I am in the process of building a control line
Skytrain model using plans drawn by Walter Musciano. I knew making the scale landing gear was
going to be a challenge because it requires bending two pieces of 1/8" music wire with
six 90° bends apiece. It seems easy enough in theory, but in practice getting the
opposing axel end to line up in opposition is not trivial. Making the first one took
two tries, as did the second one. the problem was that the two did not match each other
very well. I tried fudging it by bending some weird angles to get the spacing right,
but the lengths of the legs were different enough that it would require mounting them
at different heights within the wing section. If the wheel wells were going to be closed,
the mistakes would never be seen, but as you probably know, there are no wheel well covers
to close when the wheels are up or down.
I decided at that point that I rather than just bending new pieces until I happen
to get two reasonably matching gears was not the smart thing to do. Instead, I experimented
a bit with how to best mark and bend the music wire so that the lengths came out very
close to the intended measurement.
The method shown in these photos and in the video for measuring and marking music
wire for bending the landing gear (and other components) is very repeatable and accurate.
The key is to let the wire move around the peg rather than clamping it fast with the
bolt. Always position the length of the last bend against the bolt and align the new
bend mark with the center line of the metal jig dowel. I made the bends fairly slowly
so as to not let the areas get hot from the internal stress. I did not bother to try
tempering the wire after bending because to do properly requires controlled heat application
and cooling periods (from what I've read). It seems to hold up well without tempering.
Video: How to Bend Music Wire Landing Gear
Posted February 10, 2018
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all began in Mayo, MD
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