Building 4 Star 60 Day 44: Canopy Cut & Pilot Installed

Pilot Minion Installed

Tuesday was on the shorter side (1.5hrs) but accomplished the two goals that were set out for the evening, cutting the canopy and securing the pilot in place.

The first task was to cut the canopy.  This may sound like a simple task, but the thing to remember is that I only have one and if I screw up we have to order a new one.  That said I took my time.  It initially was curved such that it was flat with the ground all the way across and had an edge/lip all the way around.  This would make it easier from a manufactures perspective as they just put it on the mold and walla!  Every plane is a little different in how the top deck curves, etc. so this allows you to cut it to your aircraft.   Peter mentioned some come with the canopy cut to size, but guessing there is more precision in the top deck and where it needs to sit?

I had John’s canopy to use as a guide to get me started, but even then if I’d of cut it exactly like his it wouldn’t have fit my aircraft.  First I lined up the front ‘band’ you can sorta see in the pic with John’s and marked where the back of his canopy was with a pen that I could clean off.  I then cut out the enclosed part of the back and worked my way towards the pen mark taking out chunks, or as John likes to say hack-choo.  There was a process finding the right tool to cut the molded plastic as Peter had no suggestions and I don’t know what others use (please comment and let us know!).  What I ended up finding worked best for me were metal cutters with the straight blades, not the funkily curved ones (sorry I’m no Tim the Tool Man Taylor 🙂 ).

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Building 4 Star 60 Day 43: Fuselage Covered, Engine & Battery Installed

Power Switch Installed

Seeing everything coming together and how far I have come since day 1 when this project began has been really rewarding.  I believe I have learned a lot throughout the process and still have so much to learn!  It has been a lot of fun seeing the aircraft take shape.

I started the day by continuing where I left off with covering the front side of the fuselage.  I had to continue with making the little cuts and folding over and along the front edge.  I then folder wider pieces over the edge where the fuel tank is.  Lastly to get the finished look below I cut off the excess that runs along the top deck.

Pilot R Fuselage Front Side Covered
Pilot R Fuselage Front Side Covered

Today the engine got installed.  We all ready had the engine mounts in place and prepped.  Using the appropriate screws and locking nuts I screwed the engine into place while Peter held the nut with a wrench.  I also used a screwdriver to pry open the clamp for the throttle push rod and got it onto the linkage (right side looking at the picture below) so will be able to have throttle control.  This also means that while placing the engine before bolting down need to make sure the wire is connected.  I find the picture below really start showing the progress made on the plane!  It also shows two glaring things that still need to be done, one is installing the canopy which I’m hoping to do Tuesday, and the other is covering and installing the hatch for the fuel tank.

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Building 4 Star 60 Day 42: Fuselage Front Sides Covering

Pilot L Fuselage Front Side Covered

It was great to get back working on my plane again.  The time flew by as I think this was the longest I have worked in one session in a long time at about 2.5hrs.

During this time I finished covering one side of the fuselage.  From the pilots perspective this was the front left side, as seen in the featured image at the top.  Due to all the curves you have to deal with when covering this area it is a slow and detailed oriented process.

It starts first measuring out the piece of covering with some excess all around.  Then you line it up to where you want it, about a quarter inch overlay with the back piece.  I then  tacked it down in a few places starting top middle and worked my way along the top edge, pulling tight to do some on the side and looking through the covering you can see where the outline for the wing to sit in resides to tack some along there as well.

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Building 4 Star 60 Day 41: Fuse Bottom Front & Top Deck Covered

Top Deck

Today, after quite a hiatus do to not feeling well and timing, it was great to get back to working on my plane this afternoon.  The theme of the day was covering, lol.

I started by continuing where I left off and covering the fuselage bottom front, seen below.  For this piece I made sure that I left about a quarter inch to wrap around onto both sides of the fuselage and enough excess at the front to get a little ways past where the “cut out arch” is.  The main surface ironed down smoothly, I tacked it up at the top near the landing gear plate, pulled the covering tight and then tacked it down near the top of the arch.  Then starting at the landing gear plate end I worked from the center of the fuse bottom out to the one edge and then the other working in this fashion towards the front.

In order to properly iron the edges over the side I needed to make a couple cuts along where the arch starts working my way towards the front to allow me to iron over the edge and onto the side of the fuselage.  I also made a cut near the front to allow me to iron the covering along the edge past the bottom of the arch a little ways and again over onto the side.  This was then repeated on the other side.

Next the bulk of the covering which was over the open space of the arch was cut away except for a tiny bit of excess.  This excess was then cut about every centimeter or so (there was no exact measuring here), but frequent cuts were required in order to iron the covering over the edge to cover the ‘thickness’ of the sheeting to prevent wind from getting under the covering.

