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Air Camper Construction Log
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Date:  11-18-2014
Number of Hours:  0.50
Manual Reference:  
Brief Description:  Hydroforming Fuel Tank Components

A friend of mine (Jerry Vaughn) is a retired mechanical engineer from Pryer Machine here in Tulsa. He described how we could form beveled edges on some of my fuel tank components very quickly and accurately using a hydroforming process. He described that all I would need is a form to press against and that the machine would do the rest, so I cut a piece of 1/2" MDF and beveled the edge to a 45* angle using a router.

I took the components to the Pryer Machine on Sheridan, where Jerry and a co-worker loaded the materials into a machine that looked somewhat like a big oyster. Jerry told me that these machines were manufactured in the 1950s, and that they were purchased at auction from McDonnell Douglas. Wow… a machine that might have made parts for the DC-9, DC-10 MD-80, or perhaps the C-17, F-4 Phantom, F-15 Eagle or AH-64 Apache, or maybe even Skylab is now forming parts for my Pietenpol! If you are reading this, especially if you build, then you probably know how neat the thought of that is.

Jerry and his friend hit the material with 2000psi… even though the machine was capable of much higher pressures, he said that 2000psi was adequate, and that much more would turn the MDF form to sawdust. The entire operation took about 15 minutes, and the parts came out in perfect form.
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Getting Set

Getting Set

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Ready to Form

Ready to Form

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Inspecting the Result

Inspecting the Result

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