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necessity of spruce


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I am interested in the cozy M IV. For those of you who are building or who have built my question is this;

 

Other than the plans which are obviously a necessary purchase, what are the items on the cozy materials list that are totally necessary to purchase from them?

 

Can the foam be purchased from a foam supplier?

Can the epoxy be purchased from an epoxy/paint distributor?

Can fiberglass be purchased form a different distributor?

Of the many many parts listed on the parts list how many can be made in the shop? ( broad question I know).

 

I would like to pursue the dream and do an exceptional job of building a Cozy variant but do it on a budget. I hope I am not the orphan child who has limited funds here...........

............................Mike in Utah:cool:

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I forgot to mention the reason I created this thread. I added up the cost of buying all of the matrials from ASAS. The cost of it all including plans was approximately $23,000.00.

What are y'all doing to defer these costs? The pile of fiberglass and epoxy does not seem to justify 23k.

 

Mike in Utah:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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And this number doesn't include engine, prop, and instruments!:( :(

 

TIME. You don't need to write check for the entire amount, This cost can be amortized over the building time , several years.

 

Waiter

F16 performance on a Piper Cub budget

LongEZ, 160hp, MT CS Prop, Downdraft cooling, Full retract

visit: www.iflyez.com

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Keep in mind that ACS simply SELLS the items you listed. The "cost" of doing business with ACS or Wick's is that you're supposed to be getting materials that are suitable for their stated purpose. That doesn't keep me from checking my orders when they arrive, though. :rolleyes:

 

If you can find foam, epoxy, cloth, hardware elsewhere for less $$$, do it! However, be certain that the spec's on what you are purchasing match the spec's on what you think you're purchasing.

 

We purchased rolls of RA7725 BID fiberglass cloth and S2 glass on eBay for much less than ACS (www.fiberglasssite.com). Note that we have also purchased "no name" cloth on eBay that wasn't suitable for use as a floor mop. Just be careful.

 

Another "cheap" alternative is to find a project that is stagnant. A few folks will buy EVERYTHING up front... only to run out of gas (or money) before they finish the build. Materials (foam, cloth, hardware) can be purchased for half-price or less! Please pass on the 15 year old epoxy, though. :)

 

You can make most of the metal parts if you feel so inclined... but, having seen the quality and prices over at www.cozygirrrl.com, I'd HIGHLY recommend you simply place the order with the girrrls and spend your $time$ doing other things. It's worth it.

 

Alternative epoxies and formulations have been discussed here plenty of times so I'll leave you with the archives on that one. There are as many choices as there are opinions... and not all are good. Sticking with the "approved" list (i.e. - those that have been used/flown) is safe... unless you're willing to test a bunch of coupons.

 

D

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So; The question then becomes this. Do the plans give exact specifications as to each material giving us the option to shop around? As a contractor I know that $1700.00 worth of foam is a buttload of foam. Granted the local insulation shop that sells foam may not have all of the particular (specified) foams in stock but it bet that they can get anything.

 

I am incluned to believe that there is no such thing as aircraft grade fiberglass also. I have found that doing buisness with specialty shops can be very expensive. I am doing a restoration on a corvette. The specialty catalogs have a comprehensive list of restoration parts for the car and it can be very convenient and tempting to just order it all from them and forget all of the runnning around. But I have found that it is at a very huge cost for the convenience. The local Napa, Checker or Autozone just knocks the socks off of the price of the specialty catalogs.

The extent to which aircraft parts are such a specialty that they can not be found outside of Wicks or AS&S is a streatch in my opinion. Granted it is the opinion of a yet to be builder.

 

............................Mike in Utah:cool:

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The foams and fibreglass specified in the plans aren't so much aircraft grade, it's just that it's been been tested by Rutan/Nat and found to be suitable.

 

Here in Australia, it is next to impossible to get some of the foams. Particularly Last-a-foam. In the end you are the manufacturer of this aircraft and you can use what ever you like to build it. It's your a$$ on the line.

 

I plan to get almost everything from ACS or Wicks. I may pay a little more but if you ask me that extra is insurance and piece of mind. The wing foam I may get locally as I know that is avaiable here and the freight from the US would be huge, but that foam here has been verified as the same as ACS (Dow Corning).

