Make sure to
keep the piece you're routing overhanging the table. If
the bit extends past the depth of your work you'll be putting
marks in your table. What the hell... it's just a workbench,
right ? By the way... don't forget to wear your safety glasses
a shot of the tools that I used to make the "jig" for the
fuel tank. Doesn't take much to make an airplane. Just a
lot of your time. I remember Randy, from the biplane forum,
telling us that he made his first Skybolt in 4 years/4000
hours and that's with no power tools. That's hand cutting
4130 flatstock. Gotta give the man props.
a few holes in the ribs. Hint: Have the holes drilled
for the threaded rod in your pattern before you start routing
your ribs so that you can go over to the drill press after
you've routed the piece of wood and knock out the holes
without having to re-attach the pattern to the rib. A waste
of time otherwise. Don't ask me how I know. (I seem to
be full of those "Don't ask me how I know" stories.)
is... after one and a half hours of hitting it with a rubber
mallet and threading on the screws. (I was up stairs
in the living room watching the Speed Channel so your mileage
may vary.) In addition to the threaded rod (I used
3/8" rod which is a little stouter than 5/16") you'll
want to pick up 36 nuts and 36 washers. These will sandwich
each of the ribs on each of the rods.
Very simple to do. At least the mock-up was. Wait 'til I
get around to welding up the aluminum... I think I'll get
someone who knows that type of welding to do it. Although....
things have been known to change on this project.
August 21, 2012 Make that...
If you've been following along with my blog you know I've
been working on the upper wing center section. And... there
is a fuel tank that needs to be made for that as well. Were
as you can buy the main fuel tank... you must make the fuel
tank for the upper wing center section. I guess you have
the option of having someone make it for you.
I didn't realize that it's been such a long time since I
visited this page. Anywho... doing my research on how to
make a fuel tank for the upper wing center section I thought
I might as well make the main fuel tank at the same time.
After some research I've decided to make it out of 3003
H14; the upper tank out of .o40 and the main tank in .o50.
It was suggested that you use 5052 (I guess based on what
Aircraft Spruce wrote for a description in their store).
By reading a few threads on the Biplane Forum I've decided
against it because it sounds like it may tend to crack more
easily. The Skybolt Builder's manual suggests 5052H32, 6061-0
or 5052-0... all .o50 thick.
Today I went online to Air Parts Inc. and ordered me up
some .o40 and .o50 3003 H14 for the tanks. Hopefully it
won't be another four years before I make another entry
on this page.
March 2, 2015 Inside and out...
systems and all.
It hasn't been four years... but it has been quite a while since making an entry on this page. I've actually been working on the upper wing fuel tank for some time now.
Working with aluminum (banging out baffles and ribs, and bending skins and drilling holes)... it's a learning curve that I've picked up on fairly easy. Oh, sure, there are a few little mistakes with drill holes but they won't be seen unless you tear apar the upper wing fuel tank. AND those "mis-drilled holes" were because I flipped the end ribs on the tank. I JUST looked at the photos tht JimW had of his tank and he made it just like I originally had it made... but now I've flipped those ribs around and have a few extra cleco holes that will be visible to the gas inside the tank.
Looking at the upper wing center section plans and the fuel tank plans and the stuff Tony B wrote about fuel tanks... My original thought was to have the vent line coming out the back of the tank. Glad I compared what I wanted to do (following what Tony B. wrote) and the construction of the upper wing center section! The rear spar is where I wanted to have the vent exit. NOT GOOD ! And having it exist out the sides, on either side, will have it going through one of the inboard rib assemblies which I don't want to go through either.
This leaves either the top or the bottom of the wing in which to exit the vent line. And I'm thinking the bottom-rear of the tank... close to the right-side where the one drain and fuel line sits. I'm thinking... BUT, even though I can't place it where Tony did in one of his tanks, I'm taking his idea and having it run from the back top to the forward top; when you're in a climb the fuel won't come spilling out if the vent opening was a short tube in the back and it won't come spilling out in a dive if the vent tube was a short piece in the front. Doing it the way Tony explains you may get a few drops of fuel coming out of the vent but nothing to talk about.
Tony Bingelis' books are a must if you are scratch building from an older design. Heck... these guys were building (bi)planes for themselves. I don't think they intended others to build (I could be wrong). But when people see a sexy little sport plane they say.... "I've got to have one of those." After bugging the designer for years they release the drawings for the (bi)plane that they used and it pretty much leaves everything for you to design except for the basic structure of fuselage and wings. And THAT's where Tony's books come in... he details just about everything you would ask someone.
Right now I'm figuring out flairing of 1/4inch and 3/8inch tubing for use with AN867-1's 2's and 3's. What bushings and nipples to use with each. Finger strains and fuel valves... A whole lot of stuff I didn't think I'd need to know to build a biplane. The nice thing is that I will know this biplane inside and out... systems and all.