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356Jim's blog
Posted by 356Jim | Jul 24, 2008 @ 08:07 PM | 3,581 Views
I am in the throws of a some major construction work on our 40-year old house, so I have pretty much curtailed my building and flying for a while.

As a sidenote, the new windows for the house arrived yesterday. My son, who live in Temecula came out to help me install them. After they were unloaded from the truck, I began the task of inspecting them for dimensions. Well, the dimensions were perfect - just what I ordered. The big problem was that they shipped new construction window frames, as opposed to the retrofit windows that I ordered!! This is a huge difference if your house has stucco siding, as most houses on the West Coast have. With new construction windows, you have to demo the stucco back to the basic house framing, remove the old frames and install the new windows. Then you need to repair/patch all the stucco that was removed. With the Retro windows, you just remove the existing glass panels and install the new window and screw it in place. Add interior trim strips, exterior caulking and you're done!!

After contacting the firm I ordered from, they finally acknowledged the error and will get back to me on a new ship date. Meanwhile, the patio door I oredered was correct, so I am preparing to install it.

Dang, I'd rather be flying!!
Posted by 356Jim | Jul 10, 2008 @ 04:30 PM | 3,272 Views
Again, another month goes by before I post to my blog. How time flies........

I have been really busy with home projects, but I have built a couple of indoor planes, as well. I built Bill Lowe 14" Ghost, using a 7 mm Blue motor and a GWJ gearbox, one 3.6 gm BA servo for Ailerons, and 2 Muscle wire servos for the rudder and elevator. AUW is a little over 23 grams. That translates to about 1 ounce per square foot of wing area. Everything runs off a Plantraco servo Rx, but I hate those pesky mini-JST connectors - just too much retention force for such small connectors. Several little niggly problems have surfaced, so no successful maiden yet, but what little time it has had in the air says it's going to be fun. I also built a Bill Lowe Slow Flier from a freebie kit he packed with my Ghost ARF.

I also scratch built a 3 ounce sorta-fun stick type indoor flier at 27" span and powered by a rewound UH 10 gram brushless, it's fun. I also built a 50% Robert Youens Arrow F3P satyle bipe and have made several mods to it to get if flying successfully. I have now put a Parkzone Cessna 2.4 GHz "brick" Rx+servos in it and hope to maiden it next week. AUW is going to be around 17 grams and change with about 100 square inches - should pretty much float thru the air!!
Posted by 356Jim | Jun 04, 2008 @ 11:44 PM | 3,692 Views
Jeezy, peezy, I just realized that I haven't posted to my blog since April 15th, Tax Day. Not because I'm lazy, but because I've been busy. Busy makin' and flyin' indoor planes. I bought a Bill Lowe Mini Ghost kit (not yet built) a while back, and Bill included, gratis, a kit for his indoor Slow Flier that uses the Parkzone Minium brick and motor. What a really nice and slow indoor flier it is. I have received many compliments from my flying friends whenever I fly it at the gym on Mondays and Wednesdays - it is a very slow, graceful and relaxing plane. Also, I have built a little Flying Flea (Pou de Ciel) from Greg Bacon at Junkyard R/C. I had a devil of a time getting it to fly initially, using AeroSoarer gear, but it just flat was underpowered. But Greg sent me a couple of his soda can metal props and that was the trick!! The plane (all of his kits) are made from sliced blue foam and other bits, and use either Aero Soarer or similar RTF gear.

Today at the gym, Dr. Marty Nation showed up with some v-e-e-r-y light weight EPS foam used as packing material for some shelving units his building received, offering some small planks to us. I took a piece and brought it home, measured and weighed it and calculated a - get this - 0.345 pound per cubic foot density (Yes, you read that right!!). The lightest EPS foam I had encountered previously was on the order of 0.5 #/ft.^3 !! The run of the mill stuff is usually around 1 pound per cu. ft.

