Jump to content

Kit builders- how do you maintain your enthusiasm?


Recommended Posts

For one reason or another, I've become exceptionally uninterested in building my kit. The only reason to finish it is because it's worth bugger all unbuilt. But even knowing that not building it means maybe 45k down the hole, and building it means getting SOME of my money back I find it hard to be motivated. I guess it's the difference between the chance of making 20k, or the possibility of losing the same amount. That is, if I had the chance to make 20k from some enterprise, I would proceed with much enthusiasm. That feels different to trying to cut my losses.

 

So what do other kit builders do to keep going?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 66
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Something like 18months into my build, I lost the necessary oomph. There were a few other things going on, nothing super serious, but I wasn't focusing and I was making mistakes and having to go back, and not enjoying it.

Eventually I just shut the shed and left it for maybe 10months. Until I felt ready to carry on.

When I did, I realised how far I had come, and how close I was to finishing the hull. From there it was pretty easy to keep going steadily. Along the way I had always done as much as I could to complete the assemblies I was working on. There was the temptation sometimes to leave the difficult or challenging bits, but I really didn't want to get to the end with a list of tough stuff to revisit. I think that worked well for me. And I also learned to stop trying to incorporate additions and improvements: as another builder recently said, every one of those is a detour that sometimes lasts weeks. In the end I just wanted the job done so I could go flying.

 

What are you building, Danny, and where are you up to?

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

We can always hit the wall, also occurs in boat building. My method / tip is just push picking of one task at a time. Every little bit is a step towards completion.before you know it it will be finished. If you stall at a task, suspend that bit and start another bit then come back to it. I stalled, bogged in a couple of areas, I would then stop and start next day or after a shout break onto another section, gain satisfaction with achieving that completion and then get back to were I stalled. Need to change focal and maintain momention, all be it slow. Slow is positive. Apply same outlook and view to all big jobs, got to discard the reoccurring thought it's too big or too hard to proceed. Post an image of where you are at. Cheers. Mate, no shame in hitting the wall.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Machtuk

Me takes me hat off to you guys who build from scratch? I always wanted to but life got in the way the years just flew by so I bought my plane and bypassed all the hassles?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Was 11 years building, testing phase now, I never looked at the kit as having a value, put the cost down as like tuition fees, that way there is no financial pressure to finish, I will never sell my plane complete either, I learnt lots during the build. So there are some compromises built into it. Its safe, a bit heavy but not really upto some other peoples “finish” expectations so may part it out to help build next one if I ever get bored with it.

about half my build time was building an auto conversion engine, silly idea for first build. But I do now have an aircraft that owes me $0. And is quite a bit of fun to fly now I sorted all the overtemp issues.

Sometimes during the build I would not go near the it for months, just reckon if your heads not in the right space, better off doing something else for awhile. Reckon If you only planning to finish it to recoupe losses, better off quitting it now and let someone else finish it as they wish, you cannot really sell for more than parts value until all the flight testing is complete, I reckon this part is harder to get done than everything before.

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless you do a super job of it a homebuilt projects value is hard to establish. If you want out the sooner the better. The low $AUD helps keep some value in your kit.(ln Australia). Someone else might want a way to spend their time when you can't fly much. Nev

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Break it down into manageable sections (rudder, tail, HS, elevator, rear fuse, each wing) etc.

 

That way you're not building a plane, you're building a component, which happens a lot quicker. You get to see progress on your component on a daily/ weekly basis.

 

After a while your components start to pile up and you realise you've got a plane just needing assembly.

  • Like 3
  • Helpful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Break it down into manageable sections (rudder, tail, HS, elevator, rear fuse, each wing) etc.

 

That way you're not building a plane, you're building a component, which happens a lot quicker. You get to see progress on your component on a daily/ weekly basis.

 

After a while your components start to pile up and you realise you've got a plane just needing assembly.

