Building in a tiny workshop? (Zenith 750)

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13x11' workshop for most of a zenith build?

  • No problem! Just move to a bigger space at the end

    Votes: 4 15.4%
  • It'll be tight, but not too bad.

    Votes: 8 30.8%
  • It may be possible, but a lot of tasks will be really rough

    Votes: 11 42.3%
  • Nope!

    Votes: 3 11.5%
  • No problem! Just move to a bigger space at the end

    Votes: 4 15.4%
  • It'll be tight, but not too bad.

    Votes: 8 30.8%
  • It may be possible, but a lot of tasks will be really rough

    Votes: 11 42.3%
  • Nope!

    Votes: 3 11.5%

  • Total voters
    26

mstratman

Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
26
Location
Forest Park, IL
Hey everyone. I'm hoping to get a quick reality check in advance. Do you think it's feasible to do most of a build in a 13x11' room?

My wife and I are hoping to go down to their factory later this month to build the rudder, but I am having some serious doubts about the practicality of this.

Obviously we'll need to move to a hangar or somewhere bigger to install the wings, but can a small workshop like this work for the first 3/4 of the project? I think "if there's a will, there's a way", but wondering if it's going to be a miserable way.

Let me know what you think. Thanks!
 

choppergirl

Banned
Joined
Jan 30, 2015
Messages
1,682
Location
Choppergirl's Flying Circus ★★☠★★ AIR-WAR.ORG
11 x 13 = 17 diagonal. Depends I guess if your fuselage is less than 17 ft.

You'd probably get as far as building the tail feathers, and find the rest of the kit parts would be in the way for continuing further.

I vote nope, you need bigger space. Speaking from experience (right now), airplane parts are annoying to have in the house. Because they take up space, and get separated all over the place. They do stay cleaner inside the house though...

It's really much nicer and organized if every single thing related to the project can stay in the same proximity and location. Even though most of my plane is in the barn, some is still in my house...

From 2 seconds ago.... as you can see, it really clutters up my paper office... and I have to step over it...

DSC_0454.jpg DSC_0455.jpg DSC_0456.jpg

It suddenly rained this afternoon, so the continuation of my exhaust derusting project quickly got relocated from outdoors on the porch to the guest bathroom bathtub.

If you have a big shop, you never have to do this kind of nonsense...

Build your shop first, or gut an old house trailer, or clean out and old barn. An old house trailer would be ideal imho... you're up high off the ground, it's insulated, and you got power everywhere and can hang florescent lights above and tools along or hanging from the walls. You can sit up against the wall when you're taking a break, and admire your work so far.
 
Last edited:

Aerowerx

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
5,477
Location
Marion, Ohio
"They" claim that it is possible to build in a 1 car garage, but it would be tight, I think. 13x11 seems smaller than a garage, doesn't it? You need a space at least as long as the longest section of your plane (wing or fuselage), plus a couple of feet for walk-around room. And don't forget room for your power tools, like a table saw.

I am building in a 2 car garage. My build table takes up half of it.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
12,583
Location
Memphis, TN
You should be able to get a lot done. If you are in an apartment you will be making some noise and you have to get stuff out. Plenty of pictures of planes and boats built in a basement and they have to drop a wall or cut out a big door in the side of the house. Really is going to depend.
 

choppergirl

Banned
Joined
Jan 30, 2015
Messages
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Choppergirl's Flying Circus ★★☠★★ AIR-WAR.ORG
Climbing over stuff all the time is no fun, but there are a few perks to working on parts at least inside your house... or working in a room attached to your house...

You get to do fun stuff like this, you'd probably never do in a shop... (and you can walk away from it, go play on the computer, and come back and check on slow chemical processes, over and over again, without leaving the house)...

DSC_0459.jpg DSC_0458.jpg

"Honey, what's for dinner? Your old airplane exhaust, hot and derusted, sauteed in lemon juice and basted with phosphoric acid, ready for painting with high heat black. It's a little dry, but I think you'll like it!"

These guys in Youtube comments... every now and then I get one smart ass, who tells me I don't know a dern thing about airplanes... I need to get back in the kitchen... they have no idea what goes on in my kitchen...
 
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Kevin N

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Messages
819
Location
Your Moms basement
If I only had a tiny workshop I would still get started building. I built a set of Pitts wing ribs in Navy barracks. The jig lived under my rack. When everybody else was getting cookies and cakes from home my packages were pre cut gussets from my dad. There is hundreds of small tasks to building an airplane that can be done in a small space. Go for it and up size when you can.
 

Vision_2012

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
274
Location
Shady Cove, OR
lastshopphoto.jpg

Vision fuselage in 10.5 by 20 space

Any building today gets you finished sooner than not starting until things are optimum.
 

