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  • June Project of the Month (Click "x" at right to dismiss)
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My new toy...

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FanMan

Mechanical Hacker
Active Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
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#1
I've posted a few things here about projects for my Fisher FP-404 biplane. There was still a "to do" list, nothing urgent, but I was starting to bump into the plane's limitations so it was time to move on, and I sold it about a month ago to buy a new plane. My new ride is a Starduster One, which has three times the HP, double the cruise speed, and four times the climb rate of the Fisher, my first reaction was simply, "WOW!"

It's not in as good condition as the Fisher, but as the seller said, "It's a flyer, not a show plane", and I'm OK with that. I flew it the 1000 miles from Memphis, TN to Connecticut over 4 days a few weeks ago. Here it is after the third night camping out with the plane:

IMG_20170427_082658822.jpg

When I got home, I discovered the landing gear had a crack under the fabric cover (the seller couldn't have known of it), so no flying for awhile until I fix it. It had obviously been cracked for a long time, but a few rough landings as I was getting used to the plane bent it to the point it became obvious. At any rate, it's been repaired before and Starduster has a new design, so I'll be building a complete new gear for it rather than trying to repair what I have.

IMG_20170430_141155487.jpg

There's an inner tube (not on the plans, possibly an earlier repair) that kept it from breaking completely. I've been making small bits of the new gear over the past week and have quite a bit more to go. I'll get everything fit and tack weld it together, then bring it to a buddy for final welding... I'm not a very good welder but my friend is a master.
 

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
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Joined
Jul 2, 2014
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#3
Wow, that looks like the gear was ready to depart. Good thing the brake line was holding it together! ;) That looks like a great airplane, and I know they are well regarded. I have a lot of time in a Decathlon, and a few hours in a Pitts S-1C that a REALLY GOOD friend let me play with.
 

Plum Creek

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2013
Messages
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49
#4
Beautiful aircraft! I never flew one, but I hear they are nice to fly!
I looked at building a Stolp in the 70"s but never could come up with the money. The usual story, lots of time, no money-then enough money but no time....
Hows the other gear and tw mount look?
 

FanMan

Mechanical Hacker
Active Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
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210
#5
The other side is fine, though I haven't stripped the fabric off it yet, and the tailwheel looks fine. But I'm going to replace the gear on both sides, since the new design is different, and longer. I'm also changing it from bungees to die springs.

Still working on small parts for it. Welded aircraft structures are half machining and half blacksmithing, lots of hammer forming red hot parts.
 

Groundhog

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
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Jan 20, 2016
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#7
I know zip about airplanes, but if I had a suspension failure on one of my motorcycles like that I'd be counting my blessings right now.
You said it isn't a show plane but it sure looks nice from a distance. Congratulations on your new toy!
 

FanMan

Mechanical Hacker
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Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
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#9
Very slow progress. Tonight I finished tack welding the new legs together on a fixture that simulates the attachment points on the plane, a friend will do the finish welding, he already welded the fittings on the top of the legs. Once that's done I can cut the bottom of the legs for the axles and get that tacked. That part has to be done on the plane to get the alignment right.

IMG_20170725_193027537.jpg


IMG_20170725_195539147.jpg

Typically the fishmouth cuts where the tubes join are done with a hand grinder but I found it a lot easier to clamp the smaller tubes in the mill and freehand cut them close to the line before finishing them with the grinder. Using CAD to get the intersection curves and unwrap them as a flat patter also really sped it up.
 
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