Tag Archives: Building

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 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)

Building 4 Star 60 Day 9: Top Formers & Wing Beginnings

Headrest, F4-T, F5-T Installed (Side View)

Yesterday was another great building session.  We started the day by continuing work on the fuselage.  Peter showed me where he did some sanding on the fuse bottom to give a smooth finish from where we curved and glued it into place the day before.

Building resumed with using balsa triangle stock for reinforcements for the wing-hold down blocks. I had to bevel the back edge to match the angle of the former F-3 and glue the triangle reinforcements to the top of the hold-down blocks (for the wings), the fuselage doublers and fuselage former.

I then cut two pieces of triangle stock to reinforce the firewall (F-1) and can be seen in the pic below being held by the clamp in place to dry.  For this you have to angle the bottom, using the sander to take more off on one end then the other to create the angle, to match the bottom of the fuselage where the triangle stock will be sitting/glued against, along with glue on the two sides.  Before gluing you need to notch out (not shown in the picture) two slots on each where the blind nuts are present to ensure the bolts holding your engine mount on can pass through.  I believe I will eventually have to sand the triangle stock to take on the same shape as the curve in F-1.

The last thing we did on the fuselage was do a trial fit of the headrest (HR), F4-T and F5-T which gives you the top back of the canopy.  Good thing as it appeared we had swapped the labeling of F4-T and F5-T.  We sanded the edges and then placed glue along the bottom edge as well as the sides of the tab that go down into the slot on the top.  We placed one of the stringers along the top and used an elastic near the bottom to hold everything in place.  Unfortunately we had the elastic to high at first and it broke F5-T so we had to glue it to the piece that remained in the slot and will have to glue wood reinforcements on each side of the top former.  Thank-fully this isn’t structural and more in holding the shape for covering to give the look going back beyond the canopy.

Headrest, F4-T, F5-T Installed
Headrest, F4-T, F5-T Installed

Lastly for the day we worked on the wing.  This process started by:

  • Clearing off the table
  • Making sure their was no glue remnants from steps past
  • Laying down the plan starting with the Left Wing Panel
  • Covering with wax paper and pinning it down
  • Finding the required pieces
  • Pinning the main spar and extra wide trailing edge sheet to the table

Once that was done I cut two of the six 1/4″x1/2″x36″ balsa sticks two make four spar doublers (top and bottom for both wings).  I measured based on the plans and not the book (as apparently they are done by two different people so they do not always jive, like in this case, and then you take the plan as the gospel).  Since they are 36″ long and they say to make four pieces (17.5″ long) I cut them in half making four 18″ long pieces (which if you measure on the plans is 18″, so they lost an inch in the writing it appears).

After those were cut I glued them to the main spar, measuring to leave space for the rib that they go up against.  Then pinned into place leaving space to weight it all down and leave dry until the next session.  Now the wing is officially started!  You can see the start below and I’d imagine at the start of next session 3 of the main spars will be removed and we’ll continue with building the left wing:

Starting the Wing (Spar doublers glued)
Starting the Wing (Spar doublers glued)

One last little fun thing that came out of the evening is that I need to think of a character I’d like to glue down in the cockpit for my pilot.  I’m going to use something with fixed hair so that it doesn’t come off and rattle around, what happened in Peters 4 Star 120.  One potential is a troll doll as their hair is fixed!  What do you think Stephanie, any suggestions? 🙂

Building 4 Star 60 Day 4: A little bit of everything

Today was another great day of building.  I lucked out today with some extra assistance to keep things moving along.  John cut the find down to size and sanded the edges for me.  Even sanded the sheeting.  Apparently this is one of the reasons why we don’t use the 1/16th that comes with as wouldn’t be able to sand.  We don’t do all the final touches on anything until ready to install due to hangar rash, that is the potential for bumps and what not while around the workshop.  We’ll want to make sure that sheeting surfaces are sanded smooth, excess glue gone, etc. Before applying the covering to prevent wrinkles, bumps etc. in the covering.

I marked the centre on the trailing edge followed by where the hinges have to go using the plans.  After practicing with scrap wood I made the slots for the hinges.  The other thing I had to do was start rounding the leading edge for aerodynamics.  This involved again first marking the centre, marking with a pencil so far from the edge on both sides as to how far to sand for starting the rounding, and then sanding the side edges at a 45 degree angle up to the line to get the rounding effect.

Sheeting cut, fin sanded, hinges marked
Sheeting cut, fin sanded, hinges marked

I repeated this process for the stabilizer as well, using the plans to mark where the hinges had to go, the centre position, and making the slots for the hinges.  Here I started rounding the leading edges using the same technique.

