Summary Of Time/Money Savers
I'm including many tips and tricks in the actual log entries, but for some of the general tips that apply to many steps, I'll put them here.

  1. Don't remodel and attempt to build an airplane. Five years, three additions a new kitchen, two new bathrooms, etc. None of that sounds like making an airplane.
  2. E-Bay Rental: Often we get caught up in how "expensive" a particular specialty tool is, because the only time we'll ever use it is for building the airplane. This is where I force myself to think of it as "renting from e-Bay." Take a power aluminum shear as an example. For the wing ribs I recommend using the "routing" method outlined in the Bearhawk builder manuals. With this method you really don't need to be very precise when rough cutting around your wing ribs so a power shear will save you a ton of time and some very sore arms. When you're done with it, sell it on e-Bay for a little less than you paid and you have effectively "rented" the specialty tool you needed for as long as you wanted it for a reasonably small amount of money. In the process you saved yourself many many hours.
  3. Drilling wing rib holes: There are several 3/16" holes that get drilled through the ribs to secure form blocks. The Bearhawk builder manual recommends drilling through the form block itself and using some kind of insert so you don't destroy the hole in the form block. Faster method is to take two screws that are 3/16 O.D. drop them through the form block and then lay the form on top of the rough cut shape and tap them with a hammer. You just center punched two holes. When you drill, the bit will center nicely in the holes. You'll spend more time setting up your form block with an insert than it will take you to punch and drill all the holes.
  4. Cutting aluminum with a band saw: Long story short. Use a wood cutting blade in a band saw. Every once in a while saw a sliver off a scrap piece of lumber. The wood cleans the aluminum out of the blade. Works great for taking rough cut ribs and cutting them to within 1/8" of the form blocks.

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