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Old 04-14-2013, 09:58 PM   #1
aerofan
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Default I surrender!

This has been a long time coming.... I surrender. I simply do not have the know how to build an airplane from plans. Today I built a jig that I thought would align my spars correctly so I could cut the angles in them. I spent several hours setting it up and running scraps through it until I thought it worked. It didn't. Now the spar narrows by 1/4" . That was the final straw.

The time, cost, and cost of shipping wood is too expensive to justify given my lack of skills. Also, I've not had much luck with the 2 popular wood vendors. My last order of capstrips which I waited just over a month for vary by as much as 20% in size ( that's under size). One of them has a knot in it. I thought that was not suppose to happen. I did write the other popular vendor with a list of questions and they only partially responded but, it appears that I should expect to see +- 20% with them too.

I think the best advice I would give to someone who is thinking about building is to locate local resources BEFORE you start. I have been unable to find any local builders who are not building an aluminum kit. I joined the local EAA thinking that this is where I would find a mentor but it didn't work out. I also tried to contact the EAA chaptern about 38nm west of here and did not hear back from them.

In one of the current aviation magazines ( SportAviation?) there was an article about a plane that had an engine failure because a novice mechanic used a sealer that they should not have. Two people injured - one seriously. I started worrying more about honest mistakes that might come back and bite me later. This is probably the main reason for my surrender. I worry about what I don't know......

I have a great deal of admiration for the people on this site who do have the acumen to get their projects done. Maybe jelousy would be a better description. In any case, I have no problem admitting defeat. I gave it a good shot and it didn't work out like I thought.

Cheers,

David


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Old 04-14-2013, 10:10 PM   #2
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I know all builders have the same fears and apprehensions at times. Every builder when done is usually the only person who knows about the parts that were a little off or slightly mismatched but in the end they will still fly. We are not making watches here, we are making airplanes and the beauty of it is that nothing has to be perfect. I look back on the ribs I have completed and would I like to do them over? Yes i would because I know all the little mistakes but in the end They are just fine and are better than they need to be.
I had the same as you with my capstrip but i little difference in them is not a big deal. I put more variance in them when my sander slipped than you have. It is not a deal breaker. And in the big picture, 1/4 inch on your spars is not the end of the world. Keep your chin up and realize that we all are in this to learn and educate.


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Old 04-14-2013, 10:31 PM   #3
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I hope you dont really give up but just re-adjust your self. Things like practice wood from home depot to set the saw can always be done. I made a bed once; the end pieces had to be triangles with a miter cut on the edges. It was my design but I did not know how the edge would be done, but I wanted it that way. After the 5th practice piece, I got it and then I used the good stuff. I am generally one who wants to use it, so I will do a good job but I am not one who has to have it Smithsonian display perfect. If I did I would never get things done in the limited time I have. Experts have already made those mistakes 10 airplanes ago; that is why they make it look easy. They never show how they learned.
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:33 PM   #4
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David,
I had a conversation years ago with Roger Rourke, he was making One Design parts for sale. He told me his first airplane was a starduster. He used a micrometer to build it. In the end ...he told me to measure with a yard stick and mark with a crayon. He told me that if you did wingtip to tail measurements on most certified airplanes , you would find HUGE variance in the the numbers. 1/4" is not much. you can cut it again and make the wing a little shorter. It's your plane you can do what you want. An inch or three on the wingspan is not a deal breaker...hang in there.
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:10 PM   #5
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you should strive for perfection and if you fall a little short, you'll still be ok. like Bill Clouse of Starduster Corp used to tell me......"you're building an airplane, not fine furniture"
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:25 PM   #6
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Heck, we are people! If it had to be perfect, there would be no airplanes... Just has to be done well to be well done!
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:29 PM   #7
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Hey David, sorry to hear its not working out for you. While I don't want to see you throw in the towel, the lack for local support sure would make things difficult. Just because you may decide not to build, you don't have to give up on biplanes. Remember, in general you can buy one for half the cost to build one! Good luck with what ever you decide.
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:06 AM   #8
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David,

Don't give up!!. Are you building a Pitts S1 type? If so, I have the machine jig for the upper wing splice. Easy to use and within zero tolerance. Built by a master machinest for me years ago. Give me a shout.

