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Narfi's Life after EU: Chapter Five - CH750-SD 3 Place Aircraft

Discussion in 'Life, the Universe and Everything' started by narfi, Sep 5, 2020.

  1. narfi

    narfi Lost

    This week we purchased plans for our new project.
    It will be a scratch built 3 place bush plane which we will build floats for as a secondary project after it is flying.

    These planes are normally purchased as a kit with all the aluminum cnc cut and drilled so the customer only has to put it together (they say 3-400hrs but more likely 2x that) but we will be building every single piece(will probably buy some of the more complex parts like the formed windshield etc...) from the blueprints and then putting it together, so it should take us much longer.

    We will start making pieces this winter in our tent, but the plan is to build a heated shop next spring/summer and by next fall be building in comfort and style :)

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  2. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf


    (Can you fly?)
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
  3. narfi

    narfi Lost

    I soloed when I was 16 and got my license when I was 17. The license never expires but I haven't flown in quite a few years, though I am around aviation daily..... I am a small aircraft mechanic.
  4. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    The difference between people when growing up is amazing... at about the same age I was trying to build an RC glider - never finished it :cry2: (I think I was inspired by the Sky Pirates kids film growing up [an 80's rerun] and my family used to go to airshows). The idea of getting a pilots licence at that age... or even afford a single lesson. I can't even imagine it!

    Fast forward many many years, my first "flying" was a double set of 2 channel RC copters that you could battle another player with and shoot each other down with IR. Was pretty fun although really hard to fly. Actually, during lockdown, due to breaking all my little quad's props, I've been flying an IR copter around the room whenever I need a screen break. Guess that is one of the benefits of working from home... can't really fly model helicopters around an office! I'm definitely getting better at it though! I'm trying to fix up a slightly bigger one I have that is "allegedly" outdoor capable. Reality is you need to be good at flying backwards but I have some ideas that might improve that situation.

    Anyhow. Mind suitably blown. Looking forward to following along. Aircraft Mechanic... well I never!

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  5. narfi

    narfi Lost

    I spent some time cleaning up the mess I made in the tent last 3 years boat building, still need to organize some tools and get the dust off all the shelving/benches.
    I have a 14'x35" strongback made from 2x8s and sheeted with plywood, thinking I might stick legs under it and a couple sheets of plywood to make a big table for working on this winter. Would give me a nice 6" overhang maybe reinforced with 2x4s or something.... or maybe just cut down some mdf and cover the existing size, the current sheeting is in pretty rough shape.

    Started watching the homebuilt help videos, need to rip them to a usb stick before I scratch any of the disks. Was trying to think and I cant remember the last time I used disks for watching anything.

    The plans arrived yesterday. Zenith included the SD assembly manual and the 750STOL blueprints with some parts in the horizontal and elevator pages highlighted. I assume those are the ones for me to start building, but sent roger an email to verify.

    Starting to make a tentative list of stuff to order before I start, some tools some supplies, etc....

    I found a list someone had made where they estimated the aluminum they would need for their 750stol,
    9 sheets .016
    10 sheets .020
    3 sheets .025
    2 sheets .032
    1 sheet .040
    1 sheet .063

    1/8" and 5/32" avex countersunk rivets (how many of each to start with?)

    1/8" and 5/32" clecos (how many of each?)

    Pneumatic and hand rivet pullers with Zenair modified heads

    Probably one of the Builders tool kits off Aircraft Spruce (is there a better place to look for the basics bundled together?)

    Cleco Pliers
    Metric squares and straight edges
    Compass and Protractor
    Assorted pencils and pens
    Snips and olfa knife

    Belt sander
    Band Saw
    Drill Press
    Router Table

    A couple extra sheets of 3/4" plywood for making form blocks

    Once I have a pretty good list together and finished, then negotiations with my wife begin...
    I have laid the ground work by buying her a brand new retro scooter like she has always dreamed of, and she is expecting a big lump cost starting out this project, but still I need to be wise with it.

    Like_50-1-1024x723-1-1024x723 (1).

    I own or have access to most of the tools at work already, but want to be doing most of this at home, starting in our boat building tent and moving into our new shop next fall when it is done.

    The boats were pretty much just skill saw, table saw, hand held router and random orbital sander, I do have some misc. stuff xactos, dremil, hammers, wrenches, sockets, cordless drills, etc.... but nothing really focused toward sheet metal at home.

