zbrubaker's blog View Details
Posted by zbrubaker | Apr 19, 2016 @ 07:31 AM | 22,105 Views
Maybe I'm getting old... No maybe about it, I AM getting old(er). I went out flying on Saturday for the first time this year and while I had a great time and got in a bunch of flights, I found that I don't really like controlling the sticks with just my thumbs anymore. I'm trying to get better at using the rudder and I just don't feel like my thumb gives me solid enough control, I prefer thumb and forefinger.

Maybe it's stiff fingers, but I can't use my thumb and forefinger and comfortably hold the transmitter too. And since I also want to start doing some FPV flying, a transmitter tray seems to be the obvious choice. So I came home and started researching transmitter trays on the internet. Anyone that knows me knows that I don't like spending money on something that I could make myself. I can spend some money on something that is just 'ok' or I can make it myself and get exactly what I want.

So here were my goals:
1. Hold my DX7 and DX8 transmitters
2. Areas to rest my hands on while my fingers are on the sticks
3. A spot to hold my FPV screen
4. Someplace to store my flying glasses (I always misplace them!)

I spent a while searching online and picking out the various features that I liked and then got to work on the computer. A couple hours later and I had some parts I could cut out using my laser. a quick run to Home Depot and $14 later (I already had the plywood) and I had all of the hardware I needed. I was surprised by how quickly I was able to put it together. I'm sure at some point I will clean it up and maybe paint it, I also plan to add some cushioning to the handrests.
Posted by zbrubaker | Apr 19, 2016 @ 06:52 AM | 21,124 Views
So I finally finished the final big piece for my shop remodel a couple months ago. I needed something to hold and organize all of the various small parts for the kits that I make. I also wanted something to hold and organize my shipping supplies.

So all that remains now is to get all of the small stuff organized. I bought a bunch of small parts bins from Harbor Freight (you can't beat the price!) to organise all of the small tools and supplies (drill bits, battery/motor connectors, screws, etc...)
I also decided I really needed to get all of my props organized. I had some scrap 1/4" luan plywood in my garage, so I used that and a plastic storage bin to make some dividers and a tray.
Posted by zbrubaker | Jun 10, 2015 @ 07:50 AM | 21,348 Views
I get asked frequently about the process I go through to design my kits, so I thought I'd share the process I go through step-by-step. I think the design process is my favorite aspect of creating and producing a new kit. Some aircraft are easier than others to design, but they all present their own unique and separate challenges. It's the unique challenges that really drive me, I love the mental challenge of finding the most simple and effective solution to a design 'problem'.

So, where to start? Step one for me is finding a subject that I'm interested in doing and that I think others will enjoy as well. This is probably the most important step, because if I'm not interested in the aircraft there's no motivation for me to actually design it! (seriously...because I'm certainly not in this for the money!)

Once I have a subject in mind, step two is: documentation, documentation, documentation... and did I mention documentation? 3-view drawings are the starting point, finding cross sections is a huge plus (but rare) and then lots and lots and LOTS of pictures!

A 3-view will only give you outlines - cross sections and pictures really help to give a complete view of the actual shape of the aircraft. I spend a fair bit of time studying pictures not only to get a good understanding of the shapes but also to help me work out the design approach I want to take. Does it have flat sides for slab sided construction? Does it have straight lines to allow for sheeting? Is it mostly a compound curve that requires planking? Each of these questions (and many more) help to determine the structure and construction of the airframe. Other considerations are electronics (motors, etc...) and hardware (retracts, landing gear, etc...)

Once I have an over-all concept in mind for the design it's time to start bringing that idea to life!

Stay tuned...
Posted by zbrubaker | Nov 20, 2013 @ 08:54 AM | 23,256 Views
With the new parts storage I built I have finally been able to sort through and organize my various stacks of extra parts sheets. As an added bonus I also was able to get all of my scrap balsa organized instead of all being mixed up in one bin.

The laser is in it's new location and the shelving above the laser has been redone.
Posted by zbrubaker | Nov 19, 2013 @ 08:27 AM | 22,766 Views
OK, so I've never blogged here before (obviously!), but I figure it's a place to post stuff that not really something that needs (or should) to have it's own thread.

So the big thing I am working on right now is a MAJOR shop overhaul. Probably the biggest need in any shop is more storage space. Since I'm manufacturing kits along with building planes, my storage needs are even greater. In an effort to meet those needs I plan on building three storage cabinets along with a new workbench. I am also going to relocate my laser to (hopefully) improve workflow when I am cutting kits.

First item built is for balsa/ply storage. I figured I'd make better use of space going vertically. The different cubbies are for the different sizes/grades of balsa I use.