Saturday, December 4, 2010

Building a Carbon Fiber Wing with Aluminum Ribs - Part 2

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This is the second part on our online tutorial of how to build a carbon fiber wing.

Our objective is to have a truly great ultralight aircraft - our FAR Part 103 Belite Aircraft.

The first part of this assembly document may be found by going to this link. 

I have completed my online updates to this wing assembly manual.  Further updates may be obtained by purchasing a kit, and receiving the printed wing assembly manual.
Building a Carbon Fiber Wing with Aluminum Ribs - Part 2

Last Updated December 13
Updated December 7
Updated December 4
Updated December 2

16.  Installing the Sail / Anti-sail tubes

The photos in this section show the sail / anti-sail tubes without Zinc Phosphate primer.  The primer will be

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Building a Carbon Fiber Wing with Aluminum Ribs - Part 1

Building a Carbon Fiber Wing with Aluminum Ribs - Part 1

A completed wing.  It weighs 20 pounds. 

Last Updated December 13, 2010

I have finished my online edits to this revised wing assembly manual.  Further edits are contained within the latest version of the builder's manual, included with each kit.  No further online edits are planned at this time.

Updated December 7, 2010
Updated December 4, 2010
Updated December 2, 2010
Updated November 30, 2010
Updated November 28, 2010


When you are done with these wings, you will have state of the art ultralight aircraft wings utilizing carbon fiber and aluminum.  They will work well with our FAR Part 103 Belite Aircraft!  The weight of the left wing (without flaperon or covering, but including the flaperon control cable and pitot tube/tubing) is slightly less than 20 pounds (9.1KG) when complete.  The weight of the right wing is 19 pounds (8.6KG).

Construction is straightforward, requiring only the ability to accurately place and glue parts together, with minimal riveting and absolutely no welding.

If you are building with aluminum spars (instead of carbon fiber) and wooden ribs (instead of aluminum ribs), you will only need to make slight modifications to the build instructions to complete your wings.


First of all, check your materials.  For each wing, you should have the following:

a) QTY 2 Carbon Fiber spars, with pre-attached CNC Machined lift strut hard points
b) QTY 5 Aluminum ribs
c) QTY 2 Birch Ply ribs, CNC machined from 1/2 inch Birch plywood (for root and tip caps)
d) Aluminum Tubing - 6 inch (length) used for doubler for spar roots
e) Aluminum Tubing - 1.5 inch (length) tripler used for spar roots
f)  Aluminum Tubing - 0.5 inch OD x 0.035 wall thickness, 6061T6, used for false rib spar and sail/anti sail braces.  A total of 5 tube lengths of varying lengths are needed for sail/anti-sail tubes.  12' is needed for false rib spar.
g) Aluminum Tubing - 0.625 OD square x 0.035 wall thickness used for rib stiffeners and sail/anti-sail hard points
h)  Aluminum Sheet - 0.025 thickness used for front spar strap, you will cut to 10" by 0.5" straps.
i) pitot tube - 1/4 inch aluminum tubing, prebent to shape.
j) plastic tubing for pitot tube
k) QTY 2 machined jury strut attachment fittings
l) preformed trailing edge aluminum, 12' per wing
m) LEFT and RIGHT CNC machined flaperon control cable dropper
n) one 3/16" rivet for trailing edge attachment to wooden root rib
o) 1/8" rivets for rib strips and for trailing edge attachment
p) 1/8" rivets for spar doubler/tripler
q) Carbon Fiber rope for securing jury struts
r) cotter keys
s) wing blueprint

You will need the following materials to finish your wing kit:

a) Glue (3M 2216) is NOT SUPPLIED.
b) Zinc Phosphate primer is NOT SUPPLIED.
c) Epoxy (West Systems or equivalent) is NOT SUPPLIED.
d) Acetone for glue cleanup is NOT SUPPLIED.
e) Sandpaper / Scotchbrite is NOT SUPPLIED.

Also note that flaperons and flaperon cables are NOT SUPPLIED with this kit.  You will need to order them separately.  (Or hopefully, you bought a complete kit.)

Also verify that you have a flat, absolutely flat workspace for building the wings.  The workspace needs to have easy access to a complete wing assembly, which has dimensions of about 12 feet by 4 feet.  You'll also need all of the usual tools (aviation snips, sandpaper, rivet squeezer, mixing trays, small paintbrushes...).  Having a large quantity of right angle squares and small clamps is essential for building a square wing.


2.  Spar Assembly.

Using very light sandpaper, clean and rough up six inches of the root portion of each carbon fiber spar, in preparation to glue on the 6 inch aluminum doubler.  Ensure that the doubler will fit over the spar.  This is what it will look like after the doubler and the tripler and the root rib are glued together, but don't glue anything yet:

Doubler, Tripler, Rib and root rib, along with some sloppy glue.  Don't glue it yet!

3.  Wood Rib Preparation.

Paint each of the two end cap wood ribs with a very light coat of epoxy.  This will ensure decades of life.  Lightly sand as necessary to remove excess epoxy and for better appearance.

Root Rib, in place.  It has been coated with a layer of clear epoxy.

4.  Aluminum rib strap preparation.

Cut 5 strips of 0.025 aluminum to dimensions of 1/2 inch x 10 inches for each wing.  These will be used to attach the front of the aluminum ribs to the leading edge spar.  A total of 5 straps are needed for each wing.  Clean and rough up using Scotchbrite, then spray coat with Zinc Phosphate primer.