Peter showed me with the fin how to use sandpaper to finish the rounding effect using a finger on each side to apply pressure while moving the sand paper left to right over the edge as well as up and down the length of the edge focusing on one side or the other as needed to even it out.  You use the marked centre line as your guide since without it you’d have a hard time knowing what was the centre once you’ve started sanding.

Stabilizer hinge centres
Stabilizer hinge centres

On the stabilizer I marked the centre lines on all three sides (not the flat top as no hinge goes here and it won’t be rounded, actually want it to be flat and level for connecting to the body of the plane later).  Where you see the pencil marks that is the centre of my hinges, 6 total – 3 per half.  These markings with the long line is to help find hinge placements once covering is applied first to the edge so we can cut out the hinge location before covering the rest and putting the hinge in (dido for the fin).

Here’s a closeup of the edge where two hinges are marked and cut.  The cut into the wood for the hinge is very hard to notice which is where the markers are very helpful.

Stabilizer hinge placement cuts
Stabilizer hinge placement cuts

To continue prepping the fuselage today I glued the fuselage doublers to the corresponding fuselage side as we labeled yesterday.  We first traced them to guide us where we need to place it and to know where we can’t allow excess glue to remain.  I used a different kind of glue, titebond wood glue, for this as slower to set so absorbs in and creates a stronger bond.  As I glued each one we weighted it down to hold it in place and ensure contact is maintained throughout the drying process.  We had to ensure we wiped away excess glue from the slots and other areas where future pierces will go.

Weighted down glued doublers and tail wheel mount
Weighted down glued doublers & tail wheel mount

Another big thanks to John and Peter for the work they did on the firewall starting with marking the centre and where the engine lies on the firewall.  Peter explained to me how they used Johns Saito 100 4 stroke engine (same engine I’ll be buying for mine) to mark out where the holes have to go to on the engine mounts (they already drilled them for me) and made the small wholes where they’ll be attached to the firewall.  They also already had the whole drilled for where the fuel lines will pass through the firewall to the tank.  Today I drilled out the 4 tiny wholes to their proper size, 1/16th I believe it was and special tool was used to determine the size of bit required.  I then placed Vaseline into the blind nuts to prevent glue from getting in as glue was applied around the four holes and then the nuts were pushed into place.

Firewall, four small wholes are where the engine mount goes
Firewall, four small wholes are where the engine mount goes

 The last thing I did for the day was glue the tail wheel mount to the back of the fuselage bottom plate.  You can see the round weight over the top holding it down at the right of the pic with the weighted down glued doublers.

Building 4 Star 60 Day 3: Fuselage + Stabilizer

This morning I was up early, odd for a weekend, and off to Peters for what turned out to be a 2.5hr building session which flew by!  No pun intended, lol.

Forgot to take a picture of this step but I glued the sheeting to the fin I built and prepped last day and basically looks the same as the sheeting pic but just one of them.  Peter did finish off the fin after the glue dried by gluing the trailing edge for me so we were ready for sheeting today, thank you.  While John was tracing out the fuselage pieces to make templates, as he needs to build one from scratch, I worked one the stabilizer.

Since the glue had dried for the stabilizer I pinned through the sheeting approximately an inch from the frame edges and then used a ruler and pencil to make guide lines for cutting the bulk of the excess off with the bandsaw.  For some of the angles had to get creative and learn that I don’t have to cut along the line the first time but can cut further away and work my way in.

Once I had the general outline cut out I used an exacto knife to cut away more of the excess getting me relatively close.  Using a hand sander I sanded away what was left of the sheeting overhanging the edges of the framework, making a heck of a mess!  John kindly demonstrated how to more efficiently sand as it was looking like I was going to be their for days!

While sanding have to make sure the top and bottom ‘overhang’ are getting sanded by just sanding one at a time when necessary and/or angling the sander appropriately to not over sand parts.  Once smooth with the framework edges and the burning from the laser cut pretty much gone you’re done.  I ended up with the following and will have to round the leading edges later:

Stabilizer + Fuselage doublers
Stabilizer + Fuselage doublers

To wrap up the session I started assembling the fuselage by gluing the fuselage front to its side.  Before any gluing took place we spent a good chunk of time eyeing the pieces and the plans to see how everything was going together, including what will likely need to be glued next which is the doublers pictured above (their are 2 stacked on top of each other) and how they’ll fit on the inside of the fuselage side.  Good thing we double and tripple checked as we had the top and bottom of the fuselage side mixed up!  We also made sure we understood where excess spacing was allowed for the top and bottom plates to fit along with other pieces.

