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My budget build: Mini-max 1650 Eros

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Streffpilot

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Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Hi, I have been a pilot for about 8 years now, but haven't flown in about 5. I have a wife and kids, so a budget is a huge issue for me right now.

Some of you who have followed some other threads I started know that I have purchased plans for a Christavia MK IV, but I can't swing the price of a nice TIG welder.

I love working with wood, and am quite good at it, so I figured why not give the Mini-max a shot. I chose the 1650 Eros because I live in WI, and like the enclosed cockpit. It also has a good climb rate and a decent cruise speed. If you don't know much about the Mini-max line, they offer several different lines of aircraft all built off of the same wing rib and same basic frame. The current plan is to get the wood all finished, and make an engine decision later. The current top choices are a 1/2 VW and a Big Bad twin (or a home brewed version of the BBT).

Since funds are at a premium, I figured I would start each post with the running total and current expenditures on the current project.

I plan on dividing the work for this up into smaller sub-tasks. The first "job" is wing ribs. I plan to get the ply from Wag-Aero since they are close to me, and I like to support small shops. The Northern White Pine (the material called out for in the plans) will most likely be from Home Depot or Menards.

I also am using this as my build log for the final inspection.

Here we go!!!!
 

Streffpilot

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Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
$39 Total: $39

So, The Mini-max plans are downloadable from the internet. So.......I downloaded them. I needed the wing rib printed out full size, so off to the local print shop, and $10 later, I had 3 copies.

Next, I had to clean out my work area, and build a "workbench" I went to Home Depot, and $29 later, had a 3/4 MDF sheet to cut up and build a bench top out of. I was able to cut this sheet so that I can build several different parts on this sheet. The first setup is for wing ribs, as they are my first job.
 

Streffpilot

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Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
And......still at $39 :D

I needed a table saw to start ripping down some wood for the ribs. Being a budget, I pestered my dad, and got him to dig out an old Craftsman table saw out of his shed. I think it only takes a 7 1/2 or 8 inch blade, but that should be more than enough to keep me busy for a while.....plus, the best part, IT WAS FREE!!!!!! Dad claims that it is older than him, and I don't doubt it. It has a nice cast iron bed, so it is better than the cheap tin bed saws that you usually find at the hardware store.

I have to get the saw all set up and trued out, so it may be a few days before I get pictures up, but at least there is progress. I think I even have a new Diablo blade for the saw, so that won't cost me anything either if I can get it to work.

I will have to go out to Wag-Aero and pick up a sheet of 1/16 birch ply for gussets, but that should be the only expensive thing I need for a while, I already have a quart set of T-88, so good there. The ply and some one by, and I should be able to get crackin on the ribs. :D
 

Streffpilot

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Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Up to $54.

I splurged a bit and bought some new blades for the table saw. I did get it all put together and trued up. It is an old Craftsman with the cast iron bed, but she runs smooth and true.

No pictures yet, but I should have some coming soon.

A great deal came and found me for some parts for the Minimax. I will divulge the info once the transaction has fully gone through.

I am really excited, and I should be many many hours ahead very soon!!!

Stay tuned..... the surprise should be here soon.
 

Streffpilot

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Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Up to $494.

So.......I told you all I had a surprise coming!

I have been working my back side off and now have a complete set of ribs!

image.jpg


As you can see, I am super neat at building ribs! Not a drop of glue or a speck of sawdust anywhere!

Ok, ok, ok. I did work my backside off for them, but it wasn't building them. I was able to get some overtime at work, and one of our awesome HBA members offered them for sale. He even drove about 8 hours each way to deliver them!!! It does help that he had family in the area, but super impressive anyway! I didn't get permission to advertise his name, but he did complete a Minimax :)

image.jpg

As you can see, I don't have much to finish besides final shaping of the nose ribs, and then wing assembly!

I was also able to get a very nice workbench from my grandma, but it is still in the back of the truck, so no pictures yet. But it is really nice, and will serve me well even after the 'max is done.
 

Streffpilot

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Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Still at $494, so thats cool.
I finished shaping and sanding the nose ribs. I took a picture of those, as well as the router table I built out of some scraps I had laying around. I think it turned out pretty good.
I did draw out the vertical stabilizer and rudder on my build table, but I didn't get a picture of that yet.