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Old 04-15-2013, 03:14 AM   #9
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Hey David

Embrace the challenge... because the build is full of them. It's all about the learning. Like Chris said... you can buy for less money than what the build will cost... if you're just looking for an airplane to fly.

Here's a pile of "test" pieces for the torque tube before I was able to successfully make it. My main landing gear... I made twice. You and only you know if you've had enough. Don't throw in the towel because of a lack of help. Those guys in the 50's and 60's had to get their information through snail mail. Look at the resource we have here... not to mention all the builder's sites that are out there.

The best with whatever decision you finally make.
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:27 AM   #10
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David,

I did 100% of the sheet metal on my airplane twice, and a few panel three times. A friend of mine, who eventually built four airplanes, two of them biplanes, built his first fuselage twice, and the upper wing for the second one twice. There is a steep learning curve, but every one of us has gone through it. You'll get there, and someday people will be coming to you for advice on how to do things right. We're all here for you, even if the distances are great.

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Old 04-15-2013, 04:18 AM   #11
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David:

I have built fine stuff all my life and I know if I built a biplane it would be easy, just me. I also managed a large shop that put out a lot of one off, quality cabinetry and furniture. I have seen people come and go with a lot of variations in talent. The bigger piece of the pie is fortitude, tenacity, and the desire to really want something. I built my first flintlock rifle when I was 14. I had an electric drill, a file, and a hacksaw. It shot but not accurately and looked pretty good. It is hanging on my wall 50 years later. My second try 3 years later was a quantum leap. I have wanted to build an airplane since I was 16 and could never afford it. At 65 I bought one, as someone said at half the price. I did not want to build at my age because I might be dead or unable to fly it by the time it was finished. I think you should step back, take another look and remake that decision. Also rethink your age, income, family, and time. (I know little about you) Even if you make the same decision that would be OK. I admire your guts being able to admit a slight shortcoming.

Carry on:

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Old 04-17-2013, 09:53 PM   #12
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Aerofan I second Castleman, I too waited until I was 65 (last year) and decided if I didn't do something now it would never happen. So I went out a bought a complete project. Not everyones choice I know, but certainly a viable option. Your recognition of a problem is half the battle they say. I do know that without local help/support I would not, tackle a plans built project and I can do it all already, welding, covering, wood work, etc. At least in my own mind I can do it! LOL I do wish you the best in what ever decision you make.

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Old 05-08-2013, 04:40 AM   #13
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Aerofan,

At least you're not building a Jodel!! I bought one that "only needed a new wing". Seemed like a lot less work than building a whole airplane. Been working on that wing about three years now, and probably could still finish the partly completed AcroSport II that I've had in the shop for more years than I can remember quicker than that Jodel wing.

The Jodel is going to be a clipwing model when I'm done. One of the spruce parts for the spar was damaged during shipping, but I didn't notice till months later. After cutting the damaged part away, it ended up about 3 inches short. I cut the others to match - should increase the roll rate, and probably won't hurt rate of climb much. :-) Three inches out of a bit over 28 feet isn't much.

Another problem with the spar was the sabre saw blade flexing when I sawed a taper on the spruce members. After a lot of thought, I glued the scrap back on, and cut it again. It was probably less than an 1/8 inch undersize to begin with, but that was in a spot where the thickness dimension was only about 1 1/2 inch. (I actually got the idea about gluing the scrap back on from a publication put out by the Australian FAA equivalent - a statement about wood airplanes being easy to build because if you cut a part undersize, you could just glue a bit back on...)

It's not clear exactly where your spar is undersize. If it's the whole length of the spar that's too narrow, seems like you could laminate a strip on it and get it back to size. Airplanes have been built with laminated spars before. If it's the outer end of the spar where it tapers to the wingtip, there isn't much stress there - even less worry about "glue a bit back on".