 

On top of that I have chosen West System epoxy, as it's the only one listed in the plans that is easily available in my city.

Adrian Smart

Cozy IV #1453

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AS Raiki pointed out, Some of the materials specified in the plans no longer exist, and substitions need to be made. The different Foam types used in various places were selected for their weight and structural characteristics.

 

Before making any substitutions, I ask the question; "Am I willing to bet my life, and the lives of my family, that this component is acceptable". Because thats exactly what I'm doing.

 

One of the problems with substitutions, I will always have a question mark In the back of my mind. ALSO, Could I make the decision to take a chain saw to my flying aircraft, because the foam, or glass, or epoxy that I "decided" to use, was failing or had failed in other aircraft.

 

I make every attempt to stick with what is specified, If it no longer exists, I ask on the forums. More often then not, there is a replacement foam or Epoxy that is satisfactory and specified by one of the newer model manufactures.

 

I steer clear of cost savings replacements. i.e. Frank's Foam Emporium manufactures a Blue Styrofoam that is identical to the foam used in the Wings, at half the ACS cost. Because this is a structural component, I would bite the bullet and spend the extra $1000, and go for the original specified foam.

 

Probably like everyone who's ever built one of these, I "experiment" a little. If I do make a change or modification, I think it out in advance, and in almost every case, submit the change to the forums and mail lists for a peer review. Normally, unless I'm a trained expert in a particular area, I stick to the plans.

 

I've noticed from your submissions, that you seem to do this also. So it sounds like your getting off on the right foot to build a safe and reliable airplane.

 

Waiter

F16 performance on a Piper Cub budget

LongEZ, 160hp, MT CS Prop, Downdraft cooling, Full retract

visit: www.iflyez.com

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Waiter; Your logic in using the materials as specified is flawless. The intent of my query is not to substitute any specified material if it is not necessary. My query is just this. If the exact materials are available at a distributor who does not specialize in aircraft materials I am on a quest to find that material. One of Burt Rutan's criteria was to provide an affordable safe reliable aircraft that the average person could build in his front room.

There are some who are not concerned with cost. I salute you guys and thank heavan that we lilve in a country that provides the opportunity for everyone to be rich. We absolutely cannot investigate outside of the structural parameters, geometry and most of the publlished specifications without flawless investigation of addendums we might make. We also have a responsibility to those who are lurking in these threads who may take presumptions as specifications. All should be aware of the difference.

 

Don't mean to insult anyones intelligence here.

 

So in the spirit of the topic (on a shoestring) I think it would be very useful if there are those who have found exact specification materials at alternate vendors at cost savings. The goal for a lot of us then becomes less distant and therefore motivation thrusted forward. And to heck with delayed gratification at the expense of the expensive.

I like this thread a lot. Building on a budget should not have to sacrifice safety. "Fly the plane first", is a term we all know well. But we must have a "plane" beneath our bottom first not a facsimily thereof.

 

Dont let my philisophical rantings take away from the subject at hand.

 

"Alternate economical sources for exact spec. building products"

 

 

....................Mike

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You can probably shave 10% off the total cost by shopping around, and watching your shipping and tax costs.

 

Thanks to the Internet, This is a lot easier than it was in 1985.

 

Places like Wicks, Chief, Wag Aero, and StienAir are usually a good first stop.

 

Boating supply houses are also a good source of hardware (stainless) and glass supplies. When I was building mine, one source for the Blue foam was "Flotation Billet" used in docks. If it was the same manufacture and part number, I would start with a small sample, and if it looked acceptable, maybe buy the wing and canard foam.

 

ALSO. When you order, think about shipping and taxes. I built my EZ while I lived in CA, so everything I ordered from ACS, I paid Shipping AND 8% sales tax :( . Often, it was cheaper (bottom line) to order from Wicks in Ill.

 

If you can consolidate shipping, this helps out, avoid spending $5 to ship $2 worth of nuts and bolts. If the part isn't available, cancel it, or wait for a complete order. The Internet makes seeing "IN STOCK" a lot easier.