 

That's when there are enough parts in the kit to build each component :D

 

@IBob my ennui is such that I'm not even sure what I'm working on right now :D. I think it's the flaps. Or ailerons. I guess it'll become clear when I try and fit them to the wing!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Building it on your own? No one to come around to give you a hand? No one to come around ostensibly to look or help, but ends up drinking your grog and talking bull? The other half resenting the time you are away? These affect every bloke who sets out to make something that has no use to anyone else or does not generate cash.

 

It's just that you are in a blue funk. Go find someone who has, or is, building one too. Just looking at someone else's handiwork can be a stimulus. And you can be the guy who drinks the grog and talks bull.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Danny

 

This happens to everyone at some stage when building. I am always doing too many things at once. I have usually about 4 to 10 projects going at once so I tend to get a lot of variety so nothing gets boring.

My projects are similar but different. I do design and development electronics as a day job but also do that at home for hobby and also for the aircraft. I like working with my hands and keeping my brain active. I find when I have to help out with the guys in production at work it is terrible and bores me sh#tless. I cant sit there all day doing the same thing over and over my mind isnt built that way. There was a time when I first built The Girlfriend that nearly broke me and that was making the mistake of using a 2 pack undercoat..I spent about 3 weeks sanding that aircraft...I was so over it I had to have a small break after I painted it.

 

As I said I do many things..making stuff for Rotax engines...doing CNC stuff..Driving 300km every 4 to 5 weeks for 3 days up to my farm to slash and get all sorts of jobs up there done and of course total remaking and rebuilding of a wrecked Sav I bought which turned out to be a far larger job than I anticipated. I am still working on Mabel and since October I have had a brand new Rans S-21 kit sitting packed away in my build shop that looks at me every time I go in there to work on Mabel. But I have to get Mabel to a point where she can be all painted and moved to the hangar for final assembly..then I can start the S-21 here at night and continue with Mabel down at the hangar by day. Everyone has motivation issues when building because no matter what aircraft you build they are usually a minimum of 300 hrs to build and when your only doing a couple of hours at a time it takes a long time. The Girlfriend took 12 months and that was working about 3 hrs most nights and pretty much every day on the weekends...Mabel has taken 3 years so far but I did have a big break to get a house built for the grand daughter and a few other things.

 

Probably the best advice I can give you is agree with what Marty said...break the project into sections and try to spend an hour or so most nights after tea at night then go inside for domestic comfort with the family. Just do it bit by bit and you will be surprised how much you actually do get done. I have built my aircraft like this and except for one or 2 hiccups generally the system works. I am putting the last wing together now for Mabel the tail feathers and fuselage are all basically finished..just waiting on a dash frame to be molded then I can pretty much finish the fuselage ready to paint and then the rest of her will be painted. But attacking it bit by bit is the best way to do it as eventually you eat that apple and get the next one from the bowl. Usually it takes only 5 mins when you get into the workshop and your away working on the project..its like just making sure you get out of the chair then you can go and mow the yard but the longer you delay getting your bum off that seat the harder it is to get up....also you are probably NOT doing enough flying while you are building to keep the motivation up..especially when you open your wallet to pay the school for the wet hire

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps it comes down to "What was the motivation to build" in the first place. Obviously it was not an impulse thing unless you throw 45k away all the time. Was it an idea that really appealed to you with more thought about the end result than building the process. Did you do much research into the process, documentation, bureaucracy, timeframes, skills, tools required etc?

 

For me the motivation was just a drive I'd had for many years after first learning to fly Hang Gliders in 1974. My retirement plan was to build an aircraft. I'd had that plan for about 5 years before my company was taken over & I got offered a job but took the money & ran. Changed countries, bought a business & put the plan on ice for another 5 years. All the time I kept buying magazines, flying renters & kept the dream alive. Finally I sold the business moved to the beach & within a few months had decided on what I wanted to build. It took me 4 years with multiple interruptions like house refurbishment, family bereavements, holidays, building a hangar etc. I never waivered or found any loss of motivation. I did everything including painting & test flying.

