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RV-3 Fuselage Jigs?anyone have photos?


VAF Moderator / Line Boy
I know that most folks out there are now building ?Jigless?, as that is the way the modern Van?s kits are designed ? I didn?t have to build a fuselage jig for my RV-8 project five years ago , as I went QB for that project myself. But times have changed, and retro is ?in? ? so I need to build a fuselage jig for the RV-3B project now underway! I have cruised around web sites and seen pictures of the standard Van?s fuselage jig ? but I am wondering if anyone has a fancy, cool, super-duper jig that they want to show off that might serve as inspiration! The Holy Grail would be a jig that can be moved around retain it?s alignment and be re-leveled quickly in any location?..

Of course, if somone in the Houston area has a jig taking up space they want to be rid of....:cool:

These wings will be done in a couple of months, and I expect that the fuselage will be a nice winter?s project.


When I built my -4 and again when I rebuilt it, I used the basic Van's designs but used 2x4s instead of 2x6s for the long side pieces. I made doublers to reinforce the long side pieces as finding straight 2x4s in the lenght required is problematic at best.

Bottom line it took about 1/2 a day to fabricate and I used a laser level to shim the longerons level and to align the bulkheads.

I wouldn't waste the time building a fancy jig as it doesn't have to be in the thing all that long.

I've seem some "production" quality jigs made before and they are great if you have a half-dozen builders queued up to use them but otherwise I think it is a waste of time to over-engineer the thing. The alignment of the parts while drilling the skins determines how good the structure turns out. As long as the jig is sturdy enough not to allow the parts to flop all over the place it is adequate.

BTW - I ran a tight string down the centerline of the jig to use as a reference point while building - I don't think they show that in the instructions but it is a simple device and works great. If it worked to build the pyramids it will work to build an airplane....

I built my -3 on a used -4 jig. Salvaged the 2 x 6 redwood side rails and did everything else from scratch:


Last year I build an RV-8 jig using engineered floor trusses:


In both cases the jigs were anchored to the floor after they were reasonably close to being level and plumb. In my opinion, it would be a mistake to plan on moving it around.

I'm with Tony on this one, redwood 2x6's for the long side pieces and also for the firewall uprights, and regular 2x4's and plywood for gussets. Put it together with long drywall screws and you're done in half a day.

Thanks guys....I guess I have to dig the wood-working power tools out from under and behind all the airplane stuff in the shop...finally!
It's easier to level if you use 4 legs instead of 6 as specified in the manual. Make SURE you get the firewall uprights exactly perpendicular in all directions to the main longitudinal pieces...