Fuselage Steam Box
Some background information - I tried building a steam bender out of aluminum down spouting from a local home improvement store. It seemed like a good idea. Cheap. Simple. Effective. Right?
Well, I fought with it, trying to seal the ends and getting the whole thing to work properly. When the frustration reached it's peak, I put down the tools and went to work. Perhaps a nice long flight would give me time to think about it.
By chance, I was scheduled to fly with Walter Ivey, who is not only a consummate aviator, but a darn good woodworker as well. Walt had built a steam box while making a water ski for his son. With a little modification, he reasoned that the box would be exactly what I needed. Needless to say, I took him up on his generous offer.
I named it "The Ivey Steamer"
Now, how to make all that steam. I looked into many options - electric kettles, bathroom steamer, wall paper remover.....I kept looking for several things: large water capacity, large volume of steam, and small price.
What seemed to fit the bill was a big roasting pot I found at Walmart. I drilled a hole in the lid for an AN12 sized fitting. The hose will run from this fitting to another AN12 fitting in the Ivey Steamer. Inside the box, there are a few wooden pieces glued across the box to keep the ash elevated. Sometimes, you see dowels in a steam box to keep the wood off the bottom, but Walter's wooden ridges work the same way.
Don't forget to drill drain holes in the bottom!
You only have a few minutes to form the hot, wet ash, I plotted the points for the upper and lower longerons on the jig table. The forming blocks were once again attached to the table with screws.
Tomorrow, I hope to fire up the steamer. Since I had a little extra time before the kids came home from school, I assembled the rudder bar hardware. Looks a lot better now!