Home | How can I fabricate a cradle for the front of the fuselage?

How can I fabricate a cradle for the front of the fuselage?

How can I fabricate a cradle for the front of the fuselage?

From Jerry Kaidor:

Hi folks,

Today, I built a cradle or jackstand for the front of the
Sundowner’s fuselage – right at the firewall. This is required to be
able to take the load off the nose gear & check it.

I started out by templating the bottom of the fuselage with some
pieces of stiff cardboard. I noted that with the nose gear up a
reasonable amount ( on a scissors jack ), the distance from the
center to the ground was 29 inches.

With the cardboard template in hand, I went to the hardware store
and bought:

* One sheet of 1/2 inch plywood
* A box of 3/4″ flat head decking screws
* A bottle of Elmers Carpenter’s Glue
* A pair of 1/4″ by 6 foot threaded rods
* 8 1/4″ by 20TPI nuts to match the threaded rods
* 8 1/4″ fender washers

I cut out two 32″ squares of plywood and screwed them together
with just a couple of screws. Then penciled in the curve from the
cardboard template, and cut it out with a jigsaw, doing both pieces
at once. Then I glued the two pieces together with a liberal amount
of carpenter’s glue, and screwed them together with a liberal number
of the 3/4″ screws.

Now I had a single 1-inch thick board that could set on the ground
and whose top matched the contour of the fuselage bottom. Let’s call
it the “leg”. All I needed now was a pair of feet to hold it up.
The feet were a pair of roughly triangular pieces of plywood. The
bottom of the triangle was 24 inches wide, and the feet were about 20
inches tall. This is not critical – it just looked right. To
the “inside” of each foot, I glued and screwed two strips of plywood
to define a 1 inch channel.

The “feet” went one on each side of the “leg”. In each foot, I
drilled four 1/4″ holes. I drilled the holes with the feet laying
one on top of the other, so they ( the holes ) matched precisely.

Then with a foot on each side of the leg, I ran threaded rod
through the holes from one side of the leg to the other. Spun
the nuts down and – that puppy wasn’t going anywhere.

Now all that’s left is to put a strip of carpet or maybe rubber on
top so as not to mar the airplane. I might also put a couple of
metal or plastic straps to go to screw holes in the big inspection
plate just aft of the firewall, so as to lock the jackstand in place.

Thank you for adding to the resources available for your Fellow BAC Members.