Builder Tip #57 from HomebuiltHELP 
Scratch building a Zenith Cruzer Tail Fin
Building your Homebuilt from Scratch is done one component at a time!
This week's Tip shows how a Zenith Aircraft Cruzer tail fin is constructed from scratch - raw materials - not from the components of a kit. Builder Chris Boultinghouse has provided our readers with a behind the scene view of how he approached the challenge of creating this part using his creativity and skill. One example of this creativity is demonstrated by the method he used to form the leading edge bend in the skin - utilizing a shop vac and bagging technique.

The best way to learn the skills and methods of a scratch builder is to watch and listen to them explain their thought processes as they tackle a particular challenge of the build. We have a unique opportunity in this short video slide show from Chris in this regard that chronicles his tail fin build. Watch, learn, and become inspired to take up the challenge!
Above: The Fin skin is "bagged" to bend to shape
    Ready for riveting
Like to Make your own Parts? 

There are two approaches for obtaining the parts needed to build an aircraft:
Buy the parts from a ready made kit - or -
Make the parts yourself from scratch.

Both methods are popular - the choice depends on your skills, budget and time.  For making parts from scratch we have an informative DVD:  Scratch Building Basics 

It requires a builder with special skills, knowledge, and an attitude complete with persistence and imagination. Not all of us are cut out for a project like this… although most of us can appreciate the rewards that will result!

Details of the fabrication process are explained and demonstrated - such as: how to translate blueprint plans to a form block drawing, cutting, sanding and finishing the form blocks using common tools; choice of form materials (plywood, MDF, particle board, hardwoods, etc); tools for cutting aluminum sheet, (power shears, hand shears, scoring knife), forming rib blanks around form blocks (how many hammers can be used!), fluting techniques for curved edges, cutting lightening holes, various methods for deburring and polishing, sheet metal bending using a home made brake, and much more.

    DVD shows how these parts are made 
Cutting a rib blank with a router
Watch a previous Tip?
  Don't forget that past Tip of the Week articles and videos are listed on the Archive Listing page on our website.  You can check back there for future reference and review of these tips.You can also reach that page from a link on the top, right side of our home page.  
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