My budget build: Mini-max 1650 Eros

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Streffpilot

Well-Known Member
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

Well-Known Member
$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

Still at $39. But here are some pictures. Streffpilot Well-Known Member And......still at$39

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.

Streffpilot

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 Well-Known Member 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!

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

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

Well-Known Member
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.

Streffpilot

Well-Known Member
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

Well-Known Member
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).

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

Well-Known Member
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.)

Streffpilot

Well-Known Member
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

Well-Known Member
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.