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CBHurricane

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Dec 17, 2020
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Olds, Alberta, Canada
So I recently (finally) made the trip to Vernon BC to pick up my first project airplane. It is a Graham Lee design nieuport 12, 3/4 of it is complete with upper wing pieces bent and need assembling. As others know I have plans for a sindlinger hurricane as well that I will look to build afterwards. I'm creating this thread for information from those building similar aircraft.

My shop/Quonset is a 30'x65' fabric building that I use for everything including storage and automotive work to keep everything out of the Canadian winter elements. I've attached some videos and pictures to give a general idea of layout but would like some input.

West wall starting at north end; approx 12' space for tablesaw in-feed (is this enough space, should it be larger or less??). Tablesaw attached to approx 14' bench with miter saw in center that will be removable. End of table I'll have the work area to set up sanders/scroll saw(eventually router table will be built into bench. I will attach a picture of the general bench layout.
From there is little space, wood stove, sitting area to the end of the tin.
20' assembly table 2' deep but will have fold out top to make 4' wide and on casters to roll out from wall and have adjusted a on the feet to level. (Is 20' too long or is it a good overall length??)
Front corner (SW) will be shelving for yard work items (chainsaws, weed whacker, shrub trimmer, shovels, rakes, etc.)

East side starting at entrance (SE corner) I have my bikes, tractor and quad parked and will build a shelf overtop to store riding gear, oils, parts, etc.
Next will be welding table with bench grinder and vice, drill press, small assembly table, tool chest, air compressor/panel.
After panel it may be a bench then shelving that wraps around the back wall.

Looks like the videos may not show up but I've attached pictures of the airplane as loaded on my trailer.

Main things I'm worried about is in-feed for table saw and assembly table size to accomodate wood and tube/fabric aircraft construction.
 

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Victor Bravo

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My guess is that you will not be using a table saw to build the aircraft itself. To build your workbenches and stands yes, but the aircraft no. So this means that a permanent work center with the table saw as part of it is probably wasteful. Have the table saw on a folding stand that you can put out of the way after your benches and stuff are built..

The small "chop saw" with a Diablo metal cutting blade, and the tabletop size combination belt/disc sander will be used thousands of times, so having those mounted and set up in your work area at all times is probably very important. Same for the drill press and hand shear ("Beverly shear").

If you have access to a small bench mounted punch, or the bench mounting clamp with a hand-held "Number 5 Whitney Punch", these will be very very useful. They make a much better and faster hole in the gussets than a drill. So if you have or can get a small punch, make that an important "front and center" tool on the corner of the workstation or tool bench.

If you have vertical space, use it. Putting the shop vacuum up high on a shelf, and having a long vacuum hose that reaches everywhere, saves not only floor space - it also eliminates a trip hazard. Same with electrical extensions and compressed air lines. Having them hang above the work area on those spring loaded reels is something you see all the time in real-world high-production shops, and there is a reason for it. Have slings or racks or even just ropes that hold the fuselage up above you while you are working on the wings.
 

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
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What do you do for heat !?!

My father always said if he had it to do over again he would build a big cheap shell - something like your fabric shell - and then build a small (14'x 26' ish) well insulated 'sub building' that could be moved around inside as needed for an easy to heat/cool work area. Since the work area need not put up with wind and snow loads it can be built very light and cheaply.
 
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Aviacs

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Oct 21, 2019
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I feel your pain.
There are 3 full size table saws here including a slider, as well as 9' automatic beam panel saw for plywood.
Yesterday i had sawhorses set up out on the lawn to process a few 3/4" - 4 x 8" sheets of plywood because there was virtually no way to get them to one of the 4 saws, and too much (other machines) would have had to be moved to use one efficiently. :(

Lest you think - other than too many machines, my shop is not generally cluttered, either. It has very efficient storage on roll-around units as well as roll around machines including the 30" bandsaw, gang-drill, larger pin router, shapers, etc.

On that note and per what someone else already said: Never build fixed shelves below head height. Never build fixed work-benches, especially along walls - they become permanent fixed shelves. :)

So- my question: Is that a double wall building? How does it do with temperatures in Canada? Do you have a predicted life span between re-cover jobs?

