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Posted by Billybobjoepants | Apr 07, 2013 @ 01:47 PM | 1,636 Views
Cars usually bore me to death (and confuse me: who would spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a fine-tuned suspension when, for the same amount of money, you can have a 150 mph jet, ready to fly? But I digress.) But, last night, as a use for the shipment of random junk I just got from HK, and a way around the wind that's been berating us lately, I grabbed a crummy, 20-dollar RC car that was lying out in the garage and decided I'd make some use of it. After about an hour's worth of tinkering, I got a very simple, cheap, but satisfyingly fast ride:





The steering mechanism is very smooth. Now if it's just done drizzling, I can hit the track and drive circles around some runners
Posted by Billybobjoepants | Mar 23, 2013 @ 10:45 PM | 3,108 Views
It's been a long time since I posted about the Bird Dog, so it's time for an update. The fuselage is covered, the wings are on, and I've started to dope the frames. With any luck it'll be flying tomorrow evening. Also, this:



I was getting fed up with various power solutions I was applying to my night vapor. The motor was totaled a long time ago when not one but both of the wires were yanked out of the can. One wire I can fix, but two is sketchy, and the almost 10 bucks for a brand new power combo was not gonna happen. So I tried all manner of motors, including very cheap and useful airhogs cans that have exactly the same dimensions (but maybe half the torque,) but nothing was a perfect fit, so when the gearbox got destroyed by an errant gust of wind, I decided to temporarily cast the airframe aside for its circuits. Not a mistake! I ended up immediately launching into a quick build using scrap balsa, bits and pieces from the recycling bin, and a pair of the aforementioned airhogs motors in a counter-rotating, direct drive configuration. I didn't do any real thinking beforehand, much less any drawings, so I was building on a feels-right basis.

The result of this was a airplane with a small wing set directly above the stabilizer, massive control surfaces to account for the nonexistent tail moment, and two thrust ducts to contain the power of the tiny direct-drive props (so, depending on who you talk to, it may or may not count as an edf.) I finished within 2...Continue Reading
Posted by Billybobjoepants | Mar 18, 2013 @ 10:13 PM | 1,686 Views
I just put classifieds up on the site for 2 radios I no longer use:

Futaba T3FR-AM: $10
A 3-channel sport radio that would be great for a trainer, sailplane or parkjet. Comes only with TX and an iffy crystal, which gives you the price.

Tactic TTX600: $50
A 6-channel, 2.4 GHz system that works pretty well and comes with everything except the lanyard.
Posted by Billybobjoepants | Mar 16, 2013 @ 10:58 PM | 1,919 Views
Ok, all of the stringers are in, along with any extra support in places where I saw fit. The only gluing from here on out is going to be limited to final assembly and/or covering related doings. I'm glad to be so near to the end, but in a way disappointed, seeing as my favorite part of the build lies in the construction. I like to fancy I can throw together more or less beautiful frames, but I am not one of the guys who can create great, wrinkle-less, symmetrical trim schemes, or even really do a good job covering a model at all, even with iron-ons. Not to speak of tissue. As I stated in my last post, however, I'm starting to learn the techniques a little better. The poor little plane still has little pinpricks where the paintbrush broke the surface...

Oh well. I wanted to go all-out on an accurate, 1950's USAF scheme for the L-19, and I would probably still try, given the tissue I had weren't so crummy. I was psyched to find a rainbow of tissue at the craft supply for a lot less than the good Japanese kind can ever be had for, but when I opened it up I realized to my horror that it's the glossy stuff. Pros: no dope required, it's already waterproof. And it looks beautiful. Cons: You have to shrink it from the inside. Not... really realistic... I'll use it for something...
Posted by Billybobjoepants | Mar 16, 2013 @ 01:14 AM | 1,902 Views
She's starting to look like a bird dog! Put in all of the stringers I logically can at the moment; mounted the motor (not necessarily in that order) and started doing general sanding work around the fuse to make it pretty.

I also finished covering the wings, fins and surfaces, and completed the linkages/hardware. Covering with tissue used to be extremely tedious to me, but I suppose I should have heard about the blowdrying trick sooner. It basically acts like iron-on when you hit it with a blowdryer/heatgun, but sags pretty quickly, so I suppose I'll need to shrink it all again before I apply the customary doping.
Posted by Billybobjoepants | Mar 09, 2013 @ 10:09 PM | 1,942 Views
Work has been going slow (by my standards) on the bird dog, but one of the advantages of working with models this small is the ability to sit down and finish the entire fuselage at once...

Another advantage is the never ending possibility for offhand creativity. Fearing the worst of the bird dog's short-field prospects, a must, in my opinion, for micro models, I did decide to add immovable flaps to the wings. Whereas with a a model of any size I would run the numbers first, or at least have a considerable thinking session, I went right to work sawing the flaps out to the scale on the plan. Once I was finished (after about 15 seconds,) I reglued the trailing edge strip in at the wing cross section to close up the gap, then fabricated the flap surfaces out of scrap 1/16 balsa. Like I said, I didn't feel like any grounded estimating, much less formulating, so I just slapped them on at 45 degrees hoping to make a compromise between good speed and lift capability.
Posted by Billybobjoepants | Mar 06, 2013 @ 10:36 PM | 2,303 Views
Looking for something to build, I recently offered a friend to build a newer, better airframe out of classic stick and tissue to replace his UMX champ. It's the only thing he learned to fly on, and with no help, so it shouldered the burden of quite a few hard landings... not to mention the most medically devastating case of hangar rash I've ever seen.

Quite some time ago, I built the Guillows bird dog, 100% stock for rubber. It was destroyed by the will of the wind gods long ago, but I still had the ravaged plans lying around (my habit of denying to use wax paper would make any planophile cringe,) so I showed him the plan and he said it looked great. The actual model has a size very similar to that of the champ, so no scaling was required, but it has a worryingly smaller wing area. I'm not sure what this will mean for the required speed, seeing as we prefer to fly our very small models out of driveway, but if it has bad implications I'll most likely put in a set of fixed flaps to keep it nice and slow. I'm not afraid the general flyability of the model will be harmed, as there are at least 3 bird dog conversions on this forum alone that testify to its possibility, on top of the fact that the champ's 3-channel systems are smaller and simpler than the ailerons used on a few of those other projects.

I decided that I would go ahead with the wings and tail structures while I waited on the electronics. As of now, they're in my hands, but the fuselage work hasn't begun. Here are the pics of the build so far: