Preparing the Workshop
Having recently moved into my townhome, the garage was fairly empty to begin with, so I
didn't have to store, sell, or otherwise throw out a bunch of stuff, which was nice. It
was also sheet-rocked and insulated which saved even more time. The below photo is my before
shot (click on the photo for a larger image). I've managed to misplace my after
shots, but when they turn up I'll be sure to upload them. (Note: 2 years
later I have yet to find those missing photos.)
The first thing I did was to remove
all the miscellaneous shelving that the previous owner had installed and patch up all the
holes in the sheet rock. Then I primed and painted the walls and ceiling white, which took
way longer than I imagined. Good thing I didn't choose painting as a career. Next I
installed (4) 4 foot fluorescent light fixtures on the ceiling so that I'd have plenty of
light. There were two incandescent light fixtures in the ceiling already, so I didn't have
to do any electrical work other than swapping the fixtures for power outlets.
I wasn't going to get off
scott-free (what does that mean, anyway?) with all electrical work, however. I planned on
purchasing an air compressor, and most of the larger ones I looked at ran on 240 volts AC,
and my garage didn't have a 240V outlet. I discovered that there was 240V wiring running
over to my dryer, but since the dryer was gas, it was not energized. All I needed was to
install a 20 amp circuit breaker in my panel, splice into this wiring, run it out to the
garage, and install a NEMA 6-20 outlet. Once again, this took longer than expected, but
the finished product looks pretty professional in my opinion.
What workshop would be complete
without a good work bench? I thought about this for a long time, and went to Home Depot a
bunch of times trying to figure the best work surface that didn't cost a fortune. One day
I was talking to a coworker about this, and he mentioned that his neighbor had some
bowling alley lanes, cut up, in his yard. Sounded like a good future work bench to me, so
he managed to cut off a 44" by 8' section for me. I had a friend with a truck help me
move it... good thing, as it weighs a ton (not literally). Another friend helped me build
a support frame out of 4x4s, then lift, mount, and fasten the surface to the frame. It all
worked out great, and the total cost was only about $50.
In between all these projects, I
was buying tools. Below is the minimum required tool list from the SQ2000
construction manual. I have obtained nearly all of these tools at this point, as well as a
6.5 HP Craftsman air compressor and a host
of pneumatic tools. The compressor is a great asset, and I would encourage any
would-be builders to make the investment. Regardless of the ability to run
pneumatic tools, just having the air gun is a great asset for removing dust and such. The
only drawback is noise--not that it bothers me, but since I live in a townhouse I worry
about disturbing my neighbors.
||1/4 inch drive as a minimum; 3/8 inch drive for engine
|Wrenches (SAE, open end and box end)
||At least one set of both box end and open end wrenches is
||Final torque settings of bolts.
|Screwdrivers (Slotted and Phillips)
||At least 4 large C-Clamps will be required; 24 inch
pipe-type joining clamps are also very desirable.
||General drilling. Note you will need to drill 5/8 inch
holes when mounting the wings. You will need both fractional and numbered bits.
|Jig Saw and Blades
||General cutting of foam and glass. Buy an assortment of
blades for both ferrous metal, non-ferrous metal, fiberglass and wood.
||Sanding of foam, glass and surface cleaning of metal.
||1" Delta or Makita belt sander is recommended. An
air tool equivalent is a straight sander that takes 1.5 inch strips.
|Razor Knives and Blades
||Knife trimming of glass and minor trim work.
|Micro-Stop Countersink Tool
||This tool appears to be a luxury, but one slip of a
countersink can destroy a very expensive part. Buy a set of piloted bits, as well.
|X-Acto Knife Set
|2" Sanding Drum for Hand Drill
||sanding operations in restricted areas.
||You will need a large variety of files to complete this
project. As a minimum, invest in a 12 inch mill bastard file, several mid-size files, and
a 6 inch fine file.
|Stanley Surform Tool
||This tool is available in 6 and 12 inch sizes. Get both.
You can make a straight trim faster than any file.
||General measurement. A 12 foot tape, supplemented by 6,12
and 24 inch decimal rulers with straight edges is desirable.
||A four foot length bubble level is the minimum; a digital
one is recommended. Digital units such as the Smart Level are now available that read down
to tenths of degrees, accuracy than cant be achieved with a bubble level.
||Six foot length.
||This is actually about 10 feet of Tygon or clear acrylic
tubing filled with colored water.
||Establishing level lines and vertical lines.
||You will probably want several Framing Square sizes; 6
inch for interior work, and a 2 foot one for less crowded areas.
|Aircraft Tubing Flare Tool
||Used to perform 37 degree flares, which are the aviation
standard. DO NOT USE AN AUTOMOTIVE FLARE TOOL. These are 45 degrees, and will result in
||Used to swage Nicopress fittings. An expensive lever tool
is available, but the less expensive block type is acceptable.
|Gloves Latex or Vinyl
||Required for use in epoxying and when sanding or filing
fiberglass to avoid dust.
||Required for when sanding or shaping fiberglass to avoid
|Supplied Air Breathing System
||Required when spray painting. Also, highly desirable when
||Required to weigh resin and hardener. Preferably should
read in Grams from 1 through 2,000.
||Used for cutting fiberglass. Obtain high quality ones
intended for this purpose, and keep them sharp! Wiss model 20 W recommended.
||Obtain an assortment of at least 100, 1 and 2 inch
||Mixing Epoxy, Flox, and Micro. You will use at least 500
|8 and 16 Oz. Mixing Cups (At least 150)
||Mixing Epoxy, Flox and Micro.
|1 Box Plastic Squeegees
||Used to position filler materials and work resin into
||Holding parts in place for bonding
|1 Rotary Blade cutter for cutting glass cloth (Optional)
||Used as an alternative to scissors when cutting glass
|1 jar skin protector
||Applied to your hands and arms to keep epoxy from
|Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
||Used to quickly make non- structural bonds. Typically
holds parts while structural attachment is performed.
|3" Wide Roller
||Used to force glass layers together to speed up wetting
out process, and reduce resin content of lay-up.
||Soldering wires. Preferably with a thermostatically
||Select tools consistent with the crimp parts/series you
have selected. Crimp tools can be specific to manufacturer¹s connector series.
It was June, 1998 now, and the workshop was
basically complete. I bought another free-standing storage unit and put up some more
shelves, including one over the work bench with a rod to hold one roll of fiberglass. I
considered building an enclosure to hold several rolls of fiberglass, but decided it would
be better to keep the idle rolls inside the house. I only use one weave at a time during
layups (generally) and keeping the other rolls in the house will keep them dust- and
Soon the kit would arrive and I
could focus my efforts on building a plane, instead of building a workshop...