Rib Flange Tool

I had some extra time this weekend to work on a tool I had read about on a fellow builders site. This tool is designed to straighten the flanges of a rib to a 90° angle. A little background for some of you non builder types. When Van’s presses ribs, the inner bones of the wings and tail, they create two surfaces. The web and the flanges, the web is the broad surface and the flanges are the bent wings that should be 90° from the web. In most cases the flanges are less than 90° due to some spring back. The flanges are the surface that gets riveted so you want it flat with the skin. If the flanges are not at a 90° angle they won’t lay flat. So on the empennage I only had a few ribs to deal with so I bent them by hand to the 90° angle. With the upcoming wings there are a lot of ribs to deal with. So many years ago some builders came up with this tool. I found this tool version on Jason Hess’s website and I just copied it minus the blue paint, I had white out for the stands and went with it! :-). This tool consists of a base plate, an anvil, a handle and two metal bars to connect the handle to the anvil.

The idea is to use the handle force against the anvil, which has an optimal 11° back cut in it, to over bend the flange to 111°. Then when you release the handle, the flange springs back to a perfect 90°. From what I have read this makes the terrible job of straightening all the ribs of the wings a fun job!

I tried it out on a scrap rib I had from an earlier error. It works slick! It will take a little getting used to the proper pressure to apply but it works well! Thanks to all the builders before me and to Jason Hess for a great website!

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