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Narfi's Scratch Built Zenith 750 Super Duty

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narfi

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Feb 23, 2016
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942
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Today I placed the order for my plans. The assembly drawings for the kit are done but they have not finished the blueprints for scratch builders yet. They will attach blueprints for some of the parts I can start on now that have been done or are interchangeable with the 750STOL and later this winter once they are done I will build the other parts as well.

This will be the primary log for this build and I want it to be interactive with the community in that anyone can post comments, questions, suggestions or critiques and hold 'conversations' with me and each other on the topic of my build with the timeline of all posts together here in one thread with my build logs and updates.

Time spent building - 0 hours
Money spent - $650 for the assembly drawings

Total time spent building - 0 hours
Total Money spent - $650
 

Victor Bravo

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KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Congratulations for taking the first step. Building this airplane with your family will be one of the greatest things you ever do in your life, and the months or years of "quality time" will be the greatest gift to your kids.
 

narfi

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Feb 23, 2016
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So I received a message from a concerned member.
He knows a story of an 801 built with poor flight characteristics that was taken to zenith to test fly and ended up being destroyed after popping the parachute in an unrecoverable spin during testing.
The main trigger for his concern was when I said the scratch built plans weren't finished yet. However they have been selling the cncd kits already and some(at least one?) has been finished in addition to their prototype.


I do not want to be cavalier in my approach, and so would welcome any thoughts on this.
I had heard of that before, but do not know the details on why that 801 had issues when there are so many others flying out there.
The fact that there is a 750SD prototype flying and tested in addition to customer aircraft finished and flying makes me pretty comfortable going forward with this.

----------------------


A little about us: We live in a remote village in Alaska, 150 miles off the road system. We do have small aircraft fly in and out every day but there are no stores here so anything we purchase has the additional cost of paying someone to pick it up or shop for it and the $1 per lb to get it here. Because of this, it is important to plan ahead as I wont be hopping down to home depot or napa everytime I need a piece of hardware or tool. Fortunately there is an Aircraft Spruce warehouse in Alaska which delivers directly to the airport in Anchorage so that is a plus. Still need to plan ahead though. I do have access to all of my tools from work as well as ability to buy or borrow to replace some hardware which is super convenient. I will be buying duplicates of a lot of my sheet metal tools to have at home for this project, but don't need to drop a lot of money all at once.

We will start this winter in our unheated 18x28 Shelter logic tent but have plans in the spring to start building our heated shop. So by next fall I am hoping we will be building in comfort and luxury.

I have lived here since 1997 since I was 17yrs old, I came for a summer job as an adventure before I started 'life'. I had a 2yr degree and no idea what direction I wanted to go for a 4yr school. I intended to spend the summer thinking about that and figuring it out. I am still here...... Apprenticed to get my A&P and then got my IA working for the same company. Lots of variety in small aluminum(piper, cessna, bonanza, and later 99/kingair) and tube and fabric(mostly modified Stinson 10/108 with some cub types, I am not directly involved but we are currently building up a JR SR with an R-985) aircraft. Lots of salvages, lots of signing off ferry flights. Lots of enjoying the beauty of the wilderness God gave us.

My son is turning 11 in October. This will be 'his plane' that he built or at least helped build..... he will learn to fly in it. He loves hanging around the hangar and spends more time talking to the other mechanics and pilots than with me when he walks or brings his Coleman mini bike over to visit almost daily in the summer, less now that school has started. He is one of those kids that thrives on social interaction, and gets along really well with adults always someone taking him under their wing and that has allowed him to go flying more than most kids and he loves it.
(I am very proud of him)

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I am not sure how long it will take the mail for the plans to get here. Those with experience in the Zenith designs and scratch building, which of the homebuilt videos are worth the money? Their site seems very early 90s and a bit difficult for me to navigate.
I am most interested now in creating the formers for the assorted parts and pieces.
 

narfi

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Feb 23, 2016
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942
Location
Alaska
Ordered some videos from homebuilthelp.com

Scratch Building Basics DVD
Building CH750 Fuselage Part 1
Building CH750 Fuselage Part 2
Build CH750 Horizontal Tail
Building CH750 Slats & Flaps
Building CH750 Wings double DVD
Building your Zenith CH750 FINISHING

Total cost of all DVDs $289

Perhaps they will keep us out of trouble when it gets too cold to do anything this winter......

