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Are composite homebuilts dying out?



 
 
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  #11  
Old August 14th 09, 05:39 AM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
rich[_2_]
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Posts: 43
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?

Yes, I'm really looking forward to that! I just wish the fuel hadn't
gotten so expensive since I started the thing. That big 6 Lycoming is
a thirsty animal. But if I look at it a different way, it doesn't seem
as bad. I'll be out there moving along at Warbird speeds and burning
only a fraction of the fuel they burn. But it's still expensive. I
just hope the engine doesn't give me problems after sitting for years.
It would be a shame to have to re-overhaul an overhauled engine.
One of the things I'm concerned with is the rubbers inside the fuel
injector and the Romec fuel pump. I don't know if there are any fuel
experts reading these threads, but from what I've been told, the Romec
fuel pump is a gear type, like an engine oil pump. So I can't
understand what rubber seals inside it could go bad, if any. But when
I spoke with Don George down in LAL this year, he said he'd be more
worried about the romec fuel pump than the Bendix fuel injector. That
Romec fuel pump is about half the size of a pack of cigarettes and
cost $600 to overhaul. And that was years ago. Now, who knows...
But that's airplanes...
Rich

On Thu, 13 Aug 2009 23:19:12 -0500, cavelamb
wrote:



Building an airplane involves many different kinds of jobs and develops a
whole host of new skills.

But the last job is the funnest one...

The job now, rich, is to fly your beautiful new airplane!


Enjoy


Richard


Ads
  #12  
Old August 14th 09, 05:40 AM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
BobR
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Posts: 356
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?

On Aug 13, 11:18*pm, rich wrote:
I did some of the body work myself as I built, and when the parts were
all done, I took it to a body shop. The guy's painting it complete for
$4K. And I'm real happy with that. He's done a great job of doing the
finish work, and it's ready for paint now. At first, they sanded right
through my wing fillets. But I took some of the cloth out there and
showed them how thin it was and from then on they did good work. And
one nice thing about composites is they repair easily. I started
building the 3 in 1991, afterwards the kids came into my life, plus
working full time, but I kept at it. But one thing I did find kind of
strange is with the parts all out at the paint shop, I've been so used
to being able to walk out to my shop and work on the plane, it's
strange having no project to work on. I'm sure once it's flying, going
out to the airport and tinkering with it will keep me busy.
I know what you mean about the mods, I've done some of those too.
Most from the advise of other builders I'd talk to at LAL and OSH.
The thing is with a Glasair, the final assembly can't be completed
until the thing is painted. Unless it's put together complete, then
taken to an aircraft painter. And they all charge $12K to paint a
composite plane. Good luck finishing your KIS Cruiser....
You know, when I started the Glasair 3, I thought it would take me 5
years to build. Now 18 years later I see I made a big miscalculation!
Rich

On Thu, 13 Aug 2009 07:35:50 -0700 (PDT), BobR



wrote:

Rich,


First I would like to congratulate you on finishing your plane. *I am
also building a KIS Cruiser and have been working on it for almost 14
calendar years. *I suspect that life has gotten in the way of your
completing your project earlier as it has with my project. *The fact
that you continued to completion says a lot about you and your
dedication to seeing it through.


There are several issues that I have repeatedly seen with composite
aircraft that I have not seen as frequently with the RV's which seem
to be the dominate kit on the market.


The first has to do with quality of the supplied molded parts.
Because of the low volumes most kit manufacturers have to deal with,
they have little incentive to invest in the best quality molds and the
refinements needed to make parts that require little additional work
prior to assembly. *This means that the builder must spend substantial
time in cleanup, fit and finish. *Every composite kit company that I
know of still has extensive labor involved and can not automate their
processes like Van's has done with much of his fabrication process.


The second is builder enhancements (modifications) to the original
design. *These changes can be anything from a minor change to some
major redesign to the entire airframe. *I have seen hundreds of RV's
over the years and few of them make anything beyond cosmetic changes
and those that do are usually experience builders on their n'th
build. *I know in my own case that I have made dozens of changes,
mostly minor, that have cumulatively added several hundred hours to my
build time. *If I had exactly followed the original plans...I would
have been flying already.


There are many more differences but the last that I will hit on is
Finish. *That is where almost every time gain a composite builder may
have achieved in the construction process is wiped out. *The standards
for finishing a composite aircraft are unreal and really totally
unnecessary. *With a few notable exceptions the builders of the RV's
will complete and fly their planes with no paint or will spend little
time and effort beyond having a paint shop spray them. *That's not
saying they aren't great looking planes but they don't get anal about
a rivet showing or a slight ripple in the wing or fuselage surface.
That is expected when working with metal. *The glass builders seem
obsessed with producing a finish that has the quality of a fine
mirror. *Gawd forbid that the fabric weave should happen to show
through.


