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FWAL's blog
Posted by FWAL | May 09, 2014 @ 05:26 PM | 3,113 Views
1000mm x 160mm x 18mm MDF, contact adhesive, jig saw, electric plane, smoothing plane, sand paper and a couple of hours later the fore deck plug is ready to be varnished prior to use. First I cut the MDF in half and cut and sanded one piece to the shape of the hull shape. The other piece was cut slightly larger as I used contact adhesive to glue the two halves together, with contact adhesive you only get one chance hence making one larger allowed for slight misalignment.
Once the halves were joined together I marked the depth which worked out 36mm at the mast and 18mm at the bow, hence the sandwich construction.
The work then progressed outside due to the dust as a fair bit of planing was about to take place.
I'm still of the mind that a high flat foredeck is beneficial compared to lower decks with prominent spines, ridges running up the centre. Keeping the jib boom close to deck helps prevent the wind from cheating underneath the sail and the flatness also reduces rotar and vortexes on the leeward side. There is a slight weight draw back but is all about compromises.
Posted by FWAL | May 09, 2014 @ 07:52 AM | 3,534 Views
Vertex's hull was faired last night and I also fitted the pre FG'd 2mm liteply transom and bow. As I've said before I always try and use up any spare resin to laminate offcuts of balsa sheet or liteply as it always comes in handy during this type of composite build.
The fairing shaved (sanded) off a staggering 14grams, this was very pleasing and now in her current state the hull weighs 220g or 7.75 oz. Next I plan to make the fore deck plug from 18mm MDF and retrieve the mast fin box out of the VTX as I hope to fit it in the Vertex
Posted by FWAL | May 07, 2014 @ 05:17 PM | 2,698 Views
That's the current weight of theVertex hull when it came off the plug. It's been an interesting past few hours of this build. Last night I thought I had prepared the hull for it's last flow coat of resin. So this morning I mixed the usual 18ml of West Systems resin which works out just the right amount to cover the hull but I had a couple of millilitres left over. Not a problem as I normally use it up on spare sheets to make various parts. However, after returning home from work a quarter of the hull where I first started applying the resin was like an orange peel in texture. The remainder of the hull was looking very good. I was a bit gutted but life and especially modelling is full of ups and downs. As the resin was still tacky I thought I'd give the hull another filler coat. Another mix was soon ready but my favourite brush was still damp from being washed. A substitute brush was found but the resin was going on pretty thick so an additional mix was required to completely finish the hull. I cut some FG ready and waxed my kicker well plug to use up the excess resin so not much harm done.
The hull received this additional and un planned flow coat of resin but as a consequence of the different brush causing more than usual amount of resin being required. Or the first coat of the day not having cured quite enough a number of small ripples were apparent along the hull and will require some special sanding treatment. Oh well, I'm quite use to sanding.
This evening after a little bit of persuasion the hull released itself from the plug and like a new born went straight onto the scales. 223 grams is a respectable light weight but only 60 or so grams lighter than one of my balsa cored hulls which are probably a lot stiffer.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 30, 2014 @ 06:07 PM | 2,587 Views
Today the new Vertex hull had it's first layer of FG trimmed back and was lightly sanded. After quick wash with fresh water and dried I went back to my old trick of spraying the hull with a light mist of 3M spray mount. Then I carefully covered the hull with another layer of 200g/m2 of fibre glass. With a bit of manipulation practically all the creases can be removed and wetting out is soooo much easier when the FG isn't moving about but quite firmly adhered to the previous and first layer of FG.

These photo's were taken after three quarters of the hull had been wetted out. The area awaiting the resin is firmly tacked to the hull which makes life a lot easier and less stressful.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 29, 2014 @ 05:59 PM | 2,611 Views
This evening I had my first experience of laying up a GRP hull on a plug. Normally, my hulls are a composite of balsa and GRP. I used to use 3m spray mount to hold the woven 200g/m2 fibre glass in place which has been very successful but this was not option during this GRP only build.
