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David Paule 04-27-2012 12:17 PM

RV-3B Dave's in Colorado
The shop is ready. I'll be building this RV-3B in my garage, a smallish two-car garage attached to my older tract home in a cheap part of town. The kit's boxes haven't arrived yet, so at this stage all I'm doing is reporting that the shop is ready.

The empennage jig is from Rod Woodard, in Loveland, CO. It was originally made by Walt Ellwood, I think, and disassembled, fits in my pickup truck. It's quite stiff and is one worry crossed off the list - thanks, Rod!.

I made three new work tables for this project. The design is considerably easier to built than the EAA table, and so far I've made seven of these. They're good. For these three, I used up some surplus plywood to make the drawers, since I don't have floor space for a roll-away tool cabinet.

The tables are white melamine-faced particle board that was previously used for a friend's aluminum motorglider project. They've put one airplane in the air, and I'm counting on them to do another. The smooth white surface is easier to use and to clean than particle board or plywood.

In the first photo, we're looking south. The windows were added in anticipation of this project. They are shaded by the deciduous tree that shades the patio. In the summer it doesn't get too hot, and in the winter a lot of light comes in.

The obscure machine in the right corner is a large belt/disc sander. It might be too big; we'll see. It's setting on a crate that holds the original engine to my Cessna Skywagon.

In the next photo you can see the underside of the garage roof. I had it foamed. The vendor sprayed about 6" of insulating foam up there, for a tight, leak-proof, insulated ceiling. Yes, it's got that special fireproof paint, too.

The walls are well-insulated with cotton batting and then dry-walled. The contractor ran electricity around the garage at the right height so the outlets would be above the work tables and below the windows. And of course, the garage door is insulated, too.

The garage stays between about 40 deg. and 80 deg. with no cooling or heating. I have electric radiant heaters above on thermostats, with about 12 kw heat output (40,000 btu/hr if you prefer these units). For cooling, I get cooled air from the house if necessary. The house has a powerful swamp cooler on a thermostat. It's an excellent way to do it if your climate is dry enough.

Real briefly, I want to mention Dave Dooley, who gave me the work table tops and a plethora of hand tools; Rod Woodard, who gave me the empennage jig; Paul Gassaway, who gave me the drill press 35 years ago; Dan Pierce, who converted the garage into a shop; and Leo Kallan, who gave me the sander. While I'm at it, DR, who hosts this site (have you donated yet this year?); and Paul and Louise, who got me thinking about the RV-3 in the first place. Friends all, and some of them I haven't even met yet.

Thanks, everyone!

Alternate hosting here and here.


ppilotmike 04-27-2012 12:42 PM

Congrats on starting your build!
I'm excited that there will be a 3B build going on in Boulder! I will definitely be watching your progress and perhaps asking if I can stop by once your get going. I would love to build a 3 too, someday.. we'll see if that works out. For now it's back to work on the 10.:)

RV7Ron 04-27-2012 01:13 PM

Congrats on the new project David!

rockwoodrv9 04-27-2012 02:06 PM

thought you got your boxes!
David, I saw your post and I thought you had received your kit! I was excited for you, but I guess I wiull have to hold the excitement for a bit longer.

Your shop looks great. Everything so neet and in it's place. Pretty much the opposite of mine! Have fun and I wil have to come by sometime and check out your kit when you finally get it.

David Paule 05-11-2012 05:56 PM

It Finally Came
There was a five week delay, but now the boxes are here.

Here's Partain's truck pulling on to my ramp yesterday afternoon, with me talking to the driver:

With the trailer opened up, we could see that he was delivering two RV-8 quickbuild fuselages and at least one set of quickbuild wings to someone. Nonetheless, ignoring the urge to take one of them instead, we started unloading crates and boxes from the trailer.

And with all the boxes in the hangar, here's Mike Cobb, of Partain, on the left, me in the center and Dave Dooley on the right. It's starting to sink in that this ain't a quickbuilt kit.

All the boxes and crates arrived in excellent condition.

Naturally, I couldn't wait to see what was inside the boxes. Turns out that there's a great deal of paper.

We dug and dug, and finally started coming up with some parts. Although I had opened all the boxes, I started inventorying them with the empennage kit.

