Having just received my new K&S Mighty Wire Bender tool, I got to work making the landing gear for my next project - a version of the Tiger 60.
This plane design uses two wire gear set into mounting blocks in the wing. I have the size and shape required and printed out. On to the bending!
Bend #1 - a right angle. Wow, this works really well! Bend #2 - another right angle, this one opposite the first, but in the same plane. Meet issue #1 - the tool is designed to be able to coil wire, so the handle is actually at an angle. If you don't match the angle, your second bend won't be in the same plane. Issue #2 - trying to figure out exactly where to make the second bend so the finished product matches the printout. Repeat issue #2 with bend #3, but this time, the bend is out of plane, so you have to figure out how to set the wire in the block AND allow for the angle of the handle. After several attempts (good thing I have more than one 3 foot length of wire!) I've got what I need.
On to issue #3 - duplicating the first one.
Well, as they say, practice makes - good enough.
There has to be a better way, and I think I'm going to draw something up that (a) is designed to bend wire in a single plane, and (b) will bend two pieces at once, so either I get two perfectly matched sets of the wrong size, or two perfectly matched sets of the right size. Besides, I think my buddy with the machine shop needs a project.
Like making Z bends without Z bend pliers. You bend the last 90 perpendicular to plane of wire, then twist to same plane as first.
Plenty of youtube vids on this sort of thing.
If only it were that simple.
Making a Z bend in a thin piece of wire is a lot different than bending 1/8" music wire. You cannot bend 1/8" wire into a sharp 90 degree bend, for one. You must radius it. The dimensions of a Z bend aren't all that critical for use, but when forming landing gear, things have to be bent at the correct distance and angle.
I just spent the morning doing some self-educational experiments on measurement and bending with the tool, to determine how to best accurately make two 90 degree bends opposite each other, while keeping a set distance between the outermost parts of the wire (critical in this case, as they must fit accurately between two wing ribs). Nine feet of music wire later and I have two VERY accurately made landing gear wires that perfectly match to within 1/32" or so.
There is an art to bending big cables without kinking them. It's alot like bending a big giant tube by hand without kinking it or putting small crush zones inside of it. I am actually quite good at bending brake lines for the same reason.
slow stock prop reversal. it flies! easily! 543 watt dual motor bipe slow stick. push-me-pull-you. 242 watt 3 channel slow stick. 365 watt mini ultra stick. 415 watt mini contender. 810 watt ultra stick .25e. 220 watt alpha 450 sport (retired).
I inset my bender into the bench, so that it's top face is level with the top of the bench...
this leaves only the bending part to worry about.
Ron, I was working on something similar to that. A much larger, flat metal base plate with a series of retainers and arm pivots. But, it was only practical for mass-producing one particular size and shape of gear - fine if you're marketing a kit, but couldn't justify the cost for a one-of (or two-of) project.
I ended up just going through a bunch of wire - measuring, making bends, re-measuring - to learn how to set the wire in relation to the pivot until I could accurately make the bends and duplicate them as needed.