Building Aero 3D Day 19: Hinging Prep & Wing Beginnings

Stabilizer, Fin & Elevator Posing

Sunday afternoon Peter came over and got caught up on my progress. Since we were done on the fuselage for now we put it aside for safe keeping and focused on the tail control surfaces to start with.

For the rudder, stabilizer and two elevators I prepped them for hinging. At this point I also brought out my new toy (thanks Steph for the Christmas gift πŸ™‚ ), the vise you see in the left image below.

While everything was still pinned to the table I marked two hinge line locations for hinging the rudder to the fin (vertical stabilizer). The elevator hinges were previously marked. Next we clamped the rudder, fin, stabilizer and each elevator into the vise one at a time using some scrap balsa sheeting to protect the pieces from the vise clamps.

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Building Aero 3D Day 18: Fin, Rudder & Fuselage

Wing Saddle Sanding

Today I made some more progress on my Aero 3D. I started with the gluing portion which focused on the fin and rudder. The result seen in the image below.

I had everything laid out from last session so I started with the fin and glued all the pieces together. I actually missed the cross-brace somehow as I moved pieces to glue so I ended coming back at the end of everything to put it into place (not the most efficient usage of glue). For the bottom of the fin I glued some filler between the piece I previously broke (the notch for the cross brace in the bottom piece) and the trailing edge.

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Building Aero 3D Day 17: Stabilizer, Rudder & Fin Oh My!

Stabilizer Ribs Glued & Hinge Locations Marked

Wednesday Peter came over and we got to work on the aircraft. I replaced the defunct far right rib of the horizontal stabilizer (image above) with a new one. We then marked a center line on the trailing egdge and rib so that when we placed the rib back we knew its positioning.

We then got to work gluing all the ribs into place as well as the two end pieces. Once that was done, and ribs were pinned in place, placement for the hinges were marked across the elevator and trailing edge of the stabilizer. We also glued some 1/2” balsa blocks behind the elevators leading edge where the hinges are going to be for added support. You can see these, along with the glued ribs, in the featured image at the top. There will be 6 hinges total, 3 on each side.

Next we moved back to the rudder & fin.

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Building Aero 3D Day 16: Stabilizer Ribs & Fuselage

Stabilizer Ribs Cut

Yesterday evening I did some work on my aircraft for about an hour after I got home, prior to getting supper.

I started by cutting out the ribs for the stabilizer… I guess technically I should be calling this the horizontal stabilizer as what I’ve been calling the fin is probably more properly known as the vertical stabilizer :).

Once I had the six ribs cut out of 1⁄4” xΒ 1⁄4” balsa to lengthΒ I trial fitted them and ended up cutting three filler pieces for the three left ribs. In the picture above, you can see the filler pieces laying in the openings between ribs. The lengths of the ribs from left to right in the featured image are 27/16”, 215⁄16”, 33/8”, 33/8”, 3”, and 21/2”. Chop that up to being human as in an ideal world they first and second set of 3 (left and right ribs of the stab) would be equal length.

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Building Aero 3D Day 15: Gluing Stab, Rudder & Touch-ups

Carving Out Wing Cradle

Yesterday Peter came over and looked at what I had laid out for the fin & rudder so far.

We then moved back to the stabilizer and got the trailing edge and ‘intermediary’ piece cut to size. Starting with the trailing edge we did the following:

  • Cut the end off at a 45 degree angle using a mitre box
  • Lined it up in place and marked with a pencil on the inside edge where it goes to
  • Cut it at a 45 degree angle, a little oversized
  • We were happing with the fit on the left side (image below) so sanded the right side repeatedly until happy with the overall fit

Once the fit was as we wanted we moved on to the inside piece, going between the trailing edge and S1. This involved:

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Building Aero 3D Day 14: Rudder & Fin Started

Today I started finding the pieces that make up the rudder and fin of the aircraft, pinning them in place. I started with R1 (the top of the rudder) and R2, which I will say is a cross brace of the rudder making up the bottom of the front half that hangs over the top of the fin and connects back to the trailing edge of the rudder. I lightly sanded these two pieces and then pinned R1 into place making sure the left and right sides were equal distance from the edge of the workbench. The image at the bottom can be used for reference and how I left things pinned at the end of this session.

