I just released a new (free) software application named BuildLog that makes it easy to track time worked while building an experimental aircraft. Please feel free to download it and let me know what you think. I created it for myself to use while building my Zenith CH650 kitplane and am hoping it may be useful to other homebuilders. The web site is https://toddosborne.net/BuildLog.aspx
In the last couple of weeks I received my new Zenith CH650 tail kit and started building the rudder skeleton. Since we now live at the beach, I decided to do a lot more corrosion protection than on previous planes. So I quickly got stopped because I needed to order Alumiprep 33 and Alodine 1201, both hazardous materials that had to be shipped on a slow truck. I now have both and am looking forward to making some good progress this weekend.
After several other home improvement projects at our new beach house (Fence/Pool/Deck/Landscaping), it was time for me to turn my attention to building a workshop. If you know me, you know I can’t go more than a year or two without having a kit plane project to work on. Even though living at the beach is allowing me a lot more time for fishing, kayaking, bike riding, etc. the old aviation bug was bound to bite again, and it did. I decided to build another Zenith CH650 Zodiac kit plane because it is large enough for Missy and I to fly in comfortably, has good cross-country capabilities, and is easy to build and fly. As far as airplanes go, it’s also fairly inexpensive to build and maintain, and I have quite a bit of experience with this design and construction techniques.
Because of local building and zoning laws, I was limited to a shed that is no more than 150 square feet, so I designed a 12×12 building using SketchUp. This is a very small place to build an airplane, so my goal was to maximize the available space as much as possible by having 8-foot ceilings and a steep roof with large overhead storage lofts. The area should be large enough to build most sections of the plane, though I will certainly have to move it elsewhere for final assembly. After initially designing the building with a Gambrel roof, and even building the required 4 piece trusses, I decided that roof was going to be too difficult to build, mostly because I am so scared of heights. I changed it to a Gamble roof after installing 3 of the 10 trusses. Here is the final design drawing.
The building would end up having internal bracing using OSB sheets in each corner and hurricane straps to hold the trusses to the top plates and foundation. Everything was built on 16″ centers, and is at least as strong as my house. In the end, the actual building was VERY similar to the drawing, though I did make a few tweaks here and there.
Construction began on August 6, 2017. I did not, yet, have my permit, so I was limited to what I could build under the house. I framed the walls, without the OSB bracing so they would be light enough to move when that time came. A few days later, I built the roof trusses that I would eventually not use.
I received my building permit about 10 days after I applied for it, so it was time to start building. I wanted the foundation to be similar to my house. Since our yard is primarily sand and can flood easily, that means building off the ground is needed. I decided to go with 9 4×4 posts sunk deep into the sand, sitting on top of a crushed rock foundation and mounted in concrete.
12′ 4×4’s were attached to the foundation to make an elevated skid, and 12′ 2×4’s were placed on 16″ centers to form the floor joists. These are all pressure treated.
The following week, Missy and I installed the 3/4″ plywood floors. They are not pressure treated, so we did our best to keep water out. That ended up being a losing battle, but a valiant effort.
Moving the walls from under the house to the platform was not real pleasant, but Missy and I managed without any help. Standing up the walls and temporarily bracing them only took about an hour.
The walls were internally braced with 7/16″ OSB. Even though the exterior sheathing is structural, negating the requirement for internal bracing, I wanted the internal bracing both for added strength (we get hurricanes) and for a place to mount shelves, pictures, drawings, etc.
We started installing the trusses for the Gambrel roof. As it turns out, this was incredibly difficult to do. First off, I am scared of heights, and the top of the roof was well over 15′ above the ground. Second, because we were working so close to fence and pool, it was a major PITA to handle these trusses and get them to stay put while adding more.
So, before this project got any uglier, and before anyone got seriously hurt, I changed the roof design to a simpler Gamble roof. It would have a steep pitch for maximum storage space in the lofts, and I designed it so that each side used exactly 3 sheets of plywood, with no long cuts required. Thankfully, by brother-in-law, Mike Daniel, sacrificed 3 days of his vacation to help me in the very hot and humid summer sun while doing the roof.
Now it was time to install the exterior sheathing/siding. I used the pre-primed composite sheathing from Lowes for this. I can’t say enough great things about this stuff, though at $30/sheet it is pretty expensive.
Paint, windows, and trim installed. Almost done! This was September 17, 2017.
After getting really tired of water getting inside every time it rained, Missy and I struggled to get the roof paper installed. Somehow managed to get it laid down. No more leaks! I did pay a local builder $225 to shingle the roof, which I felt was a very fair price. I turned my attention to completing the doors, entry ramp, trim, and paint.
