# Budget built MiniMax 1100 Ultralight

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Little Scrapper, Mar 10, 2018.

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1. Mar 10, 2018

### Little Scrapper

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Cancelled work today and stayed home with my son who is pretty sick. He took a nap so I decided to rummage through all my airplane plans and organize them.

Came upon these MiniMax plans. Pretty fun to page through these. It's amazing how simple something like this is. Why is it people aren't building this in droves?

So you know, a guy starts thinking.

Most here who have followed my Cassutt thread have seen my shop in the background of the photos as well as some of my tools. You wouldn't believe how many people make comments to me about how they can't build because they don't have a shop like that and a few other excuses. I'm very greatful for my shop but the photos don't show just how small and simple it really is. Still, the excuses come in droves. A shop for most builders is pretty rare, it's just not a big requirement. Many seem to forget that a great deal of successful builders didn't spend thousands of dollars and months of labor to build a shop. I'm guilty of doing this but it's not required. A kitchen table, a cheap bench and a $5 light is really all anyone needs. Cost. I'm sure most of you have heard from people about the constant bickering on affordable aviation. It's as if everyone has to have a$80,000 airplane or they refuse to participate. Looking at these plans is there really anything wrong with a simple wood 2 stroke powered ultralight? Again, paging through these plans I can't imagine why people don't just build this little guy and go have fun.

So you know, I did some more thinking.

Airventure is 20 weeks away. I have about 800' of 1/4" capstrip and a sheet of 1/16" mahogany in my basement. Definitely have nails. I have a few spars. I have a Spruce/Doug fir company 30 minutes from me. Airventure is a hundred miles away. My Cassutt gets worked on only when at I'm at my shop, which is not at my house it requires a trip. So none of this really intrudes on my Cassutt time. I have no shop at all left in my home, it's all moved out and in my shop. The only tools I have are in my service truck. Pretty sure I can build this at home with the bare minimum of tooling.

I'm thinking I could build 2 airplanes at once. The Cassutt in my shop and a Minimax 1100 Ultralight at home at night when my wife is working out. Cassutt is a long term project for fun.

So today I decided to rapidly build a MiniMax 1100. Here's a thread about building a simple airplane with minimal tools, minimal money, and for people who can't afford a pilots liscense......it's an ultralight. There's no excuse for anyone! And for those who don't want to wait a few years like my Cassutt or a lot of other airplanes will take well, I plan on flying this before summer is over. I don't think I can build it in time for Airventure because 20 weeks just doesn't seem possible does it? I've never built a wood airplane so let's just say I have no experience at all. Everyone knows my passion is metal and welding, so I'm completely out of my realm here. I still think I can build this and fly it in under 7 months. I could be wrong, but I think I could do this.

As a recap, this is a fun low stress thread about building a little open cockpit airplane made of wood on a budget and in a short period of time in a small space starting on a kitchen table. There's no excuse not to fly and I'm gonna show that on this thread.

I'm off to find a board for a wing jig. In order for me to get this done in a few months I'll need to not only build my rib jig this weekend but actually build a rib by Sunday so I can do ribs next week.

Because I have a project thread already I decided I'm going to make automatic monthly donations here to the forum to pay for the extra photos. It's the responsible thing to do.

If anyone wants to participate here's how you can help.

1.) If anyone has ever built or is building a MiniMax please post some helpful tips to expedite the build process.

2.) If anyone here has built one or has just studied the Ultralight MiniMax any advice on budget wheels, fuel tank or parts etc is welcomed. This will save me some research time which is greatly needed.

3.) I need to find a little Rotax and do it on a budget so we can say "here's how you can do it on a budget". Any advice or tips here is greatly appreciated!

4.) Please keep comments fun, exciting and encouraging because this thread is for those who say aviation isn't for the average person. Let's prove them wrong.

Time to get busy, summer will be here before we know it.

Scrap.

Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
2. Mar 10, 2018

### cdlwingnut

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Good luck scrap. You will find working with wood very fun. My ragwing is very similar and im guessing will come in under $3000 to build CobraCar11 and Little Scrapper like this. 3. Mar 10, 2018 ### rbrochey ### rbrochey #### Well-Known Member Joined: Oct 17, 2010 Messages: 1,503 Likes Received: 610 Location: Gallup, New Mexico USA I think that is a terrific idea!!!! And you're right, more people should be building them! If I'm not mistaken, Lynn built a nice mini max... CobraCar11 and Little Scrapper like this. 4. Mar 10, 2018 ### Chris In Marshfield ### Chris In Marshfield #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Jan 29, 2008 Messages: 1,229 Likes Received: 1,006 Location: Germantown, WI USA Nice! I have an LMA wood plane I’m dying to build some time. I may build it at the lake cabin so I have something to do when not fishing. Little Scrapper likes this. 5. Mar 10, 2018 ### Pops ### Pops #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 1, 2013 Messages: 7,202 Likes Received: 6,100 Location: USA. Friend of mine built 4 Mini-Max's in a very small upstairs spare bedroom. Put 1K hrs on one with a 32 hp 1/2 VW engine. Ran the car VW distributor powered by a 12 volt, 5 amp model airplane starting battery from Tower Hobbies. Would fly several hundred cross country flight by stopping every 2 hrs and refuel and charged the battery at the airport. Burned 1.7 gph and cruised at 75 mph. Then he put a small 2 cylinder Cont-GPU on the last MM just to see if it would fly. BTW-- Its a legal Ultralight by about 2 pounds. He uses a Hummelbird canopy on the MM's and hot wires foam and tape to streamline the wing struts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj0hdymXfOg&t=29s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppR5Boo7cn4 CobraCar11 and Little Scrapper like this. 6. Mar 10, 2018 ### Little Scrapper ### Little Scrapper #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Jan 3, 2014 Messages: 5,352 Likes Received: 3,280 Location: Wisconsin I may have made a mistake. The plans I have are the 1100 but after reading pops post I discovered actual Ultralight from Minimax is the 1030 or 103 model not the 1100. If anyone knows of the wing is the same let me know or I'll need to print a set of 103 plans on Monday. In the mean time can anyone she'd some light on the Rotax 277 vs the Hirth F33 singles. I have some Rotax experience but not enough to matter. 7. Mar 10, 2018 ### fly2kads ### fly2kads #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Jan 2, 2010 Messages: 1,461 Likes Received: 537 Location: Justin, TX I thought it was the various options that put the 1100 over the weight and/or speed limits of Part 103, and that with the F33 and just the basics, it would come in under spec? I applaud the effort, one way or the other! Little Scrapper likes this. 8. Mar 10, 2018 ### TFF ### TFF #### Well-Known Member Joined: Apr 28, 2010 Messages: 11,702 Likes Received: 3,311 Location: Memphis, TN One of my old as dirt buddies, retired, at the airport was at the airport 6 days a week messing with his planes; at the time he had about 8 planes stuffed in his hangar and then projects. His wife said, you have to be home at least Saturday and Sunday. He built two Piets at the same time, when home. I would 1/2 v-dub it. Little Scrapper likes this. 9. Mar 10, 2018 ### don january ### don january #### Well-Known Member Joined: Feb 11, 2015 Messages: 2,660 Likes Received: 1,086 Location: Midwest Scrap: I can't answer much engine questions but I will give a bit of insight of things you will need and you may already have. I have found a Shopsmith is priceless when building an all wood aircraft but your three basics are Table saw-drill press- disk sander and don't forget some soft tipped clamps. Wood doesn't like that metal squeezing on it. As you build your Cassutt you probably don't worry to much about banging your tubes around a bit but I found wood is more dent happy. You must be ready for a much more dusty work area so daily sweeping is part of your routine and I can say try to set up your work area away from your furnace and laundry area the best you can. Spring cleaning becomes a daily thing even upstairs in my house I have to dust some of the wife's pretties. There are many things you will come up against and the good thing is there is alot of help here on the forum and I will say unlike the Cassutt you wont be able to cut the tack loose if the fit wasn't where you wanted it. I say "once glued once screwed" I'm pulling for you Scrap and like you I have been getting the parts together for my PDQ. 10. Mar 10, 2018 ### lake_harley ### lake_harley #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 5, 2007 Messages: 954 Likes Received: 300 Like Robert mentioned in a post above, I did build a MiniMAX. It's basically an 1100, but I did use the plans for the 1030 wing and tail. The 1030 wing is slightly different, mostly in the sizes of anti-drag members used. I also used 1.0MM ply for the leading edge instead of 1.5MM. A Legal Eagle wing is almost a copy of the MiniMAX wing and uses .8MM ply leading edges. Also after talking with a MiniMAX builder who told me he used 1.0MM, I felt quite confident to follow suit. Pops' friend in the earlier post with video links was the builder I talked with about the 1.0MM leading edge ply. He made weight with the 2A042 surplus engine that out weighs a 277 by about 10 or 15#! The 1030 plans also show the "light tail". It's a bit more time consuming to build than the standard tail, but with a light engine like a 277 you would need to be concerned about a tail heavy plane with the standard version. My plane was on the border of tail heavy, and that was with the light tail. With that said I'll mention my "hybrid" MiniMAX came in at 246# empty. I built from scratch using carefully selected Northern White Pine from a local lumber yard and aircraft grade ply from Wicks. I ended up with about$4500 in my completed plane and that included the 277 that I freshened up, and bought new instruments. I was pleased!

