Homebuilt Aircraft CH-701

Building a Zenith Kitplane in your home

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Workshop Preparation

I have set up 2 workshops for completing this project. One in my basement and the other is 1/2 of the 2 car garage.The basement workshop is 13'x16' which is large enough to fit a 4'x12' workbench. I started out with some wood shelves high up on the wall to store some finished components. The barrister bookcases were recovered from the trash , sanded down and refinished with texture paint. Any broken glass was replaced. They are great for storage of books, glues, tools, and small aircraft parts from the kit.
Thanks to my brother Kevin for helping set up the bench downstairs. The top of the bench is about the size and thickness of one wing. It was built in the garage and carried to the basement by Kevin and I. It fit through a maze of turns to get it down there but it proved one wing can be carried from the basement without removing any walls or enlarging any windows.
Above you can see the use of peg board on the wall. I used 31/2; 4x8 pieces from Home Depot in the basement shop and 1/2 on the walls in the garage. This was a last minute decision after seeing how many parts were packed into boxes. It would take lots of time rummaging through boxes to find a needed part, and they were not packed in any particular category. I framed the back of the pegboard on the edges with 2x3 studs and screwed them into the wall. 2 of these are the full 4x8 sheet screwed directly into the wall with deck or drywall screws. A variety of hooks were cheap at Walmart and H.D. I also used a variety of ziplock bags to contain the parts and label them with sharpie. Now I was able to hang the majority of parts in categories shuch as elevator, wing, controls, etc. This has been a great help in the project and the empty spaces left as parts were used, were replaced with tools.
Many large parts had to sit on the floor against the wall out of the way.
The shelving high up will later hold my completed horizontal stabilizer and elevator. Also notice the coiled up hose. This hose travels from my large compressor in the garage, up to the attic, across the attic and back down into the basement. I have an air drill and a fiberglass disc cutter downstairs. This is all I ever needed for air tools downstairs. The hose quick disconnects at the compressor and I have another hose thats used for upstairs work. I originally bought this compressor for blowing out my sprinkler system for the winter and auto work. It's seen most of it's use though on the airplane project.
Storage area under the bench is also a great way to get parts out of the way. Bulky parts like rolled up or bent skins and fuel tanks were on the bench shelf . Wrapped skins sit flat on the floor underneath the bottom shelf.
Here you can see the parts organized on the pegboard. Many would say this is a bit anal but as you can see much of the kit is on display with part numbers clearly visible on the yellow labels. Some parts can hang right on a hook, most are placed in a ziplock and then hung up. All were organized into categories that made things easy to find. I later built the tall bench for an easy workflow of shaping, drilling, cutting and fabrication of parts. I found this area would be constantly a mess with metal dust and cuttings, so I later installed a vaccuum that hangs on the wall from Sears on the pegboard in the corner by the drill.
What could not be hung up were placed on shelving around the shop. Most neatly laid out as shown here to allow the part to be easily found. Sometimes you looked at many of these parts every day while working, you couldn't wait to get to install or use that part. Most of these shelves are empty now, replaced with tools and other non-airplane goodies. Having plenty of paper towels and windex nearby was a help. After using scotchbrite on a part to smooth its edge, it gets all over your hands. I found that spraying windex on your hand and wiping off with a paper towel was better and quicker than going upstairs to use soap and water.
Easy access to reference books, assembly manuals, tools, and parts save time looking for stuff and more time building. Keeping organized on a project like this is very important to keep it moving forward to completion. I did not have time to work everyday but I could easily pick up where I had left off because of organization and keeping the work area dedicated only to building the airplane. I didn't have to clear out any home projects to get to the airplane. Note the lexan sheets against the wall with precut wrapped parts from the kit in a corner to keep it protected from damage.

This bench allows you to walk up to the tools and begin using them standing, without any setup. Later, I had to move the tools around, to hang up a finished wing on the wall behind them. I will go through a description of the tools in another section of the site.
See garage workshop prep on next page.
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