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Build Time. How long?

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Old 06-14-2004, 02:00 PM
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Drexus
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Default Build Time. How long?

Can anyone tell me how long they expect to spend building an advanced trainer?
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Old 06-14-2004, 04:47 PM
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bryris
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Depends on your attention to detail, your experience level, the demands of each particular kit, if you run into problems, how long new parts take to arrive, etc.

Ballpark figure is probably about 2 or 3 months, working about an hour or two a night. But if you are experienced, you've hit many of the potential problems before, this can be cut down for just a couple of weeks.
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Old 06-14-2004, 05:16 PM
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Drexus
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

My reference was in peoples experience. Nobody is at the same skill level as some people who have been building for 10 years. But the question is more general, and lies mostly on everyones ball-park answer. "a couple months" or "about 3 weeks" are the kind of things I hear.

But in what reference? If I said I spend all winter building a kit. Then I would question the builder's skill level. If it wasn't a kit, but a scratch build, then that is different.

I guess I'm just looking for what people are expecting to dedicate their time towards. Do people bring home a 1/5 Piper Cub and expect to spend all winter on it? or just a few weeks.
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Old 06-14-2004, 05:25 PM
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Mike in DC
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Even with the clarification, I'm not sure what you are asking. A guy that spends all winter (which is a different length depending on where you live) might just be a real fanatic about his covering job.

Anyway, I'd guess an advanced trainer kit would take about 60 hours to build. Depending on how many hours you work a day, do the math.
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Old 06-14-2004, 05:34 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Ok. How about if I said an 85" Senior trainer with fully sheeted wings takes me 12 hours to get it on the field from the box.
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Old 06-14-2004, 05:54 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Drexus there are just too many variables in your question, it is a bit like "how long is a piece of string"?

I have just finished a Goldberg Super Chipmunk which took me six months working a few hours each weekend. My Dynaflite PT19 took eighteen months and a TF Contender took three weeks (I had a week of leave in this period when I was able to work each day.

I am also able to scratch build a variety of profile fun flys in less than a month working on weekends.

In may case the key elements that effect building time are the amount of my time available to build and how fussy I am with the covering/painting. I find that the building is the quick part, the covering and colour choice and application take bulk of the time.

The important thing for me is the enjoyment and strees relief, not the time involved.

Cheers,

Colin
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Old 06-14-2004, 06:18 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

The answer will vary tremendously depending on the kit. I have a Top Flight Cessna 182 Skylane kit. It has an 81" span and is fully sheeted, wings and fuse. It's listed as an "Imtermediate" kit.

I'm a decent enough builder with at least average skills and I also pay attention to making things right. I have 250 hours into the build and am at the point where I can start the plastic parts, then begin covering. I'm anticipating at least another 50 hours to complete it.

I kept track of the time it took to complete every step along the way, so that 250 is accurate.

I built a Herr Engineering Cub with a 40 something inch span and finished it, including the covering and some nice detailing, in under 60 hours.

Do I believe that any normal individual could completely build, cover, install engine and radio gear in an 85" span plane, from a standard kit, in 12 hours? Absolutely friggin' not. If you're a master builder with 30 or 40 kits under your belt you MIGHT get the kit framed up in 12 to 20 hours, but not covered and ready to fly.

My opinion of course.
Dennis-
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:38 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Depending on the amount of time you have to build, and your experience, it can take "All Winter" or a few days.

I am a VERY experienced builder. One time I took a week off when my (Then 12 yr old) son was visiting for a week.

It was a Goldberg Eagle II which is a relatively easy kit to build.

We opened the box on Saturday morning, and flew it the following Friday. That was working on it for about 12 hours per day. So you're looking at 72 hrs for an easy kit by a very experienced builder with a helper.

But usually, a Christmas present is ready to fly sometime in March or April
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Old 06-14-2004, 09:14 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

You right, now that I look at my notes, it took me 8 hours to build. 4 hours to cover (without custom lettering), 3 hours to screw in the servos with the engine.

It's not a fair comparison I've built it 9 times now.

