My Great Lakes Sport Trainer build is going to begin!

Discussion in 'Other Types' started by iowaboy, Jan 25, 2018.

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  1. Jan 25, 2018 #1

    iowaboy

    iowaboy

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    Hi Guys and Gals,
    I am hoping for your support to complete my first homebuilt airplane! I have lurked on this forum for a while and see all the good advice. I need it!

    Long story but my second chance to build a Great Lakes is a reality! I had a project 10 or so years ago. It was a real nice one. But I thought there is no way I can afford to finish it on my salary. Well I sold it, big mistake. 2 Months ago I aquired a welded up Great Lakes fuselage with some other parts in New Mexico.
    Last week I purchased a set of plans with a bunch of the hard to make parts for the compression end fittings and compression tubes for a very reasonable price. A fellow in Oregon had bought the plans and the fittings and compression tubes in the 1970s.
    I had asked a month or two ago on this forum if anyone had a wood truss wing drawing for a Great Lakes. NO one had one. I emailed Harvey Swack the Great Lakes Guru who is in his 90s now. He got the plans for the Lakes put together and started selling plans to homebuilders in the late 60s or so. He said there was a wood truss drawing that he had drawn up. Havey said he sent out about 5 or 6 of the drawings. But when Cliff Liesey a GL engineer, who helped design the Lakes heard Harvey had the wood truss rib he ripped into Harvey and said don't sell any!
    Today I got a chance to open up my Great Lakes drawings...and about the second sheet I saw was the wood truss rib drawing with all of the directions on how to build all the wood ribs in lengths etc! My jaw must of hit the floor! I was so excited! I can't believe the Lord would help me find a set of plans that had the wood truss rib!!!! WOW! Now I can start making wood ribs. I have some spruce to cut up in strips. SO I Have some Questions

    1. Does the 1/4 X1/4 spruce or fir strips need to be aircraft grade wood?

    2. The wood rib drawing shows mostly rounded 1/16 gussets. Do they have to be round or can they be square or rectangle?

    3. Does the grain of the 1/16 plywood gussetts have to go a certain way on the rib?

    4. What plywood did you use for your nose ribs? Someone used 1/4 in 5 ply birch plywood Menards lumber sold for sub floor...anyone use that?

    5. I am going to use T88 glue. I have some ordered. How warm does the shop need to be for it to cure right?

    6. What did you put on the bottom of your rib jig so the glue would not stick there?

    I am going to try to show some photos. But I don't know that I know how to do it yet
    If this google link worked in my google photos this should be the fuselage on trailer in New Mexico when I was bringing it home to Iowa
    .[​IMG]

    Below is the fuselage in my garage
    [​IMG]

    Below should be a photo of the wood truss rib
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for your help.
    Mike Townsley
    in Iowa
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
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  2. Jan 25, 2018 #2

    iowaboy

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    Woops! Sorry the photos did not share. I will have to find out how to do that.
    Mike
     
  3. Jan 25, 2018 #3

    Knight Twister

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    What became of the Hern plans I sold you many years ago?
     
  4. Jan 25, 2018 #4

    iowaboy

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    Kevin, I sold them to someone else...I don't remember who. You have a fantastic memory! I forgot about that!!!
    Mike
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  5. Jan 25, 2018 #5

    iowaboy

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    [​IMG]
    Here is wood rib drawing

    [​IMG]

    Fuselage on my trailer coming to Iowa from New Mexico

    Below is fuselage in my garage. I need to get the garage straightened up so I can work there.[​IMG]
     
  6. Jan 25, 2018 #6

    Lotahp1

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    Why did the original engineer tell Harvey to not sell the wood truss Plans? Did he have an engineering reason or did he simply not like someone messing with “his” design? Before you mess with building any ribs please take that drawing and have it scanned into a PDF file full size. Also make a few extra full size copies of it. If it is indeed one of “5 or 6” and Harvey is in his 90s, AND there is no engineering reason NOT to use it...others could greatly benefit from your extra effort. There is a place in OKC called Triangle A&E that can scan it full size and put the file on a cd for you. (I’d have all the plans scanned so you can research them easier AND you can always print more copies full size for yourself. (No, not to sell etc, as there is a person who owns the rights....but if you mess up a page or need a second copy for someone else to build a part for your plane etc etc.) I just recently used them to have my Ron Sands and redfern Triplane Plans scanned full-size and put on a CD for me. It was about $145. Now I can zoom in, research easier and print off more if I need in the future. For Plans this rare...please consider it. You might also ask Harvey if he would mind if you posted that drawing on the Biplane forum...so other could use it. (It’s not part of the official set so if he said ok that would make it ok to post for others to use and not infringe on any rights of the design owner)
     
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  7. Jan 25, 2018 #7

    iowaboy

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    Great suggestions! I will ck in to getting them scanned. And ask Harvey. The reason Harvey suggested was pride and not changing anything with the airplane.
     
