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  #1  
Old 05-12-2018, 08:22 AM
didja didja is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Goodyear, Az
Posts: 21
Default Outsourcing fuel tank construction

Debating on whether or not I want to build my own fuel tank or have it outsourced. Anyone have a recommendation for a shop that will build fuel tanks in the Arizona area?

Trying to get a figure on costs and experiences with anyone that may have outsourced the fuel tank build.
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  #2  
Old 05-12-2018, 11:20 AM
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Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 1,540
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You could always ask a repeat builder to do it for you. Better yet, ask the repeat builder to be your supervisor and do it with his help. I offer that once you get into it the vail of mystery will be lifted and you will see it is similar to the repetitive work you did for the rest of the wing.

If you really hate the thought of building your tanks, I think you can just buy the tanks from Van's - but I'm guessing they might be pricey.

Carl
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  #3  
Old 05-12-2018, 12:36 PM
Steve Barnes Steve Barnes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 534
Default Carls right

The only thing that people are intimidated with is application if sealant and riveting it together.
My recommendation would be to do all the metal work and fitting it all together. Find a local builder to supervise and help with the final assembly and sealing it up.

What I did was bring in a experienced tank builder to help and advertise to local builders that we were going to have a tank assembly workshop. Three or four showed up to help and learn. Cost was approxamately $20 to $30 for beverages and snacks. Be sure not put beverages and snacks out till tank is assembled. (Too messy to eat and work with Proseal)

There was a professional tank builder in Calif (no longer in business). You provided the parts. He charged $1600 to 2100 for a set depending on the RV model.

Steve
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:03 PM
control control is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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What I hated about doing the tanks was the time pressure, the need to accept a not so good rivet and just get on with completing the session.

If I build a new plane, building the tanks will be the top priority to have outsourced. I rather paint the next plane myself than do another sets on tanks.
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  #5  
Old 05-12-2018, 01:41 PM
Ron B. Ron B. is offline
 
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Location: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
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Just tested a set of tanks today (not Van's) and they use pop rivets rather than solid rivets. With pop rivets you can hold onto the mandrel and not get your fingers full of Proseal, but I don't think it pulls the two parts as tights together. I also like to proseal over the bucked ends (inside the tank) and with pop style rivets the end is much longer making it more difficult.
Had three leaks today so I will have to work tomorrow to seal them up. On my previous two sets (Van's) I think I only had two small leaks out of four tanks. Could be just a short memory, it's been a while.
All in all , sealing up tanks is not as bad as some make it. Think out your steps. Don't do more than you can in one session. And take your time and keep things clean.
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  #6  
Old 05-12-2018, 01:49 PM
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Mike S Mike S is offline
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http://www.vansairforce.com/communit...ead.php?t=7602

Just in case you reconsider doing it yourself..........
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  #7  
Old 05-12-2018, 03:11 PM
didja didja is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Goodyear, Az
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Quote:
Originally Posted by control View Post
What I hated about doing the tanks was the time pressure, the need to accept a not so good rivet and just get on with completing the session.

If I build a new plane, building the tanks will be the top priority to have outsourced. I rather paint the next plane myself than do another sets on tanks.
This is what I hear quite a bit, and exactly why I am considering having them outsourced. I'm still on the fence. I think I will try to find some folks nearby and get some advice. Maybe it really is just the "sense of impending doom" feel and not as bad as it seems! (especially if its a few thousand to have it outsourced!)

I appreciate everyone's response. I also appreciate the link to the detailed write up thread regarding fuel tank construction!
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  #8  
Old 05-12-2018, 03:14 PM
Stockmanreef Stockmanreef is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Midland, mi
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I used the following method:

http://www.vansairforce.com/communit...+tank+building

In addition, I used a semco pneumatic glue gun to lay down the proseal, which really alleviates a lot of the mess. And stainless steel spatulas to spread once applied.

I really enjoyed building the tanks. My opinion about the build could change if they leak when filled with fuel, but they did pass the balloon test.
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  #9  
Old 05-12-2018, 05:07 PM
Tom023 Tom023 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Cypress, TX
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I must be in the minority but I didnít find the tanks to be all that bad. I used a Semco gun and had shop towels cut into one inch squares to wipe and discard as needed. I Riveted wet and countersunk the rear baffles as per the instructions. I recommend doing it yourself. I hated riveting the bottom wing skins more than building the tanks.
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  #10  
Old 05-12-2018, 05:28 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
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There are 3 main types of sealant that I used:

1. Van's type B sealant.

2. Access panel sealant for the hatches.

3. The thinner, lower-viscosity type A sealant to overlay the rivet heads and edges.

Skygeek had the last two.

These pictures show how to do it:



and



One mill is .001 inches, so 60 mills is .060 inches and 250 are .250 inches.

I used Popsicle sticks and the small cut squares of paper towel and a digital kitchen scale, reading in grams and tenths (just grams are probably good enough) for measuring. I let it cure before riveting it, and that left some clecos needing clean-up, no biggie.

It's not hard and if you liked playing in the mud when you were a child, you'll enjoy it. I kind of did.

Dave
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