The Creative Homebuilder

Miscellaneous ideas.


Many of The Creative Homebuilder’s make-your-own tips are so simple that a single photo and a brief description are all that’s needed to explain the concept. This month we share a few of his more “compact” inventions and ideas.

Tubing for Wire Runs

Tenite butyrate tubing (right) is used for wire runs in the belly of the airplane, from the spar bulkhead back to the tail cone area. It is also used (in a smaller size) in the wings from root to tip. Because it’s clear, wire inspection is easy. It’s also rigid and the 0.032-inch wall thickness leaves a greater portion of the overall cross-sectional area usable for wires. Available in 6-foot lengths and diameters of inch and larger, it can be joined with make-your-own PVC couplings as shown on the left and center.

Backup Washers

Very nice backup washers for flathead screws are easily made by taking an appropriately sized blank and running it through the correctly sized dimple die. These washers may only be 0.005-0.008-inch thick, but they can help prevent fresh paint from being “twisted” out when installing screws the first time.

Die Holder

Shrink tubing provides an easy and inexpensive way to keep die halves together.

AN442 Rivets

The Creative Homebuilder hasn’t used AN470 universal head rivets (right) since the early 1980s. Instead, he substitutes AN442 rivets (left) wherever the universal head type are called for because of the convenience of squeezing them in hard-to-reach places. Unlike AN470 rivets, you don’t have to get the set exactly centered over the AN442s; it will not cause problems if the head happens to be close to an adjacent flange.

Safety Lanyards

This bucking bar and wrench are secured by safety lanyards. All that’s needed is a hole drilled through the tool, parachute (or similar) cord threaded through it, and a loop with a slip knot to secure to the wrist while using the tool.

Rolling Wing Stands

These two make-your-own rolling wing stands are used for storage and painting. Each pivot point is at the approximate neutral axis, preventing significant cantilever load when the wings are rotated and minimizing spar “twist.”

Tire Inflator

This make-your-own tire inflator is used to fill tires through wheel pants. The Creative Homebuilder modified an inline inflator (Milton bayonet style) for a couple of bucks, substituting a 1/8-inch pipe nipple for the original flexible hose. As he already had the inflator, the cost was much less expensive than the pre-made version available from Cleaveland Aircraft Tool.

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