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TomM's blog
Posted by TomM | Nov 28, 2014 @ 11:43 AM | 1,130 Views
My perfect 4 day weekend.
Posted by TomM | Nov 15, 2014 @ 09:30 PM | 1,654 Views
I started my winter build, but judging from a few days progress, I think I'll be done long before the snow is gone. After lots of forum reading and seeing other build threads, I put the balsa bones on a diet. Seems this plane is a porker at the box advertised weight of 16 to 18 pounds and some are even flying at 20 pounds. Hopefully I can get mine in the 13 pound range. Places I could substitute hard balsa for lite-ply I did for 50% less weight, and hand picking lighter balsa instead of the heavier kit pieces will all add up...or subtract up. Making the fuse sides from hard balsa and tossing the lite ply, and making cross-grain balsa ply for the tail area instead of lite ply is saving ounces.

I'll be starting the wing this week and I think I can cut 15% to 20% off the weight. The huge carved balsa block wingtips will go and I'll do built-up tips, the one pound wing joiner tube will go and I'll get a carbon fiber one, and then hand pick some lighter wood where stress will allow.

Plans are DLE30 power, smoke system semi-detailed interior, and undecided between Solartex or Ultracote......Continue Reading
Posted by TomM | Sep 17, 2014 @ 09:33 PM | 1,816 Views
Seven days ( a couple hours per day) from first glue to a covered plane. This was a short kit of only the ribs and curved nose and tail pieces, so all the sticks and sheets came out of my wood supply. This is my 4th profile plane and I'll probably build a couple more this winter... they are too much fun. It's sized the same as my Mojo 40 but it has a longer fuse and slightly thinner wing. I did the bottom surface in 1.2mil doculam to keep the weight down. The completed covered airframe weighs 25 oz. Judging from my COG estimates, it's either going to take some huge batteries up front, or I have to bump the motor mount forward to achieve balance- and that's with all servos inside the wing. We'll see. I added some carbon fiber tow to the wing spars and tail for extra dirt contact strength. I planned to add some fancy trim, but the "big plain white foamie" look is oddly appealing right now.
Posted by TomM | Apr 14, 2014 @ 01:36 AM | 2,695 Views
Status: Tricopter bug up my @ss. Never built any kind of multi-rotor before.
Ordered parts from my Chinese cousin....in China. ... but not really my cousin.
Cut some stuff on the laser.... bought some CF tube.
Built one. Strapped it down and took power readings. Flew like a dream. Even had a GoPro on it so I can say- " Oooohhh look at my backyard." Got cocky making a tight turn around the garden shed and crashed.

Got on the CAD and laser and cranked out another one. This time with break-away wood booms. And it folds. 7 hours from drawing to triwhirlygigger.

Gonna fly tomorrow . Stay away from banked turns near the garden shed.
Posted by TomM | Mar 13, 2014 @ 01:29 PM | 3,773 Views
Came out pretty nice, with some anti-shock foam inside. I just wanted something to keep that LCD from flopping around. If you need one gimme a shout. The Lexan one came out prettier, but much heavier. Maybe useful if you like glowing LEDs and whatnot.

Visit my site www.TheLaserCutter.com
Posted by TomM | Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:15 PM | 3,985 Views
I did a plot of antenna polarity coupling to show the importance of NOT pointing your antennas at each other. If you can make out the colors of the plot, I started in Yellow with both antennas in the same orientation, then moved the transmit antenna 45degrees (blue), then 90 degrees broadside(orange) then pointed both antennas towards each other (aqua).Don't do that! Youíre losing 13dB by doing that. That means your 100 mW signal is now 5 mW at best 5 feet from the transmitter, and you STILL have to calculate the distance path loss to that faaarrr away model....maybe 90 to 120 dB, then you hope the noise floor of the receiver is low enough to even see that signal... . . . Itís brown short time.


Getting an RSSI warning and loss of signal are two different things. To the best of my searching, no one has done any correlation between the RSSI number and actual power at the receiver. When the fembot barks "92 dB" that means nothing in real numbers.... it's just a reference FrSky made up.. Hopefully I can get to it in the next couple weeks.
Posted by TomM | Feb 02, 2014 @ 10:52 AM | 2,597 Views
I was going after the retro 1950's toaster look. I think it's a success.

Duplicolor Candy Metallic, laser engraved walnut trim, opened up the speaker hole and added copper mesh grill.
Speaker upgrade and internal EMI mods listed at www.thelasercutter.com.
Posted by TomM | Jan 21, 2014 @ 06:14 PM | 3,042 Views
Posted by TomM | Oct 23, 2013 @ 06:36 PM | 3,387 Views
Smallest one I built yet. 27" from plans. I changed the wing profile from the designers original. This one is a bit thinner at about 16% thick.