Once we had it all figured out as to how the sides will come up, doublers eventually fit in, and front pieces fit in I sanded where the front fuselage joins the side fuselage pieces, glued and placed them together followed by placing weights over wax paper to keep everything in place to dry as seen below.

Fuselage Sides / Front
Fuselage Sides / Front

That concluded another day of building and planning to get in another session tomorrow!  I’m still really enjoying building; however, if I was to make an adjustment for next time it would be to wear some sort of face mask when doing large quantities of sanding (i.e. as I mentioned for the stabilizer above).  Peter mentioned their won’t be much more sanding left now.

Building 4 Star 60 Day 2: The fin starts

Today I got over for another great building session with Peter.  Peter kindly had the sheeting for the (tail) stabilizer of my plane glued together.  We marked out one side of the sheeting tracing the framework with a pencil to know where the stabilizer framework had to go on the sheeting and then flipped over the framework.  I placed glue along the entire surface that was coming in contact with the sheeting while Peter spread it.  I then flipped over the framework, placed it on the sheeting, wiggled for good glue disbursement and then temporarily pinned in place while I glued the other side.  I removed the pins and placed the other set of sheeting onto the tail.  Peter then placed weights to hold everything snuggly together while it dries.

Sheeting glued and wrighted
Glued sheeting to both sides of the stabilizer I did on day 1.

The next step was buidling the fin.  Found it on the plans, pinned it in place followed by pinning wax paper over it.  The next step was to find the pieces and line them up on the plans followed by gluing and pining.  I then measured, cut, and sanded the rectangular ‘centre pieces’, need to remeber what their called and will update, until they fit snuggly but not to tight such that they are pushing out / warping the pieces already glued and pinned.

After completing this phase I had what’s below.  The long piece, trailing edge, is not attached yet however the bottom part has been sanded to give the desired angle and will be cut at the top when the time comes.

Fin framework glued and pinned
Tail fin framework glued and pinned.

The last part for the day was to prep the sheeting for the fin.  You always want to go oversized to ensure you cover everything and then can (what I imagine and will learn how) cut it down to size.   This time Peter and I did it together.  Peter tapped the back side using special tape (leaves no residue) and then folded the pieces back so I could run glue down between, top to bottom.  Then we layed them down flat, on glass, and wrighted them down while the pieces dry together.

Fin sheeting taped and glued
Fin sheeting taped and glued

That wrapped up another fun building session!  I’m definitely learning little by little.

Update 10/22/2016: I couldn’t remember the name for the ‘centre pieces’, it’s ribs

Building 4 Star 60 Day 1: The tail starts

Yesterday I bought a Sig 4 Star 60 kit off John from our club.  I’ve been so excited and nervous about building I wanted to get a start on it ASAP so I called up Peter today, as he’s teaching me, and got over to his place after supper.

We opened the box, seen in the image, and went through everything.  Noticed that for the plans we had two 2 of 2 pages and we were missing page 1 of 2 of the plans!  Thankfully a quick trip to Johns and he was able to provide us with the missing plan.

Starting the Tail
Starting the Tail

I got a start on the tail this evening after an intro into learning how to read the plans which includes how to tell the different tyes of woods and the way the grains are going. The grain direction is important as it provides strength.

They do recommendtwo copies of the plan as then you have one you keep in good condition and another you place on the table for working on. We cover it with wax paper to keep the glue off but still poking pin wholes through it.

I punched out the required pieces and then sanded any edge that will be glued to remove the ‘burn’ marks from the laser cutting and the rough parts from where a piece is punched out.

Once that’s done made sure everything was lining up properly and glued the framework together and pinned to make sure it’s held tight.  This didn’t include the 6 pieces for support.

The 6 pieces were done from biggest to smallest (this allows for if you cut to small you can use it for a smaller one).  Theirs one piece of wood that’s the appropriate width and then I measured and cut (using a bandsaw) each piece.  Before cutting the next I’d sand the end down until their was a snug fit.  Don’t want it to big or else it’ll push out the frame and cause warping/twisting of the frame.

Once I got them all fitting together properly going by Peters markings as to where the overlay stopped I placed glue on the surfaces that would be contacting the ‘main’ (top and bottom) pieces.

Throughout this process we’d pin the wood down to the table to ensure everything was snug and flat.

That sums up today’s building process as left the glue to dry.  I was uncertain how I’d like building but if today was any indication I’m going to love it as I really enjoyed this build session.  I know I just started, so will have to see how good my patience and ability to learn construction skills really are!