On Dec. 18th I could really start to see things coming together as I worked on putting the bondages for all the control surfaces into place.
The first step was to ensure the hinges fit into the slots off the main surfaces (wing for ailerons and fin & stabilizer for the rudder & elevator respectively). Once confident of that and also checked with placement of the corresponding control surface attached as well along with their range of motion it was time to mix up a batch of glue.
Prior to gluing the hinges into the slots I prepped them by spreading Vaseline onto the hinge joints to ensure no glue gets into the join, which would prevent the hinges from working properly, don’t want that! I then applied glue into the slots as best I could as well as onto the hinge and then placed them into the slots.
Once that was done I applied glue to the other end of the hinges, seen above. I kept the container below to try and avoid making a mess from excess glue dripping from the hinge as I applied the glue. Before connecting the control surface I did my best to run glue into the slots on the ailerons, elevator & rudder pushing it in with the stick / using gravity to let it seep into the slots.
I then slid the control surface onto the hinge and confirmed all hinges were in place, movement was there and then left them to sit and dry. This concluded another building session and you can see the result below.
Note: I did one control surface at a time, applying glue to the hinges and connecting using the process above prior to moving on to the next control surface.
Been on a hiatus over Christmas which has allowed me to catch up on my blog posts. I am now all caught up and am hoping to get back to building this week! With luck I won’t get this far behind again, lol. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and let me know you are out there 🙂
On Nov. 27th I started the process of covering the elevator and rudder for my Seamaster. This day consisted of covering the ends and trailing edges of the two control surfaces. This is done first in order to ensure the edges are properly covered and ensure there is no exposed balsa in the end.
In the next session on Dec. 5th I finished covering by cutting two rectangular pieces, one big enough to wrap around the elevator and the other around the rudder. The key here is to make sure it is big enough to cover the widest/longest part (the leading edge in this case) with enough to wrap around the surfaces beyond the trailing edge.
The covering process is similar for both. Starting with wrapping the covering around with the leading edge aligned somewhere in the middle you tack/iron down the covering to the leading edge.
Next you pick a side and iron the covering around the leading edge and to the side of the control surface making sure to work your way from the centre out to the three remaining edges. When ironing at the edges make sure it’s securily ironed at the edge itself and be careful not to have the excess covering touch (cut excess as you see fit). Once done the one side you can trim the excess covering along the edges before proceeding.
Next, flip the elevator or rudder over and repeat on the other side. Starting with rolling the iron over the leading edge and continuing to iron the covering to the other side of the surface starting at the centre of the leading edge out into the middle of the side and working your way out to the three remaining edges. Then trim excess covering. This process left me with covered control surfaces.
Yesterday I continued working on covering the ailerons as well as ensuring a fit between the rudder and elevator.
Prior to fitting the elevator and rudder I needed to V the ruder and elevator so that when hinged to the tail of the fuselage side to side movement of the rudder would be possible as well as up and down movement of the elevator. To ensure the elevator has enough down movement I had to sand the top of the elevator at an angle slopping from leading to trailing edge, seen below.
I finished the night by covering the ailerons. This took a quite a bit of time. I was working on the aircraft for about 2.5 hrs this day.
I measured out enough covering to go around the entire aileron in one piece. In this case it worked out to 5″ wide. I started by ironing a strip down the one side of the aileron and wrapping it around the flat trailing edge, ironing it down as well. Then folding the covering around and pulling tight I ironed it to the one side of the aileron. I subsequently started pulling it around the leading formed edge tacking it down.
I then pulled it tight across the other side and tacked it down near the edges and used a heat gun to shrink the covering to the other side as using the iron in this case would not work and cause plenty of wrinkles and havoc! Once I did what I could with the heat gun I used the iron to shrink up any loose spots and ensure the covering was adhered to the surface of the aileron.
This process was repeated for the other aileron. Since the covering once it cools may slacken in places I haven’t cut the slots for the hinges yet and will have to inspect at the beginning of the next session.
That concluded another building session at Peters. Prior to heading home I visited for a while as its going to be Friday at the earliest that I get to head over again to continue working on the aircraft. Covering is a slow, but therapeutic, process to get it done at least somewhat decently I am hoping :). The therapy part is in it takes my mind off work and other things for that time, lol. Part of why I enjoy building, plus it keeps me in the hobby throughout the off season.
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!
On Saturday I got to work on my plane again and made some more progress on covering and installation of the fuel tank. One of the discussion Peter & I had in a previous session was what I’d like to do with the cockpit, use covering or paint it. I decided to go with painting it as I felt under the heat of summer with no airflow under the canopy that covering would wrinkle and be a waste, so Peter stained the cockpit green, seen at the top.
I continued where I left off last session by completing the covering of the fin in white. I was able to utilize the knowledge I learned from John in my last session about covering. I was impressed with the result. I didn’t quite get it right the first time so had to switch around the covering and start again (as the glue along the one edge was no longer good after pulling up the heated covering). Throughout the process I had to make some incisions at the top and bottom to allow the covering to come around properly, which includes removing excess when I could.
Being Family Day in Ontario I got over for an afternoon building session with Peter. I started off where I left off, the rudder. I used the heat gun to shrink the covering over the ‘holes’ in the rudder and then using the markings on the fin figured out where the hinge marks were hiding under the covering that was over the leading edge. I then used the back tip of an x-acto knife to open up the hinge slots, hard to see below 🙂
After that was finished up brought the fuselage up onto the workbench as I’m now on to covering the fuselage! As you’ll notice from the pictures I am doing the fuselage and fin white. Because you want your seems to be such that the covering is overlapping from front to back, prevents the air from getting under and peeling back the covering, we start at the table and work our way towards the nose of the aircraft.
It was great to get back working on my aircraft after a 16 day hiatus due to being away for birthday weekends amongst other things. Though I wasn’t able to make it Peter did tinker a bit as he got the engine mounted, fuel tank set up and the throttle connections hooked up. I forgot to take some pictures of that.
After checking things out and refreshing myself with the project I got to work with measuring out where a hole needed to be placed in the fuselage doubler that lines up with the high speed adjustment on the engine. Once I determined where the hole needed to be I drilled a small hole first to ensure I wasn’t to far off and then used a bigger drill bit to open up the hole more. Testing with the same type of wire that will eventually be attached in place the hole alignment sufficed for now. This will allow us to find the hole after covering the fuselage and not have to mark up the fresh covering we put on to measure it out. At some point once the wire is attached we’ll run the engine to make sure the hole is positioned well enough such that the wire can move freely within the hole with the engine vibrations.
John stopped by for a visit to watch me work, lol. He seems to quite enjoy this; however, I do to as tend to pick up some tidbits along the way 🙂 . We need to remember to create another hole for a wire to adjust the low speed.
The other task for the evening, which took the majority of the approximately 2 hrs I was there is covering the rudder, seen in the featured image above. This started with covering the top and bottom edges followed by the trailing edge. These pieces took quite a bit of time to get done, especially along the bottom where the tail wheel wire and mount (rubber piece) are. To cover the remainder I used one solid piece that I sealed to the leading edge and then folded over to cover both sides of the rudder and ironed down all of the surfaces and will need to go back and finish up with the blow drier to tighten up the covering over the exposed holes in the rudder.
I probably could have just summed that up to be that covering the rudder in general due to its intricacies was awkward and required a fair bit of concentration and patience 🙂