It has been a little while since I snapped a few pix of the Sopwith Camel project, but here we are. As you may remember we left off last time by precisely bending all of the music-wire pieces to form the landing gear. Here’s how I soldered everything together.
The first step to producing any wire landing gear is to install it on the fuselage before you start. Use your favorite gear straps to secure the horizontal part of the gear in place within the slots of the landing gear blocks.
My standard, Go To, solder is from Stay-Brite. It is a high silver content solder and it works great. Also I use thin copper wire to wrap the solder joint area, fine sandpaper to clean the music wire where the solder will be applied and an 80 watt soldering iron. The Stay-Brite solder comes with a liquid flux that makes the job go quickly and painlessly.
(Above) Here’s a typical wire wrap before solder has been applied.
I use common cloth pins and some straight balsa stock, (here one of my sanding sticks,) to help keep the wire struts properly aligned. As you can see, the wire has been wrapped around the first solder joint and the solder has been applied. Basically the process is, clean the wire with sandpaper, apply some of the liquid flux to a paper towel and apply it to the areas to be soldered. Wrap the copper wire around the joint area keeping the coils tightly wrapped next to each other. Tin the soldering iron and apply a small amount of solder to tin the surface. Apply a drop or two of the flux to the joint area and apply heat to the joint.
Let it heat up for a while and when it is hot enough, the solder will flow easily into the joint. Apply enough solder to completely fill the joint and the voids between the music wire pieces. Now let the solder cool before moving or touching the gear.
After the first solder joint has cooled, repeat the process for the next joint, here that’s the aft joint on the right hand gear set. Notice that I have not completely wrapped the entire solder joint area, having only apply the wire wrap to the upper halves of the joints. This is because more pieces will be added later with new wraps.
So here the first two solder joints have been completed and cleaned with some solvent to remove access solder flux. Again I use cloth pins to hold the next part to be soldered in place. This upper spreader really adds strength to the Sopwith Camel’s gear. It is a scale detail used on the full-size airplane.
Here you see the first solder joint completed for the upper spreader piece. Again let the solder completely cool before moving the gear. Notice the discolored flux. This all has to be removed after the soldering is complete. If left on the surface, it will cause corrosion. I use MEK or Acetone to clean it off.
Here are the four main solder joints that complete one side of the gear. When you set the wire pieces in position, be sure to adjust (bend and tweak them,) if necessary so the joints are precise and there are no gaps between the two wires being soldered together.
So here you see the final lower solder joints of the landing gear. Notice that the two horizontal cross-pieces that run on either side of the axle (not yet made,) have been wrapped and soldered to the side set of the gear. The additional wraps are neat and close to the older ones made earlier. The twin cross pieces when attached to the left gear set, really makes the gear extremely strong. There are still two more U-shaped pieces that will be soldered into place to guide the up/down movement of the solid one piece axle wire. But this will all be assembled later in the build.
Now with the fuselage up off the workbench, we’ll soon start on the tail feathers so we can add more parts to the upper fuselage. Until next time, stay tuned and build something!
Good builds require good fitting parts. For laser cut parts, try Trillium Balsa (www.trilliumbalsa.com).
Here’s my working drawing showing the basic layout of the landing gear and axle detail. Note the U-shaped vertical axle guide piece. It will be soldered into place later. The long horizontal ends will be used to anchor the ends of the bungee cord suspension loops.
To see the next installment of the build (part 7,) use this link: http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/06/25/workshop-build-along-sopwith-camel-part-7-tail-surfaces/
To view the last installment of the build, (part 5,) use the link: http://www.modelairplanenews.com/blog/2014/04/27/workshop-build-alone-sopwith-camel-forming-wire/