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Huffheinz's blog
Posted by Huffheinz | Aug 12, 2012 @ 03:07 PM | 1,427 Views
Success! I was able to take the new Piranha out last night for her maiden flight. The winds are pretty high around here this weekend, so I was battling about 10mph, but she did really well. I had to put in a little aileron trim and a little more up elevator trim but that was about it.

The maiden video was pretty boring because I had her up really high so I took some more video this morning in about 12 mph winds.

Piranha Flight & Build Pics - 2012-08-12 (4 min 41 sec)


She rolls and flies inverted really well, but I was having problems keeping the loops straight with the high winds. I really want to learn knife edge, but the winds made that impossible.

It feels underpowered to me, but I don't have much experience with RC planes so I don't really know what I'm talking about. I'd like to know what it can really do, but it would take a day with calmer winds and a better pilot to really find out.

Despite it's lack of power, it's a whole lot of fun and it feels great to build something that actually flies. I'm looking forward to flying and learning more aerobatic skills on this model.

-Huffheinz
Posted by Huffheinz | Aug 12, 2012 @ 11:53 AM | 1,609 Views
Servo installation
What can I say? I'm a hot glue and bamboo kind of guy. Throw in a little .032" music wire and shrink tube and I'm good to go for servo install. (I also had to run to the hobby shop for servo extensions.)



I standardized on 2" long pieces of .032" music wire and hot glued 1" to pieces of bamboo cut to the appropriate length. A quick bend on one end for the clevis keeper and straight on the other for the servo adjuster. Then the whole thing gets covered with shrink tube which re-melts the hot glue and perfectly encases the wire.




Electronics and Hatches
I like rare earth magnets. I love the feel of the hatch jumping out of my fingers and securing with a satisfying dull click. I used little rare earth magnets in the hatches and short #10 wood screws secured in the fuse with a little hot glue.

The forward hatch with the soon to be ESC velcro'ed in. The battery connector wires were to short coming out of the ESC so I made an extension wire from 8" pieces of 14AWG battery cable. I used female 3.5mm bullet connectors on the ESC end and a dean's connector on the battery end. I probably should have used deans on both ends but headsuprc sends mating connectors with their motors and ESC and I had the set already lying there on the bench. (Besides, the bullet connectors fit nicely under the wing leading edge center skewer.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Aug 10, 2012 @ 12:09 PM | 1,861 Views
Wing Fitting and Fuselage Install
Before I glued the fuselage sides on I cut up some small 1/8" thick plywood pieces with notches in them to cradle the leading edge wing skewer. I just notched out the monoblock and hot glued them in place.



Then I predrilled for the wing retention lugs (skewers) and used them as alignment pins when I hot glued the fuselage pieces to the sides of the monoblock. I then ran a bead of hot glue down all the sides of the exposed skewers for a good bond where there were voids in the monoblock.

Note: I think hot, gluing the fuselage onto the monoblock was a mistake. There was too much surface area to cover before it began to cool. When I do it again I will use white Gorilla Glue.



I then cut out the fuse bottom and used it to help the alignment. I was very, very careful to make the fuse perfectly straight with the monoblock.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Aug 03, 2012 @ 01:47 PM | 2,387 Views
I managed to throw a little time into the Piranha construction last weekend.

Monoblock Support Skewer
At the recommendation of Truglodite over on the Piranha thread, I added one more long skewer to both sides of the monoblock. This one running from the firewall all the way back to the "angle skewers" at the back of the battery bay. I like this one because it looks like it will transfer the shock of any head on collisions back through the entire monoblock and not just impact the firewall bulkhead.



Firewall Construction
With all the skewers in place, I figured it was time to start in on the firewall so I can get that motor mounted.



I cut out a square of 1/8" plywood to the correct size, marked the center by drawing an "X" from the corners, used the motor mount as a template for hole location and drilled the holes for some #4-40 blind nuts to mount the motor.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Jul 26, 2012 @ 10:55 PM | 2,532 Views
It's been pretty busy around the house for the last couple of weeks, but I managed to spend a little time on my Piranha build last weekend.

The Monoblock
I had some 1" thick foam in the garage already because I use it on the floor to break down plywood sheets with a circular saw. I started out by cutting two pieces of 1" thick pink foam that were big enough for the monoblock and canopy block.