Fuselage Bottom Front Covered
Fuselage Bottom Front Covered

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Google Analytics & Sitemap

Today I tinkered on my website to verify that I have finally completed some outstanding items on my website that I have been planning to do for ages.  The only one that I really should have investigated sooner was Google Analytics as now I don’t have any data prior to the end of this week as it appears what I had done way back when broke at some point when switching themes, etc.

What I have done:

  • Updated to latest version of Quark Theme
  • Verified Google Analytics is working… using the Analytics Cat Free WP Plugin, this is a very easy plugin to use and will have to see how well it works over time
  • Using Google XML Sitemaps plugin, added my static pages, set priorities and sent off my sitemap to Google & Bing
  • Using a simple Homepage (removed in transition note as no longer in transition)
  • Google Search console has my sitemap

The only outstanding item I now have is to figure out what to do about a portfolio.

Oh yeah, also need to continue tinkering and get cracking on some personal projects 😉 .  Though I have been working hard on one personal project, that is building my plane!  I will want to contain this kind of info in a category within my portfolio, so it will not just be software development projects.

Building 4 Star 60 Day 40: Turtle Deck & Landing Gear Plate Covered

Turtle Deck Covered (Top View)

Tuesday’s building session involved finishing up covering the turtle deck, top view in the image above, side view below.  With the convex curves and having to extend back around the tail makes for one of the trickier pieces of covering I had to do.m  Last session I had already cut out the piece, ironed it to the top stringer and cut for the slots necessary to get around the stabilizer and fin.  I did need to make further adjustments throughout the process.

To start this I pulled the covering tight along one side of the turtle deck and ironed the covering to the side of the fuselage (ensuring there is about a quarter inch onto the side) starting in the middle and working my way towards the tail, then going back to the middle and working my way towards the nose.  Once that was done I ironed the covering half way around headrest.  Rotating the plane around I did the same to the other side.  I also ironed the covering down around the tail and ensured the perimeter of the entire area being covered was sealed (ironed down) so that it didn’t pull off once I started using the heat gun.

Using the heat gun I worked my way around the turtle deck making sure not to stay in one spot to long or get to close to the covering as both scenarios can lead to burning a hole through the covering, which would mean starting all over again.  I also made sure to point the heat gone away from the edges towards the middle.  This means you need to be constantly moving and adjusting where the nozzle of the gun is pointing.  The reason you do not want to apply hot air down onto the edges you previously sealed is that the heat will cause the glue to give way breaking the seam.  I continued this process until I was satisfied with the tautness of the covering and removed any wrinkles or sags out of the turtle deck.

John was over visiting so he cleaned up and got more wrinkles out of the covering down around the tail area as right from the start that shrunk into a mess of creases big and small!  Thankfully I was able to work quite a bit of it out; with first the heat gun followed by using the iron again.

Turtle Deck Covered (Side View)
Turtle Deck Covered (Side View)

Afterwords I covered the landing gear plate with one piece measured to be big enough for some overhang on the sides and to cover down over the lip and onto the bottom of the fuselage a bit, seen in the pic below, as well as down over the lip into where the wing sits (2nd pic below).  This is to ensure there is no unnecessarily exposed wood, protecting the planes structure from leaking fuel, etc.  This was an awkward place to cover and I did the right side better than the left.  Need to take the piece and angle up when folding over to allow for a tighter corner (with no wrinkles).  I still need to cut the covering where the holes were are for the landing gear and wing bolts respectively.

Landing Gear Plate Covered
Landing Gear Plate Covered
Landing Gear Plate Covering Wrap Around
Landing Gear Plate Covering Wrap Around

GoDaddy WP 4.7.3 Upgrade Gotcha

It’s been a fun time trying to get everything updated and to where I want it to be on my website.  Just recently I did a post about some housekeeping I’ve been doing on my website along with outstanding items.  One of the things that has come up was updating to the latest version of WP (4.7.3) as I was currently on 4.7.2.  I tried to do it as soon as it was available within WordPress itself, but this kept failing and so I awaited until it was available through the dashboard on my GoDaddy Windows (Plesk) hosting.

I thought fantastic, I’ll click the button and wala!  But no, for another domain it did work right off the hop, but for no such luck.  I was getting the following error:

Error: Update failed: Non-zero exit status returned by script. Output stream: ‘ (Error code 1)’. Error stream: ‘ (Error code 1)’.