Look at it in my perspective. You open up a magazine off the shelf and everything is an ARF. People are getting lazier and more impatient. So we are trying to answer that demand by designing a self jigging kit that you build off a bench vice.

So please understand my question. For those who walk into a hobby shop and see an ARF, they see a lot of work done. They want to build a kit, but they either don't have the time or do not posses the ability to model very well anymore.

So, with that understanding. Will a kit that builds from box to flying in one weekend on the mark to compete? Maybe I should have asked how much time do people expect to save when buying an ARF.
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Old 06-14-2004, 09:16 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

"We opened the box on Saturday morning, and flew it the following Friday. That was working on it for about 12 hours per day. So you're looking at 72 hrs for an easy kit by a very experienced builder with a helper."

You see, that's too much time from our perspective. we would aim to cut that to a third.
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Old 06-14-2004, 09:21 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Hi Ken,

Visited your web site and read your last post and now I think I understand the nature of your question. Unfortunately the answers will be as diverse as the respondents.

I don't generally buy ARFs as I get almost as much enjoyment from building as I do from flying and building isn't reliant on weather et al.

Do I think you will wean time poor flyers from ARFs to kits? In some cases you may, but........ the marketing should sell the sizzle (the enjoyment of building) rather than the stake (the model).

Good Luck, the trainer looks the goods.

Cheers,

Colin
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Old 06-14-2004, 10:21 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

You could just time the movements it takes without thinking about it. Sorta a stop watch thing. They you could figure out how fast a robot could do it. Course the robot don't care if something doesn't match quite right. Hey that's an ARF builder.. Poor guys any ways..
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Old 06-15-2004, 06:03 AM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Ken,
The amount of time it takes me to build a kit depends on the complexity of the kit, the amount of detail I want to put into it, etc, etc, but mostly it depends on how much time I have to put into it.
Case in point: I started a BUSA Nieuport 28 in late October last year. It's ready to cover now. It's not that I'm so slow, it's just that there have been times when it has sat for 2 weeks or so without being touched because of overtime at work (I have to pay for this hobby somehow!), vacation trips, obligations to family, church and charitable organizations, flying days, folk festivals, cross country skiing and spending time with my ladyfriend who's busier that I am. It's a good thing I don't play golf or I'd never get a plane in the air!
As with a few others who have replied, ARFs are not favored, because I enjoy building as much as flying. The only thing better than seeing a plane you've built yourself fly, is to help a kid build one and watch his/her face when it takes off.

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Old 06-15-2004, 07:29 AM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Ken, it seems to me that you're trying to quantify this from a management perspective. That's okay if it is your desire, but to most of us this is a hobby, that we do in our leisure time for enjoyment.

For instance, my Aussie "brother" above built his Contender in three weeks. I took eight months to finish mine. I lost it soon after to an incredibly bizarre set of circumstances. It is a wonderful flying model, but I'll not likely build another one anytime soon. The wood was crap, and the thought of spending another week or more getting that chin scoop just right...

The complexity doesn't scare me; I've got a Sig Skybolt up next that is very complex, and I expect to take a full year, at least, to complete it. I just work slowly; an hour here, two hours there, sometimes a full week-end day when the weather is bad. I spent almost two hours last night installing the nose steering pushrod guide tube in the Sig Kougar I'm working on right now.

I have ARFs; to me, they are something one throws together to have something to fly, while he works on his current balsa kit of choice; at a leisurely (my buddies say glacial) pace, of course....

.
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Old 06-15-2004, 08:56 AM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

ORIGINAL: Steve Campbell



I have ARFs; to me, they are something one throws together to have something to fly, while he works on his current balsa kit of choice; at a leisurely (my buddies say glacial) pace, of course....

