Interesting Non-Firearms-Related Hobbies

Discussion in 'The Club House' started by kbd512, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    This is just a general topic post trying to find out what interesting non-firearms-related hobbies or skills our members are adding to their bag of tricks.

    This year, I've decided to get my private pilot's license and start working on building my own airplane, a Molt Taylor (of AeroCar fame) Mini-IMP. I’m learning how to work with aluminum and composites, which are the two materials used in the airframe I’m working on. It’s a lot of fun and it’s interesting to my children and I, even if my wife is less enthusiastic about it.

    The aircraft I’m building is a complex aircraft according to the FAA, although it’s rather simplistic. It’s a single seat airplane with folding (pinned) wings. It’s a pusher (engine is mounted behind the pilot), rather than the far more common tractor, so it’s somewhat unique in that regard. The EFIS, variable pitch propeller, and retractable landing gear are criteria that define it as a complex aircraft. So, I’m flying in the flight school’s Cessna 172RG aircraft (no EFIS, but retractable landing gear and variable pitch propeller).

    I’ve decided to use a neighborhood sheet metal fabrication shop to laser cut the parts, mostly 2024 and 6061 aluminum. Their sheet metal fabrication machinery is far more sophisticated than anything I could ever afford, so it only made sense to use their services instead of tracing patterns and using snips to cut the parts. That saved quite a bit of time and the tolerances their machines are capable of are quite exacting.

    I found a flight school and instructor I work well with, only a few minutes from where my kids go to school at, so I’ve decided that now is the time to get certified to fly. It’s been quite a learning experience, to say the least. You have to steer the aircraft with your feet while taxiing, properly adjust the throttle / mixture control / carburetor heat, keep an eye out for traffic, learn various navigation techniques, and work with ATC (KDWH has a tower and is a little busy at times).

    I always thought aircraft were ridiculously loud and reeked of kerosene, a product of my only previous experience around aircraft as an enlisted man in a Navy EA-6B squadron. I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet and odor-free general aviation aircraft are. I wonder no more about why our pilots were always drenched in sweat and exhausted after a mission. It's hot in the cockpit of an aircraft, especially here in Texas. You do get pushed around by turbulence and thermals a bit more than what I've experienced aboard passenger aircraft. I’ve had to teach myself to ride it out, rather than trying to fight it and over-control the aircraft.

    So, that's what I've been up to. What are y'all working on?
     
  2. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

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    Ummmmmm........I crochet.
     

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Aircraft build sounds like a heck of a project! Used to fly rotary, and have considered doing a build of a light rotary, but health is likely to keep me from passing the medicals. That and the cost of maintaining a rotary wing aircraft.

    Have done some purely amateur woodworking and blacksmithing, and learned enough lapidary work to make pretties for my lady. Agates, lapis, jade, obsidian. Am looking at playing with target archery this summer, but that is quasi shooting.
     
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  4. formerCav

    formerCav Well-Known Member

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    cruising in my muscle car (see attached photo)
     

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  5. F4U

    F4U Well-Known Member Supporter

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    KBD512, you are rubbing mass quantities of salt into old semi self inflicted wounds. :eek:

    1989 or so I had about 40 hours in a Piper Tomahawk. I needed one more solo "cross country" and some dual nighttime work to qualify to take the flight exam. In the space of 1 week I got laid off from my job and my flight instructor was transferred out of state. He was a regional airline pilot who instructed on the side. From then on "life" just kept getting in the way and I was never able to get back to it. Somewhere in the back of my mind is a dream of building a replica of a WW1 era biplane and finishing getting my license.

    As for now it is antique tractors, currently rebuilding moms '48 Farmall cub might have it running by next weekend. My great grandpas Allis Chalmers B is next. My old Honda motorcycle, and my '69 Ford pickup just keep running so they are on the back burner. I need to pencil my '87 Honda TRX 250 X into the schedule, I bought it new and it has been sitting for about 12 or 13 years and needs some work.

    C3 do a little research on your rotary dreams, I have been away from it for a long time, but I think there are some ultralight type of rotaries that require a minimum of licensing and maintenance expense. Not a full blown helicopter, but it gets you into the air for a while. Just a thought.
     
