On March 6th not a whole lot of progress was made and some backtracking and discussion occurred. Discovered that the fuselage had warped. Looking down the fuse you could see that at the tail it curved inwards instead of ‘straight’ back and at the nose it was not curving properly either. This lead to much discussion about how to fix this, which due to time I left in the hands of John & Peter.
The next session Peter informed me of what he’d done to start fixing it. He built a contraption to hold the fuselage in place after steaming it to make the wood malleable.
The only other thing I got done this day was a start on the L wing panel, seen below. I pinned the main and rear spars in place on the plans along with the cutting and pinning the bottom trailing edge in place. I then went to work on cutting and sanding the sheeting for the wing. This went way more painfully then I care to admit as I had to start over a couple times due to over sanding (the first time by quite a bit and the second time by just enough such that the sheet wouldn’t work). There were also a couple times at the beginning where I didn’t measure right and thus cut it to short. I was clearly tired this day as I measure 2 or 3 times before I cut, but I was measuring consistently wrong, oi. I eventually got my 1/4, 1/8th, & 1/16th of an inch sorted out and got the sheets to the right size and glued into place. What you see in the image below are the sheets glued and weighted down for drying.
On Feb. 27th worked on the fuselage and started the wing! It was at this point I really felt like progress was heating up 🙂
One of the tasks for the evening, now that the front of the aircraft is shaped and dried was to install the front formers (F3 to F1, that’s the order of installation). You want the bigger one, that is further back on the fuse, installed first as that starts bringing the sides together and helps ensure a proper shape.
Then proceeded to start work on the wing, specifically the right wing panel. For this needed to get the trailing edge cut and Peter already had the spruce rear spar made (smaller rectangular piece of wood). Once that along with the main spar were pinned securely in place, ensuring some overlap on both sides I cut the balsa sheeting to size such that it fits snug between the main spar and rear spar as well as between the rear spar and trailing edge sheet.
Another great building session took place Saturday February 24th. The first thing, as seen in Fig. 1 and 2 below is that the screw hole for anchoring the engine support post (is what I’m calling it) to the fuselage was drilled. The groove carved into the ‘post’, seen in Fig. 1, Peter had done at another builders place. This groove is where the wires will run down from the engine (i.e. for the throttle servo). While Peter held the support in place I drilled a hole between the two bottom tabs (ensuring I was in about the middle and below the hole where the wires will be routed for the control services via the groove) a bit smaller than the screw being used as this is what will hold the post in place.
Once that was done I glued formers F6 through F10 in place connecting both sides of the aircraft. This was done with Sig Cement and each one was clamped in place to hold everything tight while the sides dried to the formers. All the formers were previously sanded.
The last item for the day was to start shaping the front of the aircraft. The prep work for this was having two pieces of wood with two notches made in them. I then soaked the wood using a spray bottle and carefully bent the two nose pieces inwards and placed the sticks in place, top and bottom, to hold the pieces in place while the water dried.
While waiting for the wood to dry we chatted and then about an hour later sprayed the wood again and move the nose pieces in further. Then cut new notches in the wood to hold the pieces at the new closer position. At this point I had to go home, but Peter repeated this process a couple more times until the two pieces were close enough together such that the F1 former would fit snug at the nose of the aircraft.
Wasn’t concerned about the wrinkle because if necessary can slit it with a knife and glue it smooth. That concluded another building session!
February 21st was about finishing off the Pylon and starting to get the fuselage sides attached. The first step was ensuring the seems of where the spacers meet the formers are secure by applying a bead of medium CA glue long the seems. This was done for all four areas, inside and out, making for eight beads of glue.
After that was done, this type of glue dries fast! I did a trial fit of the pylon to each fuselage side. While doing this I made a line along each side to determine where I needed to apply glue (seen below). After that was done I placed glue along the left side of the pylon (ensuring sufficient glue on the tabs) as well as on the fuselage side and then put the pieces in place and clamped them together as seen in the picture at the top of the article.
That wrapped up another day as couldn’t go any further until this dried. Once dried Peter did the same for the other side so that the project wasn’t held up to much as that needed to be done before anymore formers could be trial fitted and glued in place.
Monday the 19th was a day of dang’s and backtracking before nicely getting ahead. When I first got there and was working discovered that the sides of the fuselage hadn’t stuck together well enough. Bad batch of glue! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it… the only other evidence I have is that Peter tossed both parts for mixing it up and the fact they didn’t stick.
To rectify the sides coming apart I had to re-glue it (seen above) and thankfully this time it stuck! Same process as before (without all the sanding), but unfortunately means not as much progress was made this day. Also did a lot of sanding (John helped as well) due to the excess glue around the top of the doubler as you want to make sure the wing will sit nicely within the ‘saddle’.
What was suppose to be the main focus of this session was building the pylon, pictured below. This is the main support for the fuselage and the engine mount (that will be above the aircraft mounted onto the piece of wood sticking out, plus other pieces I’ll get to later in the build).
For this I had to find the 4 pieces that make up the pylon (two of them are formers, F4 & F5). The front is the smaller of the formers. I then went to sanding the sides of all the pieces, followed by gluing the pieces that will help hold the main support for the engine (or so I’ll call it) and complete the pylon connecting F4 & F5.
That was it for this day as needed to wait for everything to dry before proceeding. Also to make sure everything stuck together properly as well!
Playing catch up on my blog posts here as been busy! Last Saturday, Feb. 17th, was a building session that focused on getting the 3 pieces of each side of the fuselage glued together and stabilizer.
In order to glue the pieces of the fuselage together you mix up a batch of glue as it is made from two equal parts. Once mixed you glue them together and place weights (with wax paper between the weights and the wood to ensure nothing gets accidentally stuck together that could tear away the wood) to hold the seems together. The reason for the ‘cartoon teeth’ like look is to provide some interlocking which adds strength as gluing to flat ends together would not hold up well!
