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Old 02-24-2017, 08:50 AM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,640

My dad taught me a really useful trick when I worked for him in his furniture manufacturing business. When you are cutting material off something, make your line, then put a little X on the side of the part that will become scrap, or, in the case of woodworking, the side of the line where the saw kerf will go. Man, has that little tip saved me a LOT of goofs over the years.

Then again, there are the times when I have cut parts too small, more than once... Sometimes I am amazed by how dumb I can be. That having been said, my scrap pile is fairly small, but I always use my scrap pile as the source of aluminum for other, smaller parts. Waste not, want not!
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Old 02-24-2017, 08:50 AM
Bill Dicus Bill Dicus is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Shorewood, WI (Milwaukee area)
Posts: 1,066
Unhappy Mistakes

You mean somebody else back riveted without the ribs in place? That's hard to believe! Sure is deflating, especially after sitting all those rivets so perfectly...
Bill Dicus
Shorewood (Milwaukee) Wisconsin
RV-8 N9669D Flying 12/4/14!
Flying Pitts S-2A, Piper Lance
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:43 AM
Wunderon's Avatar
Wunderon Wunderon is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Seattle (Edmonds) and Iowa
Posts: 107

I try to listen to the voice in my head, which says "this is probably right."

If I hear that, I try to stop and come back later. A few minutes or overnight can make a world of difference.

What I really hate is when I'm starting to assemble something I built months before and ... "ahhh, it's backwards, @&#%="
Dave Grimmer
RV8 firewall forward
EAA 84
paid 2018
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:44 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,429

I was feeling bad about ruining yet another part and then a guy at the airport said that when he finished his RV, he took his scrap to the scrap yard and got $136 for it.

My current scrap pile includes, among other things, two fuel tanks, an entire horizontal stabilizer and an elevator. Like I said, "among other things."

RV-3B now on the fuselage (and I really, truly, only want to build one of those.)

Last edited by David Paule : 02-24-2017 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 02-24-2017, 10:17 AM
Snoho3 Snoho3 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Snohomish, WA
Posts: 74

Well this is an encouraging thread. I've certainly made my share of dumb mistakes, glad I'm not alone.

My .02$ - I try to always read ahead in the plans so I understand the entire process for a given part. Common sense, I know. But it seems I get into the most trouble when I progress with a part too far and start bumping up to the limits of my understanding. I find I have to mentally stay at least several steps ahead.

I'm definitely not a perfectionist, but I'm adequate. Best advice I've gotten was to 'build on'.

RV-9A - Tail, wings complete
QB Fuse complete
Finish Kit in work
2018 dues gladly paid
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Old 02-24-2017, 10:25 AM
CubedRoot's Avatar
CubedRoot CubedRoot is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Ooltewah, TN.
Posts: 530

Hey Roy, I am a new builder too, working on the tail kit. I feel your pain brother! I have messed up some aluminum parts from not paying attention to their orientation, maybe because I was tired at the time.

Here's some suggestions that may help.

1. Cleco'ing and assembling parts is non-destructive. Do this part and then double check everything is lining up, and matching up with the plans. Its fun and doesn't ruin parts.

2. Before doing any "destructive" work (like drilling, cutting, or riveting), I will cleco the parts together, and COMPLETELY look over the section and match it up with the plans, and even measure a few spots to make sure I have it assembled correctly. Even though the plans are not drawn at scale in many spots, the number of rivet holes their orientation and part layout are spot on. Tooling holes are also shown on the plans, so align them on your parts with the plans as well. They can make finding orientation really simple.

3. Read the plans and study the work before even going into your shop. Try to visualize what will need to be done and how it fits together and why.

You'll get better as you build, and with experience you end up making better and better "product" as your output. It sucks the first few pieces you build, but you do learn and get better as your skill increases.

Stay with it man! You'll be making high quality work in no time.
Lynn Dixon
RV-7 Slider -
Tail kit Completed - March 2017
Wing Kit Started - June 2017
My Build Log:

VAF Donation paid for 2017
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Old 02-24-2017, 10:27 AM
MIKE JG MIKE JG is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 29

Winston Churchill has a famous quote that says something like:

"Success is defined as the ability to go from one failure to the next without losing your enthusiasm."

Keep plugging away. The mistakes will get less expensive.
-Mike G
Northeast Ohio
Future RV8 Builder (I hope!)
VAF Dues Paid 2017
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Old 02-24-2017, 10:32 AM
airguy's Avatar
airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 4,109

Originally Posted by Wunderon View Post
I try to listen to the voice in my head, which says "this is probably right."

If I hear that, I try to stop and come back later. A few minutes or overnight can make a world of difference.

What I really hate is when I'm starting to assemble something I built months before and ... "ahhh, it's backwards, @&#%="
A while back someone was talking about working tired, past the point where you should quit. I did that more than once, and on one occasion I managed to rivet the nutplates for the fuel tank access plate on the wrong side. I realized what I'd done and just went to bed...
Greg Niehues - VAF 2018 dues paid
Garden City, TX
N16GN flying!
Built an off-plan 9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
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Old 02-24-2017, 10:44 AM
sblack sblack is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Montreal
Posts: 1,245

Always always always look at what is underneath before you drill a hole. Make sure it isn't a rib (unless it is supposed to be), a wire, a tube, a longeron (unless it is supposed to be), the engine, a skin (unless etc) or your finger or your helper's face.

Put a blanket on top of any skin over which you are handling a bucking bar.

When you f-up, don't panic. Work the problem. Stay calm.

When you do something that is so stupid you can't believe you did it, and you want to take a ball peen hammer to the entire project, that means it is time to go to bed.

Of course none of these things have ever happened to me. Nope.
Scott Black
RV 4, with an engine...and other stuff
VAF dues 2016
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Old 02-24-2017, 10:48 AM
RV7ForMe RV7ForMe is offline
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Europe
Posts: 344
Default Hang in there!

Mistakes just happen. I am pretty sure everyone makes some. Just work really slow and every time I "think" things are going so well. I drop everything and go mistake is just around the corner

Most of us are doing every one of these tasks for the first time. We will get better with practice.

I make an effort to fully understand why we make the cuts we do before doing them. I did have to learn that the hard way as well!

Take a deep breath and just keep doing what you are doing. Once things come together its a real great feeling of accomplishment.
VAF dues paid until 05/2018
RV7 - Empennage 95% done
RV7 - Wings Started...
Cessna Rocket 210HP - Best dang 172 Ever made! (sold)
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