  6. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Factory-built Mosquito:

    Mosquito Helicopter Sales

    For $40K to $50K, you can purchase a factory built helicopter. Those are very reasonable prices for machines typically priced at $250K+. A Robinson R22 will set you back $288K, for example.

    F4U, here's what attracted me to the bird I'm building:

    Website URL: Mini-IMP Aircraft Company

    Build and Maintenance:

    * True ability to garage build (compact dimensions and folding wings for transport)

    * No welding or structural composite components to fabricate

    * Ease of maintenance (the skin covering the entire front half of the aircraft is a single-piece non-structural composite that can be removed in minutes; similarly, there are two large removable composite fairings to access the engine compartment)

    Design:

    * Control layout permits one hand on the stick and one hand on the throttle

    * Creature features (superb visibility, reclined seat for light aerobatics, no prop wash to affect the control surfaces and increase cockpit noise)

    * 150mph cruise speed (as fast as any of the 172's I'm training in, and then some; I think)

    * 2 gph fuel consumption at cruise (using the SDS EFI setup with the O-100 I intend to use; I can basically fly anywhere in Texas with the standard 12.5 gallon tank- AVGAS is $3 to $4 a gallon and most other aircraft I've looked into burn 5 to 10 gallons per hour)

    Cost:

    $10K for the airframe, $10K for the engine, $10K for the avionics

    The optional extras I'm adding that drove up the price over what a more simplified example would have cost are:

    * EFIS (ok, so this actually lowered the price)

    * ECB (more reliable and faster than mechanical circuit breakers, simplified wiring since the avionics and electrical system is wired into the ECB, and integrates with the EFIS I want to use so faults can be displayed for diagnostics purposes)

    * EFI / EIS for the engine (so I basically have a throttle lever, I can individually adjust fuel/air mixture to the cylinders for leaning with a controller, don't need a mixture control, don't need a carburetor, and don't need magnetos; no carburetor means no carb heat and no possibility of carb icing; last but not least, better fuel economy than the 2.5 GPH of the carbureted O-100)

    * Performance Engines cylinders (basically, blueprinted O-200 cylinders instead of stock Continental O-200 cylinders)

    * Variable pitch propeller (I believe the prototype eventually had a Warnke ground-adjustable unit installed)
     
  7. kfox75

    kfox75 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Which model is that old Honda?

    Well, as most of you know, I've always been kind of a Jack of All trades, and master of a handful of them. One of the primary ones is motorcycle riding, repair, and restoration\custom work, mostly one older bikes for the custom stuff, and I've done more than one restomod over the last 25 years. Current project is a Norton 750 Commando, that I'm at the tail end of a rat build on, upgraded the Points to CDI, Swapped out the rear drum brake for a disc set up, jugged it out to an 850, and added some parts like different bars, pegs, a custom highway bar and backrest made from twisted bar stock, and left looking patinaed. Might do a full repaint, rechrome, and polish on it later, but for right now, the 1969 paint is holding up with some minor fading, so it goes well with the rest of the bike. Harley mufflers one the blued original pipes, with hangers I hand formed on my buddy's English Wheel from flat stock, and the carbs are now rejetted. Fired it up yesterday, and it sounds good. Time for the fine tuning.

    Between that and the other bikes the wife, room mates, and I own, not counting customer jobs, I pretty much have a full time job in my retirement. Also do crochet, needlepoint, and cross stitch. Been hard into Archery since I was in my teens, raising and training labs for field trial competition, metal fab, reading, song writing, tattoo design (Just finished up a sketch of my uncle standing with his '51 Merc from a photo given to me by my cousin for a tribute piece to him), collecting antique tools, drawing and collecting pin up art, and air brushing. Also a constant desire to learn new skills, languages, and instruments, along with one new thing per day. Off road trail running, camping, hiking, and fishing. Wine making (Have 5 gallons of Merlot that will be ready next week, then I'll be starting a fortified Port after that.) Make dreamcatchers when my arthritis isn't acting up.

    Like I said. Jack of All trades, Master of Several, but still smart enough to shut up and learn more whenever I can.
     
  8. Artie1957

    Artie1957 Member

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    Making wine/beer. Playing guitar and mandolin.
     
  9. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

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    Getting the first car I ever owned running again after a 23-year "rest".
     

