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Old 09-24-2019, 08:19 PM   #1
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1949 18' Trailwind
Salt Lake City , Utah
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6061-T6 or 2024-0 for New Compound End-cap Panels?

Hello all. I have a dinged-up end-cap panel on 1961 Bambi. There are no replacements available - apparently the only ones that match are from other Bambis, not just other '61's. I've researched, read posts, and watched videos until I've come full circle from feeling like I had the answers to feeling like I don't have a clue.

So ... I realize that 2024-T3 cannot be adequately formed for the compound curves of the average end-cap segment. However, if you anneal it, it will stretch and possibly CAN be formed -- at least for the less curvy panels like mine below.

However ... some people use 2024-0 Alclad, instead, which can be formed, but isn't heat treated and therefore will be weaker overall. But, as one of the experts noted on these forums, Airstreams aren't a true monocoque construction and even the 2024 without T3 is plenty strong -- they note that the 2000 and 7000 series metals are overkill for our low flying aircraft, anyway.

But ... other people prefer 6061-T6 (or even 7075 T6), since it's easier to form on a wheel or hammer, and Airstream themselves used it on end-caps in the 70's while keeping the 2024-T3 in the middle sections, and on the roofs.

Which would be the best option between annealing the 2024-T3 and trying to get it to work, or 2024-0, or 6061-T6?

Lest you think the panel isn't that bad, you're right, but it has creases, a small hole, and a bunch of rivet holes from a bad attempt at a prior repair, which you can see in the pic of it still installed. I found a guy who's a wizard at sheet metal forming and I'd like to at least give him a shot at making a new panel.

Any experts care to weigh in?
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Old 10-01-2019, 05:52 PM   #2
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Anyone have a clue?

Anyone care to speculate? Can 2024-T3 be worked for a slightly compound piece? Will 2025-0 hold up if I have new pieces fab'd? Is 6061 better? Some of you experts out there have to know ...
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Old 10-01-2019, 06:00 PM   #3
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1981 31' Excella II
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You going to fab a panel yourself or get an old one? If you are going to polish it, Alclad aluminum will be better and have less corrosion issues. Most likely this would be some variety of 2024. As far as formability, I would think you should stay away from T6. T0 would probably be best but T3 might be ok as well.



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Old 10-01-2019, 10:52 PM   #4
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try this, ask air stream what they made it from t-0 is my guess.
git some and let your english guy work it and listen to him.
( you may not know this T-o will turn into t-3 when left in the hot summer sun,
give him the the trailer to fit it to ).
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:28 AM   #5
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2024 t3

On my current project the segments are 2024 T3, which is unusual. I believe most AS segments began their life untempered. I would speculate that Airstream was short of O that day and may have annealed the T3 back to O then pressed the compound curve in, however it certainly feels like it was tempered again to me. I was a licensed aircraft structural engineer for a few years and appreciate the difference.

For the repairs to my segments I used 2024 T3 and an english wheel. The curves are so relaxed on the segments that it's not difficult to replicate them with a wheel but being quite long in my opinion it would take 2 people to run the skin through the wheel. It's straightforward so I see no reason to risk using untempered.

Hope that helps.
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Old 12-10-2019, 04:25 PM   #6
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1949 18' Trailwind
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Update and Thank You!

Quote:
Originally Posted by truckasaurus View Post
On my current project the segments are 2024 T3, which is unusual. I believe most AS segments began their life untempered. I would speculate that Airstream was short of O that day and may have annealed the T3 back to O then pressed the compound curve in, however it certainly feels like it was tempered again to me. I was a licensed aircraft structural engineer for a few years and appreciate the difference.

For the repairs to my segments I used 2024 T3 and an english wheel. The curves are so relaxed on the segments that it's not difficult to replicate them with a wheel but being quite long in my opinion it would take 2 people to run the skin through the wheel. It's straightforward so I see no reason to risk using untempered.
Thanks for all your input! It was super helpful in trying to tackle this problem.

So I found a kid that works metal with a really powerful Baileigh hydraulic hammer instead of a wheel. Everyone I talked to who uses a wheel said they could smooth out dents, but couldn't get the deeper compound curve out of T3 that's needed to create a new panel. Well, after a lot of trial and error, he was able to make three new endcap segments for the Bambi! Yay!! I'm driving up to get them early next week and haven't seen them yet in person, but they look pretty good from the pics. He said they could benefit from running them through a wheel to really smooth them out. I'm working on finding someone locally since he doesn't have one.

The guy at Airparts didn't recommend using the T0 unless the T3 absolutely wouldn't work. He said it's really too soft - it even keeps its rolled shipping shape instead of springing back like the T3. He said literally a pinecone dropping on it would probably cause a dent.

The panels are 1" - 2" bigger than needed so we can get a good fit while putting them back. I'm going to secure the rear interior endcap back in place and drive the trailer (not at freeway speeds) the 70 or so miles to the metal shop.

Keeping our fingers crossed!
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:21 AM   #7
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Good work. The newer trailers with the single piece corners, I believe are made of T0 because otherwise it would not be able to make those bends. For the smaller segments you are dealing with the T3 is great and yes the single piece T0 corners dent easily.



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