.
That's exactly what I do. I am just as much a flyer as a builder, but as a builder I am a beginner in the kit area. I have posted this on other threads. I am "just about finished" with my Something Extra which I have been building for about 14 months now. Now some might say that's ridiculous and maybe it is, but for me, I do other things. Very seldom, if at all, do I spend more than 6-7 hours in the shop. Mostly it is an hour here, an hour there. I do enjoy building a kit, but if that's all I used to get in the air, I wouldn't have made my first flight yet. I am not out to set any records anyway, I am just trying to have fun. If I get to the point where I am frustrated, I put the kit away and work on other things. I spent 20 frustrating years in another hobby (golf) and learned that a hobby should not be frustrating, it should be fun. At this point, I am having fun.
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Old 06-15-2004, 12:14 PM
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Mike in DC
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

ORIGINAL: Drexus
So, with that understanding. Will a kit that builds from box to flying in one weekend on the mark to compete? Maybe I should have asked how much time do people expect to save when buying an ARF.
I'm still confused as to what you are asking. What makes what you are selling "a kit"? This reminds me of a teen who brought his new ARF for show-and-tell at the club. He called it a "kit", which quite a few of the old timers took offense to. But to the teen, since he had to put quite a few hours into putting it together, it was a "kit".

Your question is hard to answer, because there are two answers: 1) It's not about time, 2) it's all about time.

It's not about time (it's about affluence): People don't buy ARFs to save building time, they buy ARFs because they don't LIKE to build, and they can afford to pay someone else to build. They just aren't builders. They're not handy, they aren't particularly good at step-by-step instructions, they don't have tools, they don't hang shelves, they don't change their own oil, and they pay Home Depot $10 to assemble the barbeque. If they are forced to do something with their hands, they make mistakes, they build two left wings, they cross-thread the oil drain plug, and pretty much regret ever trying what they started. This group really doesn't even like ARFs, and the industry is going to move pretty soon to RTFs. Again, it's not about time, it's about being able to put the thing together with just a screwdriver, and not to have to mess around with a lot of tools and adhesives. Conversely, the guys that like to build find building to be fun, and therefore aren't particularly interested in having less fun with a kit that takes less time to build.

It is about time: This argument goes something like this: Even builders have a very personal tedium limit. For example, I like to build, but I'll never be into scale. I like very simple planes that are easy to cover. I hate sanding, and usually don't if the plane doesn't need it to fly. I'm really pleased that kit designers are continually making kits easier to build by designing interlocking parts, and designs that allow you to assemble large sections, then glue everything at once. I have all the tools I'll ever need, but that doesn't mean I like tedious, repetitive manual labor. Before I buy a kit, I read the manual, and if it looks like hundreds of hours, I don't buy.

Putting these two together, I'm not sure where you'd fit in. By the first argument, you're in a dwindling market. By the second argument, you can only capture that part of the market that finds easy kits a bit too tedious, and would move to a slightly less time consuming kit. Advertising the time savings won't work, because the buyer could go straight to ARF or RTF. So, you'd have to advertise the features that make kits appealing: the ability to customize, the joy of building with your own hands, the joy of acquiring and using cool tools. But a lot of the guys that have those values would find it less satisfying if the kit only took a dozen hours to build. (I know scale guys that think nothing of a dozen hours to build a jig that they then use to build some part.)

As an example of a kit that doesn't take much time, I'd offer the U.S. Aircore. It's a kit, in that it takes tools, and you can easily screw it up, and you have to follow instructions, but it probably can be built by a novice in under 20 hours. I don't know for sure, but I would guess they are in a dwindling market as well. Part of that might be the plane, but the plane hasn't changed in the last 5 years (at least). The fact that they haven't in any way upgraded the kit or the manual would indicate to me that Great Planes does not see a bright future for it.

You will want to note the thread in the Clubhouse "Hobbico has nerve calling this a RTF". A guy bought an RTF, and is objecting because the box said it could be assembled in 20 minutes, where in reality, it took him a couple of hours. Some may question his belief that this is false advertising, but you should understand the trend and how it effects your business plan.

But far be it from me to rain on the parade of an enthusiastic entreprenure. Show us what you got! Let Mr. Market decide!
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Old 06-15-2004, 01:20 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Mike, there shouldn't be any confusion at this point.

I belong to a club where a lot of people fly large easy flying planes. And every time they prang it up, they curse and swear. They don't laugh and smile at the amount of work it will take to rebuild it, or build a new one.