Something I'd do differently if I were building another MiniMAX is to use 1.0 or possibly even .8MM ply to cut the rib gussets. Every bit of weight savings adds up in the end and it doesn't cost anything to save weight where it's only a matter of being careful to not oversize anything that goes into the plane. All of the wood that I re-sawed to the required dimensions to build the plane were done with a dial caliper in hand to set the table saw. To me, 1/4" is .250" and not .280 or .300" like one might do using just a tape measure or ruler

The plans are VERY GOOD and pretty easy to follow, even for a 1st time builder like I was. I did seek advice on several occasions and will have to admit many of my questions were related to thinking I would so something slightly different than shown on the plans. In hindsight I'd say stick to the plans straight though the build and things will go faster. I don't really feel I'm leading you astray with the suggestions I made in the first two paragraphs though.

If you were closer, I'd loan you my rib jig and get you off to a faster start by saving you the time to build one!

BTW, my MiniMAX has flown but only by an experienced pilot friend of mine. He said it flew nicely, had no bad habits and landed without drama. I hope to fly it too, but I need more stick time trying to land a Kitfox II of which I own 50%. That seems to be a damned cantankerous plane to land, but I want to get proficient on it before it's just me up there.

I'll also mention the great support that available on the East Tennessee Lonesome Buzzard website. It's all about building and flying a MiniMAX. http://www.lonesomebuzzards.com/cgi-bin/forum/Blah.pl/Blah.pl?b-cc/

Happy building!

Lynn

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11. Mar 10, 2018

### Beragoobruce

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Plus one on the Lonesome Buzzards forum - it's a great resource.

I built, and am flying, an Eros, but all the Max family are essentially very similar. Here's a link to my build thread in the Buzzards board:
http://www.lonesomebuzzards.com/cgi-bin/forum/Blah.pl?m-1409444380/ Also includes a link on making a propeller, if you really want to save money. Note that the first few photos were done from photobucket, & the miserable sods have stopped showing those now. Later build pics were uploaded from my camera, so appear ok.

You will surely enjoy building one of these great little planes, and they are great fun to fly: very controllable, highly responsive, and leave you with a huuuge smile after every flight.

