Wintertime Shop Setup

So one of the drawbacks of building a composite airplane is how finicky the epoxy can be about it’s environment.  MGS doesn’t like to cure in an environment outside of about 77 degrees F + or – 10 degrees, and it becomes a huge mess in a humid environment.  Frustrated with not being able to make any progress after about mid October, I set about fixing the situation.

The first thing I did was buy a bunch of PVC pipe and fittings, and then frame an area of the hangar about 25 X 12, big enough to fit the work table and the cozy fuselage.  I then proceeded to hang the same Prodex insulation I’d been using on the hangar from the PVC and the rafters on the inside of the frame.  Once that was complete and I had added a door, I wrapped the outside of the structure in 4 mil poly, to create an air gap and increase the insulation value of the structure.

Inside the workroom

Outside the workroom, door view

Outside the workroom front view

Once the structure was complete, I took the small exterior door off of the hangar, which opens into the workroom.  I then cut two sheets of plywood to size, and bolted them together, sandwiching the door frame.  I cut a 6″ diameter hole through each sheet of plywood, and ran a duct through the door out to a 90,000 BTU Kerosene heater, which I had rigged an inline thermostat to, much like the hot box for the epoxy.

Door external with heater enclosure

On the inside of the door I put a fan to circulate the hot air better.  I had contemplated running ductwork along the floor, but it would have created a tripping hazard and taken up valuable workspace.

Door inside

I am pleased to report that it works quite well!  I am continuing to improve the insulation of the room, as there are several leaks to seal, but it is raining and 45 degrees outside right now, and the shop is maintained at 70 degrees and 46% humidity.  Can’t ask for much better working conditions than that!

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3 Responses to Wintertime Shop Setup

  1. Dad says:

    Very nice, innovative solution. Glad to see you’re making some progress again!

  2. The Other Matt & Heather Jackson says:

    Greetings – Just a quick note to congratulate you on two things: 1) Having a cool website and an interesting project, 2) Great names.

    My wife, Heather, and I are newlyweds. We were having a chat the other day about snagging domain names for ourselves and our future family, and after doing a bit of Googling, we came across you guys. While we all now share the connection of a common last name, you can imagine how surprised we were to find another young couple with our *exact* names.

    Best of luck as you continue on your project – we’ll be sure to check in here and there!
    -Matt and Heather

    • Matt says:

      Sorry it took me so long to approve your comment! I’ve been discouraged with looking at all the comments I have for approval – this site gets an incredible amount of spam – and I had not cleaned out the inbox in a while. Congrats on getting married, and having awesome names. I’m sorry jaxfam is taken, but glad we got to it first 😉

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