On Nov 24th I finished covering the top of the stabilizer. Since I already had the center piece with the convex curve completed it was a matter of cutting two pieces of caution yellow covering (over-sized) for each part.
The process was completed similarly to the bottom in that I started by ironing down the straight edge along the middle of the stab and then working my way around the edges, as well as rounding the covering around the shaped leading edge. I then cut the excess off of the trailing edge and cleaned up any of the other edges as necessary.
Once that was done I used the heat gun to shrink the covering, making sure now to spend to much time in one spot and to keep moving with the air blowing towards the center. I needed to make sure that I didn’t heat up the glue of the covering creating the seal around the edges as well as making sure I didn’t heat a hole through the yellow covering or the orange covering that was previously applied. Hence, keep moving and checking to make sure surfaces are not getting to hot, pausing as necessary.
You can see the completed look in the pictures at the top and bottom of the post.
On Nov. 20th I focused on covering the bottom of the stabilizer. You can see the stop point for the day with the bottom of the stabilizer covered in the featured image above.
Above you can see the top of the stabilizer (bottom of the covering) I ironed in place. Below you can see the bottom of the stabilizer (one side) covered).
The first step was to measure it all out and cut a piece of fabric over-sized with a straight edge I could put the the inside along the triangle block to have a cleaner finish. I then worked the covering around the leading edge (which was previously sanded to be rounded). You can see me doing this in the picture at the bottom of the post. I made sure to iron from the inside out towards the leading edge and rounding out around the edge to get a smooth finish.
Once that was done I tacked the edges to the bottom of the stabilizer and worked my way around the outside ironing the covering to the balsa of the stab, ensuring I pulled the covering tight as necessary. This left me with the finish below.
Not quite done yet, now that I had the edges of the covering sealed (ironed to balsa) I used the heat gun to shrink the covering. This was done by starting at one of the ends and ensuring I’m always blowing towards the center (away from the covering stuck to the balsa already) and constantly moving and working my way around. You do not want to stay in one place to long or else you will burn a hole through the covering and have to start over. This provided the ‘crisp’ finish you see in the image at the top of the post.
On Nov 17th I finished covering the wing and started covering the tail of the aircraft. You can see in the image below that I covered the seems (joints) along where the triangle stock is in place helping support the stab to the fin. I do the seems first to help keep fuel, etc. from getting in and eating away at the glue, damaging the wood, etc. I also try and do it strategically to limit the places where air can get under the covering and peel it away.
Once the joints were covered I wrap the excess around the leading edge, see aforementioned point about air movement and then trim it from the trailing edge since this has already been covered.
You can see the in feature image of the post that I have started covering the stabilizer. I focused on the convex curves this day (Nov. 18th). This is slow meticulous work as it involves a lot of tiny cuts of the covering along the curves so that you can get it all covered and limit (in an ideal world eliminate, lol) the wrinkling of the covering. I did the outer edges in orange to match the bottom and I did the convex curve on the top of the stab (which will be for the control wire to fasten to and flow over for controlling the elevator) in yellow to match the top. Top and bottom of the stabilizer are going to match the top/bottom of the wing.
On Oct. 19th I did some more covering, as will be the case for many sessions to come :). This particular day I covered the trailing edge of the stabilizer in caution yellow, seen above, which will be the color of the top of of the stab and wing, as the plan is to match them.
Once the trailing edge was covered and found the hinge slots and cut them out. The next task was to finish covering the aileron tips, seen below. This time I folded the ends down first followed by the wider pieces along the side and folded over the edges. I think overall gave a better look even though it typically folded right around.
Yesterday started with seeing what Peter had down, which was installed the hinges for the ailerons onto the trailing edge of the wing. This involved making a two toothpick sized wholes per hinge as well as drilling a hole for the toothpick into the hinge itself. Then the hinges were glued inside the slot with the toothpicks pushed through the pre-drilled holes. This was done to provide greater strength to the hinges to help prevent them from disengaging from the trailing edge of the wing during flight. Upon my arrival to complete the process I cut off the excess toothpick ends and then sanded the ends to be flush with the trailing edge sheet.
This day involved the most sanding I’ve done in a while as I touched up spots on the fuselage in the fin areas and then in rounding the leading edge of the stabilizer, seen in the image at the top of the post.
The fuselage of my aircraft is going to be white, like on my previous build. Essentially I am trying to standardise my colour scheme so no matter which aircraft I am flying top and bottom colours will be the same (exception to this may be when I get into real world models, i.e. Thunderbolt or P51 Mustang, and want to be true to the aircraft. That is why, seen below, I did the trailing edge of the fin in white and then slit the covering where it covers the 3 hinge slots. For simplicity due to the stab/tail design I ran the white right up and over the top. This pieces still requires some touch up before proceeding with covering the tail end.
