Website of the Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum Last Update: Oct 09 2017

Travel Air Fuel Tank

by Chuck Doyle, February 2010

If you have the original tank, make a pattern of the end ribs and also the dimensions of the filler cap and fitting locations.

Transfer your pattern onto some high density fiber wood board, drill two quarter inch locator holes and use a router to radius the forms so you get a nice bend when forming the rib.

I used .050 5052 and the shear to cut the straight edges and the band saw for the upper curved rib but a tin snips would have worked fine.

File and de-burr all edges, it is easier to do it now instead of after the ribs are formed.

Anneal the upper edge of the rib, this will enable you to get a nice edge on your bend.

Line up your two forms and clamp together, I always mark the forms so I can center and line them up straight. I used the pan-break for the straight edges.

You can use a hammer or a rivet gun to form your ribs if you have a large anvil for your gun, but be careful not to over hammer your rib if using a rivet gun.

You may need to anneal your part once more depending on how much curve your working with? This rib did not require any more annealing.

Drill, or cut out your flow and lighting holes than use a shirker, stretcher to straighten out your rib as it will deform during the hammering and forming process.

Lay out the end caps and center ribs, drill for the rivets and use clecos to hold until you rivet it all together.

Now the tank is ready to be riveted together with the filler neck and bung fittings welded into place and everything de-burred and cleaned.

I always etch and clean all the parts before welding, This just makes it much easier for me to get nice and leak free welds, must of the time anyways. PPG DX533 & DX501

I clamp the tank down and weld from corner to corner on the edges tacking every inch before welding, when it comes to welding and sealing around the rivets I keep and air hose ready to cool the weld, this helps keep the warping down to a minimum.

Pressure test you welding to 2 psi and check for any leaks and etch and wash the entire tank and it is ready for final installation.

See ya Around the Patch!

Chuck Doyle