Building Aero 3D Day 4: Joint, Trials & Former Gluing

Scarf Joint

Wednesday Peter came over after we both had some time to contemplate what we were missing the session before. Due to my lack of experience I would have been hard pressed to come up with the correct answer; however, Peter determined what the diagram was trying to tell us and that was…… *drum roll please*…. a scarf joint!

As you can see in the featured image above the length of the balsa stringers needed to be extended/strenghtened via a scarf joint. The way this work is you want the joint to be 8 to 10 times the length of the thickness. In this particular case we are using 14” balsa and Peter made the joint length 12 times the thickness. Which is 12x14“=3”. This is cut at an angle from the top at the measurement to the bottom at the end of the balsa stringer (repeated for the piece that is going to fit on top).

We re-pinned everything down and in the next session, hoping, we will actually glue what we trial fitted last time into place. This session, however, we did some more sanding to make sure all the pieces were ready.

To ensure the balsa stringers are flush with the outer edge of the doubler we measured and cut a 14” x 18” piece out of the bottom corner of former four so half the stringer width fits underneath.

Lastly I glued formers 3 and 4 together using 30 minute epoxy and clamped it into position, as seen in the image below.

Formers 3 & 4 Glued Together
Formers 3 & 4 Glued Together

Next time will hopefully be getting the formers and doublers glued into place on the stringers.

Building Aero 3D Day 3: Fuselage Contemplation & FUDA’s

Fuselage Conundrum

Yesterday Peter came over to assist with getting the fuselage situated. He brought a china marker (white) to make a straight line on the table, providing a center point for the fuselage. I marked the center on the bottom of each former so that we could ensure the fuselage is center properly.

The very tail piece was center and pinned into place at the far right (matching the diagram instructions) and two 14” x 14” balsa stringers were pinned in place. Based on the diagram I figured the spacing would be determiend by this step as they do not state how far each former needs to be from the next. When we placed all the pieces together as shown in Step 3, FU 2-10, and campled them into place (no gluing, this is purely a dry run) we determined that this was not the case and to top it off couldn’t figure out how the stringers were to fit into the slot of the front side pieces (FUA’s) as from what we could tell the outer edge should be smooth; however, the stringers definidfely protruded at the front… even though we never cut it down to size, this wouldn’t have mattered for this case. We did, however, move the ‘front assembly’ back and forth along the stringers to see if we could make sense of the situation. The side panels of the aircraft are to be 51 inches long so we were trying to get all the numbers to work out based on the lenth of the tail wheel plate at the back of the fuselage, the stringers (FU-ST-1 – which are suppose to be 37716” in length), and FUA’s (believe these to be the doublers for added support to the engine block, etc. at the nose of the aircraft). We seemed to be 2″ short and didn’t think this was accounted for by the forming/fitting of the side panel to the formers.

These steps are critical and need to make sure everything is positioned correctly along the stringers and at right angles; because if it is off at the back it will only get worse as you move towards the front, each step along the way exacerbating the situation (that is potential twisting/warping of the fuselage). You can see how we left things in the image at the top. We decided to pause and let things perculate for a while. If you are not sure then don’t proceed. Will likely get some additional input from other modellers before moving forward… stay tunned.

What I did get done this day, besides contemplation and discussions around the fuselage, is gluing what appears will make up the landing gear block (FUD & 2 FUDA’s stacked on top) glued together by mixing up some 30 minute expoxy. You can see them clamped together drying below:

FUD & FUDAs Glued
FUD & FUDAs Glued (Make up landing gear block?)

In conclusion, though this day was not as fruitful as we were hoping, troubleshooting/problem solving and discussing with our fellow aeromodellers is part of what this hobby is all about!

With luck, I’ll be able to make more progress later this week.

Building Aero 3D Day 2: Formers and Balsa Gluing

FUD and 2 FUDA's Sanded

Today I made some more progress on the fuselage of the aircraft. I started by cutting, from 1/4″ x 1/4″ balsa stringer, two pieces for cross braces in former 7 which was 2116” and in former 8 which was 1516“. Once cut I used medium CA, placed on the ends of the balsa and top and bottom where it wil be making contact with the former.

