|The Basic Guide to "Stick Framing" a Fuselage
|Study the plans to find any items that might need to be
pre-assembled before framing begins. Also note that not
all wood thickness is the same, so be careful to make a
L. H. and a R. H. assembly where applicable.
|The secret to a good strong frame is in the joints. A good fit
is absolutely essential, so take your time to get the angle
cut properly. I begin by scoring the wood with the knife in
place. Then cut the stick and test fit the part. Use the
sanding block to true up the final fit through trial and error,
and don't glue it in until it fits. You want a nice snug fit; too
tight will induce twists and warps -- too loose will make for
a week joint.
|To start the assembly process, pin down the main former that will set up the frame
alignment for assembly. Then pin the top and bottom longerons in place, gluing the
joints where contact is made between components. I like to add the 1/8" Sq. balsa
main structure first along with all of the cut parts where they mate up with the
|After the main structure is glue together, then the vertical and diagonal bracing
can be added. Fit the bracing carefully to insure a good fit and glue joint. The
compound angles of the diagonals can be a bit tricky, so work slowly and
carefully to insure an accurate fit before gluing it in place. Then with the first side
frame finished, the second side will be done in the same fashion. But be careful, if
the sides are dedicated Left and Right, be sure you build in the differences. If
necessary, you can coat the plans with either WD-40 or Wesson Cooking Oil to
make the plans transparent and build over the back side.
|Pick a flat spot on the frame and pin the frames over the Top/Bottom view of the
plans. Add the main formers on top -- or bottom if the fuselage would be easier to
pin upside down -- using the machinists squares to align the frames vertically.
|While the fuselage frames are still true and secured on the plans add the
remaining formers where the sides are parallel.
|With the top formers in place, build up any sub-assemblies involved and start adding
the bottom former or cross pieces. Keep a close eye on the alignment at this point,
though once the first couple of formers are in place the frame will stiffen up nicely.
|Once the first former(s) are in, the remaining bottom
formers or cross pieces can be added in the parallel