I look forward to your build blog.

Bruce

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12. Mar 10, 2018

### FritzW

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If your really, truly, no s#it, honest injun serious about quick building a Mini/Hi Max I'll donate the 1/8" ply parts of a quick build "plug and play" MiniMax wing:
http://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20101

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13. Mar 10, 2018

### Little Scrapper

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Fritz, that's a gosh darn great offer. I looked at the pages in your link and what an awesome job. Top notch all the way.

I'm going to have to respectfully decline. Please don't be offended and let me explain.

This could easily backfire on me. I have to be realistic. While I certainly think my plan is solid often times the real world steps in and things look a bit different. If I took that from you it's a larger burden than I'm willing to carry if things don't go as planned. I really hope you understand. And I think there's sort of a second reason as well. I need to bleed a little bit and go through the full process 100%. It may sound a bit off or possibly stupid but I really want to show the guy who thinks he can't fly affordably and is out of time that it's quite possible to do this. I'm still very much involved in my Cassutt in fact I might be buying a 0-200 tomorrow if things work out so this little ultralight is just a kind a thing I'm trying to do at home with free time at home.

Again, I'm humbled by your offer, I have the upmost respect for even considering that.

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14. Mar 10, 2018

### Little Scrapper

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just a quick notes to the other folks who responded. Thank you.

I visited the Lonesome Buzzards site, pretty cool indeed. And thanks for explaining the model differences and the improvements.

Question. I have a large amount of 1/16" Mahogany ply for gussets, should I just use that or just get the finish birch for the ribs? These minimaxes really seem to like the birch plywood.

2nd question. I see a lot of people using alternate wood. Where in the plans does it say you can substitute Spruce with N White pine? Obviously it works and it's common, I'm just curious how and why this came about. I guess I'm not even sure I know where to locate NW Pine.

Thanks!

15. Mar 10, 2018

### Victor Bravo

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FWIW, first decide if you genuinely need to make Part 103 weight. Most of the 103 air "vehicles" flying around as ultralights may be a pound or two over weight. The letter of the law is one thing and reality is another. If you have a Minimax that looks, sounds, and is not N numbered like an UL, with a 5 gallon can as the fuel tank, and it is operating in areas where UL's operate, buzzing around with other UL's, you will find that the FAA is not driving around with scales in their car looking to bust you on being overweight.

If you are conservative with the aircraft and you are not caught on video flying in a risky or scofflaw manner, the FAA has a lot of other things to do instead of running around enforcing strict 103 rules.

Also, understand that many of todays UL engines are lighter than the old UL engines. You may well find that a Polini or Simonini paramotor engine that makes 27 or 30HP is lighter than the old 277. So you MAY be able to make UL weight without resorting to the extremes that others have had to in the past.

If you already have any sort of pilot license you probably don't need to make 103 weight... unless reason for this entire exercise includes a true 103 airplane that does not need a license.

IMHO whatever you do, try not to put those tiny little dinner plate size wheels and tires on the airplane. Larger wheels protect against damaging the airplane when operating off of dirt, sod, etc. There is a safety issue under all that as well, you can do a nose-over much more easily with the tiny wheels, leaving you upside down soaked with gasoline and a hot exhaust pipe. Goes from comical to dead serious in a heartbeat.

As mentioned by other posters, sawdust, sanding dust and scrap wood is a much bigger safety hazard than metal. So a dust collector hooked up to your power tools is a good investment.

Another way to save significant weight if you are shooting for Part 103 is to use the Oratex covering or the Stewart Systems method, both of which are lighter than Stits, Poly-Fiber, Ceconite, Blue River, etc. The choice of covering alone can be the difference in meeting 103 weight. White Oratex with no large areas of trim color is probably worth a few pounds versus a beautiful American flag or aerobatic starburst paint scheme. Also takes less time. I think Oratex may be lighter than Stewart, not 100% sure.