I brushed them off, wiped the two joining surfaces with a lightly damp paper towel, laid down a good amount of white Gorilla Glue, stuck them together and put some scrap concrete boards on top (leftover from a bathroom remodel...they make a great fire-proof lipo battery charging platform).




After letting them dry for about 2 hours, I traced out the pieces and took it over to the band saw and cut it out in a flash.

I used a coping when I built my Blu-Baby and I ended up with crooked cuts which resulted in a lot of sanding. The band saw made nice straight cuts. It's a pretty rough cut line, and I'll still have to do some sanding just to smooth it out, but at least I won't be trying to straighten it out at the same time.




With the monoblock cut out, it was time to add the reinforcement skewers. I wanted to try the "doubled up hacksaw blade" trick, but didn't have any hacksaw blades on hand so I used a coarse triangular file to cut a straight groove and then rounded out the bottom with the round file. I was careful to make sure that the skewers...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Jul 25, 2012 @ 01:39 PM | 1,940 Views
I maidened my Blu-Baby back in February and have been flying it at the local park ever since. I have a lot of fun with my BB over the last 5 months learning basic aerobatics, but I think I'm at the limit of what the BB has to offer for me as a sport pilot.

I thought it was time to go back to the bench and build a foamy with the following requirements:
  • Capable of more advanced aerobatics and beginning 3D maneuvers
  • A little bigger than the BB but still within Park Pilot guidelines (under 32oz, under 60mph)
  • Easily removable wing so it will fit in my car
  • Comfortably fly on a football field
  • Constructed from blue fan fold foam (to use up some stock) and be easily and cheaply repairable

I decided that the Piranha design by Tony 65x55 (and build log by Truglodite) fit the bill. I'm comfortable with the monoblock style of construction and the KFm4 wing is reportedly neutral, resulting in very clean knife edge and inverted tendencies.

Two weekends ago, I started the build...

Wing Construction
I spent an evening constructing the wing as a first step in the project. I used hot glue for all the joints instead of the PU called out. We'll see if it comes back to bite me later.

I started by cutting out all the pieces for the inner wing and laying them out to make sure I knew how everything went together.




I glued the spars to the front of the inner panels, glued the two halves together in the middle and added the wood stiffener and foam joiner piece.




...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Jul 22, 2012 @ 11:13 PM | 2,266 Views
I made a video showing the procedure I used to calibrate the sticks on my DX6i. I am in no way affiliated with Spektrum, nor did I see any documentation from them. This is simply how I fixed the problem I was having based on posts I read on www.helifreak.com and www.rcgroups.com.

I have learned so many things about RC from the message boards and youtube videos over the years. I made this video in an attempt to pay it forward. I hope someone finds it useful.

DX6i Stick Calibration Procedure (6 min 44 sec)

Posted by Huffheinz | Jul 22, 2012 @ 08:53 PM | 1,908 Views
Here's a video I took of my Blu-Baby on the battery right before I crashed yesterday. I'm only showing about half the flight (about 5 minutes) because it's not super exciting, just some simple aerobatics in 10-15mph winds.

This is the first time I've attempted filming my RC flight, and the plane turned out pretty small. I recommend watching it full screen.

Blu-Baby Flight 2012-07-21 (5 min 3 sec)


I've been having so much fun with the aerobatics on the Blu-Baby, I decided to start building a Piranha...but that's another story.
Posted by Huffheinz | Jul 21, 2012 @ 07:01 PM | 1,828 Views
I've been flying my 33" BluBaby around for a few months now without incident. I've been practicing simple aerobatics (loops, rolls, stall turns, etc.) with pretty good success. It has been highly reliable and definitely is my go-to plane.

The heat and high winds have kept me grounded for most of the summer, so I decided to get out early today to beat the heat and take advantage of the forecasted 5mph winds. Well it turns out the winds were 10mph gusting up to 15 but I decided to go out and get some flight video anyway.

I set my little handycam on a tripod and filmed an entire battery pack without incident.

Two minutes into my 2nd battery pack I smacked head on into a light pole at a little over 1/2 throttle:



The right hand side of the fuselage cracked right behind the monoblock...