    We have a local Aircraft Spruce warehouse (about 10% higher prices than the southern warehouses) so I will use it as my base price when shopping around for best prices. Not sure how realistic it is, but hoping to start with around $5-6k of supplies and keep the average going forward to under $750 a month.
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  6. Jamira

    Jamira Samurai Girl

    OMG! You did it? You start building your own plane? I love this new project so much. And I'm jelaous to your son to be part of it!
    Well, I'm part of another project to build a bit bigger plane, the Dornier Do X. But she'll never fly ... :-(

    I wish you good luck with this project!
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
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  7. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    Alas my project has stalled lately while I clean up. There are nerfs to Fusion coming soon too although I don't think they will impact me much and my friend has a small business edition anyhow if for some reason I need access. I'm hearing rumours of technical issues too around something I was planning on doing... so some experimentation coming up for sure before proceeding. Narfi inspires me to try harder though!
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  8. narfi

    narfi Lost

    Do a log about it somewhere, if not here then wherever people interested in whatever you are doing hang out...... The act of recording your progress motivates you to keep pushing ahead. + people will remind you when you haven't done anything in a while :P
  9. narfi

    narfi Lost

    An old friend showed up this weekend, so took him and his girlfriend out on the lake. (a lot more fun than cleaning and burning trash)

    Another friend finished the video he made of the boat we made, which turned out pretty nice.(the video)

    Yesterday after work I was able to finish cleaning out the tent from the last projects and get some of the fiberglass dust chased out.

    Just need to put some legs under the old strongback to make the table and get it leveled.


    Might start ordering stuff this afternoon.
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  10. narfi

    narfi Lost

    And I did......

    Home Depot: $950
    Amazon: $900
    Aircraft Spruce $5400

    Not sure how I want to separate expenses, but some of the long term tools I don't want to count against the airplane, but still I wouldn't be buying them if I wasn't building it. So I will keep two numbers I guess..... Aircraft Spruce was mostly aluminum and rivets, but also ~1k worth of tools, I will count all the HD and amazon towards tools.

    Total time spent building: 0 hours
    Total Cost: $8190
    Airplane + consumables + project specific costs: $5340
    Tools, etc.. I will keep for future projects: $2850

    Next up getting some legs under the table and setting up all the tools when they arrive.
    I need to make a rack for storing all the aluminum I just purchased as well.
    Need to make some flanging dies similar to this,

    Something I have been thinking about, I do want to prime everything. I guess it is controversial, but I have had to clean and replace lots of aluminum during my carrier due to corrosion, so it is something I want to do.
    Is there a good, thin, cost effective, epoxy primer that comes in multiple colors? would be nice to look inside a wing or tail section and be able to see the different parts contrasted in different colors.
  11. San


    From what I know, with aluminium, anodizing ("eloxieren" in German) is the preferred method of corrosion protection where found necessary at all. I don't know what the cost and difficulties are with larger parts, my only experience is with small stuff like housings and user interface mechanics for electronic devices. But trying a quick search, there seem to be plenty of howto articles.
  12. narfi

    narfi Lost

    Yeah, I have had that suggestion. I don't think I want to deal with learning a new system and all the chemicals involved. I 'know' paints and primers, I am familiar with them on aircraft skins, so it is a comfortable option for me.

    I agree though that well dyed and anodized parts look very nice! Just too difficult for me to learn with on such large pieces.
  13. narfi

    narfi Lost

    Got the rack for the aluminum put together with a bonus shelf on top.

  14. narfi

    narfi Lost

    Turned the 3x14' strongback into a 4x16' table.
    Unboxed and assembled the bandsaw, belt sander, drill press, and vise.


    Don't think I want the tools permenantly mounted to the table in my smallish work area so have them setto the side for now except when I am using them. Will probably mount them on individual castered tables once the shop is built.
  15. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    Ah I have a Trello I share with the guy with the 3D printer that I use to log progress and keep an eye on what's been done/what is still to do also I have friends I'm in part doing this for, so the feeling of ultimately trying not to let them down helps with motivation too. I got the idea for collaboration from Adam Savage's maker commandments that I saw someone had carved at a maker fair. Two were around collaborating and sharing.

    This said though, a friend recently shared some profound tip about not showing other people what you are doing in search of praise. In essence ask yourself why you are doing something, is it for yourself? or the praise of others? For this reason (partly as an experiment) I've largely kept stuff quiet as I realised it was something I was largely doing to prove to myself that I could. Because I want to be the person who can do that thing. It's been an interesting tactic. Despite a few people knowing, outside the main group, noone has asked about it beyond the initial mention. Just goes to show that really most people are not that interested in the activities of others.

    That said though, just to counterpoint that, I am really interested in your boat and your plane! I still think your efforts are incredible!


    PS just saw the lovely video! haha you'll laugh but some of that landscape reminds me of Entropia (the more barren looking hills). A lot of people completely overlook how much effort goes into even editing a video to show off something, not to mention the work required to get the filming done, especially with a drone. And of course the boat looks like a dream! You most get such a kick every time you take it out to know that you made it yourself.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  16. narfi

    narfi Lost

    Last Friday,

    Still waiting on aluminum.
    I drew out the end rib for the stabilizer last night, will need to get comfortable with metric. Looking back I should have done my boats in metric just for the experience as the designer provides in both imperial and metric for his designs.

    Router table arrived and despite my research didn't match my router, so ordered a new router from Amazon. Wife didn't even complain...... perhaps because I added the shoes from her wishlist to the same order????

    Jokes aside she is really supportive even though she doesn't like flying, she knows its good for me and Landon.

    20201002_060658 (1).

    Much like I started researching what plane we would be building 3+ years ago when we started building the canoe and powerboat, we have started work on ideas to narrow down our next big project for when the plane is finished.

    A 40+ ft live aboard catamaran. The goal to finish around when Landon leaves the nest which will be pushing it but doable. (Give or take a few years)
  17. narfi

    narfi Lost

    Got a few minutes in the tent before needing to help with Landons birthday party.

    20201002_164445 (1).

    Need to sand the bottom peice to match the top one, then radius the bending edges and add a 5% spring back to the edges, then sand out the fluting recesses.

    I know the process, but doing it first time is intimidating, I think ill get comfortable with it pretty quickly though. This is a good first peice.
  18. narfi

    narfi Lost

    First two parts done, the stabilizer end ribs.
    Did the full process to see if I liked it even though it would have been quicker to just draw them out and cut them out.

    So I made a set of forming blocks(left and right) with 5 degrees bend back allowance and 1/8" bending radius routed in.
    Made a set of cutting templates and used the router to cut out two blanks of .025 aluminum 6061t6

    The cutting templates were made from tracing the form blocks so the tooling holes match perfectly and I used 1/4" bolts to clamp everything together through the tooling holes and used a rubber mallet to bend over the flanges and a wooden handle and a rubber coated small steel handle to bend in the fluting. I used a small hobby size steel hammer to gently form over the nose area, I was worried about them but it turned out OK.

    Once done and removed I laid them down on the table and they were really flat so no need to adjust the fluting, not bad for my first try

    Roughly 6 hours drawing out, cutting and shapping the forming blocks and cutting templates and making the parts. I think I can go much faster on the next ones.

    Total time spent building: 6 hours
    Total Cost: $8190
    Airplane + consumables + project specific costs: $5340
    Tools, etc.. I will keep for future projects: $2850

    20201003_133654 (1).
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  19. narfi

    narfi Lost

    Ordered some zipties, unibits, 48" straight edge with metric markings, a set of smaller steel metric rulers, a cheap set of drill bits for random things, and a brass hammer with one brass side and one nylon side.
    Total $86 in the tools column.

    Someone should design a homebuilt called "Amazon Basics"........... Just think of the partnership and marketing potential.....

    Total time spent building: 6 hours
    Total Cost: $8276
    Airplane + consumables + project specific costs: $5340
    Tools, etc.. I will keep for future projects: $2936
  20. narfi

    narfi Lost

    Been busy in life and aluminum still hasn't arrived.(i have a couple sheets but the first parts Roger gave me to make are all .016 and I dont have that) Turned 41 yesterday, been yelling people im ready to start the second 1/3rd of my life now.

    Made it out to the tent yesterday for an hour and got most of the first flanging die done.


    Thats the 51mm hole.
    Not sure exactly how I am going to finish it yet. Obviously I need to attach the two male parts together, probably use some epoxy I have. But then it sticks past the back side of the female part, so I am thinking I will double up the depth of the female part to give room for the guide section of the male part will fit.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

    It was all easy to do, most of the hour was spent trying to wrap my head around it and then a few minutes doing.

    Total time spent building: 7 hours
    Total Cost: $8276
    Airplane + consumables + project specific costs: $5340
    Tools, etc.. I will keep for future projects: $2936

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