Damon Brantley's Blog (30)

Using Jira for Managing My Aircraft Build

One of the problems I have run into in the course of this project is being able get an idea of how much

is left for me to do on my plane and what needs to be done next.I have various notes and spreadsheets scattered around, but nothing has ever seemed to really pull everything together for me into a coherent whole.

In my day job as a programmer I use a project management software package called Jira. I have found Jira to be a pretty flexible software package, so I…


Added by Damon Brantley on August 23, 2018 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Main and Center Spar Layout, Alignment and Drilling

I finally drill out the holes to final size for attaching the main and center spars together.

The video below describes the process I went through. Hopefully other scratch builders

will find a few useful tidbits of information when they get to a similar point.


On to assembling some airplane sized parts!

Added by Damon Brantley on June 25, 2018 at 6:17am — No Comments

Compact Drill Guide

Below is a link to a video of a small drill guide I constructed to help ensure I drill the wing bolt holes perpendicular.


Added by Damon Brantley on May 28, 2018 at 11:25pm — 4 Comments

Preparations for joining main spar to center spar

The joining of the main spar to the center spar is something that I have thought often about over the time that I have been working on this project.I am finally to that point. There is also very little information describing how others have tackled this important step.

In the video below I describe some of the preparations and setup I am doing for maximizing the chances of getting this important step correct. Hopefully the information presented will be useful

There will…


Added by Damon Brantley on April 1, 2018 at 9:23am — No Comments

Making Angle Gages

While making the bends for the front and rear center spar uprights, I had a problem trying to take measurements with any of the numerous protractors I had. The angles I was trying too measure were to acute for any of my protractors to fit. So I decided to make a set of simple angle gages.

The gages were made using .025 aluminum scraps that I had laying around. The key to setting up the angle is to use a machinist tool called a sine bar. Referring to the picture below, the sine…


Added by Damon Brantley on October 29, 2017 at 5:54pm — 1 Comment

Making Center Spar Uprights

Fabricating the front and rear uprights for the center spar posed an interesting challenge. Each is about 18 inches long. One has a thickness of .063 inches. Which if that were all I had to deal with, I could bend it in my regular leaf brake and be done one with. However the other pair is 1/8" thick and I think would be a little too much to bend for the leaf brake.

Fortunately I have a hydraulic press and also a 26" press brake to go along with it.The problem with the press…


Added by Damon Brantley on October 29, 2017 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Centering little hole over big hole

While working on the center spar I had needed to attach the doublers. The problem is that the body of the centerspar had  1/4 inch holes already drilled into them, but the doublers only had 3/32 starter holes. It is no problem drilling out the first hole to 1/4", but how do I make sure that I am centered as closely as possible  over the other other 1/4" hole.…


Added by Damon Brantley on September 24, 2017 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Setting rivets in infrared

While setting the rivets for my spar jig I decided to take some infrared video of the rivet setting process to see

how the rivet heats up as it is compressed. Hopefully others find the results somewhat interesting.

The video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5s0YRXXiuw…


Added by Damon Brantley on August 19, 2017 at 4:52pm — No Comments

Wing Spar Jig and Video

Just a note to be clear. This jig is only needed if you are scratchbuilding. The 650 kits are predrilled and the spacing will already be set.

The wing jig is needed to ensure that there is correct spacing between the center spar and the rear channel attachment to the fuselage. This would seem to be a rather important item to have around when scratch building a 650.

For some reason the wing spar jig drawing is not included in the current 650B plans.There are a…


Added by Damon Brantley on August 13, 2017 at 9:00pm — 2 Comments

Video of forming a 650 nose rib

I had to remake a few nose ribs and decided to use the opportunity to make a video demonstrating some of the techniques and tools I use for making ribs.

