Gear Leg Fairings

 
 
NOTE:  photos link to full size image

The fairing is first drawn out on a 25" x 15.5" sheet of 0.025" aluminum. This is not the stock size. I like the look of a tapered gear leg fairing, instead of the standard rectangular ones in the plans. Mine will be 7 1/2" wide at the top and 5" at the bottom.
However, making a custom size fairing required me to make a new cut template. This test piece was created from some scrap aluminum and refined using trial and error. I had a good idea what the final template should look like, so I used that as a best guess starting point.
The aluminum was then traced onto paper to make the final template.
It's amazing how that bell-shaped curve turns into a flat plane on the fairing.
To get a consistent and even leading edge radius bend, I decided to bend the skin still in a rectangular section. I would trim the edges for the taper once the bend was complete. This method worked very well.
I used a combination of bending techniques. First a dowel was clamped down on the bench. This allowed me to make the initial bend nice and straight. Then I folded the two edges together and drilled and clecoed them together. I could then use my hands to squeeze the radius until it was where I wanted it.
The fairings are held together with piano hinge. I pre-drilled the hinges prior to fitting them to the skins.
Hinges fitted to the skin. (This photo is actually of the second skin. I drilled prior to bending this one, but it really doesn't matter).
The fairing is then trimmed to its final shape.
I test fit the fairing, but my templates and dimensions were right on the money. No significant trimming was required.
Close up of the top from the outside.
The top from the inside.
Close up of the bottom.
Being happy with the fit, I clamped everything together and used the vixen file to even out the edges. This really gave a finished look to the fairings.
Ready to rivet.
Riveting the piano hinges to each half of the skin.
Completed fairings! Not a bad weekend project....

 

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Updated: 13 Aug 05