Sorry the router table is a mess, but it is evidence of progress, so i don't mind at all.
 

Streffpilot

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Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Ok, so it has been a while since I posted here. We have been working some overtime at work, as well as Osh, so I have been pretty busy. No excuses though, as I have been getting some work done. First, I had to buy some wood, and cut down to what the plans call RS-17. This is 1/4" thick by 1 1/4" wide strips that are to be laminated into the leading edges of the vertical stabilizer and the leading edges of the horizontal stabilizer. This was quite a bit of cutting, and was a little slow going as I am running a 40 tooth blade on the table saw. This makes for a nice smooth cut, but it does take a bit to chew through wood when you are ripping it 1 1/2" deep by 6' long. I purposely cut all of the RS-17 a little bit thick, so after the glue dries, I just shaved a bit off from each side, and had a perfect 1 1/4" with no rough glue showing out the sides. Makes for a very clean looking finished product. Next, I laminated what is the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer. After this was laminated and dried, I had to cut it down to 1 1/4" wide. This was done by taking a little bit of material off of both sides, so that there was no excess glue running down one side or the other. Looked really nice. Next, the leading edge has to be shaped to a "streamlined" form. This is a bit of a project. For one, the leading edge is 1 1/4" wide but only 1" deep, so there isn't much space to make a nice rounded airfoil shape. I did my best, and am happy with the finished product. Being the cheapskate that I am, I didn't want to buy a rounder bit for the router, so I sent the leading edge through the table saw at about 5 different angles on both sides to create a gradual roundover. This took a little time, as I had no clue what I was doing and risked screwing up my nicely laminated leading edge. Thankfully, it came out about as perfect as I could have hoped for. I took some nice 60 grit sand paper and smoothed out all the cuts to create a nice smooth curve.
 

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Streffpilot

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Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
The picture above shows the roundover a little bit.

What it also shows is that all of the cuts are beveled so that the angle matches perfectly. This process would go so much quicker if the plans stated the angle and the length of the wood, but hey, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so I guess it will be all good. It took me about 2 hours to cut all of the angles and lengths for the vertical stabilizer. Note: this does not include the rudder. That is not done yet. here are some more pictures of progress:
IMG_6242.jpgIMG_6248.jpgIMG_6254.jpgIMG_6252.jpg
 

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Streffpilot

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Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Also note: I am waiting to have time to run over to Wag-Aero to pick up some 1.5mm Ply, so this is not glued together yet. I am also waiting for some AN nut plates from ACS. Should be here this week, and I should be able to run over and grab the ply from Wag-Aero by next weekend, hopefully by then I will have the rudder finished also, so it can all be glued up. As you can see from the pictured, I am pretty proud of getting all the angles just right. Getting this done makes me even more excited to move on with the build!
 

Streffpilot

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Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Someone asked about grain runout and a few areas of concern on a few of the pieces, so I thought I would try to get better pictures for you all to see. As you can see, the grain runout, while slightly wavy, is nearly perfectly strait. The bonus of choosing your own wood is you can get the best you can find. I didn't even count some of these growth ring sections....I got to 8 in a 1/4 inch, and said "well, thats pretty dang good" Photos 79 and 83 are of the same piece, just opposite sides. It is the area that was of concern to someone. It will get replaced. I think it is ok, but I can replace it as cheap insurance.

Any comments (pm as this thread doesn't accept direct comments) that help keep me safer are always appreciated.


IMG_6283.jpg IMG_6279.jpgIMG_6273.jpg
 

Streffpilot

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Messages
318
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Mukwonago, WI
Ok, no pictures today, but I did get the vertical stabilizer glued. I really need to take a half day at work so I can run out to WagAero and pick up the ply for the gussets, but I keep getting dragged into projects that make me stay late. Oh well, very thankful to have a job so I shouldn't be complaining.

Progress is going slower than I would like, but it is still progress.

I did redo the main rear vertical piece. someone pointed out some pretty squiggly grain, so i thought i would just replace it rather than worry about it.

