Building an airplane – July 2, 2017

Once the shipment of parts had arrived, we made arrangements with Chip Erwin, vendor for the Zigolo MG12, to come to Madison for a week to supervise the build. In our thinking over the last several months, we expected to have at least a week notice before his visit to ensure that everything was set up and ready to go.

However, in light of the delayed shipment and rapidly progressing summer, Chip generously agreed to come out on very short notice, which in this case meant in two days! I therefore devoted today (Sunday) to unpacking and assembling tools we had ordered as well as hauling lumber from Home Depot to make four large, sturdy working tables (4′ x 8′, 36″ inches high) out of sheets of OSB, a bunch of 2x4s, and a rented nail gun.

My original plan had been to make two tables, but after I had seen how much space we had to work with, I decided to go for broke and build four. You can never have too much surface area to work on.

I had thought I would need 3-4 hours, starting at around 2pm, to cut up the lumber and build the tables. In reality, it took closer to 8 hours, partly because everything always takes at least twice as long as I imagine it will, and partly I had never built a table in my life and needed to carefully think about how to ensure complete stability of the legs without the benefit of a miter saw or any fasteners other than nails. Consequently, the first table took about the same length of time as the remaining three, which I then mass produced based on the design of the first.

Nearly completed work tables constructed from 8’x4′ sheets of OSB and 2x4s.

Finally, at about 9pm on a Sunday night, I was finished with the tables and turned to assembling the bench grinder. By the time I was done with that, I was too tired to mess with the as-yet unassembled pneumatic riveter, and I figured we can take care of that quickly in the morning. There are also some crucial tools still in my office on campus that I’ll have to pick up before meeting Chip at PSL at 7:30 AM.

I got home at around 11pm, had a late dinner, went to bed at midnight, and set my alarm for 6:00 AM.

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