Undercarriage

I was contemplating the split axle gear with Matco 6 x 8.00 wheels and hydraulic brake combo but I couldnt go past the original wooden legs and wire wheels!

Dan Helsper's beautiful example of the straight axle wooden gear.

 

I finally made my mind up! I looked at all sorts of spoked wheel options and it was hard to find a wheel that had everything I was looking for. The Piet uses a 1.5 inch axle and not many motorcycle rims go that big. I could have used one and sleeved the axle and created all sorts of nightmares for myself but decided to go another way. Ken Perkins in the USA makes a lovely hub that takes a 1.5 inch axle and I will get Buchanan's Spoke & Rim to supply anodized black rims and lace them with polished stainless spokes.

 

...and the finished product!

 

After much research and studying other builds, I decided to replicate what Mike Cuy used on his Piet. Mike has successfully used Comet Go-Kart brake calipers for many years and stated that there is just enough grip to hold for run up but no more. I decided that is all I need! I looked at various hydraulic systems but decided against complicating things.

 

Trial fit the Wag Aero tail wheel assembly.

 

I purchased some cheap Pine timber and ripped it down to size to make a trial set of gear legs. Better I wreck some cheap Pine first rather than Spruce...

 

Ripped down a piece of Ash and glued it as the support for the tail wheel spring. Once this dried I glued a piece of 3mm ply on top and will glue a piece on the other side. Will use AN6 hardware to mount the assembly...

 

Fitted Avon Speedmaster 21" tyres that arrived from the UK. Started bending and fitting the undercarriage leg metal fittings. Eventually the sides of the fuselage will be sheeted with 3mm ply. To allow for this I have temporarily placed the pieces between the metal fitting and fuselage to allow for the spacing...

 

Started bending and fitting the undercarriage leg metal fittings. Eventually the sides of the fuselage will be sheeted with 3mm ply. To allow for this, I have temporarily placed the pieces between the metal fitting and fuselage to allow for the spacing...

 

Making the wheel axle collars...

 

Fuselage turned upside down and I marked the line so the axle can be aligned...

 

Rather than re-invent the wheel, here is the link to the West Coast Piet site that has a fantastic description of how to build the "Jenny" style wooden gear. I followed this step by step and it worked! I used some Pine I ripped down to size first so I didnt destroy my good Spruce if I got it wrong!

 

Im happy with the angles and the mock gear legs. Now to start ripping down Spruce for the actual undercarriage legs...

 

Spruce legs are in! Also had my first attempt at making a Nicopress swage loop which will be needed for the undercarriage brace wires and control surface cables...

 

Started cutting out the lower gear leg metal fittings. Procrastinated far too long about these so grabbed a hacksaw and some cutting oil and didnt take too long...

 

Metal gear fittings nearly finished. There is a lot of work involved in this undercarriage!...

 

Spreader bars made and fitted. I tried the method most use of making dies to place in a vise and heating and crushing the tube. It was dam awkward! After the first one I heated the tube cherry red and then beat it flat with a flat faced hammer. It worked great. Where the flat joins the tube I used a piece of tube and hit it with a hammer to form the radius. I found it much easier. Gear cable fittings bent and fitted and about to make cables...

 

30th March 2014 and she stands on her own 3 feet for the first time. Waiting for clevis pins to be able to mount the gear cables...

 

Gear tension cables made and fitted. Used 1/8 cable with Nicopress swages...

 

Front and rear spreader braces made, painted and fitted...