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Fuselage Fabrication 1

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Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2006
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Below are some pictures illustrating the beginning steps in construction of a new fuselage.

Before starting my fuselage, I built several smaller parts (rudder pedals, stab, elevators, rudder, landing gear truss) for 4 reasons.
1. If I screwed up a small part, I didn't waste a lot of material.
2. To practice my welding and fabrication skills.
3. So that the parts would be ready to weld into the fuselage when I needed them.
4. The small parts don't take up a lot of space.

I built 2 8'x36"wx36"h tables, leveled them, and then laid out the fuselage side pattern on them. To accurately locate the jig blocks, make spacer blocks of 7/8", 3/4", and 5/8" and draw centerlines on them to align them over top of the tube centerlines drawn on the table.

Then, I spliced the 7/8" and 3/4" longeron tubes together. Remember to add a rosette weld at the splice even though plans don't call for it.


I mitered the longeron tubes at 45 deg and did the same for the tube at station 0 and then fit and tack welded the side tubes back to where the lower longeron is to be bent up at station 57 1/8.


This is station 34. The tube in the center is the only one of the side tubes that I couldn't notch on my Accu-Jigger. It's easy to notch on the old bench grinder though.


After all the tubes from 0 to 57 1/8 are tacked in place, heat the inside of the lower longeron and slowly bend it to match the line on the table. A piece of steel plate keeps the table from scorching.


When the 2 sides look like this, they are ready to be stood up on the table and formed into a fuselage.


The sides are jigged upside down on the table. I used 2 1x2x33" sticks notched at 29 1/8 and the previously built landing gear truss to hold the bottom longerons 30" apart. The cross-wires and turnbuckles are very effective at squaring all 4 sides. Caution: clamp down the upper longerons to the table to keep them from lifting when you tighten the turnbuckles. Next, I fit and tacked just the bottom tubes at station 0, the landing gear truss, and 57 1/8. Use a plumb bob to locate these tubes over the station lines drawn on the table. The rest of the bottom tubes will be jigged accurately on the table when the fuselage is flipped right side up. Go ahead and fit and tack the top fuselage tubes back to where the longerons will be bent in at station 51.

Edited by: AlRice

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