The Months Go By So Fast

Why do you publish and send out the magazine so many months ahead? I think I just received my April issue. It may have been the March-we are just into February. You are the only magazine that I receive that does this. Not that it really matters because I love this thing anyway. Keep up the good work!

John D. Patten

Way back when, just after the earth cooled, someone in publishing decided it would be great to get a head start on the competition by moving the issue date well ahead of the actual on-sale date. That curious tradition continues.-Ed.

That Bit About Routing

I have been enjoying and learning from your Home Machinist articles. Your article in the March issue suggests several questions about cutting aluminum with a router. Were you using an actual router bit, perhaps with carbide cutters? Did the cutter have a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch shaft? I would not think that a cutter with a 1/2-inch shaft could “deflect.” Perhaps if the cutout were rough-cut with a jigsaw and then cleaned up with the router, the results would be better?

I was looking at the Grizzly Tool web site, and they have inexpensive bench top mills and lathes that start at about $600. Do you have any experience with these low-end tools? I realize these tools will not be the equal of a Bridgeport, but they may suffice for the home machinist, and they look more usable to me than the combo machines.

Buck Postlewait

Bob Fritz responds: “In one of the first articles I did I reviewed several of the $600 machines and found them to be simply not up to speed; too loose for accuracy and too small for versatility. Ive a friend with one and, although hes built three aircraft with it, he adamantly says he would not recommend it. Pay twice as much and get three times the machine is how he put it. Im not overly familiar with the Grizzly stuff, but another reader wrote to recommend them; the G1006 mill and the G9972Z lathe were his choice primarily because of the versatility compared to a three-in-one. And I have to agree; separate machines do make the work easier. As to cutting with a router bit, yes, its a plain old two-flute bit. However, I just received another letter discussing the same thing, but proposing the use of a spiral-cut bit. Heck of a good idea. I had very good results cutting the skin for an RV-6, but lousy performance on thicker material. Add in your suggesting that a 1/2-inch shaft might help and Im sure it can be done on even the panel-thick material.”

From the Middle of Nowhere

Help, I live in the middle of nowhere, Clovis, New Mexico, and am fairly computer literate. The combination machines I see can be equipped with CNC. A flat cutting machine such as www.torchmate.com is CNC. Im having trouble getting started in the first grade understanding G-Code, etc. The community college is out because they don’t offer any classes even close. Texas Tech is 100 miles away. Help!

David Ellis

Bob Fritz responds: “I live up in the mountains of Northern California where the nearest class Im interested in is an hour each way on a one-lane mountain road. But thats what the Internet is for. Try going to www.cnczone.com. Theyve a good community of them young whipper-snappers (I think they’re called geeks now) who can help. Those guys are always rattling on about building their own machine out of sticks and rocks. However, it seems to me that the software sold with the CNC hardware usually comes with a converter; you draw your gadget using a program that generates a dxf type file and send it to the converter; the converter, well, converts it to something the stepper motors understand.”

Gotcha Covered

I have been a KITPLANES subscriber and advertiser for many years, and your publication is an inspiration to us all. I usually read your magazine front to back as soon as it arrives, especially “Light Stuff” by Dave Martin. In the February 2008 issue, he talks about the Lazair, and I noticed in particular that he mentions that the covering materials may be difficult to obtain. It just so happens that the designer, Dale Kramer, spent some time at American Aerolites, and therefore the Falcon wing is a close derivative of the Lazair wing, covering and all. Falcons have not been in production since the mid-1980s, but I have been supporting them since 1990, and one of my kits is the Tedlar covering kit, complete with all tapes, even a video. In fact, I would guess that I sell nearly as many kits to Lazair owners as Falcon owners. Check out my site at www.aerofalcon.com.

Mike Fithian

We Should Have Made More Noise…

I am puzzled and disappointed as to the choice of airplanes in which to test the LightSpeed Zulu headset: a Lancair IV and Columbia 400. Author Jack Cowell has basically chosen two rather quiet planes to begin with. Jack might as well have tested this headset in a Gulfstream IV. The bottom line: Its still hard to tell whether this headset is going to be beneficial in my really noisy RV-7A.

I have two Bose headsets in my RV. One is the Bose X and the other is a 15- year-old Bose ANR headset. I use the old headset because it has much better passive attenuation compared to the expensive Bose X. So overall, it provides better noise attenuation. The Bose X gets overwhelmed passively from my 95 db cockpit. Jack missed an opportunity to bring real-world testing to real-world KITPLANES subscribers.

Paul Boyce


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