Soldering Cabane Struts;
By: Pat Tritle
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;
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. So, let's get started.........
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 parts together.
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.