...the motor mount shifted to provide me with a little more down and right that I originally set it to...

...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Feb 27, 2012 @ 10:58 PM | 2,555 Views
The Crash
So I decided to sneak out for a bit on Saturday morning for a little stick time. I had about two minutes left to go on my first pack and decided to do some low, slow and level coordinated turns...when all of a sudden a huge light pole jumped out in front of my BB32 and hit the wing.



OK, so the pole did not actually jump out in front of the plane. But I didn't dumb thumb it either. The crash occurred strictly due to my lack of depth perception...I couldn't tell if I was in front of, or behind, the pole. It turned out it was neither.

The Damage
It was a pretty slow speed impact, but it still did a number on the plane. You can see how the wing shifted on the rubber bands by the impact.
  • Separated the battery bay sidewall from the fuselage a little
  • Minor ding in the left wing's leading edge
  • Firewall fell off and left whole motor and prop dangling by the wires
  • Cracked the fuselage behind the trailing edge of the left wing behind the bulkhead
  • A little bend in the trailing edge of the wing in the center



...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Feb 20, 2012 @ 01:11 PM | 1,873 Views
BB Battery Bay Modification

The Problem
My BB32 KFm3 has an inside width of 1.25" (thickness of the monoblock) which is just a little too narrow to attach my 1000mAh 3s lipo pack down flat. I had to affix the velcro to the sidewall of the battery bay that was exactly as tall as the battery bay is deep. It was a pain getting my fingers in there to get the battery in and out and the wires dangled out the bottom during flight and dragged on the ground during belly landings.



Battery Bay Expansion
I decided to expand the battery bay by cutting out the fuse sides around the battery bay and making some doubler covers. This gave me enough space to lay the battery down flat inside the bay. It is now much easier to get in and out and centered on the centerline of the plane.


...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Feb 18, 2012 @ 09:01 AM | 1,826 Views
We had a rare, sunny, low-wind day in Kansas City on Thursday so I ran home as fast as I could after work, grabbed my new 32" KFm3 blu-baby and headed for the park.

This is the second chance I had to fly my BB and I have to say that she performed admirably. I maidened her in 10mph winds, so it was nice to go through 3 full packs (10-min each) in 2-3mph winds to see how she really performs.

I had to dial in a few more clicks of up elevator to keep the nose down and just a couple clicks of right aileron to keep her straight. I've been belly landing so far, so I think I'll install the landing gear this weekend and adjust with the new CG.

I was able to pull off loops, rolls, hammerheads and inverted flight without any problems. The motor had enough thrust to pull the BB forward out of anything. The catalog thrust is 17oz for this setup and I'm guessing it's a little over 1:1 thrust to weight. It cruised nicely at a little less than 1/2 throttle, but was not too fast at wide open. I can definitely feel the effects of the overhead wing in the loops and rolls, but its not too bad. I attempted a little knife edge flight, but had to apply a lot of aileron to keep her even remotely on her side. I'll play around with that more some other day, but I don't think this is the plane for knife edge (that will be my next one).

The only excitement I had was when the battery velcro came loose and was dangling by the wire. I managed to land her safely and seat the...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Feb 12, 2012 @ 03:29 PM | 2,325 Views
Power System Installation
With the airframe built and the motor mounted, there was nothing left to do but install the different components of the power system. I spent about 3 hours all total getting the power system installed and set, but this is my first build, so had quite a few head scratching moments that I needed to work through.

ESC and Receiver Installation
I drilled a hole with a 1/2" drill bit through the monobloc angling down toward the ESC shelf in the monobloc. It made a bit of a ragged hole, but I'm not terribly worried about this plane being pretty. I then drilled a hole through the back of the battery bay up to the ESC and attached the ESC to with some Velcro.

The receiver install was a piece of cake. I just used the same sticky backed velcro strips I used for everything and mounted it on the inside of the fuselage, rearward of the monobloc.



Elevator and Rudder Controls
I attached control horns to the rudder and elevator and cut a hole in each side of the fuselage forward of the rear bulkhead and hot-glued in servos. I made control rods using .032" music wire, CA glue, 1/8" bamboo skewers and shrink tubing. I used z-bends on the control horns and adjustable linkages on the servo arms.

