Sam Buchanan's RV6

Getting Ready to Build

sam-3.jpg (12849 bytes)

The Shop

If you are going to build an airplane, you must have someplace to work. Kit-planes have been constructed in some of the most incredible places, but a shop area where you can leave the project spread out is the most desirable situation. 

The Koala and Minimax were built in a basement area about the size of a single-car garage (a Yugo). While this was a workable situation, it was sufficiently cramped to make me dream of larger digs. After considerable research, I decided to have a Bullock Garage building erected in the backyard. After knocking the concrete blocks out from under numerous junk cars, and getting rid of the fighting cock breeding coops, the backyard was readied for the shop building. shop.jpg (12002 bytes) 

The pre-manufactured building you see was erected on a concrete slab by the Bullock boys in 3 1/2 HOURS! They said they could have put it up faster, but they brought an extra helper and he was slowing them down. We never did learn their names, but due to his hair, we called one of them Curly. The other two naturally became known as Larry and Moe. 

There are some items that make a shop more of a home. If you live where there is a winter, a source of heat will be necessary. In Alabama, where winter days can range from 85F to 15F, the kerosene heater is quite popular. I have a big Kerosun brand heater that will get the shop toasty on all but the coldest days. 

This is what I snuggle up to on those cold winter nights!!? 



Another requirement for building an RV is a compressed air supply. This is for powering the rivet gun, drills, die grinders, etc. Since I already had a 3/4 hp el cheapo compressor that had served to drive an el cheapo spray gun, I decided to try it on the RV. Unfortunately, it is LOUD! So it got banished to the exterior of the shop in its own little house. But it is still much too loud....Wait! The noisy little bugger has been replaced with a used 3 hp belt-driven 20 gallon compressor. Ah, much better....the neighbors are talking to me again....

The airplane factory was plumbed with 1/2" PVC to carry the air.

Update: Even though I never had any problems with the PVC air lines, I recommend builders not use PVC for handling compressed air. There have been reports of PVC pipe fracturing with serious consequences. Other options include, black iron pipe, copper, and conventional air hose.





Shown above is the water trap, an unregulated outlet, the regulator, and the line going to the ceiling which services two regulated outlets over the workbench and jig. Next to the outlet is the power switch  for the compressor.

 The RV construction manual has drawings for jigs necessary for various process. I inherited an "experienced" jig which has already served on the work detail for an RV6A and the tail  of an RV6A QB.



The jig is constructed of hand-picked 2x4's which are attached together with carriage bolts and 3 1/2" drywall screws. Notice the plumb bob which can be moved the length of the jig to establish center and perpendicular lines for setting the structures. The bob wire is attached to two ply plates which can be moved to set the centerline of the cross-member. Also are moveable studs at the end of the fixture for attaching the tail skeletons. The original RV6A that came out of the jig flies straight so it must work properly! 

You can never have too much bench space. A table was built from 2x4's and a sheet of 5/8" ply which serves as the main workbench. The shop has another 4x8 bench and also a couple of hollow-core doors that can be put across sawhorses for more stable, uh, table space. This bench also has the dimpling table built into it. 


Odds 'n Ends

There are some little tricks and gadgets that seem to accumulate as a project progresses. I have put them on a separate page so you won't have to wait so long for the photos to load. This link will take you to the Odds 'n Ends page, or you can hit the following links to specific items on the page:

Dimpling Table

Rod-end bearing Tool  


Let's start building the tail feathers

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Table of Contents

RV6 Home

Who is Sam? 
The Hanger 

Getting Ready to Build 
     Odd 'n Ends 

Building the Tail 
     Horz. Stab Log 
     Vert. Stab Log 
     Rudder Log 
     Elevator Log 

Building the Wings
     Wing Spars
     Wing Assembly
  Fuel Tanks

Building the Fuselage


  Flight of  Rediscovery 

  The Beat Goes On 

The RV Journal
Front Page 

Talk to Sam


Van's Aircraft