Tips for building with wood.

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Streffpilot

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Hi all, I am getting into my Mini-max build, and I thought I would share some tips and tricks that I have learned thus far.

This is mostly aimed at wood aircraft, as that is what I am building.

Feel free to add your own tips below!
 

Streffpilot

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Tools: my plans for the Minimax don't come with angles or lengths indicated for many of the support structures. The main sizes are there, but not the incidental ones. So here are a few tools I recommend for after you draw out what is being built on your build table.

1: Protractor. get one that is metal with well defined edges. Also, get one that shows both angles, from 0-180 and 180-0. This is important as many saws only go so far in their cutting angle, so sometimes you have to use the opposite angle and figure it out.

IMG_6264.jpg

2: Carpenter's square. Use to extend lines to use for measuring. So many uses, no excuse not to have one.

IMG_6269.jpg

3: Rafter square. Again, many uses. I'll show you a trick here. It is dangerous, so be very careful if you decide to use this. Many of you know that a chop saw, or miter saw only goes from about 49 degrees one way to 40 degrees the other way. Well, some of our cuts require a 56 or 65 degree cut. So how do you do this? you use your rafter square. Place the square on the bed of the saw. Be sure to block up the back end of the square to make it so that the flat part (your new cutting fence) is square with the bed. Then just subtract 45 from whatever angle you need. If you need a 65 degree angle, you would take out 45 (because of your square) and use 20 degrees.

CLAMP THE SQUARE AND BOARD YOU ARE CUTTING DOWN. THAT SPINNING THING THAT CUTS WOOD ALSO CUTS FLESH, AND IT DOESN'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THIS IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_6239.jpg

CLAMP THE SQUARE AND BOARD YOU ARE CUTTING DOWN. THAT SPINNING THING THAT CUTS WOOD ALSO CUTS FLESH, AND IT DOESN'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THIS IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Streffpilot

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Mukwonago, WI
Now for some tips.

When I first started making blocking for holding parts in place. I spent way too much time making sure all of the screw holes were dead center, and the blocks were exactly the same size, and had 2 screw holes holding them down. This is all unnecessary and actually quite counter productive. Make your blocking blocks about an inch by an inch and a half. Throw a screw hole in it, and be done. No need to make sure everything is centered. If the hole is a little off, thats great. now you can use the block like a cam, and get it just the right tightness against the piece that it is supporting.

Another part of the blocking I screwed up was not putting a large enough hole in the block. Use a drill bit that allows the screw to slide right through. You do not want any of the threads holding into the block. If the screw grips into the block before the build table, It makes it much more of a pain to get your block in exactly the right place.

Also, set the clutch on your drill to stop as soon as there is enough pressure on the block to hold it into place. The blocks split very easily. I think my particular drill is set at about clutch setting 2 or 3. works perfect.

Also, don't be like the crazy guy from Wisconsin. Buy screws that you KNOW won't penetrate through the bottom of the build table.....ask me how I learned this one.
IMG_6254.jpgIMG_6255.jpgIMG_6226.jpgIMG_6251.jpg
 

BJC

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97FL, Florida, USA
An angle drill guide like this one

Not all holes can be drilled on a drill press. Sometime during your build you are going to have to drill a hole on something too big or awkward to fit on your drill press.
I have two. Had one, carefully packed for moving to the airpark when I retired. Couldn't find it for two years because I was looking for it assembled, and I had, wisely, taken it apart for moving so it could not get bent. Needed it for a job. Bought a new one. Found the first one a week later.

Handy tool. Two is better than none.


BJC
 

Aerowerx

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Dec 1, 2011
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Marion, Ohio
You could save some money on the wood by buying rough-cut lumber and milling it yourself. For this you would need a table saw (already mentioned) and a power surface planer.

Oh, and lots of clamps.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with any of the companies or retail outlets. I am just showing an example of the types of equipment.)

Something to measure angles is also useful.

Don't forget to buy clamps.

But, if you just want to transfer angles from one place to another, such as beveling the ends of a truss member, you can save a lot of money and get one of these. It is all you really need.

While you are at the store getting these tools, also pick up a bunch of clamps.

And don't forget a decent digital caliper (not a plastic one!).

An old fashioned carpenter's square.

Oh, did I mention you need lots of clamps.:) Seems like you never have enough.
 

Jon Ferguson

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Harpers Ferry, WV
I have found a drum sander is also a great way to convert rough sawn lumber into finish lumber. It does the same job as a surface planer but it doesn't chew up as much material.
 

Aerowerx

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I have found a drum sander is also a great way to convert rough sawn lumber into finish lumber. It does the same job as a surface planer but it doesn't chew up as much material.
The problem is that you want the two sides of the wood to be both smooth and parallel, and the thickness uniform across the length. I do not see how you could do that with a drum sander. A surface planer pretty much guarantees it.
 

Chris In Marshfield

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Since my son and I will be starting the LMA Super Cub project soon, this is very timely. I've been working with wood for a while, having grown up in a construction family. But I haven't done a whole lot with the precision required in this project. My surface planer is still new in the box, so looking forward to getting it out!
 

Beragoobruce

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Oct 16, 2014
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Blue Mountains, AUSTRALIA
Almost the only power tools I used in building my MiniMax were a bandsaw, a drill press, and a table sander similar to this.

A good block plane is also very useful. And, as has been said, you really can't have too many clamps. Another cheap clamp that's useful for thin skin clamping is bulldog clips, like these.
 
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