Still getting used to the T88.....mixed about double what I needed for the project, so i found another project that needed some and got that done too. (not airplane related)
 

Streffpilot

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Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Hey there, I actually have a little progress made. I finally got to get out to Wag-Aero and grab a sheet of ply. So then I had to build a build bench in the basement. (no pics. sorry)

After the build bench, I had to do some other projects around the house, but did get to glue the gussets on one side of the vertical stabilizer. I feel like progress is going super slow, but now I have a build bench in a heated part of the house (very important in Wisconsin), so I should be able to spend some time down there each week.

So as I was cutting the gussets, I came to the realization that I could really use a table mounted belt sander.....I did sand bevel all the sides of the gussets, but it took way too long. So I guess I will have to go tool shopping soon (don't tell the wife....PLEASE).
IMG_4506.jpgIMG_4507.jpgIMG_4508.jpgIMG_4509.jpgIMG_4511.jpgIMG_4512.jpg


As always, Let me know if you see anything that needs to be redone. I am trying to do as well as I can, but this is my first build.
 

Streffpilot

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Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Ok, Time for an update. After the Holidays, and keeping kids and wife happy, I have a few pictures to post up. I got the fin and rudder just about done. I haven’t put the ply gussets on the rudder just yet, mostly because I needed to start building a fuselage (for the motivation when I can sit in it and make airplane noises)

I started the fuse a the other day, and feel like I am making good progress for someone who is married, has 2 kids, works full time, and volunteers extra time at church. So….here goes.

I picked out Douglas Fir for the longerons and all fuselage bits. I picked this for several reasons. One, I have a good supply locally in the form of Douglas Fir flooring, and Second because it is actually stronger than Sitka Spruce (yes….I know it is also heavier……)

So, after switching the ol’ Crafstman iron top table saw blade back to my good 40 tooth Diablo, I let her rip. Literally. Turns out, I have a knack for cutting the same board 10 times and it still doesn't fit. Thankfully, It is usually still a tad long as I am terrified of wasting perfectly good aircraft wood.

Speaking of aircraft wood, Most of the Douglas Fir I found has between 10 and upwards of 35 growth rings per inch, most with a runout of 1” per 6 or 8 feet. Also, most of this is able to be milled to either a nice vertical grain, or a nice quarter sawn. Working with Douglas Fir it is noticeably stronger than just plain ol’ pine. This is good.

Pictures attached for proof of progress. I have about 4 or 5 pieces to cut and then the fuse side will be done. Then it is time to glue, and do it all over again. (I did cut several of the pieces that HAVE to be a mirror image at the same time, so I do have a few of the harder to cut pieces done for the second side.)




IMG_4508.JPGIMG_4509.JPGIMG_4511.JPGIMG_4592.JPG
 

Streffpilot

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Jul 12, 2011
Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
So....I got the first fuse side glued up. It wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. I think it helps the better you cut your angles, the better it goes together. When I first did the Vertical stabilizer, I lettered each joint, but going along, I don't worry about it any more, just lay the part by where it goes, and glue it up.

I was a little worried about the scarph joint on the top longeron, but that turned out PERFECT. So happy with that. Now to wait for it to dry and start cutting up some parts for the second half.

I am getting better at estimating how much glue each job will take. I only mixed about 25% too much this time instead of my normal 50% too much. ugh. Trying not to waste much, but it is what it is.
 

Streffpilot

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Messages
318
Location
Mukwonago, WI
Just wanted to throw a quick update on here.

I had to move my woodshop to the basement because of our wonderful Wisconsin winter weather. This took me quite a while. It isn't quite as functional, but it does work. The biggest challenge to this was hauling the ancient Crafstman table saw down the stairs. This is the one with the cast iron top, so it is very heavy. I ended up tearing it apart and hauling it down the stairs in about 5 pieces. I do still have to drag the drill press and the router table down there, but those aren't that big of a deal.

I found some douglas fir flooring that had arrow strait grain. was probably the best piece I have ever found. Bonus was that it was 12' long. I am hoping to have the fuse complete before Oshkosh this year. That is my goal. We have a lot of family things going on, so it will be a challenge, but I think that it will be completely possible if I get my backside to work......off to the dungeon I go.


BTW, yes, I did measure the doorways to ensure that I can get a completed fuse OUT of the basement once it is built. :D
 
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