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Thread: Building tips and hints

  1. #21
    Senior Member jrevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    I can't imagine building an airplane, prefabbed parts or not, without a drill press, belt sander/grinder, & a lot of other tools, although I suppose it can be & is done by some.
    John Evens
    Arvada, CO
    Kitfox SS7 N27JE

  2. #22
    Senior Member jiott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Yes, you would be way ahead of the game if you had a drill press, even with the prefab parts. Wait until you try to drill a 1/16" hole thru the side of a 1/4" pin (x3) with a hand drill! There are many, many holes to drill that are much easier and accurately done on a drill press. It doesn't need to be a large industrial type, just a small bench top type is fine.

    Jim

  3. #23
    Senior Member Esser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Thanks for the quick reply. I'm not scared to spend the money on the proper tools. The major reason I went prefab was to save time since that is what I have the least of. I jsut thought I might not need it still. But now that I know I'll keep my eyes peeled for some good sales.

  4. #24
    Senior Member jtpitkin06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Drill press tips



    Having a drill press is in my opinion essential for building an airplane. You just can’t get the accuracy drilling even the simplest of holes with a hand held drill motor. Yes you need a hand held drill motor, too.


    For a budget minder builder a bench top drill press will do fine. Even the smaller ones in the 8 to 10 inch class will do 90 percent of the jobs. Prices at the import stores are under $80 for a small one. That’s a small investment when compared to the price of the aircraft. And… you’ll own it when the airplane is complete. Of course, a larger floor model will have the advantage of power and many more speeds. Floor models are about $250 and up. Fast spindle speed is not needed. Slow is better. Look for ones with slowest spindle speeds lower than 200 RPM.



    Throat depth is not that important. Rarely do you need to drill in the center of a large piece. Most of the time you drill near the edges.


    If your drill press is a smaller version, clamp or screw on a larger plywood table for added stability. It's amazing how just an extra foot will help support your workpiece.


    Always bolt the drill press down to the bench or to the floor. I know it seems sturdy but the first time it starts to tip over when you are drilling is too much excitement for the average shop. It's easy to drill two holes in concrete floors with a masonry bit, slap in a couple of anchors [Hilti bolts] and your in business. If you decide to move the tool or wish to clean under it, just unbolt it.


    Clamp a board on the drill press table as a fence and you can drill perfectly lined up holes in a row without the bit wandering. [Door frames and Plexiglas.]



    Cut a “V” shape into a 2x4 to use as a steady rest for drilling tubing and rods. Always use a center punch for a starter divot when drilling rod stock.


    If your chuck is a screw-on type (most of the smaller ones are) Use the drill press as a vertical drum sander. A 2 inch diameter sanding drum to fit 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch chucks is available at most woodworking supplies. It is perfect for smoothing edges on sheet metal.



    Clamp a plastic coffee mug to the drill press column to use as a catch all for drill bits and the chuck key. A hose clamp or bungee through the finger grip works well.



    LED flashlights make inexpensive work lights. They sell for $3 or $4 and come with batteries!



    Keep some cutting oil in a used Visine bottle. Just a drop makes a huge difference in speed and a straighter hole, too.


    Many drill presses have lousy drive belts that cause them to shake like ten year old washing machine. Replace the v belt with a Power-twist segmented belt.(Rockler.com) You'll be amazed at how quiet and smooth it will run. Pricey belts but worth it


    A circular fly cutter for wood will cut nice large diameter holes in sheet aluminum. Make sure the metal is firmly clamped. Use a wood back up board, run at the slowest spindle speed and proceed VERY SLOWLY.
    _____________________


    Things not to do with a drill press...


    Never leave the key in the chuck unless you like flying chuck key demonstrations. [yeah, I've field tested that, too.]



    Do not use a sanding drum or end mills in chucks that use a MT or Jacobs taper mount, they will pop out when you least expect it.