I inserted the balsa piece into the former and pinned in place (the pins kinda seemed uncessay as medium CA dries very quickly). I did this over wax paper to minimize my chances of getting glue onto the pinning surface of the workbench. The result is seen in the bottom left picture.

Next I cut out formers 3 and 4 out of the 18” ply and sanded the exterior perimeter, except the curved (bottom) portion of FU3 as nothing will be gluing here. The idea behind sanding (to my knowledge) is to remove the laser burn and create a surface for the glue to more easily stick… also removes the rough jut outs from where I cut the tabs holding the pieces into the main ply sheets.

Lastly I cut out the two FUDA’s and removed the plastic wrap around a bundle of pieces to get FUD. The two FUDA’s are going to get glued together and then glued to FUD. Looking ahead in the instructions these pieces when inserted into the bottom of the fuselage between formers 2 & 3 are going to make up the mounting point for the landing gear, as the wires will be recessed inside… stay tuned for when I get there (Step 10)! You can see them sanded in the featured image both along the external perimeter as well on the internal perimater for the FUDA’s.

That concludes another building session… stay tuned as I plan to get steps 1 and 2 fully completed soon!

Building Aero 3D Day 1: Sanding at the Rear

Aero 3D Fuselage Plan

Winter is upon us again… that means it is back to building season! This build is going to take on a bit of a different dynamic as a big thank-you goes out to Peter & John for helping me build a workbench in our mudroom. I’m excited to be able to go at my own pace from home and see how well I do as it’ll be less structrued and me troubleshooting alone along the way… that said the guys are not far away if I require assistance!

Speaking of, on Nov. 17th Peter came over and graciously leant me some tools to get me started. We looked through the kit, explorered the manual, came up with a game plan as to how to approach this build and interpret the diagram based building instructions. Mr. Aerodesign approaches things differently. More thoughts on this in a future post once I have more experience.

The aircraft I’m building is an Aero 3D, which should allow me to get into 3D flight (also good for smooth flying) as the thick airfoil and oversized control surfaces give this aircraft exceptional flight caracteristics, supposedly and what I’m hoping to find out! 🙂

Throughout my posts I am going to describe the pieces as I think they are with the labels Mr. Aerodesign provides in the manual, i.e Former 7 (FU7).

While Peter was there I cut out a half dozen pieces from the two 1/8″ ply sheets to start the rear of the fuselage. Specifically formers 7-10 (FU7-10)

On Nov. 18th I gave all the aforementioned pieces a light sanding to remove the ‘laser burn’, which helps the glue stick. Need to make sure you don’t oversand; otherwise, where the 1/4″x1/4″ balsa stringers fit into, or other parts go together, will be to loose.

I skipped step 1 as it requires some gluing, but will prep those pieces and do some gluing once my supplies arrive!

Building Seamaster: Completed

Water Deflector Top

My second build is officially under my belt as my Seamaster is completed! I’ve finally got around to taking the pictures and completing my posts to wrap it up.

I guess one could argue that one last step to fully complete the process is still hanging out there, which is the maiden flight! Hopefully I will be able to do this during next years flying season!

Water Deflector Bottom
Water Deflector Bottom

Installing the rubber to deflect the water away from the opening into the fuselage where the wing is bolted to the fuselage was the last & final step. You can see it from the top and bottom view in the images above.

Below you can see a side view and a top view of the aircraft. This is what the final product looks like with the wing bolted to the fuselage.

Wow, hard to believe that I have wrapped up my second build! If you are interested in seeing the entire build from start to finish in chronological order you can here.

Building Seamaster Day 67: Receiver & Fuel Lines Installed

Receiver Antenna

On July 15th I wrapped up my last session at Peters to (almost) complete my aircraft. On this day I installed the receiver, wrapped in a plastic bag to protect it from any splashed of water that might get inside the fuselage. After that I cut a piece of foam to pack on top of the receiver to keep the electronics in place during flight.

I also attached the receiver wire to the side of the fuselage, through a plastic tube to protect it and increase the reception quality as you want to ensure you do not loose contact between the transmitter and receiver during flight (as orientation, direction, etc. of the aircraft changes). This can be seen in the featured image at the top of the post.