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.
Had a great building session with Peter last night making further progress on the wing and started the covering process.
In the picture above you can see how Peter cleaned up the sheeting so everything looks nice and smooth giving a better/easier finish. When gluing the fillers he mixed a special substance in with the glue that makes the glue easier to sand . I then marked and cut out the two wholes you see. This is where the wires for the servos in the wing come up through, connect to a y-harness and then connect that to the receiver; which, will be contained within the fuselage.
Once that was done we flipped the wing. Priot to sheeting the bottom we ran a piece of string through the tubes from the servo box up through the whole to allow us to run the wires when the time comes. Then going through a similar process as when we sheeted the top I measured out and sanded the two pieces you see pinned in the pic below. Once I got the desired fit I glued them into place.
Here’s where we did something a little different. You’ll notice the leading edge piece that needs to be shaped isn’t installed. Due to the fight we had with it last time we decided to soak it in warm water and then mould the piece around the wing at the end, held in place with elastics near the ribs for support, and let it dry so that the sheet is closely formed to what is required upon install. Once the sheet dries we should be able to more accurately figure out where the slots need to be cut and glue it into place with, hopefully, greater ease.
To end the day I learned the basics of covering. When covering surfaces (i.e. elevators & stabilizer seen below) it is best to do all the edges first and then take a break. The theory being you are taking the same actions with the iron in all cases instead of switching between edges and sheeting the main surface, which will come next.
I decided to do my control surfaces (minus rudder) in green so you can see the edges of my elevators completed. When covering you need to heat it up in the centre first and then work your way out to ensure you don’t get any bubbles. Then when going over the edge ensure you start flat on the top, roll over until the iron is flat on the side and then pull down. When rounding at the corners need to cut the covering in a straight line along the angle(s) to the ‘curve’ / change in direction of the wood surface.
I also did the back edge of the stabilizer, which in my design is orange.
In the picture below you can already start to see what the final look is going to be like with the contrast between the orange stabilizer and green elevator. This will be most noticeable on the ground as in the air green turns to black.
Yesterday we had a productive 2 hr building session. I love seeing my project slowly come together and take on more and more of a ‘total plane’ look/shape.
The evening started with checking out the ‘rig’ Peter created for drilling the holes for the dowels into the dowel support blocks. Because every planes wing is different you need to create this for each one! you can see the hole setup in the pic at the top of the post. The devices gripping the wings and actually slotted to hold the edges is set to ensure that the wing maintains the correct angle (if the angle is wrong the dowel holes will be off). These dowels are what will slip into the fuselage to hold the front of the wing while the back will be bolted on. Pinned to the front is the template for where the holes need to be made in order to match up properly with the fuselage. Then placing the drill bit into the device guiding it straight drilled into the support blocks providing a guide hole.
Here I went off plans and based on more experienced builders in the club. I’m going to place a hatch cover to provide easier access to the fuel tank. In order to do this need to reinforce T1 to provide support and a place for my hatch cover to screw into. I took a rectangular piece of scrap balsa wood and then figured out what width it needed to be, cut it and then traced the arch of the T1 piece followed by cutting it out and then sanding to get close to the same shape as T1. I didn’t want to sand perfect as will finish sanding once the glue dries so it is the same shape as T1.
I cut the hole for the switch for turning the plane on/off. For this I had to measure on the inside to see where I wanted the switch to be (between the edges of the doubler slot, to thick to go through the doubler as well) and then translate it to the outside where I did the work. I used the one piece as a stencil to mark the shape with a pencil. I did my best to make sure the hole was level so the switch won’t look all cockeyed once installed.
Then using a tiny drill bit I drilled a little hole in the four corners before going up to a bigger drill bit and drilling within the pencil lines to start opening up the hole. After that Peter used a tool to remove more followed by me finishing it off by sanding (not with sand paper! lol). You can see the switch placed in the slot in the pic below. Will need to remove for covering.
The last task of the evening was getting the stabilizer attached to the fuselage. First marked the center of the tail (where the stabilizer will sit) followed by centering the stabilizer on the back of the fuselage and penciled the lines to mark where glue needed to be applied. Then taped both the sides of the fuselage and next to the pencil marks on the stabilizer to ensure no excess glue gets stuck to those surfaces that will be covered.
Once that was done place glue on the stablizer and then set it on the fuselage, centered it both front and back using the pencil marks on the back and the center of the one ‘stick’ of wood for centering the front. We then clamped into place (used a block of wood so not right on the stabilizer) and once happy placed weight to hold in place.
This concluded another building session and next time I should be able to get a nice picture to really show the plane taking shape!