 

But then that is just me. Fifty percent of kits that are started never get finished for numerous reasons. If you decide you don't want to be part of that 50% set some goals for small bits, take specific breaks and do other things & come back with a goal for the next bit & you will get it done. Anyway what else are you going to do for the next 6 months if you can't go anywhere or meet anyone.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Danny I am not a builder but I was enjoying following your work. The challenges are the interesting parts of your story. I restore cars and bikes, and have the same blockages on projects. Sometimes a project sits for months until enthusiasm builds again. Best wishes.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Danny:

As Mike Saunders and others have said, I just concentrated on one little thing at a time and concentrated on doing it the best I could. When I finished one little job, I would take time to decide what to do next. I'd think about what interested me to work on.

Yes, there were times when the motivation to work on it would flag or I'd be up against something that I was intimidated by. Usually, I'd call the kit supplier and have a chat and he'd tell me how easy it was and explain the process of doing it, or better yet, come over and show me how.

If you're working on it alone, you need someone to bounce ideas with, either on the phone or in person. It's better if they're familiar with the kit, but someone who's generally knowlegable about aircraft construction can be useful.

 

I think the worst thing you can do is sweat about how much is left to do to get it flying. I think it's better just to treat it as a collection of little tasks and forget about when it's going to be done.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Danny,

At the moment in my workshop I have:

  1. A cuckoo clock pulled down for cleaning and rejuvenation
  2. A riding saddle waiting to be mounted on a frame and set on an office chair base
  3. Three scale model motorcycle kits to be assembled for a diorama
  4. A trailer axle and hubs waiting for the purchase of the rest of the materials to make a trailer to haul my motorcycle
  5. A handmade spoke shave that needs the blade hardened and sharpened
  6. Several Matchbox toys awaiting restoration
  7. A filthy car and motorcycle that haven't been washed in months.
  8. A lawn mower that needs a massive servicing

I also have an airbrush kit that I want to learn how to use so I can complete No. 6 above, and a welding kit that I need to learn how to use so I can do No. 4 above.

 

Inside I have three books to write; a family genealogy to expand; some reports to complete, and a wife to care for.

 

We have had a Summer with no sunny days due to smoke then rain. My get-up-and-go is sending me post cards from far away.

 

Just remember - the longest journey starts with the first step.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

OME, good luck with number 1.

I once tried to fix an aunt's cuckoo clock which had fallen off the wall.

It has to go:

cuck

oo

boing

at the same time as the little bird pops out

then in

and all this must happen on the hour

 

Any time I got five of those to line up properly, the sixth one would be out

And when I fixed the sixth one another one would be out

And so on............

 

It was a long time ago, but i think eventually we gave up on the actual time, and settled for just the cuckoo boing little bird bit............(

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I took about 4 years to build mine. Never had a problem with losing interest although on the few occasions I was able to work on it for a week or ten days straight, I needed to walk away from it for a bit. I think the motivation came from seeing everything come together one bit at a time, enjoying what I was doing, and knowing that one day I would finish it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I never had a problem building, but my wife used to insist that I get away for a break occasionally. I only built two aeroplanes and one boat and a house, 3 years for each one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some people have a better aptitude and skills base for building an aeroplane. One of the stated purposes is "self education" and skills development. Fine, but you can muck up a kit this way and it's most challenging (if not impossible)_ task to correct a lot of faults post build. Nev

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
So what do other kit builders do to keep going?

 

Talking to others is a great was to get a shot of enthusiasm. After posting here this morning, I went into the yard, picked up the doggy-do, ripped some palm frond ends of a useless palm tree, then got stuck into making templates for the saddle seat. Progress was good, so I'm out of here now to get back into it. I see my get-up-and-go coming home.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was building The Girlfriend..my wife and I made a deal...I would always be back in the house by 10pm...which I was...so never had any greif from here while buildig

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yahoo!!!!!!

This afternoon I made the templates for the saddle mount and cut the ply to size. I've just got to glue the ply together to get it thicker, then tomorrow I'll do the final cut outs.

 

Again, thanks Danny for sharing your problem. I hope you can pick up again like I did.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Rod Stiff said once that his big mistake was to make a kit that any fool could build. Burt Rutan gave up kits for the same reason. The fools wore him out.

So hang in there Danny

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Announcements


×
×
  • Create New...