 

On large or bulky items, (i.e. Wing Foam) Sometimes shipping can cost more than the item. Maybe plan on taking a short two or three day vacation to the LA area. Your about a 12 or 14 hour drive ?? from LA, so if shipping on a complete order of foam is going to cost $500, Barrow a small trailer and head to LA.

 

My wife and I did this when we ordered Foam, We spent the weekend in LA, picked up the foam from ACS on Monday morning, and headed back to San Jose. We did the same thing with our Canopy. We drove cross country, vacation style, to Dayton Ohio, Visited relatives and sites along the way. Basically, the trips were paid for from the "shipping" expenses.

 

DON"T buy ANY Instruments or Radios until you are near completion. You'll kick yourself in the butt for buying the Wizbang model 340 two years ago, Now the new Model 380 With new slipglide feature costs 10% less.

 

ALSO, I would also tend to steer away from USED.

 

ENGINE:

 

Start looking for an engine immediately (LIKE - NOW), Learn what the market is. Learn the engine model differences. Get an idea how the different models will impact your build, i.e. conical vs dynafocal mount.

 

When you fell you have enough knowledge to make a good decision, then start looking to purchase. This decision can be delayed till late in the game, but be prepared to jump if a good deal comes along.

 

(I'm not in the market for an engine, but I always look in case I see a STEAL.)

 

Hope this helps a little

 

Waiter

F16 performance on a Piper Cub budget

LongEZ, 160hp, MT CS Prop, Downdraft cooling, Full retract

visit: www.iflyez.com

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......mike,

 

I agree with trying to get the materials at the minimum cost. Years ago, when Burlington Mills tried to "horn" in on Hexel's grip on the rutan-type fiberglass market, large hues and cries went up by---Mr Rutan including the threat to ACS, I believe that if they carried the product, that He would withdraw his support for their supplying EZ material. I also believe the same letter was sent to Wicks. (this was about 20 years ago). I got the Burlington stuff for my dragonfly

 

As you might know, the plans developers or rights holders got, and possibly still get a percentage of the sales from items ordered for a specific aircraft. (that's why they ask you what kind of aircraft you are building). This represents a good chunk of change worth protecting.

 

In those days, the Burlington weave was sold by a company called Alpha plastics, I believe Ira Hale was the owner. He didn't pay off and passed the savings to his customers. War ensued but finally calmed down. Alpha plastics was bought by another company, and that company was bought by, I believe ACS. (interesting how these things go around)

 

That being said, make sure that you know the supplier of the material that you are buying from. When a deal looks too good to be true, it usually is.

 

Fiberglass is treated with a chemical coating which is the intermediary between the epoxy and the glass. (epoxy will not stick to the raw glass). This is a fairly fragile coat and can be destroyed by moisture. I'm not sure what the shelf life of the coating, if any, is. If you get your glass from a supplier that moves great quantities of the stuff, you will probably be OK, but if you get yours from a place that found a roll in the back and wants to unload it at a "sacrificial price" Beware.

 

Epoxy doesn't seem to have a shelf-life, however the way it is stored might make a difference. Additionally, the suppliers usually get the stuff in large quantities and fill small containers for sale. Can you be certain that you are getting the exact material that you are ordering, or is it somehow "expanded" to maximize profit. The homebuilt world is full of many sharks, both in plans and material suppliers.

 

Just be aware of from whom you are buying. Balance the potential savings (in % of total project cost) against the potential downside.

 

Enjoy your build and education.

I Canardly contain myself!

Rich :D

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Do the plans give exact specifications as to each material giving us the option to shop around?

It'll require a little detective work but the info is there. Look at what ACS/Wicks is selling, backtrack to the vendor, identify the part #, and request a datasheet from them. Perhaps you can take those datasheets to your local foam shop to see if they have something comparable.

I am incluned to believe that there is no such thing as aircraft grade fiberglass also.

Sure there is! However, anyone willing to sell you fiberglass that is "for aircraft use" will happily pass on the costs for liability protection to you (i.e. - the lawyer's retainer is included in the price you pay).

I have found that doing buisness with specialty shops can be very expensive. ... The local Napa, Checker or Autozone just knocks the socks off of the price of the specialty catalogs.