Having said that, I must admit that I have already got a couple
hundred hours into the fill and sand process that preceeds the primer
and more fill and sand. *I just can't help myself.


Finally, there are still a lot of composite kits being built.
Lancair, Glassair, Velocity, TeamTango, CompAir, and a host of others
come to mind. *They will continue to be a major player in the market
but lets also admit that when it comes to great, affordable, and
buildable aircraft...Van's Aircraft are the dominate company as of
now.- Hide quoted text -


- Show quoted text -


Yep, when I started my goal was "Oshkosh 2000 by Gosh". Now my goal
is simply to finish and I no longer try to project a date. There are
just too many things that get in the way. Right now, the project is
in a hangar that is an hours drive from my house. I can work on some
things at the house but most of the work is at the hangar now and I
can only get down there on some weekends. When I started, all the
work was done in a nice large garage with my airport less than five
minutes away. A job change and relocation put the project in storage
for almost five years and financial problems with some family members
ment another two years of inactivity. I am limping along now making
progress as the money becomes available but it remains a slow
process.

Enjoy your new plane when you finally get it flying and keep us up on
how the flights are going.

Bob

  #13  
Old August 14th 09, 06:03 AM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
cavelamb[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 257
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?

rich wrote:
Yes, I'm really looking forward to that! I just wish the fuel hadn't
gotten so expensive since I started the thing. That big 6 Lycoming is
a thirsty animal. But if I look at it a different way, it doesn't seem
as bad. I'll be out there moving along at Warbird speeds and burning
only a fraction of the fuel they burn. But it's still expensive. I
just hope the engine doesn't give me problems after sitting for years.
It would be a shame to have to re-overhaul an overhauled engine.
One of the things I'm concerned with is the rubbers inside the fuel
injector and the Romec fuel pump. I don't know if there are any fuel
experts reading these threads, but from what I've been told, the Romec
fuel pump is a gear type, like an engine oil pump. So I can't
understand what rubber seals inside it could go bad, if any. But when
I spoke with Don George down in LAL this year, he said he'd be more
worried about the romec fuel pump than the Bendix fuel injector. That
Romec fuel pump is about half the size of a pack of cigarettes and
cost $600 to overhaul. And that was years ago. Now, who knows...
But that's airplanes...
Rich


That would, of course, suck big time.

  #14  
Old August 14th 09, 09:05 PM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
Bob Kuykendall
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,345
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?

On Aug 13, 8:50*pm, rich wrote:
...Making the big parts in molds is easy...


Please come to my shop and help lay up a set of wing or fuselage
skins. I'd like to see what makes it easy.

Thanks, Bob K.
  #15  
Old August 14th 09, 11:12 PM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
BobR
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Posts: 356
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?

On Aug 14, 3:05*pm, Bob Kuykendall wrote:
On Aug 13, 8:50*pm, rich wrote:

...Making the big parts in molds is easy...


Please come to my shop and help lay up a set of wing or fuselage
skins. I'd like to see what makes it easy.

Thanks, Bob K.


If you have good molds, the right tools, the right materials, and
enough people it is easy. I watched a video that showed the workers
doing the layups for Cirrus parts and it was both easy and efficient.
That doesn't translate to a one off builder working on their own
though.
  #16  
Old August 14th 09, 11:38 PM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
rich[_2_]
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Posts: 43
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?

I'm sure it's intense while it's going on, but the process is done
fairly quick, compared to building the plane. Do you vacuum bag the
parts in stages, or just once at the end of the molding process?
A friend of mine is building a Glasair 2s, and I went by his shop and
I told him his molded parts looked different than mine on the inside.
I found out the later kits' molded parts were vacuum bagged to save a
little weight. Mine were just wet layed up in the molds. I'm not sure
how they got the foam cores to stay in the mold without vacuuming them
down somehow, They must have used a male plug to just push them into
position.


On Fri, 14 Aug 2009 15:12:14 -0700 (PDT), BobR
wrote:

On Aug 14, 3:05*pm, Bob Kuykendall wrote:
On Aug 13, 8:50*pm, rich wrote:

...Making the big parts in molds is easy...


Please come to my shop and help lay up a set of wing or fuselage
skins. I'd like to see what makes it easy.

Thanks, Bob K.


If you have good molds, the right tools, the right materials, and
enough people it is easy. I watched a video that showed the workers
doing the layups for Cirrus parts and it was both easy and efficient.
That doesn't translate to a one off builder working on their own
though.


  #17  
Old August 15th 09, 12:07 AM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
BobR
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 356
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?

