Aluminum Repairs to a Ryan STA nosebowl

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  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    This is a plane similar to the one that was damaged, a Ryan STA

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    The paint was stripped clean from both sides of the aluminum part and all the crevices.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    ¬†start by bumping up the damaged aluminum from the back side using a “track dolly” - shown later.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    After bumping up to reduce the size of the waves, I use a “slapper” to help level the damaged aluminum panel even more.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    Here is the spring steel slapper and the track dolly. The aluminum nosebowl is looking better.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    Hold the dolly up tight against the metal, lifting with it as you strike the top surface with the slapper. A hollow sound means moving the metal without stretching it more - while otherwise, a sharp ring and contact against the dolly means stretching is happening. Sometimes you need to increase the surface area, but sometimes you definitely do not.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    Look carefully to see the shiny dark spots left by smoothing the damaged aluminum with these two tools.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    More bumping, and also some hammering on top to collapse the bad areas where the engine came through the aluminum sheet metal.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    Drive down high spots without leaving hammer marks by striking the slapper held against the metal surface. Metal can be hot if you need it to “shrink,” or go down to reduce the surface area.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    This alloy is 5086 and is .050” thick. I either anneal or just work this aluminum alloy hot, reducing the swellings from all the damage. I check file and then test sand with 320 paper: my damage repairs look good.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    Now that I know the type of aluminum alloy with my first-hand experience, I now have a system/procedure worked out (aluminum alloys vary in their working procedures) for tackling the worst tangled twisted mess of this aluminum damage repair job.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    I have a profile of the nosebowl opening patterned in paper, so I make a plywood from that screws to my bench top. This holds the nosebowl in its true contour and also keeps it flat on the table - both elements being so very important for damage repairs on any metal. Using strong pinch-clamps on either side of the egg-shaped prop opening, I grab them with a large extend pair of clamps and yank them together as I work the aluminum into proper alignment.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    It was stretched almost one inch, so I have to trim off the excess and butt-weld the seam, using 5356 filler that I can hammer flat.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    Some wrestling, some patience and following my plan saved this damaged aluminum part.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    It all came together, again.

  • Stearman Airplane Spinner Repair

    It’s so nice to make a plan, work the plan, and stick to the plan - and have such nice results. Ready for paint!!