Our EAA chapter built one of those quite a few years ago. I built the jigs and all the ribs, but really don't remember details.
We initially traded it for a long term lease on a pre-war J3 cub to a museum that wante the Nieuport for static display. Then they de-accessioned the Nieuport and one of our members bought it back. Grapevine says it could fly this year......

smt
 

BJC

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Never build fixed work-benches, especially along walls - they become permanent fixed shelves.
A moveable work bench can become "fixed" when needed by using Bondo to adhere it to a concrete floor. It is easily broken free when a fixed bench is no longer advantageous.


BJC
 

CBHurricane

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Dec 17, 2020
Messages
31
Location
Olds, Alberta, Canada
My guess is that you will not be using a table saw to build the aircraft itself. To build your workbenches and stands yes, but the aircraft no. So this means that a permanent work center with the table saw as part of it is probably wasteful. Have the table saw on a folding stand that you can put out of the way after your benches and stuff are built..

The small "chop saw" with a Diablo metal cutting blade, and the tabletop size combination belt/disc sander will be used thousands of times, so having those mounted and set up in your work area at all times is probably very important. Same for the drill press and hand shear ("Beverly shear").

If you have access to a small bench mounted punch, or the bench mounting clamp with a hand-held "Number 5 Whitney Punch", these will be very very useful. They make a much better and faster hole in the gussets than a drill. So if you have or can get a small punch, make that an important "front and center" tool on the corner of the workstation or tool bench.

If you have vertical space, use it. Putting the shop vacuum up high on a shelf, and having a long vacuum hose that reaches everywhere, saves not only floor space - it also eliminates a trip hazard. Same with electrical extensions and compressed air lines. Having them hang above the work area on those spring loaded reels is something you see all the time in real-world high-production shops, and there is a reason for it. Have slings or racks or even just ropes that hold the fuselage up above you while you are working on the wings.
I will look into the punches you mention, the plan is the fence on the tablesaw can be removed so in essence it just becomes another section of tool/work bench. The wood working tool station I'll call it will be affixed in its location. The vacuum will live under the miter saw with a vac line that connects to the fixed tools but will be removable for cleaning items out other than saw dust.
I'm installing quadplex receptacles every 4m along both long walls and 3 50A welding plugs on the metal working side of the shop. I have just the one airline on a hose reel which I may change out to a self retracting unit but not high on the priority list yet.
 

CBHurricane

Active Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2020
Messages
31
Location
Olds, Alberta, Canada
What do you do for heat !?!

My father always said if he had it to do over again he would build a big cheap shell - something like your fabric shell - and then build a small (14'x 26' ish) well insulated 'sub building' that could be moved around inside as needed for an easy to heat/cool work area. Since the work area need not put up with wind and snow loads it can be built very light and cheaply.
I have a wood stove set in the center of the building along the west wall with a long section of horizontal piping using the radiant heat to warm. It takes the bite off in winter but it's no sauna. I know for when wood airplanes are built I have a 10'x16' shed that I'll be able to repurpose as a heated shed using electric heaters.
 

CBHurricane

Active Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2020
Messages
31
Location
Olds, Alberta, Canada
I feel your pain.
There are 3 full size table saws here including a slider, as well as 9' automatic beam panel saw for plywood.
Yesterday i had sawhorses set up out on the lawn to process a few 3/4" - 4 x 8" sheets of plywood because there was virtually no way to get them to one of the 4 saws, and too much (other machines) would have had to be moved to use one efficiently. :(

Lest you think - other than too many machines, my shop is not generally cluttered, either. It has very efficient storage on roll-around units as well as roll around machines including the 30" bandsaw, gang-drill, larger pin router, shapers, etc.

On that note and per what someone else already said: Never build fixed shelves below head height. Never build fixed work-benches, especially along walls - they become permanent fixed shelves. :)

So- my question: Is that a double wall building? How does it do with temperatures in Canada? Do you have a predicted life span between re-cover jobs?

