Now that I am a “master welder” (hah! ) I am moving forward with fabricating steel parts for my Bede BD-4C airplane. My first attempt was the tail skid. I had to have the tube bent for me, since I do not have a torch, but then I cut the tube to length and sanded the ends to the angles necessary to mate up cleanly with the end plates. I made the end plates out of flat steel and then tack welded them to the tube. S.S. Welding took over from there and did the real welding for me. Here is what the skid looks like on the bottom of the back end of the fuselage.
With the tail skid done, I can now fabricate the ventral fin. Before I do the fin, though, I am going to finish up the frame for the rear seat.
Tonight, I fabricated the first brace for the seat. This turned out to be one of the more complex single-piece parts that I have had to make so far, since it is not square to anything. On the front end, it matches up at an angle to a flat piece of steel. At the back end, it matches up to another tube, at an angle of course.
I got a piece of PVC pipe to use as a practice piece, which was a good thing because it took me two tries to get it right. Then I made the real brace out of steel. Here are photos.
Here is a photo showing the brace in position.
I was kind of intimidated at the prospect of making this part because the ends are so irregular. It turned out to be easier than I feared. The trick was to grind or sand a little and then test the fit, then take off a little bit more metal and test again, and then repeat. By going slowly, I did not make the tube too short. It was a slow, gradual process but I’m happy with the result. Now I
have to get to make three more braces: a short one for the left side and two long braces, one for each side.