In the picture below I’ve glued the doubler to the fuselage making sure the curve lines up with the side of the fuselage. This piece is on the inside of both sides of the fuselage to provide support for the wing. You need to make sure that it is flush with the top (as the bottom is right above where a tab for one of the formers fits in) and lined up properly front and back too as there are tab holes there as well that if it covers you’ll be loosing support from where you need it.
For the stabilizer (shown at the top of the post) used Sig Cement to glue. The only reason why I’m mentioning this is because the next time I went to Peter’s I discovered the sides didn’t hold, dun dun dun. But I knew my stab was still OK as I used a different set of glue all together.
For the stab I had to find all the pieces, do some light sanding to remove the laser burns, and then line them up on the plans to ensure everything lines up and lightly sand where necessary. I then glued and pin the perimeter pieces together followed by the center piece. I then has to measure and cut all the individual pieces for reinforcing the stabilizer. This involved cutting and sanding to make sure my angles were right to get a tight fit where the individual pieces of the ‘inside’ touch together along with where they touch with the perimeter of the stab.
Woot, woot! Wednesday this past week I got to start another build. This time around I am building a Seamaster. This build has taken some time to get started with all the major life changes that happened over this winter and some hiccups in the creation of the kit itself. This kit is no longer manufactured so someone Peter knows out of Winnipeg cut the kit for me, so a big thank-you to him! I got to see the pieces for the first time Wednesday.
Peter put together a manual for constructing the kit, which I am reading through to get a general understanding of the overall process and also in being a guinea pig on the thoroughness / ease of use of the manual. 😉
This will be my first seaplane and I’m excited to experiencing taking off / landing and flying over water. I’m getting ahead of myself though as I need to build the aircraft first! To start I read through the introduction of the manual Peter wrote up along with the first bit on the fuselage. I then laid out the plans on the table, covered it, and pinned it all in place. I found the 6 pieces making up each side of the fuselage and laid them out.
You can see the front portion laid out in the image at the top of the post and the back portion of the fuselage sides in the image at the bottom of the post. Due to the kits being laser cut the first step is always to do lots of sanding! Which is what I did most of this day, was sanding all the edges to get rid of the ‘laser burns’ and give a better edge for the glue hold and allow the pieces to stick together (as shown in the top 3 pieces).
That sums up the first day of this build and am looking forward to Day 2! I hope others will be interested to follow along on yet another build by yours truly 🙂
Though my plane according to the plans was complete, Monday I truly completed my aircraft!
Outside of the plans, based on club members experience, I added support wires to the tail. You can see them installed in the featured image above. The reason for this addition is that a known flaw in the design of the aircraft is the weakness of the fin. If you were just flying in circles and figure eights you would be just fine but as soon as you started performing loops and rolls you would have a problem.
That problem is that the forces applied to the fin during these maneuvers would cause the tail to twist making the aircraft unstable in the air. This instability, and perhaps damage, leads to a lack of control and I believe even the potential for the fin to break.
The wires were created by John based on the ones installed on his 4 Star 60. He sautered the ends to bolt to the surfaces onto the wire. The are adjustable for length as you want to make sure they are at about the middle of the top of the fin as well as the middle of the outer edge of the stabiliser into solid wood, but not to close to the edge to ensure a firm hold.
Doing one at a time you line it up and mark where the holes need to go into the stab and the fin. Adjustments needed to be made on the ends to ensure they sit flush with the surface of the aircraft. You then drill out the holes, ensuring you go through in a straight line as you don’t want to be at an angle. Next you put the screws through (screw it in once required) and then put a locking nut on the screw through the stab. Can leave the one through the fin for now.
Tuesday was the day everything came together and I my aircraft was fully assembled. Previously in the week Peter & John balanced my plane to determine how much weight was required. The aircraft was quite tail heavy. Need to remember that as you move away from the center of gravity (CG) the effect of 1lb of weight is compounded. This means that even though the engine, wing, battery, etc. is all up at the front of the plane the tail still wanted to ‘sink’.
In order to counteract this John & Peter determined how much weight was required to place up in the nose so that the aircraft is actually a little nose heavy. They determined the weight required and already had the one side of the piece of metal sanded and a piece cut out for the drain hose from the engine to go through allowing the fuel to exit instead of pooling on the bottom. I then drilled two holes into the piece of metal.
After yesterdays session you can really get a sense of what my aircraft will look like (without the wing anyways). I started my day with covering the hatch cover. I wanted to break up all the white on the fuselage and since Peter and I had the same idea for what color should be used I went with green. Before covering I had to make sure that there was clearing for the throttle linkage which involved sanding down the one side. Once that was done I covered the surface and folded over the edges like I have done previously. This also means that for the front it involved doing a bunch of small cuts to get the covering folded over the curved edge decently.
John came over to check things out and while he was there we bound my transmitter to the receiver. I haven’t installed that yet as John’s going to bring over some velcro for that task; however I know where it is going to go and already hot glued some tubing to the side of the fuselage to run the longer wire at a 90 degree angle to the other for reception. I set up a new model in my transmitter (named it 4Star60) and the various leads were hooked into the correct places on the receiver. We were not able to get the desired effect for the throttle after doing endpoint adjustments on the throttle control arm and in the transmitter itself so will have to look at that again. We were able to adjust the servos (mechanical adjustments) and the linkage near the control horn to get us satisfied with the movement of the rudder and elevator for this first crack at it. John had to go and then Peter and I hooked up the wing to test the ailerons. I had to reverse RAL so that when pushing the joystick left the plane would bank left (as was reversed originally).