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Thread: Building tips and hints

  1. #1
    Senior Member jtpitkin06's Avatar
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    Default Building tips and hints

    The same questions keep coming up on the forum so it might be helpful to post your builders tips. Tell us about any homemade jigs or tools. And if you have the courage, tell us about your errors and how you corrected them.Potential construction pitfalls.

    While building the Kitfox, I noted a few areas that can lead to problems later in construction, and a few areas that could have been a lot easier with just a little clarity.

    Iím sure others have some great tips, so jump in here and share them with those about to embark on the journey.

    There are so many things to cover it is not possible to put them all in a single post. Instead, Iíll add to it every few days or so. I hope you'll do the same.


    Installing elevator bushings--- Reaming the elevator bushing sockets is tough. You can get the reamer in position but there is no room for a chuck handle. Youíll need a small wrench to turn it. That is a bit awkward. Try using a 1/4 inch drive ratchet with a square drive socket on the reamer. A short extension with a U-joint will give you room to turn the reamer and it will avoid turning the reamer in reverse. (Turning a reamer backwards will quickly dull it.) Some of my bushings were oversize and would not fit in the reamed holes. Put a sacrificial nut and bolt through the bushing and chuck it in a drill press. Hold a file against the bushing as it spins to reduce the size. To press the bushings in the stab sockets use a C clamp. Do not beat on the bushings with a mallet.

    To drill out the 3/16 inch (0,187Ē) holes in the elevator and many of the fuselage tabs get a 24 inch long drill bit at Home Depot found in the electrical section. You can reach into spots not possible with a regular drill bit and motor. You can even flex the bit to drill around slight bends. The long drill bit is about $5 and invaluable for those hard to reach spots.


    General tips on Hysol Ė Cheap veterinarian syringes make good applicators for Hysol. They can be purchased at most farm and ranch supply stores for about 50 cents each. They come in several sizes. The best ones for gluing are the type that use press on needles. The screw-on needle type nozzle is too wide to get in tight spots. To allow the thick Hysol to flow through the nozzle better, drill the tip to a larger opening. I buy 10 or so at a time and drill all the tips at once. Load the syringe using Popsicle sticks. To make nice looking fillets use a plastic soda straw dipped in denatured alcohol to smooth out the adhesive. Note on Hysol: Keep the lid closed as much as possible. The white colored part will granulate if exposed to air for extended periods.


    Bonding preparation Ė Do not skip this step or your bonds may fail. Scrub all areas to be bonded with a Scotchbrite pad and clean with denatured alcohol. Especially clean and scrub powder coated items.


    Flox or Micro balloons? What's the difference? -- Both thicken up the Hysol so it doesn't run or sag during application. Flox does not appreciably reduce the strength. Micro balloons add air and do reduce the strength. So use flox for strength where the glue might sag or run. Use micro balloons to make "Bondo."



    Coming soon.... those $%^&* rudder torque tubes and how to deal with them.


    John Pitkin
    Greenville, TX

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Great tips !!!!

    Regarding the elevator bushing bearing stock. I cut mine to lenth and then put them in the freezer overnight. This makes them shrink and toughen up enough to allow them to be tapped into the metal bushing housings (I filed one end of the busings to bit of a point to help the process). Once, installed, I bored them out using a 12 inch flex-o-shaft on my drill. Drill bits with a 1/4" hex socket fit on the end of the shaft and lets me drill the bushings out to size.

    Hope this helps

    Roger

  3. #3
    Senior Member jtpitkin06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    When trimming fiberglass, stretch a line of blue masking tape along the scribe line. Itís easy to see and you can sand to the taped line after the rough cut is made. This works well on the seat pan, cowling, glare shield, windshield.


    It's especially helpful when laying out curved cut lines like the cowling flange.