The plug had received two layers of releasing wax so fingers crossed I shouldn't have any problems striking the hull off the plug. I'm anticipating using two layers of 200g/m2 for the majority of the hull with an additional layer of 80g/m2 in the middle of the hull from the main sheet post to just in front of the mast post incorporating the full beam circumference.
Initially I mixed 36ml of West System resin which managed to cover two thirds of the wetting out so another 15ml was mixed but only about 8ml was used so it took approx 44ml in total which feels about right. I also tried for the first time to use a jenny or jen brush (A stick with a piece of brush shaped foam attached) to wet out the FG but after a while I went back to my trustee cheap kids paint brush bought from my local newsagent for 60p and used numerous times. The jenny brush is used once and thrown away. I found the thick paint brush stippled the resin into the FG a lot quicker and more thoroughly. It took a little time and patience but overall I'm very happy with the results. In one or two small areas the FG started to lift but a light rub over with some kitchen towel managed to absorb any excess resin and soon had things looking right. I also needed to cut a small dart in the FG at the midships to release a crease on each side but that's a relatively small price to pay to keep the FG and my sanity intact.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 28, 2014 @ 06:30 PM | 2,439 Views
The VTX hull has now been modified to produced a plug for my firdt attempt at a GRP moulded hull. This new project will be called "Vertex". The vertex's WL Beam will be 175mm and the overall beam 180mm. The transom has also been widened as a consequence. The rear deck will be flat and the foredeck will be similar to the Edges as I'm happy with the overall looks and performance.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 06, 2014 @ 11:09 AM | 2,356 Views
I have been planning this makeover for a long time. Today the weather has been very miserable (Too wet for glossing the woodwork!) The wife is working the eldest is in Cardiff, the youngest is playing with a neighbour and the Sorrento's glue is curing. So out came the electrics off came the fittings, say goodbye to the flush decks, a quick sand and wash out and this is what I have to work with. A Mark Dicks designed 170mm beamed VTX. Now I am really going to struggle to keep the weight down. Most of my builds in this state come in at around the 275-290g mark. This Chopped Matt Strand bruiser is a whopping 505g. This is seriously going to restrict my choice of winch so I might be refitting the ole Grupner Regatta as it's probably faster to have a 4kg IOM rather than a fast winch.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 03, 2014 @ 05:55 PM | 3,040 Views
The Balsa Cabin Sorrento (circa 1980) build has finally started. What a relief. The balsa appears OK but some of the parts weren't that accurately cut in the first instance and the leading edge 1/2"x3/8" section and 1/8"fin was missing! Luckily I had just enough in my scraps box to carry on.
Originally the Sorrento was designed for a 600 size can motor and 7 cell nicad. This would have weighed a lot more than the modern day more powerful 1000kv brushless motor, ESC and 3S 25C 11.1 volt Lipo battery. Therefore, I will try and reduce the weight in the tail and move the servo's, rx and battery as far forward as possible to help reduce the amount of nose weight required by the omission of the older, heavier motor and batteries. This started with drilling six holes in the stabiliser. What I didn't expect is that the weight saving was less than a gram! It didn't register a difference on my scales which I was quite surprised at.
Posted by FWAL | Mar 26, 2014 @ 07:19 PM | 2,749 Views
This vintage looking 48"3ch IC plane had been in the family for a couple of years collecting dust in a dark corner of the workshop. I originally bought it off a neighbour who found it whilst emptying a customers garage. At the time I had no interest in IC let alone flying a motorised plane rather than my love of silent flight. However, after clicking on another plane ID request I thought I had stumbled on the planes origins. Was this plane a Bowman mini skyman? Well, after a bit of scrutinising it turned out it wasn't but this did prompt me to starting a new thread. Within the hour there was a shortlist of two and after a little more investigating it turns out that the plane with no name is actually a David Boddington designed Tyro Too. In it's original form the Tyro was designed in 1966 as a single channel RC plane, it then evolved into a 2-3 channel kit in the 70's hence the' Too' was added to the name.