Aren't you glad the FAA/PMA isn't deciding what you can/can't use to restore your Vette? :D

The extent to which aircraft parts are such a specialty that they can not be found outside of Wicks or AS&S is a streatch in my opinion.

Makes you wonder where Rutan got HIS materials... ;)

 

D

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It'll require a little detective work but the info is there. Look at what ACS/Wicks is selling, backtrack to the vendor, identify the part #, and request a datasheet from them. Perhaps you can take those datasheets to your local foam shop to see if they have something comparable.

 

Sure there is! However, anyone willing to sell you fiberglass that is "for aircraft use" will happily pass on the costs for liability protection to you (i.e. - the lawyer's retainer is included in the price you pay).

I am not a lawer ---D--- but I believe that the difference between a "certified" aircraft and an "experimental" aircraft is that the "experimental builder/pilot" assumes all of the responsibility for aircraft design and testing. Therefore he has the sole responsibility for the materials and parts that he uses.

The responsibility of the designer (Nat/Burt/bede etc.) would probably be relieved (if there is any responsibility at all on them ala Burt Rutan) by the deviation from the specifications.

Aren't you glad the FAA/PMA isn't deciding what you can/can't use to restore your Vette? :D

To what extent do the FAA/PMA decide at all if any in the case of "experimental catagory" aircraft? ((((No sarcasm........Genuine question))))

Makes you wonder where Rutan got HIS materials... ;)

 

D

Thank you for your intelligent reply to this thread.
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I am not a lawyer ---D--- but I believe that the difference between a "certified" aircraft and an "experimental" aircraft is that the "experimental builder/pilot" assumes all of the responsibility for aircraft design and testing. Therefore he has the sole responsibility for the materials and parts that he uses.

I bet your word and handshake are still worth something to you, Mike? Good. Me, too! :)

 

Many builders/pilots that install Home Depot hardware or use boat filler as epoxy or do any number of other stupid things (... flying on empty fuel tanks with a sticking fuel valve placed above their left shoulder, perhaps?) and end up killing themselves would probably agree with you, as well. However, their personal sense of responsibility and poor judgment usually dies with them... and the family members are left looking for a "good" lawyer. Someone ELSE obviously screwed up and is to blame. 'Tis the world we live in.

 

The responsibility of the designer (Nat/Burt/bede etc.) would probably be relieved (if there is any responsibility at all on them ala Burt Rutan) by the deviation from the specifications.

Rutan has successfully defended himself in court to that end and said he'd never settle out of court. He never has, to my knowledge. However, it forced him out of the "plans built" market because he couldn't afford to keep spending time/money sitting in a courtroom. The lawyers win again, and folks are left paralyzed by the fear of litigation. Very unfortunate.

 

To what extent do the FAA/PMA decide at all if any in the case of "experimental catagory" aircraft?

Your project isn't and aircraft until you get the little pink piece of paper (airworthiness inspection) from the local FSDO representative. So, the feds still have the final say.

 

Your airworthiness inspector (DAR) might not know ANYTHING about the aircraft you built, the materials required, or how you used them. If you use beer cooler foam, you'll probably get away with it ('til you go fly). I've personally heard a DAR say "You can strap and Evinrude to a barn door and go try to fly it for all I care... as long as you don't kill anyone but yourself!" Sorta scary. I've also heard about inspectors denying certificates on experimental aircraft because they didn't THINK the nav lights were up to snuff. ??? Equally scary, but it's the DAR's call.

 

If you use materials or techniques that are deemed unairworthy, you might have a hassle on your hands.

 

D

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Ok; So we have established many philisophical / legal point's.

 

I hope that this thread makes as much practical sense to y'all as it does to me. The revised title of this thread should be ;;;;

 

 

"Alternate economical sources/distrubutors for exact spec. materials".

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How they decided these materials was through an extensive process of material testing (this is one of my MANY jobs at work). You can test different material properties with very simple set-ups that will tell you the following and more:

 

Core shear, skin shear, core crushing, overall tensile strength, overall shear strength, modulus of elasticity, poisson's ratio, bending strength, as well as a lot of others.

 

However, these tests take time and a lot of patience and control. For one, you need to make sure each test sample is EXACTLY the same!! Two, each test must be run under the same conditions. Three, you need to know a little prob and stats to reduce the data into a workable allowable.

