Thursday, November 18, 2010

Inching along

Well, I'm battling the first cold/flu of the season, but I still managed to finish up the other wing panel d-box.  At this stage of the game without doing any trimming or sanding, both wing panels came out to be exactly the same weight (5.5 ozs.), and I'm very happy with the increased stiffness.  I was a little worried at first with the balsa spars, but now I'm confident the wings can take the style of flying I'll be doing with this plane.

Now I need to figure out how I'm going to add the sheeting to the gull portions of the wing.  I've got multiple curves to deal with, so I'm probably going to end up strip planking with 1/4" (more or less) wide strips of 1/16" balsa.  Any better ideas?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I love spending time on the other distractions, so they deserve space too......

And next Summer.......

Monday, November 15, 2010

More sheeting

Although I'm moving at a snail's pace, I managed to get some more done this weekend.  The starboard wing panel now has all of the sheeting firmly attached and ready for final sanding.  It always amazes me how much a simple length of 1/16" balsa can really stiffen up a wing.  As for my pace on this build, other distractions this weekend included a visit from the Sis-in-law and Nephew, 50 miles on the bike, 3 hours at the flying field yesterday, a Porsche Club breakfast meeting, and the final Formula1 race of the season.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trailing edges

Yesterday I managed to make some progress on the two piece trailing edges of both wings.  No big deal here, just used some medium grade balsa that was free of warps and attached one side at a time starting with the bottoms.  I did bevel the top pieces along the trailing edge so they made a nice, tight and straight joint.  I also made sure the wing was perfectly flat and level as the pieces dried.  No use introducing warps at this point!

I also started prepping for the leading edge sheeting by soaking 2 pre-trimmed pieces for the tops.  The curve of the rib profile isn't too extreme, but I'd rather not have to wrestle with the balsa and risk splitting it during the glue up process.  Plus, pre-bending makes it less likely to introduce a warp.  I wrapped the soaked wood around a large 3" mailing tube and held it tight using rubber bands, and after removing the pieces this morning they look like an almost perfect fit.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The other joiners

Finally finished up the other joiners yesterday.  I had a bit of a scare last night.

When I assemble all of these joiner boxes, I always do it with the wings connected and lined up to make sure it's all straight and true.  Well, before I went to bed last night, I checked on the joint thinking it would be safe to pull it apart.  Luckily for me, the drying time of the epoxy has been extended due to the cooler temps in my workshop.  Some of the epoxy had seeped around the backside of one of the receiver tubes and was trying to glue the connector rod in place!  After some careful working and prying, the joint finally loosened up and I was able to get the wing halves apart.

But hey, the joint is straight and true.....  :)

Oh yes, I'm also still thinking about my e-glider options.  I 'forgot' that I already have a perfectly good subject sitting off in the corner of my workshop.  After busting up my rudder earlier in the year on my e-Allegro Lite, I forgot all about it.  I think maybe it's time to dig it back out and fixer up.  This is a fine glider that had some quirky flying characteristics that I need to work out (hence the busted rudder), but she will make a good ALES platform for next year.  Last year I built a balsa rolled boom fuselage for her, and it is as stiff and light as any CF boom I've used.  It's not pretty - it was an experiment - but it sure is functional.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sidetracked, sort of....


That's the best description of my progress lately.  Plus, I had relatives in town this weekend so nothing got done on the plane.  I did start to work on the starboard wing joiners, but ran into a bit of an issue.  The trailing edge of the joiner ribs weren't lining up as it appears one of them developed a slight warp in the last 2 inches.  When the wing tip is joined to the center section, it leaves about an 1/8" gap at the trailing edge.  So over the course of the past two days I have been wetting, clamping, re-wetting and re-clamping the joint to remove the bend.  I'm happy to report after checking it this morning that the warp is gone and the wings line up perfectly.  Now I can finish the joiners.

I'll also admit to getting sidetracked with another small project.  Last year I built a RES version of Harley Michaelis' Smooth Genie Pro.  I love the ship, but don't get to our club winch very often so I've decided to build an e-fuselage for it so it can be flown at the local parks and soccer fields.  So far I'm just researching my options, but like everything else I get my mind wrapped around, it will be somewhat unique.  I'll probably start building it side by side with the Gull.  Hey, Winter will be here soon, and I can't very well finish my Winter build project before the Holidays!

Here is the RES Genie soon to be an e-RES Genie.