Eventually you get some individuals who have folded a few planes, don't fix them, but just pull out some other plane. After a while, they run out of planes. One guy at our club has about a week left in completing his Telemaster. He started in the beginning of January. Right now he just comes out to the field to talk with the guys. He has nothing to fly. I can tell you what kind of words he is using to describe his experience with that kit, but I bet most people can fill in that blank.

Most people in our company are very seasoned. In fact, our president has been building and flying since 1955. Have a look at the demographics of modeler's today, and tell me if that market is shrinking with the baby-boomers just starting to retire.

We do not design kits to put you in a dark basement for 6 months. We can put you at the field next week.
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Old 06-15-2004, 01:31 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Sounds great.

Can you do a big Twin Otter?

If not a scale twin, then a big sport twin inspired by the otter or the like.
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Old 06-15-2004, 01:35 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

We're doing better then that. Shhhhh.... be patient.
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Old 06-15-2004, 01:36 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Ken, I see a definite market for an easy to build kit. IE the ARF flier, who wants to try his hand at building.

That is one area that is seriously lacking in theis sport. The problem is: Once a reletively new flier is ready to try a kit, their abilities are above an advanced trainer, and most kits beyond that are too complicated for a new builder's abilities.

If your tri-pacer is as easy to build as the T_REX claims to be, that could be one posibility, but the Tri Pacer is one of those planes with limited appeal.

I think you may find great sucess if you can come up with an advanced flier (Not unlike a KAOS or other entry-level pattern plane and/or a non-profile 3-D plane) That could be quickly and easily built by someone with only ARF experience.

As they say "They would beat a path to your door"
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Old 06-15-2004, 01:45 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

There are 6 kits in development this summer. Some will make it to market by April, some later. There is plenty on the drawing board. But if you feel there is a kit that has not been done, and you would like to recommend it, our president loves to hear all about it.
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Old 06-15-2004, 01:54 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

And another thing....

I'd like you to do a big 2M all wood pattern plane. Or at least a 120. Doesn't have to be a great fantastic thing. Just big and under 11 lbs. If you can't get a 2M plane under 11lb then shrink it until you can. No big design issues here. All patterns planes are nearly the same. Just take a Tracer (discontinued by GP) and scale it. Fine by me.

It can be a tad expensive. Just not crazy like most large pattern planes. And a long delivery lead time is okay too... since there probably won't be much business sense in keeping a bunch in stock.

You guys sound like you have good plan. Don't listen to too much feedback. It will pollute your mind and you won't end up with anything unique.

p.s. I'd expect to build an Advanced Trainer in about two weeks of evenings given the expectations you've set.
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Old 06-15-2004, 02:00 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

Well, I don't know what you've got up your sleeve, but you've piqued my curiosity.

And if you want cold hard examples, I would say a few of the Ol' Standards: Extra - Edge - Ultimate etc. (Or your own version of something similar)

Since these are so popular, someone who wants to build for the first time would be able to have something they can really enjoy once it's built (Even if they spend all winter - at least they didn't spend half their time undoing and redoing mistakes)
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Old 06-15-2004, 06:56 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

I have always thought that you could back off the ARF concept just a little. How about ARF's that are ready to cover. Yes, I know they exist, but just think about it. Something Extra's, Nextstars, Ultra Stick 60's, etc. being able to be bought as an ARF with your choice of covering on them. That way a person could chose one of the hundreds of planes available on the market in either a covered or ready to cover ARF. Or if they want the total experience, then go for the kit and put it all together. And with an ARF that is ready to cover, you have the ability to go over the structural components and make modifications BEFORE you start covering it up.
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Old 06-15-2004, 08:41 PM
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Default RE: Build Time. How long?

I've read your posts and looked at your website. I see potential in what the company you are with are doing. Reducing the time and skill needed to build a kit should garner some following. However, I found your approach to introducing your concepts in this post to be somewhat offensive. First you post the question 'how long to build a kit', and then insult builders who, due to their skill level, attention to detail, desire for a particular plane, or whatever, take longer that the 'three days to build' you promote for your products.

The technical aspects for your product concept looks good. Too bad I don't feel the same as your marketing and sales skills!

Scott Ramos
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