OK, back to building....Continue Reading
Posted by 356Jim | Apr 15, 2008 @ 04:28 PM | 3,522 Views
I haven't posted to this blog for two weeks. I've been quite busy, what with taxes (that's an experience for a newly retired gent - lots of retirement related income that wasn't taxed - but it all turned good, since my overall tax rate was m-u-c-h lower than when I was working full time). Downside was I had to send a big check to Mr. Fed Govt. Got back a chunk, though from the state. Yippee.

I haven't been doing much building nor as much flying, as I've had a lot of family related stuff going on, plus, my youngest son had asked me to be his best man for his wedding next month, so I'm spending a lot of time in that area. I have a great relationship with all of my sons and my daughter, too. Raising them with love and a short leash paid of for my wife and I. We're very proud. (They've presented us with 9 grandkids so far). When I was about to retire, guys asked me what I was going to do. I told them that I had my hobbies and interests, plus I had 9 grandchildren that were begging to be spoiled!!!

I cleaned out my garage of a lot of old models that I figured were future projects to repair, upgrade, so forth. But I figured that in the overall scheme of things, I just had too many planes, many of which were in poor condition and needed a lot of work, so I just tossed them out. Planes built from kits, own-design scratchbuilt, out they went. Nearly filled a trash container with the smushed-up remains of them. Funny, looking back, I don't really miss them; especially when I have so many flyable planes, plus at least 4 new planes I haven't even completed yet!!
Posted by 356Jim | Mar 30, 2008 @ 08:03 PM | 3,446 Views
I've received requests from a couple of fellow RCGroup-ers regarding my foam cutting. I have sent them my guide for how to make a foam slicer for EPS, EPP and Depron. I have been using these materials for micro-sized indoor planes, as well as a couple of outdoor, calm-wind flyers. I feel one of the best features of this document is how to make a foam cutting power supply from a battery pack, a brushed motor ESC and a servo tester (although you can also use a Tx and Rx). I have also been dispensing browser links to sites that have decent info on foam cutting for wing cores and fuselages.

I am by no means the expert on this subject, but I have acquired a lot of "hand on" experience, which I will share with my fellow hobbyists.

One of my pursuits is indoor slow flight, like the F3P style planes. I have a Budget RC Arrow that I maidened last week. All I can say is, S-w-e-e-e-t !!! It does not do well at all in even a breeze, and a couple of times I thought I had lost it - once getting inverted without even trying (scary). I managed to recover and bring it down. I will put her up again this week, but early in the morning when it's still as a church at midnight.
Posted by 356Jim | Mar 27, 2008 @ 03:28 PM | 3,805 Views
OK, I'll admit it. I'm a plastic foam junkie. I collect pieces of it, EPS, EPP, Depron, supermarket meat trays, packing material protecting electronis and other stuff, and so on. Whenever I can't get pieces I need, I'll buy foam from a commercial vendor. I was raised on balsa, and usually prefer to build with balsa, but that old foam disease keeps me coming back.

Many years ago, I used to cut foam wing cores. I'd plot the aifoils, load them into any one of several airfoil printing programs and voila! I'd have my wing templates.

Recently, I was able to achieve a dream that I held for many years - indoor flying. I was able to find a venue and meet up with a bunch of really nice guys with like minds - indoor (and outdoor, too) RC flying. That's when my addiction to foam shifted into high gear!

I now have made a foam slicer. I can slice any variety of foam at virtually any thickness from almost see-thru veil to whatever thickness I need. I have developed a how-to guide for foam slicing - just e-mail or PM me for an electronic copy. Included is a novel way to power the cutting wire without the need or use of 117 vac house current. You probably have all the parts you need sitting right at your fingertips.

Currently I'm flying an EPS foam version of Billy Stiltner's Square9 using 1.5 mm thick EPS for the wing, stiffened with a 0.5 mm spar. It's controlled and powered with Plantraco Butterfly gear. The plane weighs about 4 grams. I also made a "mini pizza box" indoor slow flyer using 3 mm EPS, powered by Aero Ace guts. It's a blast.

The only thing is, when you build these micro-sized planes, your foam consumption is really low, compare to the days when I was cutting cores for 2 meter glider wings!!! I would be happy to part with some of my foam stock at a reasonable cost, or trade for RC stuff - particularly the micro indoor stuff.