I also installed the fuel lines. This involved trial ‘fitting’ the lines to get an idea of how long they needed to be and then giving them an initial cut. Then trial fitting again, if when attached the excess was to much giving the end of the line a trim. Want some excess to remain so that in the future as the line gets worn you can trim it back a little bit to snug up the fit and not always have to replace the entire line.

In the image below the red line is the return (exhaust) and the white line feeds fuel to the engine.

Fuel Lines Cut to Size
Fuel Lines Cut to Size

Lastly installed the wing and you can see, in the image below, how the wing fits snuggly into the craddle of the fuselage. You can also see the wire sticking out that is used to turn the aircraft on/off by pushing in or pulling out.

Wing In Fuse Craddle
Wing In Fuse Craddle

Building Seamaster Day 66: Electronics Test

On July 8th did a test of the electronics system. This involved hooking up the receiver and connecting all the servors for the control surfaces into the receiver along with a battery into the auxilary input.

I had already bound my transmitter; however, this time around it appeared there was no bind, so ended up binding the transmitter to the receiver again for the ‘Seamaster’ model saved in my transmitter.

Going through all the controls (throttle, rudder, elevator & ailerons) I made sure they had full range and were moving in the intended direction with input from the transmitter. This was not always the case and required me to remove the linkage on the rudder servo to center the rudder to allow full range left and right. The other tweaks were on the transmitter reversing the servo where necessary… that is when applying left the control surface was going right and vise versa, which is not what you want, lol.

Electronics Test
Electronics Test

Building Seamaster Day 65: Hatch & Water Rudder

Silicone Trimmed

On June 17th, you can see where the silicone after drying was cleaned up around the wing ‘craddle’ in the fuselage in the featured image above.

In the image below you can see where the hatch, covered in yellow to match the top of color scheme of the aircraft, was screwed into place. This allows access to the nose where weights have been installed, if necessary.

Hatch Installed
Hatch Installed

I also installed the water rudder. This allows for better steering of the aircraft when taxing in the water. In the left image below you can see the ‘stopper’, screw with a piece of fuel line tubing covering, sticking out. This prevents the rudder, when in flight, from getting stuck in the up position or in a spot that would prevent the planes rudder from functioning properly. That way, once you get back in the water the water rudder will drop back down allowing you to steer while taxing again.

I cut the ‘water rudder’ out of a piece of metal after tracing a template using the table jigsaw and then using a metal filer to file off all the burs / rough edges providing a smoother finish. Want to make sure it can cut the covering, me, etc.

Wow, I’m now all caught up on my Seamaster Build posts! I’m not calling this build done yet, and has been a two year process as got started late on this one (Feb. 10, 2018) so perhaps 1.5 building seasons. 🙂

I will have to check into what all is left to do, beyond starting it up and seeing how everything moves along with the maiden voyage. Not sure where (or when) that is going to happen!

Building Seamaster Day 64: Silicone

Silicone for Water proofing

June 15th was about water-proofing the cradle in the fuselage for the wing. This involved using a cocking gun to apply silicone all along the top edge of the cradle in the fuselage (where the wing sits) and making sure to place lots up under the ‘water-deflector‘.

To prep for this job I wrapped some seran around the front center of the wing and taped it in place to prevent silicone from getting onto (and drying) to the covering of the wing. Teh wing is assembled on the fuselage during the drying process to make sure that the silicone forms properly to how the wing needs to fit and a tight seal is made.

Unfortunately during this process (we didn’t test the wing installment first as hasn’t been tested since installing the ‘water-deflector’) we realized the wing didn’t fit on the fuselage anymore and had to use the dremel tool to shorten the backside of the deflector, which will have to be covered again (since wood on the back edge is now exposed) , to get everything to fit correctly.

You can now really see the aircraft coming together in the image below:

Forming Silicone To Set
Forming Silicone To Set

Below you can see what it looks like from underneath. The seran taped into place and the wing sitting in the siliconed craddle.

Forming Silicone To Set - Under Wing
Forming Silicone To Set – Under Wing