  8. Jan 25, 2018 #8

    smizo

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    Mike, ill take a quick stab at this for you......


    1. Does the 1/4 X1/4 spruce or fir strips need to be aircraft grade wood?

    they are for an airplane right? ;)

    2. The wood rib drawing shows mostly rounded 1/16 gussets. Do they have to be round or can they be square or rectangle?

    You would be adding a small amount of weight, but that should be fine.

    3. Does the grain of the 1/16 plywood gussetts have to go a certain way on the rib?

    normally the grain goes from front to back.

    4. What plywood did you use for your nose ribs? Someone used 1/4 in 5 ply birch plywood Menards lumber sold for sub floor...anyone use that?

    are you building a sub floor or an airplane ;)

    5. I am going to use T88 glue. I have some ordered. How warm does the shop need to be for it to cure right?

    T-88 works best if its mid 60s or warmer.

    6. What did you put on the bottom of your rib jig so the glue would not stick there?

    once you staple the rib together, get it out of the fixture, and wipe it down with acetone, glue and staple the other side on a flat surface.


    great start on your project, ill be following along your progress, have fun!
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  9. Jan 25, 2018 #9

    bigblackmastiff

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    In my opinion, I'd suggest staying with aircraft grade spruce and plywood. Grain is important in capstrip that you will be bending. The quality of the adhesive in the ply is important also.
    It won't be a problem to make gussets rectangular. If you want them round, you can cut a hole in a block of scrap plywood. Remove the guide bit from the hole saw, stack the scrap with hole on top of your gusset material as a guide. Use the hole saw to cut some discs..then all that's left is to cut the discs in half via band saw or hand saw.
    Have fun, I saw that fuselage advertised. Looks like a good start.
     
  10. Jan 25, 2018 #10

    Knight Twister

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    Aircraft grade materials in a project make it sell-able at anytime. Wing ribs built from house lumber are wall ornaments and conversation pieces. If you want an eye opener, give any plywood you plan on using for aircraft structural purposes the boil test. Try a piece of aircraft grade plywood and a piece of the other stuff. You will soon have your answer.
     
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  11. Jan 26, 2018 #11

    Kiwi

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    I'd suggest you read IanJ's Charger build thread. Many of the issues you have raised have been beat to death there and some you haven't stumbled across yet.

    Great project, please keep posting, some of us love watching this stuff.

    Andrew.
     
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  12. Jan 26, 2018 #12

    iowaboy

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    Thanks a Million Guys!!!
    Mike
     
  13. Jan 26, 2018 #13

    felixflyer

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    Hi

    I love the Great Lakes since flying it at Chandler a few years ago. I am currently building a different kind of aircraft but my next project is going to be a biplane. The Great Lakes would be my preference but I was put off this by a few people who told me it is very difficult to build. I never found out why exactly this was and still have a mind to build one next.

    Aren't the plans available through Steen Aero?

    I would be very interested to follow this project and look forward to seeing and hearing more. In the meantime if you need any help in putting some old drawings into CAD the I would be more than willing to offer my services for free as that is what I do for a living.

    These old biplane drawings need to be kept out there. It would be a shame to lose them.

    Regards
     
  14. Jan 26, 2018 #14

    Dave Baxter

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    Flex I have about 10 hrs in one, and the thing I liked best were its well behaved landing ability in both three point and wheel landings and that alone is a big plus.

    As for the building being difficult, they are all a lot of work, especially scratch built airplanes where one has to fabricate most all of the parts. I do not think it would be any harder to build than any other comparable biplane.

    One of the most challenging airplanes to scratch build that I have seen is a Bücker Bü 133 Jungmeister, but it can be done.

    I look at many of these biplane projects based on what I have done and can do, welding both steel and aluminum wood work paint and fabric, plumbing and wiring that includes avionics and of course engine overhaul and installation, but I have acquire all of these skills over 5 airplanes and a number of yrs . To others that have no experience and go by hearsay can come up with all sorts of reasons not to build or why in their opinion one airplane is more difficult than another to build!

    Give me a person with the burning desire to build and you cannot seem to dissuade him from doing so even with a reasonable argument!

