Sheds, Tools and Stuff.
Where can you build it?
You don’t need a huge shed. It would be nice but you can get by with less. I have spoken/emailed to people who have built them in a single car garage but I don’t know how they managed. It must have been very difficult.
I have a 6 m X 3 m shed (a kit color-bond garden shed) with a slightly bigger semi-enclosed work area beside it. In effect the working equivalent of just a bit bigger than a double carport. This was adequate but I feel was probably at the lower limit of a user friendly size. I constructed the fuselage in the work area then moved it out and then did the wings. When it came time for fitting the wings I moved the lot out into the yard. Since my yard slopes I had to build a wooden platform that I could level for proper rigging.
My opinion is that you should do all you can to build it at home. I know of people who did it in sheds/hangars well away from home. The fact it was away from home caused a long and slow build process. They all took years (some 10 years!) to build. There are many advantages to being able to just slip out to do some quick task then go back in the house. Anything which causes you to prolong the build has the possibility of causing many problems. Not just that your whole situation, health, family, interest or economy can change over years. A problem I found taking just over a year to build was that some parts deteriorate and need replacing even before you fly it! I had to replace a number of rubber components and also a few other parts that corroded (we had a very long and wet rainy season).
Also there are lots of times where a task requires waiting for some reason, such as waiting for some glue, epoxy or paint to dry. Being at home allows you to go do something to keep your marriage intact while still not delaying the project. :-)
The technical manual suggests a fairly simple tool kit is all that’s required. I would agree that you could start with a simple tool kit – but you will end up with a complex one. I found many tasks could not be completed easily without specialized and complex tools. It is hard to list off all the specialized or odd tools I used. As a general rule if you buy a tool buy good quality ones. Poor quality tools do produce a poor quality job - no doubt about that! I bought a few cheap tools which I ended up replacing.
Some tools just made life a lot easier and are worth their weight in gold. Some tools on top the basics I think you need are:
Multiple electric drills - set up drill bits, counter sinker and screw driver in separate drills so you don’t need to change bits multiple times.
Stepped drill bit - for cutting bigger holes
Ratchet ring spanners - so you can work in confined spaces.
Long flexible drive shaft for drill - so you can drill round corners or in areas of limited access.
Flexible drive shaft screw driver with various bits.
Large Riveter (“Pop Rivetter”) - some of the big rivets can't be popped by hand with a small gun.
Long graspers - for retrieving parts dropped into holes and cavities or feeding wires, grasping cables etc etc through long narrow spots.
I managed to acquire an old set of forceps used for key hole surgery. (try ebay search for “Laparoscopy instruments”
or keyhole surgery instruments” or “Maryland Forceps”.
Light on a long flexible stalk - for looking inside narrow spaces. I made one with an LED heat-shrinked onto a piece of stiff (but bendable)
wire with a battery and switch on the other end.
Dental mirror or similar.
Magnet on a long flexible shaft
Fly cutter for cutting large circles for instruments
Sanding blocks made from long bits of wood - (longest was about a metre) with sandpaper made for belt sanders stapled to it.
Gives much better smooth edge on long edges like wing edges etc.
I also bought:
This is not exhaustive and I used many other strange tools for one off tasks.
These were ones that I used many times and would have found the job almost impossible without.