The video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOOy9W8IR_Y

 A few items demonstrated include

1. Use of a beverly shear for cutting sheet metal

2. Center punch use

3. Use of dowel pins for aligning…


Added by Damon Brantley on April 16, 2017 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Wing skeleton loose fitup

I finished doing a loose fitup check of the main spar, ribs and rear spar. I wanted to convince myself that

everything was going to fit together nicely before I started drilling holes and doing other things that could not be

undone. The ribs were drilled and clecoed to the main spar, but the rear spar was held on with cleco clamps and supported with 80/20 framing. The first pic is a shot of the right wing. The left wing was similarly setup.

To make sure that the…


Added by Damon Brantley on March 19, 2017 at 5:11pm — No Comments

Rib Stiffeners

I am currently working my way through adding stiffeners to rear ribs 1-4. Below are a few pics of how I am doing this.

I made a gage strip for laying out the end locations of the stiffeners. That is seen clamped to the edge in the first pic. Small 90 degree vee blocks are handy for transferring lines around edges. Another handy item I recently purchased(and should have done sooner) are the orange soft jaws for the vise. For what needs to be done here, having the ribs held up…


Added by Damon Brantley on March 5, 2017 at 11:54pm — 1 Comment

Building Benches

As I have continued on with building my plane and having the space, I wanted to make some more benches. These pictures were made last year. What makes these a little different than other benches is that I decided to make the benches modular. The tables are 4x4 in size instead of the usual 4x12 that is often made. I made a 4x12 when I first started building, but that one has been retired in favor of the 4x4 benches. Even if someone had more limited space, using 4x4 tables could make easier to…


Added by Damon Brantley on February 25, 2017 at 2:53pm — No Comments

A few simple tools

Below are a few simple tools I have made that others may find useful.

1. Wooden "gage" blocks- I have all sorts of bits of left over 2x4's. It has been useful to cut those into lengths such as 1",3/4", etc. If I need to elevate part above the table a little bit, I have a good selection of "calibrated" heights to work from. And as can be seen from the holes, they make good backer blocks for drilling. And for those last little bits of tweaking, door shims work quite…


Added by Damon Brantley on February 20, 2017 at 11:00am — 8 Comments

Universal Bevel Protractor

This is a tool that is often seen in a machine shop to measure angles. I have known about them for a while, but only recently acquired one.

Things I found useful about the protractor that will make it a regularly used tool for me.

1. The protractor can be locked down to a give angle.

2. There is a broad face on the arms to make it easier place against surfaces I am measuring..

3. It was very easy to see any gaps between the surfaces and the protractor…


Added by Damon Brantley on January 21, 2017 at 6:56pm — 2 Comments

Video of Rib Flange Pressing

A demonstration of cutting and pressing a flange into a wing rib.

Added by Damon Brantley on December 27, 2016 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Video of fabricating a simple angle bracket

While working on my wing spars I realized I had put a nose rib angle in backwards and needed to make another one. I decided to use this as an opportunity to demonstrate the method I use for for laying out, bending and checking parts that I fabricate.

Added by Damon Brantley on December 10, 2016 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

Starting to rivet spars

After what seems like too way long a time I am finally starting to rivet the spars.

Added by Damon Brantley on November 24, 2016 at 8:32pm — No Comments

Some tools I have found useful

Below is a list of some tools I have found useful while scratchbuilding. Some of these I already had because I have machine tools, but have been very useful for building my plane.

1. Magnets- Neodymium magnets work great for holding parts together for doing test fit ups. Wrap magnets in duct tape with extra hanging off as a tab to grab onto them.

2. Steel sheet- Laying steel sheet on my workbench and magnets to hold aluminum and layout tools in place. I use  20…


Added by Damon Brantley on November 23, 2016 at 11:00am — 3 Comments

Using magnetic drill for drilling holes in spar

My focus for the last few months has been to complete spar construction.Most of the holes were drilled and match drilled into the doublers using my mill to insure that the holes were perpendicular. However some holes near the root were left  deliberately left undone because of uncertainty in the plans. .Once the spar was clecoed together I had a better understanding of the hole locations and needed to drill those out.

Despite my best efforts it was not going to be practical to…


Added by Damon Brantley on November 6, 2016 at 9:30pm — No Comments

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