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Old 07-30-2015, 05:56 PM   #43
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1050 is not a good choice as it is way to soft and dents extremely easy. Quit talking to coach builders and start talking to Aircraft Mechanics. the best alloy to use is .032 to .040 2024-T3 for the skins and 6061, 5052,or 3003 for the ribs. The ribs are either "C" or "Z" type construction depending on the year manufactured. The end caps do not have any frame support and the dome type design is entirely self supportive. Airstream, Silver Streak, and Curtis Wright all used the same type construction. The interior end caps are either segmented aluminum made from .032 2024-T3 or in later years fiberglass and ABS. Interior skins were also .032 2024-T3 in the earlier years.
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Old 07-30-2015, 05:59 PM   #44
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1050 is not a good choice as it is way to soft and dents extremely easy. Quit talking to coach builders and start talking to Aircraft Mechanics. the best alloy to use is .032 to .040 2024-T3 for the skins and 6061, 5052,or 3003 for the ribs. The ribs are either "C" or "Z" type construction depending on the year manufactured. The end caps do not have any frame support and the dome type design is entirely self supportive. Airstream, Silver Streak, and Curtis Wright all used the same type construction. The interior end caps are either segmented aluminum made from .032 2024-T3 or in later years fiberglass and ABS. Interior skins were also .032 2024-T3 in the earlier years.
That's really helpful, thank you!

.040 2024-T3 sounds good

Is this stuff normally clad in 1050 to help with corrosion resistance?
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:45 AM   #45
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You can get it either clad or bare the choice is yours. The clad is 1100. Clad will polish easier but the bare will polish up fine too.
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:49 PM   #46
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You can get it either clad or bare the choice is yours. The clad is 1100. Clad will polish easier but the bare will polish up fine too.
I've checked and can get clad 2024 T3 locally for a reasonable price so that's good.

It's suggested that unclad makes it oxidise easily, so I guess clad is the way forwards - especially as in the UK it is generally cold and wet.

Would you go 32 or 40 thou? I'd rather not mix and match.

Rolling Z section in the garage at home looks tricky, so I was thinking of making my own Z section by joining two 1/16" angles back to back?

Unless there is a good method of getting Z section through the rollers successfully?
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:16 PM   #47
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The choice is entirely yours on using .032 or .040, you also need to make a decision as to what size and type of rivets used to attach the skins to the frames, this will help decide skin thickness.

Angle is much easier to bend economical with hand tools or home fabricated tooling. So fabricating "C" or "Z" I s just a matter of personal choice. "Z" is easier to buck the rivets in but only by a small margin
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:22 PM   #48
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When I was in Florida last winter I ran across a man from Canada who had custom built his own trailer. It was "somewhat" like a 50's 25' Airstream replica, but it did not have a curved belly wrap. It did have the overlapped front and rear dome panels. He used 2 axels because of the extra weight. I did a double take when I first saw it. It was skinned with stainless steel. I did not get any construction details. He said he built it as a hobby during the last several years before his retirement.
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:36 PM   #49
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The choice is entirely yours on using .032 or .040, you also need to make a decision as to what size and type of rivets used to attach the skins to the frames, this will help decide skin thickness.

Angle is much easier to bend economical with hand tools or home fabricated tooling. So fabricating "C" or "Z" I s just a matter of personal choice. "Z" is easier to buck the rivets in but only by a small margin
Rivets I need to learn more about - perhaps you can educate me as to the best type to use?

In my mind I'm thinking domed solid/buck rivets to give this sort of appearance...



What would they be referred to as? Do they come in different diameters and lengths?

What would you recommend?

I know the thinner the skin, the easier it will be to bend and form, but at the same time, I don't want it too vulnerable or wavy, hence I'm leaning towards .040

I appreciate your input by the way.

Is there any reason to make the ribs any more than 1" deep - i.e the distance between inner and outer skins? What gap is there in an original?
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Old 07-31-2015, 02:20 PM   #50
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Rivets, a big subject and also controversial in this forum as to type. Airstream used Brazier Head AN455AD4-xx. These rivets had a .312 diameter head with a .125 shank. These rivets have limited availability in diameter and length. A suitable replacement is the universal head MA20470AD5-xx. Which has a .312 head but a .156 shank they do however have a slightly rounder head. These rivets are widely available in diameter, length, and alloy. The most common alloys used in Airstream construction is the "A" rivet made from 1100 aluminum and quite soft with a very low shear number. The other is the AD rivet made from 2117 aluminum and has a high shear number.

The width of the frames was 1.5" on the early trailers and 1.75" on later models. The thicker the frame the more space for insulation and wiring.
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:44 PM   #51
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Rivets, a big subject and also controversial in this forum as to type. Airstream used Brazier Head AN455AD4-xx. These rivets had a .312 diameter head with a .125 shank. These rivets have limited availability in diameter and length. A suitable replacement is the universal head MA20470AD5-xx. Which has a .312 head but a .156 shank they do however have a slightly rounder head. These rivets are widely available in diameter, length, and alloy. The most common alloys used in Airstream construction is the "A" rivet made from 1100 aluminum and quite soft with a very low shear number. The other is the AD rivet made from 2117 aluminum and has a high shear number.

The width of the frames was 1.5" on the early trailers and 1.75" on later models. The thicker the frame the more space for insulation and wiring.
Yet again you have been most helpful (have a full strength British ice cold Beer on me)

Absolute authenticity isn't massively important as I'll be adding my own personalised design elements as I go rather than creating a blueprint replica as such so the more commonly available type will be fine for my needs.

Which one would you recommend to go with .040" skin?

Out of interest - the cladded 2024 - how thick is the cladding and is there a risk of ugly break through with polishing over time, or is it plenty thick enough to withstand frequent machine polishing?

Sorry to bombard you with questions like this but the internet is only the wonderful resource it is with folk like you around.
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Old 07-31-2015, 04:20 PM   #52
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I would personally use the .040. The Alclad is only a couple thou thick. I would not worry to much about polishing through as the base metal will give the same sheen. One of the biggest problems is getting the aluminum to hot which will leave a brown spot, and its permanent as it changes the temper of the base aluminum
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Old 07-31-2015, 04:31 PM   #53
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I would personally use the .040. The Alclad is only a couple thou thick. I would not worry to much about polishing through as the base metal will give the same sheen. One of the biggest problems is getting the aluminum to hot which will leave a brown spot, and its permanent as it changes the temper of the base aluminum
Gotcha.

What rivets would you use with the .040 then?
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Old 07-31-2015, 05:16 PM   #54
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MS20470AD5-x
X=the length of the river in 1/16th increments

I would also inquire into what's available in England as metric rivets my be more available
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Old 07-31-2015, 05:28 PM   #55
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MS20470AD5-x
X=the length of the river in 1/16th increments

I would also inquire into what's available in England as metric rivets my be more available
Cheers - readily available in the UK....

Aircraft Rivets - Mil Spec MS, MS20470, MS20426, MS20455, MS20427, MS20435, MS20600 at Skycraft

7 items up from the bottom - packs of 100 rivets for 0.79 ($1.23)

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Old 07-31-2015, 06:07 PM   #56
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You might check and see if the 5-4's and the 5-5's are available by weight, much cheaper if you can get a pound of each as these are the most common size you will use.
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