September 24 was the “done” day. That marked the end of major construction, and of the backyard looking like a construction zone! It would pass inspection a couple of days later.
I needed electrical service, and while I would love to have installed a 50-amp sub-panel in the workshop, I had already spent more money on this project than I had planned. I had to cut a corner here and run a single 20-AMP 120 volt line from the house to the workshop. The 125′ of #10/2 UF-C cable cost over $100 alone, but is certified for direct burial, so long as you go at least 12″ deep. I had to cut a deep trench about 110′ around the pool to the house to bury the cable. I thought I was going to die 🙂 The line feeds into a 20-amp switch that I can use to kill all power to the building. Previously, our pool used an above-ground wire that ran along our fence for power. That wire was removed and the pool now plugs into an exterior outlet on the shed, which looks a whole lot nicer. Behind the building is a small resin shed that holds my air compressor, which I can turn on and off from inside the workshop. This means I won’t go deaf when the compressor kicks on, and the neighbors will probably appreciate the extra quiet as well! I also didn’t lose working space inside to the compressor.
In the end, and less than 2 months after starting the project, I have a very nice workshop where I can build my next kit plane. It’s tight (cozy if you’re in real estate) but will work. The total cost was about $2600, including the $100 or so I wasted trying the Gambrel roof first, and the $225 I paid to have the roof shingles installed. Now that I am moved in, I just need airplane parts to arrive!
OK, my last posts from 2010 talked a lot about keeping this blog more up to date. Fail! So before I mention some of the things that have happened since then I will talk about why I decided to rekindle this old blog. Going forward, this blog will most likely be about me building a Zenith CH650 kit plane. Yes, this is number 4, or 5, so it really is time for me to actually complete a kit plane. I am almost 49 years old now and if I want to have a least a few really nice years flying around in my own plane I need to get busy! There will be other stuff here too, not everything will be about aviation, though I have severely curbed my involvement in politics, open source software, and many of the things I enjoyed when I was younger. I choose to concentrate now on things that make life more fun and enjoyable, avoid conflict/drama, and generally chill out.
So, what has happened since 2010….
- All of our girls grew up! Halle is a freshman in college, Delaney is working and raising Anya, and Haley (Bug) is a junior in high school and starting to look seriously at colleges and schools to attend after graduation.
- Missy and I moved from Cross Plains, Wisconsin to Oak Island, North Carolina in March 2017. We live 1/2 mile from the beach, 3 hours from my mom and sister, and Missy’s sister is 2 hours away. The weather is great, and we love it here. The only downside is that our girls are not with us as much as we’d like.
- Our oldest daughter, Delaney, had a baby girl, Anya, in 2016. She is our first grandchild. I am now Papaw!
- My grandma Opal passed away in 2016
- My father passed away in 2015
- One of my best friends, James, passed away in 2014
- I ran for public office in 2014, Dane County Supervisor, and received 43% of the votes. For a conservative in Dane County, that is a win! 🙂
- Missy and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2017
- I bought, and sold, a 1992 Corvette after painting and restoring it (mostly)
- I started a Sonex kit plane. These are very cool, but not practical enough for our needs.
- I got VERY (too much so) active in state and local politics from 2010 to 2014 and helped grow the Dane County Tea Party into a powerful political force. I served on the Board of Directors and was eventually elected President. We did many great and successful projects during this time that, I believe, were instrumental in changing the political environment in Madison and Wisconsin as a whole.
- I am still with Quest Software, though it has been a rough and rocky road. We were bought by Dell in 2012, and they closed the Madison office and let nearly everyone go, except me and one other person, because we actually worked for groups in California. Dell tired of software in 2016 and we became Quest again. I am now preparing to start my 10th year, the longest time I have been with a single employer by a long shot. I work in the software licensing group and have been doing the engineering for our licensing systems for the past 3 years.
- I served 1 year as the President of the Middleton, WI chapter of EAA and Missy and I were co-coordinators for the Young Eagles program
- I spend a great deal of time these days fishing, working on home improvement projects, and am active with our local EAA chapter
- I bought a real nice fishing kayak that I am TRYING to enjoy. I haven’t got the feel for it yet, so either that will come in time, or I will stick to fishing from the beach or buy a boat.
- Since I haven’t been SCUBA diving since our honeymoon in 2007, I did a recertification class after we moved to Oak Island. I plan to dive a lot more, though that will likely wait until next spring/summer. I’d really like to learn spearfishing.