The wings don't sit right in the seats so could be from another similar DB plane called the Craftsman and the undercarriage probably isn't original either. But she does have a certain charm and deserves to fly again. The constant problem I'm having with this plane is the engine. An IC engine is great if you're a member of a Club with a private flying field, are a proficient power flyer and don't mind the noise and mess involved. But I'm neither of the former so if I am going to get this plane airborne then it's going to happen with a brushless set-up which just doesn't seem fitting or right for such a model. What a moral dilemma!
Posted by FWAL | Mar 20, 2014 @ 10:49 AM | 2,581 Views
It's had been almost 3 years to the day since I first met the Cosmeston Crew. They're officially known as the South Wales MYC and are a friendly bunch despite being from Cardiff! There's a bit history and local rivalry as Swansea is the biggest City in Wales yet Cardiff is the Capital. Similar I guess to New York and Washington, Sydney and Canberra. But in a far smaller scale ; >)
I had to go to Pennarth on business so just happened to pop the Edge in the van knowing full well that I should meet up and have a friendly sail. Thursdays are not a racing day but an excuse to get out of the house, have a chat, sail and cup of tea at the lake in this Club. It was good to catch up with the gossip par-take in a bit of banter and show off my new design. It was also refreshing to sail on a different patch of water which offered a different perspective and examine the two Tonics which were rigged and sailing.
Posted by FWAL | Mar 18, 2014 @ 12:21 PM | 2,358 Views
What's that saying? No peace for the wicked! I must be very bad as my plate is very full and the glass is about to overflow. I managed to turn work into pleasure this morning and get some flying in with a prospective customer which isn't such a bad thing. On my return home I disposed of 25 in my local model shop on a new razor saw, CA and balsa sheet for a micro warbird build (RCM&E mag's Feb issue free plans). Whilst in the garage waiting on the bench is a quick build EPP 33" HK P51 and underneath that I'm about to commence work on a vintage 2m Balsa Cabin, Serrento powered glider. I'm hoping to mix business with pleasure agin this Thursday by having a social sail with a neighbouring Club prior to collecting some furniture for the new home. Talking of which is still a massive DIY project in itself. Oh well, every journey is started with a single step.
Posted by FWAL | Mar 17, 2014 @ 05:56 AM | 2,450 Views
The Sun was shining and a constant stream of competitors rolled up and rigged. By 13:00hrs eleven IOM's were reaching back and fourth eager to start the first race of 2014 and the Spring Series. The hottest and sunniest day of the year to date and a light shifty breeze provided 10 excellent races. Nigel took the first bullet and sailed very consistently from then on to win with a total of 14 points. I skippered the Edge into second place with 19 points. Doug maidened his Winter build Goth project, his first ever boat build.
Posted by FWAL | Mar 05, 2014 @ 06:09 AM | 2,626 Views
My little used Lintel is off to warmer climates. Some fair well snaps
P.S The new workshop is looking very clinical
Posted by FWAL | Feb 07, 2014 @ 10:50 AM | 2,468 Views
12 Soarers, 1 Powered glider, 1 I.C Trainer, 4 IOM hulls 2 complete race ready IOM's a couple of power boats and some spare wings all took off today on their first stop over before they are based at another Hangar/Port. It's a daunting job thinking of moving the furniture and packing away all the day to day household items but the workshop! 1 day so far and I've feel like I've only scratched the surface. Although, it will all be worth it as in just over a week when the dust has settled I'll be in a new house which is within a 5 minute walk of the slopes. It's currently 10 mins by car. I can also start from scratch setting up a new workshop and storage systems as I have a nice scratch build project and a couple of kits which need completing.
