Building 4 Star 60 Day 16 & 17: All About the Sanding

Monday I headed to Peters after driving back from Dryden.  This made it a shorter session that involved a lot sanding!

First off I sanded the top and bottom trailing edge sheets until the were flush with the trailing edge piece glued earlier.  I also sanded the edge of the ailerons that will be facing the trailing edge of the wing to be level and flush/straight.  Seen in the first and second pic below, respectively.

Trimmed & Sanded Trailing Edge
Trimmed & Sanded Trailing Edge
Ailerons sanded square with leading edge
Ailerons sanded square with leading edge

Tuesday I saw how how Peter glued and clamped the laser cut lite-ply wingtip to the outboard end of both wing panels.  You can see in the pick where he used some filler to get things to fit snug.

Glued wingtip to outboard end of both wing panel
Glued wingtip to outboard end of both wing panels

My task was to sand the filler flush as well as to make the hinge slots, Peter already had marked where they go, in both of the trailing edges as well as on the leading edge of the ailerons.  The other major task for the day was to sand the wing dowel support blocks flush with the ribs and then ‘carve’ out a grove in the wing dowel support blocks so that when I apply the sheeting over the wing it sits flush with the leading edge.

Building 4 Star 60 Day 15: Wings Coming Along

Wednesday evening was an exciting building session as I can really see how things are going to be fitting together!  We looked how the stabilizer and fin will connect to the fuselage, which really makes the project take shape!

R main spar & 2 forward spars glued
R main spar & 2 forward spars glued

Worked on both wings.  Started with the right wing, above, by cutting and sanding the dihedral angle on one end of the 1″ x 1″ angled shaped wing dowel support block.  Once the angle and length were correct I glued the block in place between the two W-1 wing ribs and the leading edge.  Clamped it together to let it dry.  I oversanded the block a bit so once in place added some extra glue in the gap and inserted some filler, which will need to be cut and sanded next time.

I then trial fitted the main spar and after cutting a little bit off a couple of the diagonal braces I was able to glue the spar into place.  Unfortunately during the trial fitting of the rear spar we discovered it was not sitting flat.  Appeared that the web was to ‘short’ so the spar was unable to sit properly.  Peter is going to use some filler to make up the difference by gluing it to the top of the rear web.

Moving to the left wing I glued the trailing edge ensuring the bottom and tips of the ribs had plenty of glue.  This is a key part of the plane as it’s where your control surface, airleron, is going to hinge too.

Left wing trailing edge glued and pinned
Left wing trailing edge glued and pinned

Speaking of airlerons I marked the centre lines on both the leading and trailing edges for both as they’ll need to be beveled and rounded respectively.

Centre lines marked on airlerons
Centre lines marked on airlerons

After we were done building Peter and I had a cup of tea and chatted about life 🙂.

Building 4 Star 60 Day 14: All about the Wings

Today was a quick building session after the gym.  First I saw what Peter kindly did up for me which were the aileron servo lead tubes, one for each wing, and glued into place.

I started work by sanding down the excess overhang of the top and bottom forward spars on the L wing.  Once done I turned my attention to the R wing, seen in the pic above, where I glued the top forward spars into place after marking the half inch that needs to stick out past the one rib.

I then glued the diagonal wing braces into place.  John helped with getting the one to fit showing me a neat way to sand the one end to make sure it gets into the corner.  Also need to make sure all of them are flat the main spar will sit.

Next I glued the W1 rib into place making sure it had the required 2 degree angle by using the dual tool.  If my picture was better you’d see the clamp is holding where the leading edge is glued into the slot on the W1 rib.

W1 Rib with angle glued
W1 Rib with angle glued

I was clearly tired here after a Monday of work and going to the gym.  Didn’t start building until about 7 on an empty stomach!   That’s why it was a shorter night.  Did end up gabbing with Peter and John who stopped by for the session too. 🙂

Building 4 Star 60 Day 13: Right Wing & Tank Floor

Today was another great building session.  I am really enjoying building my plane with Peter.  It’s quite different from anything else I’ve really done as rarely am I building things with my hands, unless you count my fingers typing away on a keyboard! Lol.

Started working on the right wing panel, which basically means going through a similar process to how we built the left wing panel.  Started by pinning down the main and rear spar along with the balsa trailing edge.  In this case though we couldn’t use the one provided as it didn’t have a straight edge, discovered when pinning into place, so to feel more comfortable we used a piece from Peters supply.

We did do some things differently this time around by gluing the spar webs and ribs (except for the W1’s) to the main and rear spar assemblies as well as the trailing edge in one go after doing a trial fit.  Then we glued the balsa leading edge to the leading edge of the wing ribs.  A slot for the triangle side to fit into is precut.

Right wing panel (ribs, main & rear spar webs)
Right wing panel (ribs, main & rear spar webs)

After that we weighted everything down which meant we were finished working on the wing for another day.

Turning our attention back to the fuselage I lightly sanded all the edges of the tank floor where glue will be applied and then did a trial fit.  In order to get the floor to fit properly I sanded the ‘angled corners’ a fair bit.  Once happy with the snug fit I applied glue all around the edges that will make contact with the fuse and then put it into place.  Worth noting is that the instructions mention putting triangle stock along the landing gear plate with the bottom against the former on each side.  Peter felt we didn’t need to do this since we beefed up the landing gear plate in the first place and thus the fuselage will also sit higher.  Peter mentioned we don’t want to over support is as then the landing gear won’t shear off properly (potentially destroy the fuselage) in a rough landing.

Tank floor glued in place
Tank floor glued in place

Some things worth mentioning I discovered today from the last building session is that we couldn’t get the dihedral brace to fit properly so we sanded it a fair bit causing a looser than desired fit.  Peter had a eureka moment and as it turns out I over clamped the one spot causing the spar to break down into the rib of W-1 not allowing the brace to slide in properly.  Peter kindly shimmied the main spar up into place where it should have been and built a brand new dihedral brace since the one provided was now over sanded.

Peter and I are pleased with our building progress so far.   Afterwords today we talked more about other things I need to think about.  One is I need to purchase my engine, which will be a Saito 100.  The other was talk of colors.  I need to look into ideas and then I might sketch myself up what I’m thinking.  Currently my thoughts are:

  • White for the fuselage
  • Florescent orange for the rudder and top of the fin
  • Some kind of color to wrap along the top of the fuselage before and after where the wing is
  • Not sure on the actual wings themselves
    • Yellow for the wing bottom
    • White with orange tips on top
    • Black (green?) invasion stripes on the bottom

Building 4 Star 60 Day 12: Fuse, Wing & Landing Gear

Yesterday was another great building session.  Started by sanding the ends of the stringers where they were cut to make them smooth with HR in the front and former F6 in the back.  Also sanded the the ‘wedges’ we glued into place to hold the stringers that butt up to and glue to the face of F6.

Sanded stringer ends smooth with HR
Sanded stringer ends smooth with HR

Before continuing work on the left wing Peter trimmed off the excess wood (spars, etc.) hanging out pass the end of the wing (fuselage side) as seen in the picture below:

Top & Bottom forward spars glued (top view)
Top & Bottom forward spars glued (top view)

You can also see in the pic above as well as a better look in the picture below where the two top and two bottom forwards spars have been glued and pinned into place.

Top & Bottom forward spars glued
Top & Bottom forward spars glued

I then continued working on the fuselage since we were now at a point where work done on the wing needed to set.   Needed to get the landing gear in place so put the reinforced/raised landing gear plate Peter made a while back into place and marked a line down the center of the plate.  Using the landing gear (plastic bit) marked a center line on it as well, lined the two lines up and ensured the landing gear was as close to the front as it could go, far enough from the back so that the wholes going through would be in the right place, and drew a line so we had the two lines required to drill the four wholes making room for the blind nuts to fit in front of F1 and before the fuse bottom.  I then lined up things and drilled the four required wholes.

Landing Gear Plate Sanded and Glued
Landing Gear Plate Sanded and Glued
Axle and Wheels Installed
Axle and Wheels Installed

The axle has a bigger screw in part that you screw into the landing gear plastic bit.  I figured out the size of that, on the side of snug, and then drilled a whole for each wheel.  After screwing in an axle, which was a tight fit, I used a locking nut to hold the axle on.  Prior to putting the tires on (which are 3.75″ in diameter) we placed a wheel collar on, using locktite on the tiny screw, to provide some spacing between the wheel and the plastic bit.  Then once the tire is on we put another wheel color on and marked where it will be.  Removing the wheel collar and wheel I then grinded a flat spot for the the screw on the wheel color to screw against as we want to make sure it doesn’t slide off.  Don’t care about the inside one.  This was done for both wheel/axle pairs giving me my landing gear.  I then used a saw to cut off the excess axle bits.

