Home made landing gear blocks

There used to be hobby stores everywhere, and they used to sell a lot of specialty products for scratch builders.  Most of the hobby stores are gone because they lost the battle against mail order, and most of the suppliers no longer carry specialty products for builders.  As a result, you see a lot of pre-made items on airplane plans that you are interested in building, but you may not be able to get them.  One such item is the landing gear block, which I used to buy several at a time when I was at the hobby store.

I happen to be building a Cloud Dancer (by Fred Reese, RCM http://www.outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=6512).  The plan shows a 3/8″ x 3/4″ landing gear block with a 3/16″ groove for landing gear wire.

The plan shows a commercially made landing gear block.

The plan shows a commercially made landing gear block.

You can see in this view that the block is grooved for the landing gear wire.

You can see in this view that the block is grooved for the landing gear wire.

Here’s what the commercially made landing gear block looks like.

Commercially made landing gear block

Commercially made landing gear block

The landing gear wire is held into place in the groove by flat landing gear straps such as these:

Flat landing gear straps are used to hold landing gear wire in a groove.

Flat landing gear straps are used to hold landing gear wire in a groove.

 

If you do not have one of these, you can make one out of any hardwood block.  Some of the vendors that supply wood for building model planes have hard blocks, even if they don’t have grooves in them.  You can cut a groove yourself, or you could simply mount the landing gear wire on the surface.  I opted for another method.  I made a set by gluing layers of plywood together.  I used my laser cutter to cut these, but the plywood can be cut by hand or with a table saw or a scroll saw.  I’ll assume that if you are planning to build an airplane in the first place, you should be able to cut rectangular strips out of plywood.

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These strips are going to be glued together using 5 minute epoxy.  You could glue them all together and clamp them, then install the resulting block into the plane, but there is a chance that your block may end up being crooked.  So instead, I placed them one at a time into the rib notches and built the block in place.

You can see the first layer in place, and the epoxy has been spread for the next layer.

You can see the first layer in place, and the epoxy has been spread for the next layer.

I happened to have a long piece of hard wood stock, which I used for the upright block.  This block holds the torque spring anchor in place.  In this view you can see the finished landing gear block and the torque spring anchor after they have been glued into place in the wing.

Here it is, in place.  You can make the torque spring anchor out of plywood layers or other suitably hard wood.

Here it is, in place. You can make the torque spring anchor out of plywood layers or other suitably hard wood.

You may have already realized that I could have made the last layer of plywood from two pieces with a groove down the middle to imitate a commercially made landing gear block with a groove in it.  This is true, it doesn’t really matter one way or the other.  I happen to have a lot of landing gear clips of the type that are used on flat surfaces, such as the ones in the next photo.

For use on flat surfaces.

For use on flat surfaces.

When it’s all finished, the landing gear is held on like this:

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