    JP

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    Senior Member jtpitkin06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Those #@$%^& rudder torque tubes. --

    The rudder torque tubes are quality products. Recent improvements have added gussets to prevent failures. However, getting them to fit and rotate smoothly can be a problem.
    The tubes fit together fine until you add the bushings. Then things start to bind. Check the tubes for straightness. Also use a rod on the inside of the outer tube to check for welding sags or bumps.
    A long rat tail file can help smooth the internal bumps. Some builders have reported success with a wooden dowel wrapped with sandpaper.
    One of my torque tubes was badly warped. I finally stripped the powder coating and heated the weldment with a torch to straighten it.
    spend some time on the torque tubes to get them perfect. Any drag on the assembly will be worse when you load it up with foot pressures.
    John Pitkin
    Greenville,TX

  5. #5
    Senior Member jtpitkin06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Walking around the fuselage to get hardware from stock can require hundreds of trips. Why not bring the stock room to you?

    I made this rolling parts bin from two wall shelving units bolted back to back. They are from Harbor Freight and set me back about $60 each on sale. I added a plywood top with fiddles to keep things from rolling off the top. On the bottom I attached four swiveling casters, also from Harbor Freight.

    The bin rolls easily around the shop and it saves countless steps. I use the top shelf as a tool tray to keep reamers, taps and drill bits close at hand.

    I labeled the bins with strips of white plastic electrical tape marked with a super fine felt pen. The tape just peels off when I need to relabel a bin. The bins hook on the shelves and are easy to rearrange for sequential part numbering and sorting.

    Right now is it exclusively Kitfox parts and hardware. When the aircraft is done I'll have a nice roll around bin for the next project.


    John
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Great idea I like it...
    Dj Series 6

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    Senior Member jtpitkin06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    When mixing small batches of Hysol, epoxy or two part fillers, I like to use paper cups. The hot drink type without the wax coating works best.

    I cut the cups with scissors at an angle prior to use. the angle cut allows easier access for the stirring stick and keeps the product off my fingers.

    If desired, I fold over the pointed high side and use it for a handle.

    My favorite mixing paddle is a tongue depressor. I cut the end square with scissors so it will get into the corner of the mixing cup.

    John Pitkin
    Greenville, TX
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    Senior Member jtpitkin06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Those dang solvent can caps.


    Iím sure everyone has used one of these cans with plastic snap caps. They are a pain in the cartouche to open requiring a screw driver almost every time. Soon the pry tab breaks off and itís a bear to get the can open.

    Push a drywall nail through the cap to make a tiny hole. When you need some thinner or solvent just pick up the can and squirt out what you need.

    You can use the nail as a plug, if you like, but I found the hole is small enough to prevent noticeable evaporation even over extended periods.
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    Default Re: Building tips and hints

    Paint runs? When I was restoring old cars, I would on occasion, get a run in the paint. As soon as I saw it, I put the gun down, get my 2" masking tape that I have attached to my hip, pull a piece about 10" long. Sticky side towards the run, make a loop in the tape(omega sign). Gently make contact with the tape to the middle of the run and let the tape splay out to the ends of the run. Gently reverse this by pulling slowly back. The tape will lift the run. Let it set up a minute or so then give one or two short hits from the gun. The fresher the paint, the more success you will have. Lion 8, form Southern N.J.

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

    RE: Paint runs and sags

    Thanks Tom!!! (Lion8)


    I have to admit, I didnít think this would work as well as it does.

    I decided to give it a try. I primed an empty Dr. Pepper can (weíre in Texas). I purposely sprayed until the primer ran, then pulled out a length of tape and mashed it onto the run. Much of the paint was picked up by the tape but it did lift the run. The surface didnít look that great with a sort of mottled appearance , but it was flat. I waited a couple of minutes and hit it with a few fresh shots. To my surprise, the primer blended well and produced a usable surface.

    So on to the next testÖ I shot some color on the can and made a saggy run. This time I let it sit for a bit as you might do when painting, not discovering the run until itís almost too late. Out came the masking tape. It once again lifted the run and much of the surrounding paint. Without further prep I shot on a few short sprays and the paint blended and leveled out. Presto! The run was gone.

    Just for fun I tried the technique with drywall tape instead of masking. It worked, but not as well. Something about the adhesive and sticky surface that makes masking tape the material of choice.

    This is a great tip!
    First photo shows the run area after daubing with the tape. Second photo is after re-spray. Not bad!!!
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