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Bending Undercarriage Wire, the right way!

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Bending Undercarriage Wire, the right way!

Old 12-04-2014, 03:45 AM
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Default Bending Undercarriage Wire, the right way!

It seems simple, but before I dive in and give it a go I am looking for some tips from the old hands, here on the forum.

Bending the undercarriage wire. A simple task in aero-modelling terms but one I have not done before. However I want to do it well and neatly. I have recently bought a Belair plan pack for a vintage Simplex at 40" span. A plan I fell in love with by poring over a free plan probably from, Radio Modeller, no doubt published in the late 70s or early 80s. It was back in the day when I was only a kid and my magazines were hand-me-downs from a plane modelling neighbour. It is only 6 bends of different radius. What is the best way? As I don't want to make a mess of the plane of my dreams!

PS - I do own at least one pair of pliers and a vice.
Old 12-04-2014, 05:04 AM
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If you can, buy or borrow a wire bender. Using a vice and pliers is an invitation to potential problems. You want to be sure and keep a radius on any bend at least one wire diameter radius; i.e. no sharp corners at the bends like a vice or pliers may make. I assume you are using piano wire (some call it music wire). If so do your bend cold, no heat to make the bend easier. Now I know many successfully use a vice but those who are successful usually have filed a smooth curve in the vice jaw to prevent that sharp groove at the bend. That does help if you must use a vice.
Old 12-04-2014, 06:39 AM
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What Rodney writes is absolutely correct. You must use spring steel, called music wire in our hobby. Using a vice will cause the bend radius to be smaller than recommended, and the wire can break. The minimum INSIDE bend radius for steel is equal to the thickness of the wire, which is the wire diameter. I file a groove into the vice jaw so the wire bends inside that groove and the minimum bend radius is not exceeded. As you bend the wire, always use a heavy leather glove on the hand nearest the bend in case the wire does break.
Old 12-05-2014, 08:08 AM
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K&S makes a mighty wire bender and a mini wire bender. I have both. They are perfect for bending music wire.

Old 12-07-2014, 07:48 AM
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Default Bending wire

For bending wire lees than 5/32 in in diameter I always use the Higley wire bending tool that fits in your vice. It's much easier to get an accurate bend with this type of tool than the larger K&S tool. For wire over 1/8 I use the K&S tools because the bending bar provides more leverage.

The first thing to do regardless of which bender you use is to make sure you have plenty of wire so that you can practice a bit before going for the main vent.

Here is the Higley bender:


Last edited by 049flyer; 12-07-2014 at 12:50 PM.
Old 12-13-2014, 11:01 PM
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Two rules, never heat the wire and make the bend in one smooth slow motion. NEVER try to un bend the wire.
Old 12-15-2014, 11:46 AM
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Robart includes instructions for bending gear wire using a propane torch. I have used it many times with great results.

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