Posted by FWAL | Feb 02, 2014 @ 02:33 PM | 2,949 Views
Had numerous short races today. Would have had plenty more if I hadn't left Nigel's receiver at home and had to back to get it. Simple one lap of a windward, leeward course each leg 50m long. Short line and three IOM's taking part. Isis, Cockatoo and my Edge. Overall the racing was close and for the majority of the races the positions reflected the experience of the skippers with Doug who only started last year not quite managing to get on the start line on time. Nigel and myself jostled quite often with the results off the start being very equal. From then on it depended on which shift to tack on or if you stuck it out how good the next big lift would be! The Edge went to wind very well. I might just tweak a little more weather helm out of the rig but not a lot as today she appeared to be sailing quite high. The runs were OK until the stronger gusts came down the lake which had a bigger affect on the Edges trim than the other two IOM's. Only once or twice did she actually nose dive but generally her bow buried slightly which didn't look that impressive but I was still in control and she would just cary on running. I'll just have to get used to this trait as I'm not building another IOM anytime soon.
Posted by FWAL | Jan 25, 2014 @ 08:13 AM | 2,297 Views
Edge is my fourth IOM design and build project which I will use to compete at my local Club and a couple of district events through out the year. She is made from a Balsa core and laminated with 200g & 80g/m2 weight FG. Prior to glassing the decks a walnut veneer was applied.
Edge's maiden was quite a short affair but none the less she floats, beats and runs. The corrector weight of approximately 165g or 5.8oz will be positioned just behind the keel box as the bow was just touching the water as the transom was just above. So all in all her longitudinal balance is just about as expected. Her beam is 180m, transom 95mm and the C/L of the mast is 500mm from the transom. C/L of mast to L/E fin 15mm. Whilst beating her helm was very neutral which is fine as a bit of rig tuning can feed in a touch of weather helm. Edge's general speed and tacking appeared fast enough but extremely difficult to judge without any comparisons. Here's a short vid with my 10yr son on the TX sticks not the PS sticks
Edge Maiden (1 min 21 sec)

Posted by FWAL | Jan 21, 2014 @ 02:37 PM | 2,363 Views
All finished and ready to run. Here as some close up's
Posted by FWAL | Jan 20, 2014 @ 08:35 AM | 2,640 Views
Almost there! The rudder is fitted and scribed to the hull. I have managed keep the gap between the top of the rudder and hull very small which I'm pleased with. The steel rudder shaft is 4mm thick so the max gap is probably under 0.5mm
(pic 1)
The rudder linkage is also complete. I used 6mm dia aluminium tube and glued in M3 threaded S/S rod with 14hr Cure time (patience is a Saint) Araldite at each end. On one end is a clip clevis and the other a ball joint to prevent slop. I have also cut one of the little rubber groimts in half which come with a servo and stretched them onto the rudder shaft. One half below the control arm and one above. This not only provides a nice seal but could stop the rudder dropping out of the boat should the retaining grub screw ever become loose. This hasn't happened to me but I have witnessed this happening to a Club member (No names mentioned Nigel). The V shaped piece of plastic is attached to the thin end of the bung to help prevent loosing it, it's from a milk carton.
(pic 2)
Next I fitted the winch. With this design it's not too tricky but I did adopt what I consider to be an easy method. Place a thin wire or string through the main output shaft hole of the winch servo tray. Then pull the end through the deck aperture that the winch will pass through into the hull. Wrap the end of the wire around the threaded spline a couple of times and secure the locking bolt. Pull the other end of the wire and feed the winch into it's position. The winch can then be easily twisted round to pick up the securing bolt holes and fixed into position.
(pic 3-4)
Posted by FWAL | Jan 19, 2014 @ 05:16 PM | 2,103 Views
After 2 hrs of slope combat abuse including 2 SAS Cobras, SAS 60" Wildthing and a very scared (Out of harms way) Easy Glider it was time for a bit of Four Play