n00bs Gonna Build a Carden

I have been planning this for a over a year. Lurking on The Flying Giants and other sites getting ideas and learning. Last week I moved out of my old 1 bedroom apartment into a new house which means I finally have space to start this project. I’ll be building a 35% Carden Extra 260. So far only the kit has been purchased but I have some clear ideas on how it will be built and whats going into it. This will be my IMAC machine for 08/09 and I’ll be starting in Sportsman.

So some background on my experience is in order. When I was 13 I built a 6 foot span Spectra motor glider that I never flew. Before that I was building stick and tissue free flight models. Then there was a long hiatus fro the hobby for high school and college. I finally learned to fly in March of ’06. More recently I built an O2 electric profile and I have designed and built several of my own foamies. I have never built a giant scale airplane. I have about 5 mins of stick time on other peoples giant scale airplanes (Air McNair’s 35% comp arf 330 & Dan Bierlys 40% Wild Hare extra 300). I have never worked with foam cores before or painted fiberglass or used a scroll saw. I have never even started a gas airplane engine. So I’m a Giants n00b and this thread is going to be from that perspective. Its probably going to go into more detail than most build threads out there because its all new to me. The build will be shown in all its ugly duckling stages and any “oops” moments will be posted here.

It was hard to choose which airplane to build. I picked the Carden because I really like the looks of the airplane over the other 260 kits out there. I would have prefered to build a 300 but at this time no 35% 300 kits are out here. I couldn’t imagine spending this amount of time on an airframe that I personally didn’t like the looks of. Its a personal choice and it has consequences. This is more involved than say a Dalton where everything is laser cut for you. I wont be cutting any corners, I want a light, straight, contest grade airplane. Building is a hobby and flying is a sport. I’m as much a fan of building as I am of flying so there was no question, I was going to build from sticks.

The first step for me is setting up a flat straight build table. In fact I need two tables, one for tools and one for the building/layup work. The tables are going to be built based on a design I found linked from FlyingGiants. The build table is long and narrow, topped with a solid core door. The workbench is topped with some 3′x4′ ply that come pre cut from the hardware store.

Building Tables

I found a door at the Home Depot for $42, solid core, 30×80. I went for the cheapest and narrowest door I could find. I rented the miter saw for the project and ended up needing it for two days to get finished. You kind of have to cut as you go as not everything is going to be cut exactly right. After the first table was finished I discovered that the saw wasn’t square, it probably had 1-2 degrees of bevel. Make sure you square your saw before you start. I got the work table and all the legs for the build table done in one day. I had to make a couple of extra trips out for 2×4′s. The second trip the wood I got was softer than the first batch and that just sucked. I ended up throwing away 3 pieces and going back to Home Depot for more wood. The design is really solid and the 33 inch hight is sort of magic. Its tall enough for standing and short enough to sit at.

IMG_0360 IMG_0364 First Table Finished Build Table
There is an associated build thread over on The Flying Giants and a flickr photo set to accompany this build. I will try and post about once a week with progress.



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