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Having received the blessing of my amazing half, I plan to start on a CH750 Cruzer this fall. I have a 15' x 30' space inside my shop building that would be relatively simple to enclose, and given the flexibility of a nearly clean-sheet design, I wanted to see if anyone has any suggestions for "must have" and "would be really great" things to include in a (almost) dedicated airplane building space.
Plenty of power in the building, so I plan an outlet every 24" around the perimeter.
My eyes aren't getting any younger, so will plan on overhead fluorescent lights. Any lighting issues that a novice airplane builder might not expect?
Compressed air can be plumbed in - should it hang from the ceiling, or should there be a few quick connects along the perimeter? Or both?
Also, I know that a lot of aircraft have been built in garages and living rooms with 8' ceilings, but I have the opportunity to put the ceiling at any height up to 14' or so. For several reasons (including heating/cooling costs) I'm thinking a 10' ceiling would be fine, but are there reasons to go higher?
I'm excited to get started on this lifelong dream and am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks!
Not mandatory, but an window A/C unit & ceiling insulation I added to my garage doubled my productivity between the May & October months. I live in Texas as you do. 10' ceiling is plenty tall, but be careful if you have a garage door. I ruined a rudder during my build by opening the door from my truck's remote without considering I had the plane in the garage head-first. An O/H air hose reel came in handy. 8' O/H strip lights help tremendously. The 12' work table on wheels with wheel locks is a great aid, but if I were to do it over I'd make mine 3' wide instead of 4'. A pair of those foldable steel sawhorses from Lowe's or Home Dumbo are a huge asset, & be sure to put a 2x4 on top. Computer access in the garage is nice. A white board for to-do notes is useful. A comfortable chair to sit, ponder & collect your thoughts in should be included. A refrigerator with various beverages is a plus. I'd keep the phone out of the garage. Soft background music helps. It will become your home for a while, and it was one of my favorite places to escape to for a couple of years. Thinking about it makes me want to start another one.
Good luck with your build!
All great ideas. Thanks, Jimmy.
Ah, yes. Texas weather. The quest for a cool space is what started this whole "dedicated" work area thing. There is a lot of excess HVAC capacity in the adjoining office and I can enclose the entire 15x30 space by adding just one 15' wall, a ceiling, and some insulation. It's mainly storage for miscellany that I probably should have thrown away long ago, so It just begged to become an airplane factory.
I hadn't thought about putting a computer out there, but that's an excellent idea. Existing WiFi will make that easy. Music would also be nice - I'll be sure to install some speakers in the corners when the walls go up.
I'm really good at sitting and pondering, so the chair and the whiteboard are a must. Probably should keep the fridge close to that.
I was waffling between an OH door and double doors, so your rudder-mishap (ouch!) helps with that choice. Probably will use sliding barn doors.
So 3' would be a better width for the work table. I'm assuming it would allow for easier access to various assemblies?
Thanks again. N75ZX is a beauty.
I second the idea for a 3' wide table - you can make it 3' x 10' out of one sheet of plywood. Mine was stationary (I had about 2 1/2 bays of a garage to work in and probably repositioned it once or twice during the build), but I just "happened" to have a 4' x 4' dolly on casters, so I built a 4' x 4' table on top it so that the total height was exactly the same as my build table. This turned out to be really useful! I could roll it up to the end of the build table to make it 14' long when working on extra-long components like the rear fuselage.Once the 750 was on its gear, it gave me a work table that I could roll right up to the area I was working on so that parts, tools, plans, etc., could be laid out close to where I was actually working. Also, once the fuselage was completed and I didn't need the dolly table for a build table extension, I mounted a vise on one corner. The shelf underneath (which was the top surface of the original dolly), was great to store solvents, rivets, and other things you like to have close-by but a little protected from being knocked-over and spilled! Try it ... you'll like it!
I didn't put a computer in the area, but I did have a TV/DVD combo - great for "instant replays" of the HomeBuilt Help DVD's!
Excellent suggestions, John. I like the idea of a "convertible" work table. And I think I'm sold on the 3' width. Thanks!
Forgot to say how much I love the color of N750A. Just beautiful.
I remember my grandfather saying that a shop could never have "enough space, enough light, and enough heat".
You need more shelves, too. I don't know how many you have now, but it isn't enough. They'll always fill up. Getting stuff up off the floor helps tremendously in staying organized.
A tool chest on wheels is nice. Anything you can do to stay organized and cut down on the walking back and forth to get some tool is nice. Good shop vac is nice. When I was building my airplane, I always cleaned up my work area after each build session. It seemed to help me keep going.
I did an epoxy floor. Made it easy to clean up. Mine was tan in color, which I wouldn't do again, as it's too close to the color of cadmium, and made it hard to find dropped AN hardware. Insulated it too, and heated it to 50 degrees in the winter when I was working in it.
Make sure your rudder can still clear the top of your garage door opening if the land slopes downhill where you eventually will roll the fuselage out. Don't ask me how I discovered that....
Having a nearby refrigerator and a place to wash up is nice. They don't allow running water at the hangers where my plane is at now, and I miss that the most.
A phone is nice. I have an intercom with a volume switch, so my wife can yell "dinner's almost ready!" and I can hear her. ;-)
Shop should be a "nice place" to have friends over. Couple of chairs can go a long ways if you & a friend want to study drawings or just relax and drink a beer.
Your grandfather was a wise man, as are you. Thanks for these pointers. I was thinking of epoxy on the floor, but never considered that the color could be a issue. I was thinking a very light gray. I'm hoping to have lots of visitors, so the fridge and some garage sale chairs are a must.
And I guess I'd better order more shelves. ;-)
"a multi-colored finish of wind-blasted bug guts and mud over a diverse substrate of chipped paint and tarnished metal". LOL. But it looks so good on her!
I appreciate the intel, Danal. The system's got the capacity for the new space, just need to run a couple of 10" flex to the plenum. That's what my airconditioning-expert-nephew tells me. But, I've have future aspirations for some space at the opposite end of the building, so I'll definitely look into these split units.
We've still got to get your lovely bird over here to Athens one of these days!
Lights, Lights, and more lights. you can't have too much light. Our aging eyes need more light. I built 2 4x6 tables because what was I going to do with a 12 foot table when I complete my build, but I already had a 4x9 foot board room table I thought wasn't going to be long enough. As it turned out most of my build was done on the 9' because the 6 footers had wheels that moved too easy while leaning to build. I agree 3 foot would be better due to leaning over from both sides. One of my 6 foot tables was used strictly for a painting table. Very handy to have the room to lay out parts to be painted. I built 1/2 of my plane standing, 1/3 sitting on a short stool and 1/8 on a 2 foot step ladder. A short soft stool with wheels was handy to kick myself around while working low. I used an old TV stand with wheels to hold my clecos and rivets. Push it around with you, very handy. I have 3 air drills one for each bit size, there only $14 at harbor freight work fine. I have 2 air rivet guns only $35 harbor freight and it works better than the one from Zenith, just take a larger bit and drill out the concave shape of the gun tip to round the rivet, worked great. Put a old sock over the gun so you don't blow oil all over your project. I've made several tools to help my build, but the one that has saved my fingers explicitly in the cold winter I took a round screw driver, cut the tip off and drilled a hole down the center so I could slide it over a rivet and push the rivet in easy when some of the rivets didn't want to go in. It used to kill my old fingers trying to push a rivet in a hole that didn't line up good. I even used a hammer many times. Make the hole fit the 5/32 rivet. If you use the larger rivets you can use a 3/16 nut driver to push the rivets in, works great.