Total time spent building: 0 hours
Total Cost: $939
 

PagoBay

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Nov 16, 2013
Messages
184
Location
US Territory of Guam
Hello Narfi..
Just happened across a video produced by Jon Croke of HomeBuiltHelp. Includes some modifications that you might consider.
This is the very first kit SD model built. Hope this is not redundant. But is worth the 13 min to watch if only for the encouragement.
The aircraft was completed in only 60 days.

Building the first Super Duty Zenith CH750 STOL aircraft kit
 

cheapracer

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Sep 8, 2013
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Australian
Marty D in Australia, is 80% complete with his plans scratch built 701. Nice guy, very approachable.

 

narfi

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Feb 23, 2016
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Alaska
Thanks everyone!!
@PagoBay thanks, I have ordered all the 750 videos from him and watched a lot of his youtube videos.... 60 days is fast, I doubt I could build a kit in 60 days, but that is part of why I wanted to scratch build, so that we could enjoy the process more. (and budget the expense over a longer period of time :p )

@cheapracer thanks, Ill read through that, seems lots of Australians enjoy scratch building and Zeniths, its hard tracking down good build logs so I will definitely read through it. Seems builders either keep to them selves, or try to do their own build log site which then ends up defunct after a few years. With a forum log you have a better chance of it sticking around for more people to see and benefit from.
 

Victor Bravo

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Narfi, once again you have chosen a good aircraft to build for your use and your environment. Some of airframe modifications and clever tricks that were used in the Croke/Eggenfellner video above make sense to me. The nylon tube rudder cable exits are really clean, and will seal much better against water, dirt, bugs, etc. I have no idea what the "sunroof" is for, the entire cabin roof is already clear. The fiberglass tail spring seems way to large, it limits the takeoff and langing angle. But the giant tires (airplane higher off the ground) may give all that back.

I would have to do some research about powder coating the flying surfaces, because part of that process is baking the part at 400 degrees. That is getting high enough that I would wonder if an accidental hot spot or oversight at the powder coat shop could change the temper of the metal. Perhaps some of our experienced engineers here can quantify this exactly (whether 400 F is enough to alter the metal, or how far from that it is).

Removing the entire windshield with hinge pins is a neat idea, but on that airplane with no instrument panel I am not sure what it does.

Holding the wide windows on with VHB tape and clips (no screw holes) is very clever, especially for cold weather. As long as the VHB tape holds.

Forget about building it in 60 days. Not only are you scratchbuilding instead of CNC kit building... but John Croke and his partners at Homebuilt Help have been uilding these airplanes for 20 years, over and over.
 
Last edited:

rbarnes

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Aug 28, 2015
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312
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Texas
If you look at the specs what they did was take the old CH801 wing and horizontal tail and slap it on the CH750 body and beefed up the main gear and load carrying points... and wa-la CH750-SD. They also just upgraded the CH801 wing and now sell the 801 "Super Duty" and stopped making the smaller wing.

I will be building a CH750-SD next year. Cant wait.
 

narfi

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Feb 23, 2016
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Alaska
hehe, and, and, and.... that's what gets you :)
I am happy with the choice to build the 750SD rather than try to piece together a 'looks like one' from lighter parts.
Looking forward to seeing your build!
My plans haven't arrived yet, the videos either. Mail is slow to where I live, but hopefully this week :)
 

narfi

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Feb 23, 2016
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Alaska
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
Vise

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 :p
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).png


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.
 

rbarnes

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I think the new cordless electric blind rivet pullers are the way to go over pneumatic
 

narfi

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I will look into that, thanks!
Do you know who sells them?
 

rbarnes

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Texas
Usual suspects all make one. I'm looking at a compact one from Milwakee that feeds the spent shank out the back into a little catch tube. Need to check with Zenith if it will work with their domed heads

 

Victor Bravo

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How many rivets will those things pull on one charge? Seems like it might be a useful thing, even if it is slower or less powerful than the air riveter - because sometimes you just need to keep building airplane parts after everyone else has gone to sleep, and the compressor has to be quiet for the night.
 

narfi

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Feb 23, 2016
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Alaska
I would like to find one that uses Dewalt 20v batteries as I already have ~5 fairly new batteries. A couple of cordless drills and a leaf blower I purchased for my 55gal incinerator. Just found out there are cordless metal sheers as well o.0 I guess lithium makes the world go round.
 
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