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  10. F4U

    F4U Well-Known Member Supporter

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    1978 CB750 F

    I bought it for $100, it was a frame and 5 or 6 boxes of parts. A good friend of mine had it, it had a blown head gasket. He pulled the motor and put it on the bench and never got back to it. After 2 years his Dad said either you get that motor off the bench or I will, that is when I bought it. This was over 20 years ago. It has set for about a year and a half, and the carbs need some attention, but I gotta get the cub running and out of the shop before I start on it.
     
  11. F4U

    F4U Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nice car and damned nice shop, I am jealous!!
     
  12. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! My wife calls it my "Toybox". It's more of a "wherehouse" than a "warehouse", though. Nature abhors a vacuum, ya know. It seems I seldom have the time to straighten things out in there. It also houses two tractors with most of their implements (box blades, grooming mower, landscape rake, dozer blades, chipper/shredder, backhoe, etc.), an equipment trailer (really wanted a car trailer but that was all they had), a horse trailer, a 5X10 flat trailer, a 5X8 enclosed trailer, a 5X8 BriMar dumping trailer, my '88 T-Bird (bought new, literally drove off the showroom floor), my 2004 Explorer, a friend's golf cart, 150 bales of hay, usually 50 bags of bedding for the horses, two riding lawnmowers and a trail-mower, and the list just goes on and on...

    It is sort of the dumping ground for things I either want to keep or are awaiting a decision. "A place for everything; everything "someplace".

    Once I sell my other house (closing is next week), then I'll have time - finally - to start sorting through the "stuff" I pulled out of it and put in the Toybox.

    So, alas, it will be some time before my Road Runner receives the labor of love it so justly deserves. I also have some serious finishing-up of the two-story climate-controlled area (980SF per floor) in the Toybox.

    One thing is for sure: I'm busier in retirement than I ever was when working full-time.
     
  13. kfox75

    kfox75 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cool. My first two bikes (Street) were Hondas. First one was a 1976 CB 550 K, then a 1975 CB 750. Picked up the 550 for $200, kind of running, cleaned the points, then cleaned and siynched the carbs, and it ran like new. Kept it as a spare bike for about 12 years, gave it to my wife on her 31st. She rode it until mom's Yamaha XS 650 Special was passed down to her, and sold it to a friend, who still has it.

    the 750 was one dad bought from a guy who was leaving for Okinawa the next week, and needed the cash more than the bike, so dad picked it up. It sat for the first couple years we were in NY, so he and I got it running again, so I would have someone to ride with while I was on my permit. It became an occasional use bike when he bought his Goldwing, and he signed it over to me on my 21st. I had it around, even after also getting a Goldwing, more as a town, outskirts, and sometimes tourer, then did a complete tear down and rebuild on it, repainted it, put on a new seat, and gave it back to dad. One of his co-workers offered him a package trade for it and his 86 Goldwing Aspencade, for his '94 Sportster 1200. The 750 is now out in the San Fransico Area, since the guy he traded with was transfered to the Job Corps center there.

    Part of me still misses those bikes.
     
  14. CourtJester

    CourtJester Well-Known Member

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    My biggest non-firearm hobby.
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  15. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    C3; If you want to get back into archery, look at the old style from a thousand or more years ago. Archers were a highly skilled fighting force and they did not use modern target bows and put the arrows on the wrong side of the bow. They could shoot their bows accurately and quickly from either hand while on horseback.
     
  16. colmustard

    colmustard Active Member

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    I like a little this and that. Like cars, building a t-bucket from scratch with my father in law. Also have 85 buick regal i am drpping a small block in. Love playing chess too, have since i was a kid.
     
  17. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Knives. There's something fascinating to me about studying the composition and performance of various blade steels. More to learn than even advanced handloading.

    And a great deaL of satisfaction in being able to take your large pocketknife into the bathroom and shave with it!:)
     
  18. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

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    Do you really?
     
  19. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

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    Ummm........did I mention I crochet?
     
  20. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Whenever I sharpen a knife, I take it to the bathroom and attempt to dry-shave my face. if it doesn't do a good job, back to the stones.

    That's the major reason I buy good, expensive steel blades. That's too much work to do for a cheap blade steel that won't hold the edge.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016