The framework on my first eagle was mostly made from thin walled K&N brass. You can make a perfectly good frame from this and it will be strong enough, so long as you are not going to crash the eagle. I would strongly recommend however, that you use thicker walled brass. The frame for eagle 2 is made from brass tube with a wall thickness of 1/16”. This means that the ¼” tube fits nicely into the 5/16” tube on the spine, and the 3/16” fits into the ¼” when joining the cage sections together.
I got all my brass from Smiths Metals.
The method for fixing the brass was the same as for eagle 1.
1. Profile the ends with various round files.
2. Fill the ends with car body filler to prevent the solder running down the inside of the tubes.
3. Make a chamfer around the profiled end for the solder to run around. Note: with the thicker walled brass this chamfer can be deeper giving a larger area of solder and a stronger joint than using the thin walled stuff (I think).
4. Clean the joint areas.
5. Heat the joint with a blowtorch, and apply the solder. The solder I use has flux in the core, which seems to work fine, but you may want to apply flux separately before adding the solder.
6. Clean the joint with model knife; needle files, wet and dry paper and wire wool (in that order).
For the cage sections I made a Jig. This was made from two sheets of metal (from the top of an old VCR) with eight ¼” holes and five larger holes for the bolts that hold the jig together.
The brass box section serves two functions. First is to stiffen the metal sheets, and secondly they provide a stand-off so that you can get access all around the joints for soldering.
The box sections were stuck to the metal with JB weld.
|I bolted the jig together on a flat surface to make sure everything was square. Eight lengths of brass were inserted into the jig holes and I started to cut and profile the cross members.|
|Nearly all of the cage is held in place by the jig and can be soldered in one go. The only pieces I didn’t solder in the jig were the four long vertical ones.|
To mount the command module, a friend of mine machined some thick brass plate. To fix these to the brass tube, I countersunk the holes slightly, so that the solder would have a groove to run around. Once soldered in place I reshaped them with a file.
I know that this was not the method used in the original eagles, and I wish I had asked for the holes to be closer to each other, but I think I'll live with it.
|I got a length of hardwood cut at a local carpenter’s workshop. I kept enough for the side pods and used the remainder to clamp the brass angle to when soldering it to the cage. The brass angle was from K&N and a bit thinner than I would like, but the alternative from Smiths Metals was too thick. I stiffened the angle by soldering box section in the middle. The result is a much better mounting for the side pods than that on my first eagle.|
|When the cages and frames come out of the jig, the ends of the eight tubes are left long for cleaning the joints and then cut to length. I started cutting the ends on the engine frame, but then decided it would be better to leave one end long so that the frame could be mounted in the jig while the rest of the brass could be soldered to it. Some of the joints would have to be heated up and I didn’t want anything to move.|
|For the engine frame I started by making the cross section. I cut and profiled the bits needed, then the two long pieces had 3/16” holes drilled in them. After the insides of the ¼” and outside of the 3/16” tubes were cleaned, the assembly was put together and glued with JB weld epoxy. The reason for using JB weld is that it can withstand very high temperatures. The brass rings were turned by a friend of mine.|
|Once the epoxy had hardened for twelve hours, I shaped the ends and soldered the rings in place, making sure the rings lined up with the frame.|
|The eight pieces that hold the cross section in place were cut, profiled, filled and chamfered as usual. I fixed four of these pieces to the cross section with small dabs of solder. Then the assembly was fixed to the frame. When I was satisfied that everything was square and level, I soldered the four remaining pieces in place and finished all the joints.|
|The diagonal pieces were cut and soldered in place. Note that the ends that connect to the cross section were filled and soldered as usual. I did not fill the ends that attach to the end frame, instead the inside of the tubes were cleaned before being soldered in place. These joints could then be filled with epoxy when 3/16” connecting tubes were glued in place.|
|To hold the four spherical tanks, I soldered some 3/16” tube in place.|
|To hold one end of the long tanks, I used 3/16” tube. After the tubes were soldered in place, they were filled with JB weld.|
|All the frames were cleaned and the 3/16” connecting tubes were glued in place.|
For the spine, I used the same jig for making the cross sections that I used in my Eagle 1 build.
It was originally just plywood, but as you can see from the burn marks, I needed to add protection against the blowtorch. The brass plates also made it possible to drill the holes more accurately.
All the necessary cross sections were made. The joints of these were soldered, but all the rest of the spine would be fixed together using JB weld.
I started assembly from the centre and worked my way out.
The 3/16” brass tube was cut and profiled, and the ends filled with car body filler. I used plenty of epoxy on the joints, and wiped them clean, which filled any gaps.
Clamps were used to hold everything together until the glue dried.
I knew it would take me a number of goes to get the end pieces right, so I decided to make them from aluminium, as it was easier to work with.
When they were cut correctly, the ends were filled with car body filler. One of the joints was pinned, and they were fixed in place with J-B kwik.
|The 16 clips that hold the spine to the frames were made from brass strip. I first bent the strip around some ¼” brass tube, then cut it and rounded off the end. They each had a hole drilled in them, and were soldered to the frames. Holes were then drilled in the spine for the connecting bolts.|
|There were 32 short pieces of 3/16” tube to fix in place to finish the frames. I decided to make these from aluminium, again because it was easier to work with.|
The corridor sections were made from wood and styrene sheet, all fixed together with super glue.
The resin end doors and aluminium engine bells are from Jim Small.
The shelves were made from three pieces of thick styrene stuck together. I was originally going to make these with Perspex, but styrene is much easier to work with.
The ends of the corridors are removable to give access to the bolts that hold the engine bells on.
On the original eagle 1, there is a section on the end of the corridor that butts up against the beak. I replicated this by cutting a piece of Perspex and gluing thin strips of styrene around it.
The styrene was then shaped to fit the curve of the command module.