On Aug 14, 5:38*pm, rich wrote:
I'm sure it's intense while it's going on, but the process is done
fairly quick, compared to building the plane. Do you vacuum bag the
parts in stages, or just once at the end of the molding process?
A friend of mine is building a Glasair 2s, and I went by his shop and
I told him his molded parts looked different than mine on the inside.
I found out the later kits' molded parts were vacuum bagged to save a
little weight. Mine were just wet layed up in the molds. I'm not sure
how they got the foam cores to stay in the mold without vacuuming them
down somehow, They must have used a male plug to just push them into
position.

On Fri, 14 Aug 2009 15:12:14 -0700 (PDT), BobR



wrote:
On Aug 14, 3:05*pm, Bob Kuykendall wrote:
On Aug 13, 8:50*pm, rich wrote:


...Making the big parts in molds is easy...


Please come to my shop and help lay up a set of wing or fuselage
skins. I'd like to see what makes it easy.


Thanks, Bob K.


If you have good molds, the right tools, the right materials, and
enough people it is easy. *I watched a video that showed the workers
doing the layups for Cirrus parts and it was both easy and efficient.
That doesn't translate to a one off builder working on their own
though.- Hide quoted text -


- Show quoted text -


The parts were only vacuum bagged after everything for the completed
part was in place. They had it down to a very efficient though still
messy process that went quickly (out of necessity). I have seen
several videos of various fiberglass molding operations and most start
with coating of the inside of a female mold with a release agent.
This is followed by a gel-coat iif it is being used and the initial
glass layups. They may use pre-preg glass or not, it seems to vary
but they will be applying liberal amounts of epoxy as they proceed
using it to lay the glass down and hold any foam / nomex and other
parts in place. Next the inside skin goes down followed by peelply
and bleeder cloth. Finally the put the plastic covering and seal the
edges before pulling the vacuum. The final element may be the most
important, they move it into an enclave to cure.

  #18  
Old August 15th 09, 02:14 AM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
Robert Barker
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 73
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?

"Bob Kuykendall" wrote in message
...
On Aug 13, 8:50 pm, rich wrote:
...Making the big parts in molds is easy...


Please come to my shop and help lay up a set of wing or fuselage
skins. I'd like to see what makes it easy.

Thanks, Bob K.

And I posit that defects frequently result in trash where with aluminum, you
can frequently use the material to make something else. But, then again,
you can recycle the stuff from aluminum...


  #19  
Old August 15th 09, 02:15 AM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
rich[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 43
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?

That sounds like the way Lancair parts are made. The Glasair, with
it's vinyl ester resin is just room temp. cured. I've done some work
wtih epoxy, and although I can tell it's a bit tougher, it's slower to
work with. It's cure time is a lot slower. I've had batches that will
gel pretty quick, but the time it takes before it can be sanded is a
lot longer. So it would have slowed me down if I had been doing my
project in epoxy. But epoxy is the dominate resin it seems, more so
than vinyl ester. If I ever were to build another composite, I'd still
prefer to do it in vinyl ester. Plus, I like the smell of it a lot
better. It's similar to polyester resin. It has kind of a sweet smell.
Some epoxy's stink, while others have almost no odor at all. Aeropoxy
is nasty smelling stuff. Whew, I'll never forget that smell.

On Fri, 14 Aug 2009 16:07:26 -0700 (PDT), BobR
wrote:



The parts were only vacuum bagged after everything for the completed
part was in place. They had it down to a very efficient though still
messy process that went quickly (out of necessity). I have seen
several videos of various fiberglass molding operations and most start
with coating of the inside of a female mold with a release agent.
This is followed by a gel-coat iif it is being used and the initial
glass layups. They may use pre-preg glass or not, it seems to vary
but they will be applying liberal amounts of epoxy as they proceed
using it to lay the glass down and hold any foam / nomex and other
parts in place. Next the inside skin goes down followed by peelply
and bleeder cloth. Finally the put the plastic covering and seal the
edges before pulling the vacuum. The final element may be the most
important, they move it into an enclave to cure.


  #20  
Old August 15th 09, 06:43 AM posted to rec.aviation.homebuilt
Tim[_8_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 27
Default Are composite homebuilts dying out?


"rich" wrote in message
...
I agree with all you said. And I didn't enjoy breathing the fumes
myself all those years. Plus, after a few years of building, I
realized how little work the kit maker did compared to what I was
doing. Making the big parts in molds is easy. The builder does all the
hard work.
Rich


I think this is a common misconception. It's easy to look at a fuse half
section and think, gosh if I had a mold I could lay one of those suckers up
in a day, and you probably could with just a little practice. But all the
work spent shaping a plug, and/or building a substantial mold is ignored
with a single word.

Shaping and finishing a fuse, or a plug for a fuse, and/ constructing a mold
requires tons of labor. If you use a mold, your material costs alone would
likely triple.




 




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