We’re converting a Hobby Lobby Telemaster into a 1928 Fairchild FC-2W2 for a National Parks Service program. This aircraft was the first ever owned by NASA and later the first owned by the National Parks Service. Information link at bottom.
While making a complex former, I felt the method was simple, interesting and important to share. Having arrived at the shape, I used the following method to copy it onto the material I wished to cut it from. The simple technique could help you build any aircraft from your own or purchased drawings.
1. First we need a drawing. If your making “one off” parts as I am in this example, simply draw the part on standard 20 lb copier paper using pencil. I make lots of changes and mistakes as I go, so it’s important to have an eraser equipped pencil.
1B. Here is the front of the modified fuse where our soon to be made former will be installed.
1C. Holding up our drawing to imagine what it’s going to look like. Does it look correct?
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein
2. If your using an obtained drawing or you wish to preserve your drawing, use a copier or all in one printer to make a copy of the area containing the part you want to make. In this case, I made a copy of my pencil drawing just in case I discovered and error and wanted to alter the drawing before I finished.
3. Heavily pencil over the lines we wish to transfer to the wood. I used a standard #2 pencil.
3B. There are multiple uses for Formula 560.
4. Place the drawing, heavy pencil down against your material. You will notice the grain is running the wrong way in this former. However, it’s just a jig for building the nose, it’s not intended to provide any structure. The nose of this model has many facets of 1/4″ thick balsa. Although I’ll leave the former in the model, it could be removed if I wanted too. As this model has a short nose needing weight up front, I’ll be leaving it in.
5. Place two pins through the paper into the wood to prevent the drawing from moving. I choose top and bottom locations. Notice you can see the drawing through the paper. Makes me feel like Superman, you?
6. Find something curved and smooth like a coin, I choose a nickle to rub the pencil into the wood.
7. Because we created a way to register the drawing to the wood, we can lift the paper up and look at our results as we progress. No danger of losing our alignment.
8. Ahhh, thats what I’m talking about! The drawing has new been transferred to our material. It will be easy to cut it out now.
9. Doing what the band saw does best.
10. Drilling for the Scroll Saw
11. Installing on the Scroll Saw
12. Doing the inside, what the scroll saw does best.
13. How does it look against the print?
14. The former goes in about this position.
15. Former positioned and ready for addition of next nose sheeting segments. Since we are working with a model that is already built, we elected to jig the next two formers to the front of the fuse. when the 1/4″ thick balsa segments are added from the front of the fuse to this former, many facets will be formed representing the nose of this model. Using this method, we only need to make the 3 sides of each sheet accurate, they can be allowed to extend past the former. We can cut them off and sand them down against the former as we go. After all plates in position, we’ll snap out all the scrap sticks used to hold the former in place. The sanding bars are banded tightly to the fuse sides so I could measure and put the former in the center. They make a great straight edge.
I thought solving the problems of making and installing this former would be interesting to readers and hope you made it this far into a very long post.
Story of the National Parks Service first aircraft in the National Parks Traveler
Stars And Strips, a Fairchild FC 2W2 at the target=”_blank”>The Virginia Aviation Museum.
Admiral Byrd used the Fairchild FC 2W2 as a Aerial Photography Platform including in the South Pole.