- Missy and I quit smoking and started vaping. We figured vaping was safer/healthier than smoking, not the menion much cheaper, and we’d do that temporarily while we quit. That was 6 years ago 🙂
- I sold my 2006 Ford F150, which was my favorite truck ever. These days I drive my dads 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT that I inherited from him, and Missy has a 2014 Ford Escape. Having only one car payment is nice, and I have enjoyed fixing up dad’s truck and using it. When I got it, it had been sitting outside for years and was quite an undertaking to get it up and running again. But it has been a great truck since then. We thought it was dead when we got it.
There has obviously been a lot more that has happened since 2010, but those are the highlights and lowlights. I am looking forward to building the CH650. I ordered the tail kit about 2 weeks ago and it should be shipped early next week. I had to build a workshop to build it in first, so that will be another blog post.
Welcome to the new ToddTown.com. I am still moving in here, so things will be a “little messy” for a while! Most of the old content will be merged very soon, but right now only the blog is up. If you are looking for software that I have written over the years, just send me an email (toddosborne at gmail) and I will do my best to get you what you need.
Ford Explorer loaded up, check. REALLY loaded up. Portable DVD player, check. iPods, check. Easter baskets and other stuff, check. Cell phones and chargers, check. Digital cameras and more chargers, check. Books and homework for kids, check. Electrical inverter, check. Clothes for 5 people for 5 days, check. Swim suits too, check. Cash, I wish 🙂
So now we are ready to head down to Kentucky and Indiana for an extended Easter weekend to visit family and have some fun! Bye-bye snow, bring on the thunderstorms!
WHITE HALL, Ark. (AP) — A deer somehow survived being hit by a car near Little Rock, but that was only the first part of what soon became a very rough day.
On Tuesday morning in White Hall, the vehicle struck the animal on U.S. Highway 270.
Assistant Police Chief Richard Wingard says the injured large doe then charged into the glass doors of a travel plaza, ran about 100 feet through a hallway and crashed through a second set of glass doors, finding itself outside again.
The deer then ran into traffic on Interstate 530, where it was hit by a southbound vehicle. Somehow, the deer managed to run across the median and was hit by a northbound truck.
That proved to be enough for the deer, in Wingard’s words, “to meet its maker.”
No one was injured.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Nope, I haven’t left Wisconsin in a while, though we will visit family next weekend. Home this time is the C programming language. I learned C a long time ago, moved to C++ in the early-mid 90’s, and then to C# around 2001, and barely looked back. I always missed it somewhat, and occasionally did little projects of my own in C/C++, but C# has paid the bills for years.
Recently however I had the chance to dust off the trusty old C compiler for a project at work, a cross platform email MTA for Lotus Domino. It took a day or so to get back into the language, and quite frankly I am still struggling to quickly recall some of the C runtime functions. but it is coming back quickly. And the application that I am developing is nearly done, and very high quality to boot. I am pleased.
Last weekend we (the family) also bought a new Apple Mac Mini to replace our aging iMac G4 home computer. We sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist to buy it, and are mostly pleased. If iPhoto 09′ would quit taking a crap, all would be great. Apple quality is still very good, though their QA and past history of releasing nearly flawless software is just that, history. I do hope they get back to their old ways.
We copied all of our old pictures and other media from our server to the Mac for testing. All of our pictures and stuff are organized by the year, month and day they were taken. But, when copying the files over to the Mac, those original file time stamps were messed up. I could live it, but with my newly refound love of C, I decided to fix it.
About 800 lines of cross-platform bliss later, I have my first Macintosh program! It scans the media files and updates the dates to match. Nothing hard here, just a first for me. I still coded it on Windows and then ported (cleaned up really) the code to the Mac. First Mac application, first UNIX application in many years, and I am feeling good again. Now I am hunting for a good development environment on the Mac. By good I mean Visual Studio like, anyone? XCode still blows, though I guess I could get used to it.
We didn’t get quite as much free time this weekend to work on the boat, as we needed to help Missy’s brother Josh move today. No biggie there, we still owe him a ton for helping us do the basement construction last summer. But we did manage to get all the vinyl work done for the rear seating and tonight did the first complete test fit. It looks pretty nice, though Missy says she prefers the old seating better. I guess we’ll see if it grows on her, and if not, there is nothing to stop us from going back to the older style.
Here are some pictures of what it looks like now.
Missy, Halle and I tonight made our best boat seat so far! The picture below is the bench seat, and it came out great. We all pushed, pulled, stretched and contorted the vinyl into shape while I stapled it. This one is truly factory quality!
A couple of days ago I covered the “sundeck”. It came out pretty good, though with the results we achieved tonight with the seat (above), I am thinking we will re-do this one.