MikePousson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
465
Location
Ontario on the bay
Foreward fuse, gear, rear fuse and empanange can be built in three sections and moved to storage. Alerions and flaps can be built and stored. Depending on the wing lengths, they maybe be built also with the right placement.
The fellow I bought my project from built a Zenith in a bedroom of a high rise apartment builting in Toronto. He had to build the fuse on two pieces to fit in the elevator to move it to a hangar and get it all together ?
 

Little Scrapper

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
5,656
Location
Wisconsin
Just start. You'll figure it out as you go. Somebody on this site a while back told a story about building pitts ribs on his lunch break while keeping parts in his trunk. It can be done.
 

mstratman

Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
26
Location
Forest Park, IL
Thanks for the great feedback everyone.

We have a single family home, and although the houses are right on top of each other, the noise shouldn't be a concern since we don't share a wall.
Once pieces are built I can move them out of the work space. I can build a small storage shed in the yard (was thinking 15x6'), and maybe put some smaller parts in the crawl space under the back of our house.

So perhaps I'm overthinking it and should just jump in. I'm just cautious of setting myself up for failure if a majority of the work can't be completed without a space longer than 13'.

Thanks again!
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
7,062
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Oh definitely jump in... as someone mentioned you will never get anything done by waiting until it is ideal.

As mentioned, you can build the entire tail kit in your existing space, same for the front and rear fuselage halves. Flap and aileron halves (before joining) can be done. Ribs can be built too. Zenair lists the span at 29 feet. If the fuselage is 44 inches wide, that means each wing panel is just under 13 feet in span. But the reality is that Heintz is smart enough to build most of the wing using standard 12 foot lengths of material, and the tip is probably the last part that gets riveted on. So a 12 foot wing panel can be built in that room until the last moment of installing the tips. If you choose the wing slat version of the 750, I'm sure the slats a re built using 12 foot lengths of material as well.

I'll bet that when the time finally comes when you need to do final construction and assembly, one of the EAA chapters i the Chicago area w ill know some place where you can move the project to do the "big" stuff.

The majority of this project can probably be done in a 13 foot space. It is the minority at the end that will require you to have more space.
 

Little Scrapper

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HBA Supporter
Log Member
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Jan 3, 2014
Messages
5,656
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Wisconsin
I think I speak for the bulk of us builders when I say we all wish we had more room. The fact that it's at your home and not your hangar is a time saver regardless of space.
 

Kevin N

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Messages
819
Location
Your Moms basement
One thing about working in a small space you learn quick to be neat and efficient or accept walking around and moving stuff all the time. Having too much workshop space is a condition that really doesn't exist. Kind of like having too much money, just not possible.
 

Arthur Brown

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 1, 2016
Messages
138
Location
London
Spend an hour with the drawings, work out how many small parts you can make and where you can put finished ones in the house. Once you have a lot of parts you are ready to plan where to build the big bits and fly it from.

For example make all the parts under 6 ft long and store them as a kit, then make the parts under 12ft, THEN you have to find a hangar for the last few bits. Just remember that the build space will NOT be dual purpose as dining room or guest bedroom while it's full of tools and sub assembly kits!
 

Riggerrob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2014
Messages
1,365
Location
Canada
Start with building tail feathers, then hang them from the ceiling or move them to an external storage shed. Drape painters' drop cloths over them to keep dust and bird poo and "what the bleep is that?" off of them. Dust-free surfaces will need less prep work when it reaches the paint booth.

Repeat the process with wings.

Build a dummy firewall and install most of the firewall-forward components.

Build the fuselage bulkheads and wire up the instrument panel.

Build small parts like ribs, bulkheads, undercarriage, flight controls, seat cushions, seat-belts, etc. during slack time. The goal is to have most of the smaller bits ready to boot-in, rivet-in or glue-in before you start fuselage construction. If your fuselage proves too long for your work space, wheel in the (almost complete) firewall forward section and bolt the center fuselage/cockpit to that. Once everything is tried up, in-bolt the firewall forward package and bolt airworthy firewall to a shop wall. Attach the aft fuselage with Clevos. Drive most of the rivets in the aft fuselage. Remove Clecos and deliver the two separate fuselage pieces to your final assembly hangar. Drive the last rivets connecting the two fuselage pieces. Retrieve all the (stored) undercarriage, flight surfaces, etc. and bolt them on.
 
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cheapracer

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
5,990
Location
Australian
Easy, period.

If you traveled around Asia a bit you would occasionally see people operating businesses, building stuff as well as actually living in similar sizes.

Make an effort to clean up at the end of each work period to keep it under control.
 
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