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16. Mar 10, 2018

### Dana

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If you want to go 2-stroke you might consider a rebuilt Cuyuna engine instead of a Rotax. The Cuyunas got a bad reputation back in the day but I believe that was because nobody understood 2-strokes and Rotax would have fared no better. Anyway, Cuyunas (and their parts) are a lot cheaper than any of the other options. My Ultrastar had a Cuyuna and it was trouble free for the time I had it, about 200 hours of flying.

But if I were building a Minimax I'd be inclined to go with a half VW. I had one in my Fisher, of course, and my friend has a Minimax (N numbered) with a Global half VW... been sitting for a few years, we're hoping to get it flying this spring.

Dana

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17. Mar 10, 2018

### lake_harley

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Providing I clicked the correct buttons my comments should be below in red.

Lynn

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18. Mar 10, 2018

### Wayne

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Scrap -
Don't be reluctant to call Dave Cooper at Mini Max if needed, he is a great guy and has encyclopedic knowledge. He is the real deal when it comes to these aircraft. Before my Dad decided to fund the Cruzer I was going to build a Hi-Max and have spent hours out there in Niles. I met a CFI there and flew about 20 hours out of Niles, MI and South Bend. The TEAM factory is a hangar full of spruce and partially built Mini Max's.

Dave told me that with my years of model airplane building (balsa sticks, tissue, dope anyone?) he thought 300-400 hours. That seems low but they are simple aircraft.

Dave will be thrilled to see this thread - he's a good dude and those guys are doing this for the love of it - not to get rich.

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19. Mar 10, 2018

### Little Scrapper

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Thank you.

Just to hit a few points and answer some questions.

The purpose of this thread is to produce a cheap fun flying airplane from start to finish in a few months and fly it before summer ends. I think I can do it. I'm probably doing this for the wrong reasons but I want to personally answer for those that say aviation is not affordable. When I'm done with this project anybody can come to this thread and say, ok, here's something I can do with minimal tools, minimal experience, minimal time and minimal input costs. I kinda felt that was a good idea. So, sticking with that theme it made sense to me to pick a well proven design that's readily available and has a great track record.

It also means sticking to the plans and non customizing because that just adds time. It means an ultralight that's a true ultralight and a airplane that's bone stock and to the plans with no reverse engineering of any type. Just read the plans and build it.

On engines. While I've had rotax 2 stroke experience I'm smart enough to know I'm still lacking in knowledge with any sort of real depth. I just now that the engine I pick needs to be part of the company recommended ones and that alone will save me time.

Materials. These plans are interesting the more you read them, they are actually quite good. Last night was the first time I really sat down and studied them and it's starting to make sense. Attached is a photo that talks about material.

RS 0-50 (raw stock) can be any pine if I'm reading this correctly. And of course this pine needs to meet aircraft standards as it concerns grain, direction, run-out, etc. I'll call TEAM to verify.

Fortunately I can get started today on my kitchen table and build a dirt simple, cheap, no frills, rib jig and start making ribs immediately because I have an absolute ton of 1/4" x 1/4" spruce cap strip.

Just a note. Because my plumbing shop where my Cassutt is is not my home I'll be doing all wood cutting at home.....in my lawn....out in the open. Kinda old school. I don't want any woodworking dust in my plumbing shop at all and I certainly don't want it mixed in with customer inventory or my metal fab stuff. Remember, this is a at home project with basic tools and no "shop" to speak of. After this is complete my home life resumes

Appreciate people chiming in on this. Should be interesting going forward.

20. Mar 10, 2018

### Little Scrapper

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One thing I forget to mention. Forum member Kevin N sent my son a Minimax either a tail kit or rudder kit that I have in a box. I think tail kit. I've been sitting on it for over a year and forget all about it. I want my son to be just a bit older and more mature. That's a real bonus. I'll be digging that out today.