How can I fabricate a cradle for the front of the fuselage?
From Jerry Kaidor:
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
* 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.