Our EAA chapter built one of those quite a few years ago. I built the jigs and all the ribs, but really don't remember details.
We initially traded it for a long term lease on a pre-war J3 cub to a museum that wante the Nieuport for static display. Then they de-accessioned the Nieuport and one of our members bought it back. Grapevine says it could fly this year......

smt
The life expectancy is supposed to be 8-10yrs but to be honest I'll be happy to have 5yrs before recover and will go to a better material or change it to tin. It's a single truss building so not much weight can be added. It's a stop gap until I build the actual shop around the fabric building. Right now it only has gravel floor so to build rolling cabinets will take large/rubber tired casters to make them feasible. That is one of the reasons I'm interested in the in feed space required for general aircraft building. Weather the longest pieces ever to be ripped on the tablesaw will be 8' or 16' Sitka or equivalent.
 

CBHurricane

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Messages
31
Location
Olds, Alberta, Canada
I see that my videos from my phone did not upload so when I get home I will take pictures of the 4 quadrants in the building. I did a big clean-out over the weekend and am putting everything back in. You'll see in the photos a general layout of some items as workbenches will still need to be made
 

CBHurricane

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Messages
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Location
Olds, Alberta, Canada
First photo you can see the tablesaw, and vacuum along the wall in rough spots where they'll sit in the work bench. For those wondering about heat you can see the stove pipe, it does have an in line fan for those worried about expelling smoke.
Second photo will be a 20'x2' assembly table that I can roll away from the wall and fold up to 20'x4'.
Third photo is 2wheel and 4wheel storage.
Fourth photo will have metal work and auto tools.
 

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Floydr92

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My time spent away from being regularly active on this forum over the past 5 years has been to set up and run my joinery manufacturing business. One thing i leaned quickly is machines and tables move regularly depending on what's being made, how much stock has been delivered and gets in the way, how much assembly space is needed etc.

Buy a pallet truck and put everything on legs so you can move with the pallet truck. castors on benches are a bad idea, you want your benches solid and heavy. the pictures you've shown would be much improved with the castors removed, legs extended/bottom shelves raised for pallet truck clearance, and a couple of diagonal braces on the flimsy flippy one. Around the perimeter of the workshop i've fitted basically a french cleat so all the benches can be lifted and moved about with the pallet truck, and then they lock into the cleat/rail which keeps them level in one axis atleast and then if needed i can whack a couple of wedges under the front legs.

Table saw in-feed and outfeed should be 16' minimum if you can get it, ideally with a little wiggle room for ripping 16' stock. cross cut saw the same. You're always going to need 16' to the left of you to dress the right hand edge, rarely going to need 16' to the right of you unless cutting a tiny piece off.

In terms of cutting sheets - I have a big SCM panel saw designed to do just that, but sometimes (Most of the time when there's just one of me about!) it's easier to take the tool to the wood, than the wood to the tool. Buy a good track saw (makita is the best i've used despite not being a makita guy generally, but the cheaper Erbauer one is astounding value and the tracks fit far more expensive saws which surprised me!).
I have four 8'x4' work benches all with a sacraficial layer of MDF on top. Makes a good flat surface you can chew up and use for cutting sheets on without worrying about the table being marked, or a couple of bearers between sheets on the stack works just as well. make all benches/tables/units the exact same height as re-configuring becomes easy - a storage unit can become a trestle etc.
 

rv7charlie

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Pocahontas MS
Having that much sq footage is great, but once you begin to actually work on the project itself, other factors can come into play. Many more experienced builders than me have made the point that you want just as much space as you need to work, but no more. If you expand to fill the space, getting to/from tools, parts, etc consumes an amazing amount of time. I'm finishing up an RV7. Until I got ready to put the wings on for the 1st time, the entire project (except the crate containing the finished canopy) lived in an insulated/heated (with an ancient natural gas room heater) ~ 20' x 22' room inside my 48' x 80' hangar. I even fit the gear leg fairings, wheel pants, and did the engine installation in that space. A little cramped occasionally, but tools and parts were never more than a few steps away from where I was working. I fit the canopy, then boxed it up in the main hangar. Fab'd the motor mount (alternative engine), hung the engine, fit the cowl, etc etc, and then removed the engine/mount assy to reduce walking around it while installing the 'systems'. Once the gear/fairings were fitted, they came back off and the fuselage went back on its rolling dolly, about a foot off the floor, to reduce climbing steps getting in/out of the fuselage. Wings were strapped to the ceiling until the move to fit them to the fuselage. Etc Etc.

