Chuck's Jaguar D Type Build

Just milling around

Well, I did it. After a lot of contemplation, research, and great input on this blog, a Smithy Granite mill / lathe now sets in our shop.


Setting it on the work bench would have made a good You Tube video. This thing weighs as much as a light sport airplane. It took two of us with an engine lift and some crazy gyrations to set it in place.

There have been some criticisms of a combo unit from some I have talked to due to the extra set up time that may be needed for different functions, but with our space limitations it was the only viable option.


Ryan came for a brief visit and gave me a tutorial on milling and turning. Indeed we milled a complex item with rather precise tolerances and it worked very well. The precision drilling out a hefty piece of aluminum was very good. Our only criticism was the back lash in the dials, particularly the X axis, which required some mental gyrations to factor the measurements into the settings. After Ryan left I spent some time ‘fine tuning’ which decreased that backlash. A digital readout (DRO) would eliminate the issue completely.


This tool would have made fabrication of the pedal box and the sub frame components so much easier and more precise. It will come in handy when the time comes to fabricate a shifter handle, door hinges, latches, and other details, I am sure.

So much to learn. Thanks for the encouragement and excellent suggestions that have been posted here. A spring loaded lathe chuck and the machinist’s book are on the way, per those recommendations.

love it, Congrats!! I keep toying with the idea of getting something similar or a desktop CNC mill or 3D printer...I'm also space limited (as well as $$); will be interested to hear updates on how you like this.
Excellent purchase, you definitely won't regret it
I already had a lathe when I built my '40 and I Know I couldn't have done it without it and now I've a milling machine, I do so much more myself, that I would previously shipped out
Keep up the great work

This is a bit off topic, but may be useful information. Inevitably most of us eventually find a need to trailer our creations; to a shop for fine tuning or painting, to a track event, or to a show at a distant location. More than a decade ago we bought at Serpent Express trailer which was designed for Shelby Cobras which at the time was the most common kit car. It turns out that it is the ideal size not only for the Cobras, but also for the GT40.

And now the Jaguar D Type.


Our trailer sat quietly behind the garage for the last five years serving as the storage bin for the D Type fiberglass body as we worked on the chassis. But, alas, the need to hook up and pull the trailer arose. Before doing so it was deemed prudent to pull off the wheels and take a look at the bearings and brakes to make sure they were in working order. The brake mechanism was cleaned and free motion of parts assured, the wheels repainted, bearings greased, emergency 12volt battery replaced, and it is now ready to roll.


I also got educated on how these electric brakes worked.


There is an issue. The vinyl enclosure, which has the benefit of minimal weight, deteriorates over time. The top now permits water to seep through and will likely need to be replaced. But that is after more than a decade of sitting in the hot summer sun, so I really cannot complain. A visit to the Serpent Express website reveals that a replacement should be available and that they also now sell an aluminum version.

No, I am not a paid spokesman for Serpent Express.
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The pause that refreshes

Since work on this project started nearly two and a half years ago, the D Type has reached a point where the significant issues have been sorted. There is a bit more to do in order to make it a running chassis, including wiring, but the major design and fabrication work is done. The body work will be the next big thing.

But it won’t be happening for a while. I am setting it aside so I can build another Carbon Cub. My expectation is the Cub will take less than a years’ time, after which I will get back to the Jag.


Ryan loaned me an inflated ‘bubble’. This makes the Jag an ‘aircraft’, so a hanger is an appropriate place to park it for now. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist).


I know several of you are looking forward to soon receiving Jag kits from RCR, so this will give you a chance to catch up. We can then march forward on a common time line and plan a D Type rendezvous at a good location by which time the China virus will be only a distant memory.

Joel K

Chuck, I’ve enjoyed following along. Fantastic workmanship and looking forward to when you pick the project back up.
I was intrigued, looked up the Carbon Cub, I hadn't heard of it before. Do you have your pilot license? Looks like a great modern version of a timeless classic. Are they really up to $250k for some models? Did you build the 1st one for yourself?

Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
I hope you share the second Carbon Cub build with us.. Awesome progress on the Jag to this point also!


Great build log and has tempted we away for my next build for the standard Cobra (well I may take the GD kit anyway as I have a slot) and direct to a D Type, I will endeavour to catch up but do need to get the 40 done first, oh busy days ahead!!
I was intrigued, looked up the Carbon Cub, I hadn't heard of it before. Do you have your pilot license? Looks like a great modern version of a timeless classic. Are they really up to $250k for some models? Did you build the 1st one for yourself?
Yes, Yes, and Yes.

Have been flying only about ten years, following in Ryan's foot steps. Yea, the CC is a bit pricey. But the market is hot and they sell often for more than the cost of the kit.