    And you my friend seem to have that desire, and there are plenty here that will help and encourage you to do so. I always tell prospective builders to build what they want first, and don't look back. Dave
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
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  15. Jan 27, 2018 #15

    IanJ

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    To address your final question, I put wax paper over my rib jig, and although it works, it's not been the most durable. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably use some of that thicker drop cloth plastic (clear, so you can see your marks), just so it wouldn't be as likely to rip. In practice, I get my ribs out of the jig so fast that I could have even left the jig as bare MDF, but it would have made cleaning up spilled glue a little harder. I use staples to clamp my gussets down, which means I can lift the rib out as soon as one side is stapled up, and immediately flip it over to glue the other side.

    I strongly second Lotahp1's comments about getting the plans scanned. Having PDFs of the Charger plans has been invaluable for me, I wouldn't consider plans that I could only have on paper. I've been able to study them at work, on the bus, wherever the urge struck me. Makes it easier to explain the construction to someone when you can pull up the plan on your phone and zoom in on the relevant section, too.
     
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  16. Jan 27, 2018 #16

    Rick-CAS

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    I think what gives most people wanting to build one problems is that the drawings are production line drawings not the “standard” 15-20+ page homebuilt drawings most are used to. Lots of small parts drawings and very few “what’s it supposed to look like in the end” drawings. My drawings from Steen Aero are almost an inch tall 28x30 sheets. My friends drawings from Harvey Swack are in three large notebooks. There are about a hundred 8 1/2 x 12 small part drawings. I’m currently working on the last few fittings that were not installed on my fuselage and making rib blanks to pound out. It’s going to be a slow build since I have another project taking precedence right now. The good thing though is I get to fly my friends Warner powered Lakes to keep me motivated.
     
  17. Jan 27, 2018 #17

    iowaboy

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    Well one reason it is harder some of the parts need to be machined. I am very fortunate to purchase some of those parts. The wing compression tube ends are machined aluminum. I am so thankful to get those parts. Before I did I was maybe going to modify the wing structure a bit, have the same airfoil but make like the Pitts structure. The wing ribs on the factory ships were alum that is punched out and heat treated I think. So for me I am glad I got the wood truss wing drawing so I can make the ribs. I would be at a loss on makeing alum ribs! I know I can make wood ribs.
    On the plans, yes lots of paper! Harvey Swack told me Steen Aero has quit selling Great Lakes plans. I don't see them on the webiste now. I am sad to hear about that. I am glad I got a old unused set.
    Pastor Mike in Iowa
     
  18. Jan 27, 2018 #18

    iowaboy

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    Rick what all is done on your project?
    Not all My Swack GL plans could not be put in a 3 ring binder. That brings up a memory, I had a PJ260 project once and the plans on it were very very complete. Best plans I think I have ever seen. And many of the plans for fittings and the like you could cut into 8 1/2 x 11 sheets and put them in a binder.
    The Hern plans were all in a nice roll, same size sheets for the most part. But Harvey Swack swore their were mistakes in them and some other said the same. But the Hern plans were much more compact and easy to roll up.
    Pastor Mike in Iowa
     
  19. Jan 27, 2018 #19

    Rick-CAS

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    Basic fuselage is welded with some fittings installed. Landing gear fittings made but need to be welded. Rear stick mixer welded and complete welded tail. I have wheels and brakes and the mold to make the Lycoming lower cowl, nose bowl, and wheel pants. I have a 4 cylinder Lycoming Mount that needs to be mated to the fuselage. I had a 300 hp IO 540 for it but it was going to be severely nose heavy so I sold that. I have most of the wing fittings and some of the machined parts. I am going to look into doing a drag truss in the wing like the Starduster/Acroduster. That would eliminate the machined parts. I have acquired my friends form blocks and starting to make rib blanks. Right now though I’m trying to finish my Piper Pacer and a Waco F-2 that is financing my projects.
     
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  20. Jan 27, 2018 #20

    planebuilder

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    Don't use household ply. I needed some 3/4 ply for a vacuum table I'm building, I have to laminate it to 2 1/4" 4x8. So I went to the lumber yard planning to get G1S fir ply, they had some real nice looking 11 ply birch! I bought 5 sheets. When unloading at home I dropped a corner on the cement floor, no biggie for this project, I expected just a small dent in the corner. When I looked closer the layers had delaminated a few inches into the sheet! On closer inspection I found a stamp on one edge "Made in China". Finland must sell their scrap leftover from making good ply to China, and then their bean counters say don't use too much glue".:mad: Nose ribs seem very strong and maybe not so important, but I remember seeing a very scary pic of a plane that shed it's leading edge, everything ahead of the front spar, in the pull out from a dive. Consider every part vital and worth the use of the good stuff.:)
     
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