|Making a Wire Cabane Strut Assembly
One of the more taxing operations for the low time builder is soldering wire assemblies together. When
building a Biplane, soldering the Cabane struts together accurately is important, and by doing it accurately to
begin with, aligning the top wing will be much easier when the time comes.
There are only 3 basic steps involved in building the strut assemblies;
1- Bend the wire components to shape using the patterns provided on the plans. Be sure to make a L. H.
and R. H. set.
2- Jig the components so that they can be soldered together with both hands free.
3- Solder the joints together.
The tools required to make the struts are simple and few;
You'll need a pair of pliers for bending the wire components. Needle Nose Pliers work well, especially
where the wire is bent past 90 degrees.
Wire cutters or a Dremmel rotary tool with a cut-off wheel work well for trimming the parts once the bends are
made. A file or bench grinder will do nicely for cleaning up the ends of the components after the cuts have
And finally, a good soldering iron is a must. I've owned a dozen cheap irons, and never got good service
from any of them. The best bet if you plan to do some building is to invest in a good quality soldering station
with adjustable heat. In the end the soldering station cost less then all the cheap irons I bought trying to avoid
the cost of one good unit!
A Word About Solder; To solder Cabane Strut and Landing Gear assemblies together you'll want to use
a good quality lead free solder. My personal favorite is Stay-Brite (available from better hobby shops,
hardware stores or jewelry supply houses). It's 10% silver, and comes with Stay-Clean liquid flux to etch the
metal for good strength and adhesion, and to aid the solder into flowing smoothly into the joint. Don't use
plumbing or electrical solder, it doesn't flow well, and it's just not strong enough in this application.
|Once the wire parts are bent to shape lay them over the
assembly drawing and hold them in place with weights or
tape. I use a 90 degree wood block to align the struts
vertically. A Machinists Square will work nicely as well.
|With the wire components aligned and securely held in place
the joints are soldered together.
|Now that the first strut is done we'll need to make a mirror
image for the other side. The easy way to do this is to wet
the plan with WD-40 or Wesson Cooking Oil to make the
paper transparent. Turn it over and you're ready to go.
|The second assembly is done just like the first. Secure the
components on the pattern, true them up, and solder the
|After the joints cool, wash the parts with soapy water to
remove the flux residue to prevent the wire from rusting. The
flux is an acid and will leave the struts looking really bad in
just a few short hours if its not removed immediately after the
soldering is finished.