Prototype Build – Volume 1 Part 3: Start of Cradle Assembly

CNC Lab have done a stunning job of the routing and we were able to collect all of it yesterday.

Who thought you couldn’t fit a Spitfire Cockpit in a Landrover?!!

Fortunately all fitted very well into the Landy. The routing was all done with a 3mm bit, even the 21mm plywood. This has resulted in an excellent finish and very accurate drill hole sizes. It is wonderful what CNC Routing, laserjet cutting and 3D printing have done for the engineering industry and hobbyists particularly. It allows absolute accuracy of your bespoke components at reasonable cost. All it requires is accurate 3D modeling. And that is hopefully where we at Heritage Flight Simulation earn our keep!

Beautifully made main and flying instrument panel backings (will have an aluminium cover)

The parts are so accurate it is a doddle to do a quick dry fit of our first task, the cradle. Here my able assistant Caroline can be seen holding up Frame 11 (which originates from a previous test of waterjet cutting plywood) on the dry fit cradle bits.

The CNC routing is so accurate I cannot but be amazed at how beautifully everything lines up.

Anyway, that was yesterdays fun 🙂 Today we set up a time lapse video camera which hopefully will capture the build from start to finish at 5 minutes per frame. That should have us complete the build in about 10 minutes. Of video…heheh!

We have also started gluing up the box sides and wing spars of the cradle.

2 thoughts on “Prototype Build – Volume 1 Part 3: Start of Cradle Assembly”

  1. Manchot,
    Build photos look great.
    Do you plan on making the CNC/Plasma Cutter software available for the wood parts as well as metal sheeting? Unfortunately, shipment of the actual parts to the US from SA would most likely be exorbitant however, my son owns a large sheet metal fabrication shop with 4 plasma cutters. Also have you made any progress with a source the canopy and windscreen?

    1. Hi Jim,
      Many thanks!
      Yes sir, part of the plans pack is will be all the cutting patterns in dxf format for the plywood, aluminium and steel. These can processed by your local CNC shop, so no need to port basic heavy things from far away. I might point out that the plywood should be CNC routed while the aluminium and mild steel should be laser cut. Given that it is all pretty thin sheet, I don’t think that plasma will be a suitable option?
      The windscreen is simple, just flat pieces of clear plastic (whatever is the cheapest, probably acrylic) and waterjet cut or routed. The challenge will be the canopy. I am focusing on the wood build at the moment and the canopy will probably be taking a backseat right now. However, the original was polycarbonate heated and draped over a form. The thicknesses involved were such that the whole process was pretty tricky. The USA were going to give it a try but in the end referred back to the UK. I believe I have a method and will approach local plastic forming folk to assist. It may be by vacuum forming. We will see. I can make the mould and have made the pattern for it but this needs to be discussed with potential suppliers. Ideally we get a few people set up on the successful method on each of the continents, again so we don’t need to spend fortunes on shipping. I believe we can do much better than having an original GBP700 canopy!
      All the best,
      Manchot. (aka Roel Stausebach)

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