Using the fixed R1 piece and the angle of the R2 piece I lined up a piece of 1⁄4” xΒ 1⁄4” balsa stringer and used the left hand sides of R1 & R2 to get the angle correct along with making sure the two middle slots lined up appropriately so the 1⁄2” xΒ 1⁄4” balsa was verticle (used a triangle to help ensure right angles at the top). Having these pieces pinned in place I was able to cut the 1⁄2” xΒ 1⁄4” balsa to length, 21⁄2” and the 1⁄4” xΒ 1⁄4” balsa stringer that angles between the leading edge and R2 to lengh,Β 23⁄4”.

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Building Aero 3D Day 13: Gluing Elevator Frame & Stab Leading Edge

Elevators & Stab Leading Edge Glued

Yesterday Peter & I worked on the tail again. We are using carpenters glue, as another member of the club (Marc) mentioned how he has been using it and carpenters glue has been working well for him.

We glued all the pieces of the two elevators together using the carpenters glue. As previously mentioned due to some loose fitting pieces filler was utilized to’fill’ the gaps.

We started with the leading edge of the stabilizer and glued the two S2 pieces (that make up the leading edge) to the bottom of S1 and pinned the pieces in place.

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Building Aero 3D Day 12: Elevator Framework Pinned

Elevator Framework

Yesterday I did some work on the elevators by myself. This involved getting the perimeter of the right elevator pinned in place and then measuring the length for the ‘cross-braces’ making up the internal structure of the elevators and getting them cut and pinned in place out of 1⁄4” x 1⁄4” balsa stringers.

The length of the stringers from small to large are 21⁄8”, 23⁄4” and 31⁄4”.

I was surprised by the looseness of the fit. It’s like they didn’t take into account some light sanding of the laser cut joints where glue would be applied.

Building Aero 3D Day 11: Stabilizer & Elevator Begun

Tail Beginnings

Today Peter & John came over. John and I focused on figuring out how to piece together the tail, specifically the stabilizer and elevators. The ‘plans’ for this build leave a lot to be desired and I’m hoping anyone else trying to build this aircraft is able to use these posts to subliment the diagram based instructions provided.

The tail frame is being built based on a picture of the completed balsa frame with no measurements for reference but by figuring out the pieces by look alone! This session was about figuring that out and gathering all the pieces to make up the perimeter of the stabilizer (front portion) and the two elevators (back portion that wraps around to the left and right sides) seen in the featured image above.

Since no measurements, angles, etc. were provided I’m going to explain how we went about getting the pieces we have together. So far we have just been pinning pieces into place and the plan is to build the entire stabilizer and elevaters, pinned into place, before even thinking about gluing anything together. Once we gathered all the pieces we sanded anywhere there will be a glue joint.

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Building Aero 3D Day 10: Second Side Sheeted

Started Cut-Out of Wing Saddle

Today Peter and I made more progress on the sides of the aircraft. The day started by removing all the clamps from the previous session and seeing how well everything stuck. Overall we were very impressed with how the wood working glue held everything together. Using this glue is new to us. We then trimmed as much of the excess we could, starting with my utility knife from front to back. Then to get a little closer switched to using an exacto knife to shave off some more in the curve for the wing (seen in the featured image)… once we get the other side done will sand to get the final finish.

Worth noting is that there were a few spots near the edges where the sheeting didn’t stick down so we used a good portion of medium CA in those spots, clamped it down and in one case sprayed accelerate on it. This didn’t take long to dry and then we were able to move right along.

Moving on to the other side we cleared all the excess away and flipped over the fuselage. We sanded any glue gobs and lined up the FU-SH-2 piece of balsa, which is 51 inches in length of 3⁄32” x 4″ balsa (as before) to see how it fit with the sheet flush to the back of the fuselage. At this point we basically repeated the exact same steps as before to get everything situated.

One thing we did do differently is apply the wood working glue a lot more liberally, as we thought we didn’t apply it thick enough last time. Also faster, as we were wondering if it dried a little to quickly on us.

Once the big piece was glued and clamped in place I cut a piece for the front, a little oversized, and we glued that piece in place and used a weight to keep it down. You can see how we left things in the two pictures below.

That wrapped up another building session as we were unable to progress. Next time will be cutting and sanding the two sides down to shape. Perhaps applying some touch up pieces as well.

Tomorrow morning I need to remove all the clamps and before the next session I need to give the work bench a good clean.