 

Overall, the tests can be very time consuming, but they will get you the comparison that you need... or you can just trust Rutan on his original design and stick as much to it as possible...

"Some men see things as they are and say why - I dream things that never were and say why not."

 

--George Bernard Shaw

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Alanon; Your insight into the process of testing materials is first hand. Thank you for sharing.

 

 

This thread began with the question "why do we need to ablolutely rely on Wicks and AS&S?". It evolved into the more concise on a shoestring topic question............."Where can we find alternate economical exact spec. materials?"

 

With that question in mind I am hoping that this thread can develop into something usefull.

............................Mike

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I can't say too much about ALL of the materials but I can speak about some of the bigger (in bulk size) things, like foam. Finding the exact material is essential. This takes research and a lot of it. The distributors of DOW foam will not sell to a consumer, only a wholesaler. In FL I had to show my retail merchant certificate to buy bulk foam from the dealer in Tampa. Hexcel with the proper coating is obtainable from other than AS&S and Wicks, but buying in bulk is the only way to get the lower price. If you want MGS epoxy, plan a trip to Ontario Canada or pay out the "wazoo". Or.....find an epoxy with the same properties as MGS that's cheaper. Some things could cost you more time than money, but since time = money you might want to reconsider spending too much time counting pennies.

 

On the other hand, proprietary fiberglass, foam, epoxy, wood and aircraft engines don't exist. (yet) Some other parts, like the metal parts necessary to finish the control system, may cost more time than money unless you have a machine shop at your disposal. The Cozy Girrrrls might be able to help you out.

 

Still:p , you can't build a safe airplane with sub-standard parts. Unsafe airplanes kill folks. They also make the rest of us look bad and may some day make the FAA think twice about letting us build and fly. So more is riding on this than mama's pocket book. There are many of us that are taking awhile to finish, don't mess it up for us! We'll run you till your ankles smoke, all the way from our nursing home! :D:mad:

Back to building... #618 Cozy MK IV

 

My Cozy web pages, courtesy: Rick Maddy... :cool: WN9G :rolleyes:

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  • 2 months later...

I'll see your evolution and raise you a

COLOR="GREEN"].."Where can we find alternate economical materials that meets or exceeds spec. at a lower price point?"[/color]:D

 

Alanon; Your insight into the process of testing materials is first hand. Thank you for sharing.

 

 

This thread began with the question "why do we need to ablolutely rely on Wicks and AS&S?". It evolved into the more concise on a shoestring topic question............."Where can we find alternate economical exact spec. materials?"

 

With that question in mind I am hoping that this thread can develop into something usefull.

............................Mike

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Don't forget that Wicks / AC sell the cozy material in two ways.

 

They sell a 2-set combo that has ALL the material, and they also sell individual chapter material kits (25 in all).

 

If you get the 2 set combo, you won't need to buy the chapter kits, and vice versa. Make sure you aren't combining the cost of both when pricing it.

 

I know you can save about $1000 if you alternate between AC Spruce and Wicks, buying the cheaper of each chapter kit (same materials, slightly different prices).

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  • 1 month later...

I have found a couple of ways to save a few bucks. One is that instead of aircraft spruce I used Doug Fir I gave up a little weight but doug fir is stronger than sitka spruce. I figure the weight difference is minimal. You have to find a good clean board with the right amount of rings per inch. I also found a place on North Carolina that sells bid fiberglass in 50" rolls They also sell uni a little cheaper there web site is. http://www.thayercraft.com/index.html

On metals I have spent a lot of time looking for other suppliers and acs is hard to beat for small lot orders. I have not spent a lot of time looking for aircraft grade hardware it is just easy to add it to a big order when I order epoxy or foam. I looked into using the dow corning billets for making docks and decided I would not save that much money by the time I cut it into the proper dimensions. I appreciate anyone who finds a cheaper place to get materials and lets us all know about it. That is how I found out about Thayercraft. Keep up the good ideas. STeve

Steve Harmon

Lovin Life in Idaho

Cozy IV Plans #1466 N232CZ

http://websites.expercraft.com/bigsteve/

Working on Chapter 19,21

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