Landing Gear Ready
Landing Gear Ready

Building 4 Star 60 Day 11: Wing spars & Fuse stringers

Didn’t have my pics so just summing up my building session I had on Wednesday after the gym.

Cut the slot for the diheadral branch in W1 (Peter already had W1 glued in place with the appropriate angle).  Then glued and clamped the top main spar and rear spar in place.

Top main & rear spar glued
Top main & rear spar glued

I then cut off the ends of the fuselage stringers to conclude our short evening of building.  Mainly wanted to make sure I got what I did done on the wing so it didn’t hold us up to much since it needs time for the glue to dry between steps.

Cut excess off fuselage stringer ends
Cut excess off fuselage stringer ends

Building 4 Star 60 Day 10: Triangle stock, Stab mount & Wing

Yesterday I was able to get in a building session with Peter after quite a break so we started with a detailed overview of where we left off and where we were going next.  I started hands on work by making the sawdust fly by sanding the tops of the triangle stalk placed behind the firewall for added support.  The key here was to sand the tops such that they were rounded with the top of the firewall (that is rounded) and smooth with the top of the fuselage side.  In order to achieve this you need to sand with what I’ll call the sanding ruler, lol, from various angels until you obtain the desired effect.

Sanded triangle stock
Sanded triangle stock

Next I sanded the slots on the tail of the fuselage where the stablizer mount fits into and also the edges of the mount itself, did a trial fit, and eventually glued it into place once I obtained the desired fit.  It is important to make sure that the top of the stabilizer mount is flat with the tops of the fuselage sides as this is a key component of the aircrafts tail since the stablizer, etc will be mounted to here thus it provides the connection between the tail of the aircraft and the main body (fuselage).

Stab mount glued
Stab mount glued

Next I did a trial fit of the fuselage stringers making sure the 3 that go through the slots on F6 fit nicely with some extra (that will eventually be cut off at both ends and sanded smooth) and the 2 that but up to F6 do so with the desired shape.  I then glued them in place and pinned where I could to the stringers tight while the glue dried.

Fuselage stringers glued
Fuselage stringers glued

My final task for the night was to start assembling the left wing.  Before placing the ribs, etc. I read through the wing assembly instructions a couple times to familiarise myself with what needs to be done.  Looking at where we started the wing before, with the gluing the spar doublers and pinning that along with the balsa trailing edge to the work surface.  Good thing I read and looked as we had the spar doubler going the wrong way!  The doubled side needs to be on the end of the wing up by the fuselage.   We then took a tea break to let things percolate in my brain before starting assembly.

Upon returning I started assembly of the wing by finding the necessary pieces (ribs, diagonal braces, main spar web & rear spar web), gathering them, and then doing a trial fit with everything but the rib W-1 as need to use the dihedral gauge side of the laser cut plywood dual tool to set the root rib (W-1) at the proper dihedral angle of 2°.

Once we ensured everything fit properly, all the ribs were at, or really close, to 90°, doing no sanding since we need to make sure of a tight fit, we traced the necessary parts to mark where we needed glue and then started gluing.  We did the ribs to the spar webs and trailing edge first.  We then did the diagonal braces ensuring that we applied enough glue at the wider end to fill the gap.  Need to make sure the diagonal braces go from wide to narrow (front to back of the wing).  Ensured that all the ribs were at right angles and pinned some blocks to the far left rib (in the pic below) to keep it pressed against the spar webs where it is glued.  Once all that was glued into place we glued the leading edge into the pre-cut angle slits at the leading edge of the ribs and clamped it into place (the top piece that it is clamped to is not glued into place yet but is their for something to grip).  We then weighted everything down and that concluded the day as glue needs to dry.

Left wing panel (ribs, top main & rear spars)
Left wing panel (ribs, top main & rear spars)