    Never hold sheet metal with your hand while drilling. The bit can grab the workpiece then slice and dice. [Ugly red color follows.] Always use a clamp or drilling vise.

    I'm sure the readers have more tips.

    John Pitkin
    Greenville, TX

  5. #25
    Senior Member jiott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    The other power tool you must have is a Dremel tool with an assortment of cut-off disks, grinding and sanding drums, metal cutters, etc. You will use this tool endlessly.

    Jim

  6. #26
    Senior Member Esser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    I ended up picking a used floor standing drill press for $200 I'm going to take up your advice and pick up a new belt for it to smooth out some of the vibration on the motor.

    I do have a pneumatic die grinder which is the same size as a hand held dremel that I was planning on using. After I had $2000 bucks of eletric power tools stolen I've been slowly replacing my collection with air powered tools.

  7. #27

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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Here's a tip to determine where to cut the hole in your lower cowl for the exhaust stack exit. The problem is a typical "Catch 22". You can't mount the muffler with an uncut cowl in place, and without the muffler in place, you have no idea where to mark the cowl.

    Raise the tail on a stand and chock the wheels. Get yourself two pieces of PVC pipe, one that slips over the exhaust stack, and another small enough to slip inside the larger pipe and slide telescope style. Now, mount the muffler and attach the larger PVC pipe to the exhaust stack. Next, slide the smaller pipe downward until it touches the hangar floor, and glue it in place with a glob of hot melt. Now sliding the larger tube down out of the way, remove the muffler, reattached the cowl and slide the PVC pipe back up until it touched the bottom of the cowl. Draw around the pipe where it meets the cowl, and presto! You've got a perfectly marked cowl.

  8. #28
    Senior Member HighWing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Not a must have, but without a doubt the most frequently used tool I own is the expander wheel from Eastwood. It mounts on a typical bench grinder motor. It is very useful for deburring outside edges on tubing, fittings or sheet metal. I will also use it to debur holes in steel. The bands last almost forever and the older they are, the finer the finish on the metal. I've had mine for almost thirty years. Vhttp://www.eastwood.com/expander-wheel.html

  9. #29
    Senior Member jtpitkin06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Aileron control rod protection

    There are a few reports of seat pans cracking at the front lip. To prevent the seat from dropping and possibly interfering with the aileron push rod many builders install wood supports. The supports are sized to just touch the bottom of the seat pan. By bonding to the frame instead of the seat pan, control rod clearance can be checked when making rigging changes.

    I installed supports on both sides of the control rod and on both left and right seats. The supports take most of the pressure off the front lip of the seat pan which should prevent cracking.

    Even if the seat breaks, it will not contact the control rod.


    John Pitkin
    Greenville, Texas
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    Last edited by jtpitkin06; 10-25-2011 at 04:23 PM.

  10. #30
    Senior Member jtpitkin06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Wire Chase

    Feeding wires from the instrument panel to the aft fuselage is a challenge. There is very little room in the center cockpit tunnel with few places to tie anything. Make a chase to keep the wires safely away from control cables and levers.

    A sturdy and inexpensive chase is made from thin wall 1 ¼ inch pvc pipe. Make V cuts in the pipe where you needed to make turns leaving a small PVC “hinge”. The hinge keeps the pipe pieces aligned. The best way to close and bond the joints is to use 2 inch Polyfiber tape and glue it down with Polytack. The bond works almost instantly and it is hard as a baseball bat in about 15 minutes.

    The 1 ¼ inch pipe has room for lots of wires and coax with room to spare. The inside is smooth without ridges so wires pass though with ease.

    Make oval shaped openings in the pipe where wires need to break out of the bundle.


    It's best to run the chase on the left side of the tunnel. You will need to dip down a bit to clear the seat pan and then com back up to just left of the rudder cable sheaves.


    John Pitkin
    Greenville, Texas

    Here's the chase before installation. This one has five joints to snake around frame tubing. The opening int the pipe is for the trim control wiring.
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