I was able to spend some time out there today, too. As of today, the empennage kit is inventoried and almost all of the wing kit is inventoried. I would have finished the wing - finished inventorying it, that is - but I realized that if I opened up the leading edge skins and pulled out the stuff at the very bottom of the crate, it would never fit in there again. So I'm taking about three or four pieces on faith.

Initial impressions:

1. The packing is excellent, but it's clearly intended to survive the drive and is not convenient for storage. For example, all the pieces are labeled, but they're wrapped in groups of parts in paper, which isn't labeled. For storage, something needs to be done that both protects the parts and lets you know what's in the packages. When I repacked the parts, I tried to write their part numbers on the white wrapping paper.

2. Remember this is the RV-3, and even though it's the -3B, it's still somewhat of an orphan. Most of the steel parts are bare steel. Beautifully welded, though, I must say. A few have been powder-coated.

3. Most of the hardware is packed in paper bags and labeled something like "bag 367." A lucky few are in plastic bags. The packing list shows what's supposed to be inside, but you can't see the pieces and often a number of different parts are mixed. Since the plans call out the parts by part number and not bag number, you pretty much need to remove the parts from the bags and sort them by part number into your own containers.

4. The lids of the boxes is attached by staples. The lids are easy to remove. They are not easy to replace. The staples are annoying to remove. Screws would have been better, even at extra cost.


rockwoodrv9 05-11-2012 06:13 PM

Dave, finally it is there. Now the fun begins! Have fun and if you need a hand, let me know. I can always find time to build on a plane!!

Louise Hose 05-11-2012 07:02 PM

You're going to have fun!
I actually miss building (but like having some actual free time)! Enjoy the process. The only thing greater than building an RV-3B is flying one! (I also miss our little one. Hope she's out of the paint shop soon.) :(

David Paule 05-11-2012 08:16 PM

Y'all are welcome to come up to Boulder sometime once I get going and lend a hand. I'd sure hate to think of someone having to suffer through withdrawal.

And I know that there's many of us eager to see Junior with its paint on. The saying applies: "Good, fast, cheap - pick any two." Since Junior's paint job seems slow, I expect you're at least getting "good."


David Paule 05-28-2012 07:23 PM

Inventory is Complete
And the truck is full of white packing paper.

None of the welded parts were powder-coated.

Only one formed part was poorly formed and there was no other damage. The packaging and shipping were excellent, with the caveats noted earlier.

There were a few small parts missing, nothing worth mentioning or getting excited over.

The serial-numbered center-section bulkhead assembly, F-303, is indeed serial-numbered. The serial number is engraved on the parts, which I'm not comfortable with. It is wholly unassembled, something that wasn't entirely clear.

There were a number of parts in the fuselage kit that had F-4xx part numbers (remember, this is an RV-3B, not a -4) that didn't match the study plans. I have not checked these against the plans that came with the kit to see if the real plans are current for the actual parts being shipped.

The fuselage inventory sheets were not particularly clear, with many factory cross-outs and extraneous lines.

I was surprised that the entire tailwheel assembly, from the mount to the wheel, was included. While the mount needed to be, I'd thought that the tailspring and tailwheel assembly itself would be with the finish kit, which I don't have.

The various options and accessories which I'd ordered were packed with the major kits as I'd requested. For example, some riveting tape and the two practice kits were in with the empennage kit. Van's did good there.


David Paule 06-18-2012 08:10 AM

Slow Start
Some tail parts are home and are getting worked on. Unfortunately one of the parts which got rejected, in this case due to a defect at the mill, is one of the elevator spar caps. While I'm waiting for a replacement, I started the hinges and the vertical stabilizer spar.

As noted in the RV-3 Plans Clarifications thread, the VS-307 piece needs considerable trimming to fit. But there's ample material for that.

Unlike the rear spar channel for the horizontal stabilizer, the one for the vertical stabilizer is correctly formed. The two channels for the horizontal stabilizer are slightly wider at the root and slightly narrower at the tip than specified on the plans, just enough to throw off the plans dimensions for trimming the cap that I'm waiting for.

The RV-3B is a lot different than the pre-punched kits.

The welded steel parts came bare. I deburred them, did some trimming to the plans - yes, checking first for potential conflicts - and then primed them. They all need more cutting or drilling before assembly. The local powder-coater said it's better to prime them with rattle-can primer than powder-coat them if I'm going to eventually powder-coat them later after further work.


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