So the Googling started and I came across a Plesk support article on the error I was experiencing.  The advice was to either comment out the error_log line or to set it equal to syslog.  In my hosting I do not have access to the PHP.ini file which meant I could not do this; however, for each domain in my hosting there is a .user.ini file within the corresponding directory root.  By placing the following line at the bottom of that file (on a new line) I was able to successfully update my WordPress installation through the Plesk 12.0 Applications Dashboard:

error_log = syslog

Website Housekeeping: TablePress & Huge IT Portfolio

I think I have finally managed to get some serious website maintenance and cleanup done so I can move forward with confidence.   The tasks that I have performed over the last little while includes:

  • Full backup of my domain
  • Backup of my MySQL database for
  • Deleting 2 Huge IT Portfolio Plugin tables from the database (the plugin itself I deleted a ways back)
  • Deleting 2 Unused Plugins (Aeolus Creative Portfolio and Hello Dolly)
  • Upgrading WordPress version (always trying to keep up to date for security reasons)
  • TablePress plugin update failed putting my site into maintenance mode, had to rename folder and install fresh (thankfully tables embedded into posts so they remained! 🙂 )
  • Using WP-Sweep to clean up unused, orphaned and duplicated data as well as to optimize my database tables (especially for removing old revisions of posts to try and speed things up)

I’ve used WP-Sweep once before and today was my second.  I still have one unused plug, Waving Portfolio, remaining.  I recall having issues with the plugin but am still in the hunt for how to do up my portfolio which leads me to the outstanding items on my website:

  • Update to latest version of Quark Theme… will happen soon now that I have backed up and cleaned up a fair bit, including backing up the Quark Theme folder specifically encase I loose my customizations (I should probably read up and potentially do a proper Child Theme)
  • Complete my homepage, still not sure what I want to do for the body
  • Investigate Portfolio option (quark gallery format and some manual maintenance on a portfolio page?)

This is always on going and though it may cause a little stress at times when things break as a whole I love it and enjoy the challenge which is why I need to try and get cracking on some personal project ideas of my own.

Building 4 Star 60 Day 39: Fuselage Bottom & Top Covering

Fuselage Bottom Covered

Today was a great building session and two Johns along with one other club member who stopped by for a visit today.  Peter’s place was a beehive of activity!  Through it all I chatted some, they conversed lots, and I kept working away to put in another 2 hrs on my plane.  Today was about starting the process of covering the fuselage.

The first thing I did was measure the length of the bottom of the fuselage with about an extra inch at the front and about the same for the back which will cover over top of the existing piece.  You want the front piece covering the back, which is why I started at the back and am working my way to the front of the aircraft.  This allows the wind to roll over the aircraft without hooking and getting underneath the covering to peel it back.

You can see the bottom covered in the top picture.  In this case I cut the piece tapered rather than trying to cut this on the aircraft, which I cannot imagine would have been easy or very ascetically pleasing.  I wanted about a half inch to wrap around the sides.  In ordered to get this tapered cut I did the following:

  • Measured the width of the bottom at its widest point plus some (9″ total)
  • Measured the length of the bottom plus an inch to overlay at the narrowest and excess at the top (24″ total)
  • Cut out a piece that was 9″ x 24″
  • Measured the width at the narrowest part (where it will be overlapping previous covering at the tail)
  • Marked the center of the covering that I cut out
  • Marked each side of center the width of the smaller part plus wrap around
  • Lined up the ruler and cut the angle

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Building 4 Star 60 Day 38: Rudder & Elevator Push Rods

Rudder & Elevator Push Rods Installed at Servos

Tuesday was another 2hr building session, which is about my typical.  When you look at what I got done to the uninitiated you may think to yourself “It took you that long to do what?”.  In order to install the rudder and elevator push rods correctly it takes time.

The first step is to figure out where the control horns need to be attached to the control surface (rudder & elevator).  This is done by using a combination of the plans, to get a general idea where the horn needs to go as it’ll show where the support for it resides, and attaching the push rod to the servo to see where it lines up.   The second allows you to determine the angle at which the control horn needs to be fastened to line up with the end of the push rod.  As seen in the picture at the top I already have a hook in the push rod, which is attached to the servo arm.

Ensure that when you are installing the control horn and push rod the servo and control surface is in the neutral position.

Once this is determined you drill two holes through the control surface to act as the guides for the screws using a hand push drill, not electric, with a tiny bit.  In my case it is two holes kitty corner to each other on the base of the control horn for fastening.  When drilling you need to ensure you are going perpendicular to the surface and straight through, not at an angle, so take your time as it will pay off!  I made this mistake and didn’t get it right so when placing the screws the opening on the back wasn’t lining up with the holes in the back plate causing issues.  Thank-you John for the help correcting this and getting me on the straight and narrow for the elevator!

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