Getting started

After deciding to undertake this project, I first obtained the plans from Mr. Bob Barrows then promptly made a "working" copy of those plans. I also enlarged the sheet with the wing nose ribs and trailing edge ribs since that was the first section I planned to work on. I did find that the enlargement altered the scale somewhat so I had to take that into account when checking each completed part.

Next I obtained a work bench that was suitable for the time being but will need to be expanded and altered during the various construction phases.  After assessing the tools already on hand, I realized that I would still need to obtain a variety of "specialty" tools such as welding equipment, band saw, hydraulic press, etc.

With regards to the welding requirements of this project, the last time I had performed any welding was in high school using an arc welder. Needless to say my skills have long since disappeared!  After reading the many articles available comparing the various types of welding equipment available and the pros and cons for each method, I finally decided to stick with gas welding since it was the cheaper route overall and I felt it would provide the best quality with my limited skills.  

After getting very frustrated while trying to weld bits and pieces of scrap, I finally started to "get the hang" of this gas welding business! When I was finally able to weld four pieces of tubing together in the shape of a square, add a valve stem and then pressurized this assembly without any pressure loss, I proceeded to deform this assembly (while under pressure) and checked the assembly for leaks. It took some more practice but I finally achieved this “milestone".

I knew that I was still a long ways away from the aircraft welding level so I decided to assemble a miniature version of the fuselage for additional welding practice but also to practice the tube cutting and notching techniques. I obtained some mild steel from local hardware store and started to teach myself the tricks of cutting, shaping, and welding tubing. It was a fun experience!