Anyway, hopefully you'll feel better about your chances after a while, and get back to it.

(And for the record - I didn't start the partially completed AcroSport that's in my shop - I bought it years ago and haven't done a thing with it since I bought it. Not sure it will be the next project after the Jodel, but someday...)

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Old 05-08-2013, 11:14 AM   #14
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David,
Don't despair and don't give up. Warren (Asport 22) is quite right. Glue a piece on ! It I understand you correctly it was the bevelling of a spar whitch went wrong. Maybe you were using a table saw. I found it better to use an electric planer with a guide set to the correct angle.
And again, think twice about giving up. All builders have had similar experiences ( well maybe not Smizo).

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Old 05-12-2013, 07:23 PM   #15
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I think I'm going to try making some of the brackets. If I can do the metal work then I will come back to the wood work later.

d.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:13 AM   #16
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Hang in there. Everyone makes mistakes. Like Clint Eastwood said in, Josey Wales when things get really bad then you have to get downright mean.Building a plane is like a cross country flight, take it a small step at a time. Have you been to the Oskosh airshow? They have a lot of good workshops you can go to, and a lot of good people to show you ways to do good stuff.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerofan View Post
I think I'm going to try making some of the brackets. If I can do the metal work then I will come back to the wood work later.

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Good On Ya! Even if you don't make it all the way you will learn a lot. Learning something new is what keeps us going.

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Old 05-13-2013, 03:16 AM   #18
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Hang in there, dude! I've had a few days where I shake my head and wonder, why the *($& did I ever take this on. But after a good night sleep, I remember why.. and for each of us it's little different reason. Tonight I was out tack welding (gas) a jig for my canopy installation. I should have known better than to try to tack a 1/8" chunk of steel right next to a .035 thick longeron. But I tried it, and guess what.. I warped the longeron almost an 1/8 of an inch with the high heat it took to tack the heavier piece. So, out came the torch again, as well as the deadblow hammer. And it's straight again. But I know I'll never try that again! Oh.. and I have a wingtip that is 1/8" further out from center than the other.. I bet it'll fly just fine! I bet the next airplane you build will seem like a piece of cake!
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:12 PM   #19
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Ray,
You are right...there are only two kinds of people, those that say they can and those that say they can not...and they are both right.
David,
Keep at it and i understand your frustration with the woodwork, i am a metal man myself.
My offer of the extra set of wings i have with center section and ailerons still stands. They are the ones on the wall in the photo. That photo was taken Oct 2009, we are now flying in test phase.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:18 PM   #20
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If you take Dennis up on the wing offer youll get a set of fiberglass tips for it from me seeming as I promised Dennis a set for those wings.......
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Old 01-24-2015, 04:04 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castleman View Post
David: At 65 I bought one, as someone said at half the price. I did not want to build at my age because I might be dead or unable to fly it by the time it was finished.
Carry on:

will
Great comment. It's crossed my mind. Aging is not for sissies. I think a guy aught to build and buy.....mortgage the house etc. I may just do that.

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Old 01-24-2015, 05:37 AM   #22
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David: You have a PM
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Old 08-16-2015, 09:47 PM   #23
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Default do you still have the wings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Flamini View Post
Ray,
You are right...there are only two kinds of people, those that say they can and those that say they can not...and they are both right.
David,
Keep at it and i understand your frustration with the woodwork, i am a metal man myself.
My offer of the extra set of wings i have with center section and ailerons still stands. They are the ones on the wall in the photo. That photo was taken Oct 2009, we are now flying in test phase.
Dennis in Chicago
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Do you still have the wings? I pulled a dummy and not paying good attention damaged my right wing by hitting a pipe set in concrete. No damage to me other than ego but the wing is trash. I no longer have my jigs etc to build a wing, guess I will if I can't find one, and really don't want to start from scratch again. If your wings are gone keep your ear open and let me know if you hear of any. Guess I'll be back to flying my Citabria for awhile.

Tad


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