FWIW....
 

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
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you want just as much space as you need to work, but no more.
ThatoneThatoneThatoneThatone

Just like an efficient kitchen layout.

My 2 work spaces (in progress) are separated by by about a 40 foot walkway.
I'd never have planned it this way - but you deal with the cards you are dealt.
Once finished the type of work done in each area will be different, but I know I'll need 2 complete sets of basic tools.
Sometimes it pays to double up on identical, inexpensive, tools. For example a tape measure, square and vise in the welding area and in the wood working area.
If the big tool box won't roll to the work, a generic tool cart can double as temporary tool box, temporary part storage and a small work table.
 

PMD

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Martensville SK
CB: I designed and built my first tensioned fabric structures about 35 years ago (32' span open hog barns -built a LOT of them). Have a 54x120 at best bud's farm we use for storage and wanted to use as work area. Have a 55' span over back yard and a 36 x 40 over 2 sea cans for storage and minor work area. In other words, a LOT of experience with this kind of structure (don't call them a "building" as no supporting walls thus in my RM not a "building" per se and attracts no tax bill).

Let's start with cover materials. 35 years ago, you would have been really lucky to get 10 years out of a cover. Today's covers will easily go well beyond that. All heat bonded now, very little sewing as it was both the thread and the cover materials that weren't very UV/oxidation stable. KEEP IT TIGHT!!!!! Can't emphasize that enough. Our big storage shelter sits on top of a ridge with constant high wind and occasional VERY high wind. We bought that one used, got a couple years out of the very weathered cover, had a shiny new one made and a couple months later a really big Southerly blew in one door (24w x 16h) and tore the cover to shreds. Unless you are in a VERY sheltered area, the cover, the doors and the framework will be moving constantly. Watch for that and keep the fasteners holding the frame together tight as well. You have the "normal" sort of door, which we find are usually built WAY too light - both the tracks and the bars. I/we now build door channels MUCH heavier and put a really heavy bottom bar (in one case solid 2" and for most 1 1/2 sch 80 pipe). I do all doors now in battery powered electric - use a 2000 lb. RV winch. It will open a door many dozens of times on a single charge. I make the door channel XX" deep (with a very wide inner flange to protect from weather) and then make UHMW plugs for each end just a bit under (usually 1/10") minimum channel depth to allow the door bars to slide easily in track but mostly to prevent constant clanging in the wind. BTW: the RV winch thing allows one to use a remote control to make the building somewhat secure from casual interventions. If you ever replace cover, go with heaviest material and I now spec a doubler where the framework touches the cover to give a lot better wear. I have covers now approaching 20 years and still looking good. One thing to think about: these things are not air tight but because of the radiant energy passing through the cover can have their own environment. Our big storage building requires covering or oiling EVERYTHING steel inside as it can actually make its own rainfall!!!!! Small ones can have a fair bit of dust blowing in through various leaks, so count on covering stuff. Won't work for big loads in your single tube hoop, but on truss hoops I have put a monorail down the middle and battery powered winch to make an overhead crane to load stuff on trucks and put things on a platform to take up to mezzanine (in the big storage shelter). Even a tiny one around airplane stuff can be REALLY useful for carrying things over top of tooling and benches on the floor.

Sorry for the long post, but if you treat them right (or better yet design them right in the first place) they can be useful and somewhat durable.
 

CBHurricane

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Olds, Alberta, Canada
Small update includes some temporary storage for the nieuport 12 while I head out of town for work and design/build a 20' assembly table. Fuselage is mostly complete, lower wings are 90% complete, upper wing spars and ribs bent, tail feathers complete minus a repair required on the rudder, engine included along with aluminum parts for landing gear.
Bikes have their own shelving section that will include their oils, riding gear, spare parts, etc.
Still lots of shelves to build/buy for the majority of items I have. Hobbies bring lots of extras unfortunately, but I do enjoy it all. Just have to organize it all.
 

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