Note: I had to drill out one of the holes in the servo arms to install the adjustable linkages. I used blue loctite on the tiny little nut to keep it from working its way loose and a tiny dab of CA on the servo arm screw.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Feb 09, 2012 @ 09:45 AM | 2,653 Views
Wing Repair
After consulting the guys on the Blu-baby thread about a twist in the left tip of my wing (post# 17,984), it looks like I need to do a little repair. There's a 3/8" lift on the outer half of the left wing I'm hoping I can take the hair dryer to it and relax the hot glue enough to slide it forward and straighten it out.



My Ship Came In
I got my shipment from headsuprc yesterday. I ordered it Monday morning and ti arrived on Wednesday afternoon...freaking sweet! I'm a believer in headsuprc now. Great info on their website, reasonable prices, dirt cheap and super fast shipping...what is there not to like?



Motor Installation
I spent an hour or so last night with a soldering iron, coping saw, drill and hot glue gun.
  • Soldered bullet connectors on the motor and ESC
  • Soldered t-connector on ESC
  • Made a firewall from 1/8" ply and hot glued it to monobloc
  • Mounted the motor

...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Feb 08, 2012 @ 08:28 AM | 2,621 Views
I found a two tube pack of Welders glue at Lowe's when I went in for white gorilla glue the other day, figuring I could use it to laminate the monobloc together for my blu-baby build.

I should have known by the smell, but apparently I had the non-foam-safe kind....


Posted by Huffheinz | Feb 06, 2012 @ 01:03 PM | 2,978 Views
I'm the proud owner of a scarred Hawksky and UM T-28 and I've been investigating options for my next (3rd) plane for a while now.

Design Selection
Selection criteria:
  • Big enough to handle some wind
  • Remained within the AMA's park flyer restrictions (under 2-lbs and 60mph)
  • Durable enough for rougher landings and belly landings
  • Replacement parts available
  • 4-channel
  • Use to learn/practice intermediate aerobatics (loops, rolls, inverted, etc)
  • Compatible with my DX6i
  • Popular enough design to be supported by online community

After looking at several online retailers, HobbyKing, NitroPlanes, HorizonHobby, I decided to scratch build a foamy. There are lots of great planes available for purchase that fit my criteria, but in the end I decided that I like the idea of making my own replacement parts and besides, I like building things and foamy building looks like fun.

I spent a couple of weeks surfing around the rcgroups scratchbuilt foamies designs and saw a number of them that would do the trick (Ellipso Aero, Nasty, Piranha, etc.). I even picked up the necessary wood for the Piranha, but then decided on the Blu-Baby because it looked like the easiest first foamy build. I had originally passed over it due to the lack of ailerons and its being described as a "real floater". But once I saw the 33" KFm3 sport wing...I was sold.

Building the Airframe
I printed out the tiled BB plans and picked up the blue fan fold foam sheathing from Lowe's and I was ready...Continue Reading
Posted by Huffheinz | Jan 21, 2012 @ 10:19 AM | 2,112 Views
I'm a newbie returning to the hobby after a couple of years.

I've been interested in RC since I was a kid when I watched my uncle fly his balsa planes. The hobby always seemed too complicated or too expensive to get into until a few years ago when I picked up a small helicopter (Esky Honeybee CP2) and RealFlight simulator and learned how to hover and do some simple forward flight. After that I picked up a small co-ax heli (Walkera Lama 2-1) for easy nose-in hover practice in the living room.

After much reading on RC forums (RCgroups and helifreak mostly) I decided it was time to get serious and build my own HK450. I had a great time building my HK450 and even had it off the ground. However, during my maiden hover, I was fooling around with my transmitter to get the trim dialed in and hovered right into myself. Luckily, I walked away with only minor injury to my elbow, but the heli was pretty torn up and my nerves were totally shot. I made a half-hearted attempt at repairs, but ended up putting her in mothballs where she remains to this day.

After losing my nerve for the helicopter flying, I decided that I would try out my first RC plane, so I got online and ordered the Dynam Hawk Sky v1 EZ-Hawk (AET version). This plane was a ball right out of the box. I was up and flying in no time and even hit a "no parking" sign on the maiden flight and just picked her up and relaunched with no harm done. The learning curve was so much easier than the heli and I had a...Continue Reading