1.2mil doculam on the surfaces, and ValueHobby metalic blue and Ultracote lite yellow on the fuse..

5 gram servos and Hitec compatable micro rcvr to be installed. 2 cell 800mA for power.
Posted by TomM | Oct 23, 2013 @ 06:22 PM | 3,140 Views
...right ?

Lucky to have a wife who likes RC wall art.
Posted by TomM | Sep 23, 2013 @ 10:31 PM | 2,907 Views
Love the smell of laser cutting in the evening. New 40" sport/3d/profile I'm prototyping.

Here's a vid of parts being cut. The 1/16" wires lying on top of the balsa do two things.... they weight the balsa down so the 1.5 HP fume extractor doesn't blow them around, and they leave 1/16" uncut tabs under them so the parts stay attached to the balsa sheet and don't fall out till you pop them out.

lasercut ribs (2 min 24 sec)

Posted by TomM | Sep 16, 2013 @ 10:13 PM | 3,509 Views
Some pics of the Mojo 65 in progress. I had an Evo 26 sitting around so I decided to build a plane for it. A relaxing build, using mostly Gorilla non-foaming wood glue, and CA and epoxy where needed.

The previous Mojos were electric, this is my first venture into gas.
Posted by TomM | Jul 28, 2012 @ 07:28 PM | 3,407 Views
Just a great flying plane. The G-32 motor from Value Hobby is a screamer for the price. I'm planning on upgrading the AIL servos to something faster... I just used some lower end Hitecs that I had laying around. The HS225MGs in the tail are keepers. And I'll add more bright trim. When it's up high, the blue wings vanish against the blue sky.
Posted by TomM | Jun 16, 2012 @ 05:46 PM | 3,629 Views
Couple hours into the wing.


10 days from framing to parts ready- not bad for a couple hours per day.
Base of Ultracoat and ready for some trim and servo install,
Posted by TomM | Jun 12, 2012 @ 11:33 PM | 3,789 Views
Fragile, Italy
Posted by TomM | Jun 12, 2012 @ 01:21 PM | 3,868 Views
Posted by TomM | Jun 10, 2012 @ 06:33 PM | 3,433 Views
Profile planes. Get some. They're easy to build and amazing to fly. I just finished and flew the Mojo25. On the bench is a Mojo 40. I'll be ordering another very soon.
Sticky: CNC Mill
Posted by TomM | Jan 31, 2012 @ 08:45 PM | 3,850 Views
Here's my dirt cheap CNC mill. I'ts based on the Solsylva plans at http://solsylva.com/cnc/25x25.shtml . It was a 3 month project and about $700 including computer and software. I'ts dual leadscrew, belt drive from a single stepper. Acme 1/2" by 8 dual thread, and ball and thrust bearings at every end. Pretty happy with the end result...good tolerances and decent speed for what it is. Built originally to cut solid body guitars (another hobby), I'm now making some plane parts on it. I can get repeatability of .005" with tight bearing adjustment, and it normally runs "true to drawing" of .006 to .008.

I'm using a generic ebay-special TB6560 3 axis control board ($60) and a 24VDC 12A power supply, running Mach3 and CamBam.
Posted by TomM | Apr 17, 2010 @ 02:54 PM | 4,395 Views
I crashed this GP 76" Cub a couple years ago. I'm glad I saved it because I was finally sick of looking at the sorry mess and started rebuilding it. A little splicing, patching, tracing parts from plans and a new plastic cowl, it will be good as new. I'm having a little trouble matching colors. The new Coverite is a brighter yellow than the old Coverite, and so far 5 different shades of paint have not matched the covering. I don't care anymore...it'll look great flying by at 20 feet away.
Power was/is an Eflite Power46, 4C 4900.
Posted by TomM | Jan 25, 2010 @ 09:23 PM | 5,980 Views
I originally had a Harrier 46 three years ago. It was one of my favorite planes. During a high speed LOW pass axial roll, I fat thumbed it. I drove the prop into the ground about 6 inches, and had a jolly balsa explosion. I really missed that plane, as they discontinued it, and in the meantime bought it's larger brother, a Harrier 90. I flew the 90 for a season with a Saito 100, and this winter converted it E-power with an AXI 4130, 6C 4900.

I just found a NIB Harrier 46 on RCG. Pretty much fixed it up as the first one, just a different brand ESC and more battery capacity.

Specs are:
Eflight 46
Rhino 4C 4900
Eflight 60A ESC
APC 14x10

WOT test with that combination show 856 watts, 60 Amps.

Good thing my ESC is rated for 75A surge. I will be working on airflow across the battery and ESC.