Sometimes the best solutions for our problems are found in the simplest of tools. One challenge we face as our kit aircraft progresses in size is how to keep it portable. The fuselage, in particular, will grow in size and weight as we near completion. For many builders, the space we have available at home is rather limited, and there may be a need to regularly move or reposition the project out of the way when not actively working on it. Whether it shares a hangar, garage, or workshop area at home, it’s nice to tuck the larger aircraft components (fuselage, wings) out of the way and into a corner when not building. Keeping the peace with other family members and projects competing for limited shop space is always a good strategy.
The miniature furniture dolly (available from retailers like Harbor Freight and Amazon.com) that measures 18×12 inches and costs about $15 provides an almost perfect solution to our aircraft kit mobility challenges. For the fuselage with the landing gear installed, typical wheels and tires fit very securely between the dolly rungs. By placing a dolly under all three wheels (tri-gear or taildragger), you now have the unique ability to move the aircraft in all directions. My favorite direction is sideways—moving it against the wall and out of the way when not working on it. Moving your project out of a storage corner and into the open area when actively working on it is something you could never do if the aircraft had its wheels on the floor. It may seem like I am making a big deal out of nothing. But when you possess the ability to spin your aircraft from end to end effortlessly with the aid of these dollies, you can now position your work for best access while building.
If your fuselage is not yet on its main gear, you can still use these dollies to your advantage by placing several in key positions underneath to maintain its balance. Your project is kept off the floor and is simple to move as needed. Another common place to find these dollies is underneath the large wooden crate that many kits are shipped in. We all love to keep that crate for storage (and it might also double as a workbench) as we build. While the crate is impossible to move when planted on the floor, a set of dollies at each corner allows a single person to roll that crate to any location in the shop. The same goes for the engine—whether it is in a crate or not. A larger version of the dolly can provide a wonderful platform for an engine that can now be easily rolled across the floor by one person. And being just inches above the floor, it is safe from accidental damage as it doesn’t have far to fall.
These dollies are easy to imagine as being quite helpful in the shop. But, it is only after acquiring a few and putting them to actual use that you realize you went way too long without using them. I guarantee you will not be disappointed at this inexpensive way to make your shop space grow by simply repositioning those big aircraft components as needed.