GreatPlanes Dazzler build...3D flag... and she's done!!
(Edit here.. There's a few current finish pics on this post.. more at the end of the thread if you're interested... Thanks for looking. :) )
I've wanted to build this kit for quite a while for a few reasons. #1 reason is I wanted something thats extremely fun to fly. #2 I wanted something that's reasonably quick in the build. #3 Its been in my collection for over 10 years, and I have everything on hand to take this project start to finish.
I'm also test-driving my newish shop set-up, and gearing for bigger planes and projects in the future and this will also get me familiar with my camera options.. This will also be my first build log too.. so theres many reasons I guess.. enough of that though...
Also... please if anyone has any Dazzler input, or especially the plane, or pics of your Dazzlers.. thats totally welcome. :)
On to Da'Plane..
First thing I noticed was how much of this plane is actual balsa wood! That was nice to see, in that I know it's going to be a very light airframe, and I've got a Magnum .46 that I'm going to use, so it should be "Hot-Rod'ish".. so its already looking cool.
It does build as a "one-piece" airplane, with a 48" span, which again I believe lends itself to lightweight, less hardware. A great set of plans, and excellent manual just guide you right through. There's not many components to it once all the sub-structures are built, so actually it won't take long at all, which is just what I wanted too. Very convential kit starts with the rear stabs and control surfaces.. So that's where I'm going with it...
Here's a few pics.. I'll be back with some more..
Looks like fun!
I'm in.... :popcorn:
Welcome aboard Paul, thanks for checking in. :) Here we go!
As I was getting into the box, I found the plans rolled very tightly(as they usually are), so I hung them up(blue taped them)to my cabinet in the garage overnight to "unfurl" them somewhat. It definately helped in a few ways.
It made them easier to handle, as they might as well been spring loaded when I unrolled them the first time... most of all though, it gave me a chance to study them a bit, and browse the manual as I studied the plans.
What it also gave me was a good idea of where I could cut them down a bit, and only end up with 2 pieces to work with. I don't like cutting plans, but the less you need to cut the better.
I'm building this plane on my 60" desk also, which I found has plenty of room for a build this size, and it doesn't take any more of the room/garage/shop.
I use a ceiling tile that's simply taped down to the desk surface, using again blue painters tape, it sticks well, and peels off very decently, so I use it for many things. I taped the section of plans that I'm using right to the desk(blue tape), then I tear a sheet of wax-paper to go over the plans in the area I'm working, as a protector/sheild. I would have taken a pic here, but I just blazed through this part, and you probably know what I'm talking about anyway...
Here's a few pics of that beautiful box of "BALSA"!!... I think the only thing in this plane that is ply of any sort is the firewall, landing gear plate, and formers...
oh the wing-spars are bass-wood.. Thats it... and I get to form the leading-edges too..as it's a rectangular piece of balsa, this is going to be fun!
I also note the die-cut components look to be the wing-ribs, fuselage sides(yes..balsa), fuselage top/front turtle deck. The firewall and landing gear plate being hard-ply are pre-cut and in the small parts bag.
Starting with the stab section...
Pic #1. A very rough cut of the fin(vert.stab) and rudder frame. I start with cutting the frame pieces squarely with about 1/16" or over for the finish piece.
I clamp the main beams with T-pins. I really don't like pinholes, and if I can avoid them I will. The T-pins pushed into the celotex at an angle secure the beams just fine for this app.
Pic #2. The frame is cut and layed out. I built the fin and rudder at the same time, as it only made sense, as the plans are layed out, as well as a suggestion from the book, and I would have done it like that anyway. :)
When those are in place, I start cutting and angling the butt-joint pieces.
This is where I start using my trusty belt/disc sander, and my 11" bar-sander. The disc leaves a very clean face that CA glue just love to bite on. With some practice, the joints can be made very near perfect, and that means they are definately tight.
Pics #3, 4, and 5 are the progression, and an example of the joint/face that the disc creates... more to come... I've been busy today. :)
Some more work...
Pic #1. Shows the gussets. Knowing I need 4 gusset at 90degree angles for this step, I'm making 4 at one time. The gussets are cut using 1/4"x1" balsa. Main frame is 1/4"x1/2", bracing is 1/4"x3/16"... the surfaces are 1/4" thick finished.
Pic #2. Gussets and bracing done, ready to pull off the board for some squaring up.
Pic #3. The finished frames before the disc. Note the posts are oversize. These will be squared off and trued on the disc sander.
I like to start with everything square and true before any shaping begins. The shaping and rounding stuff comes a bit later for me.. we're getting it straight/square first... check it out while I hit the sander with them.. I'll get back with the results in a few. :)
These are "ready-to-shape" components.
During the disc-sanding step I also take my trusty 11" bar-sander and flat sand the assembly, using circular strokes, as the grains go several different ways, and sanding circular leaves it very uniform and flat, and also seems to cut it easier.
Another little advantage leaving/making things square is upon your final assembly and alignment stage... if there's any adjustments that need to be made.. its all square where it needs to be, so adjustments(if any are needed) will be a snap... I'm going onto the hor.stab/elevators at this point.. using basically the same same techniques.. I'll be back with some pics..
PS.. Did I say why I really don't care for pin-holes in finished work? First thing is.. I've seen more wood split right at the site of pin-holes.. the biggest reason though..I'm thinking potential transparent covering for this little fun-fly... and I want ZERO holes(not even filled ones..haha).. that'll be down the road in a short time though..and I'll log that also.... :)
Next up.. Hor.stab/elevators..
I've not built many kits yet and the ones I've built have been designs that lean towards light construction and low AUW. Seems to me that the Dazzler is built like the proverbial brick outhouse. Build threads like yours help me decide on future projects. :)
I too, like to take alot of pictures during my builds. I have them up on a gallery on my personal site but haven't really posted much of one here yet. Maybe I'll put one up of my current project.
Your workmanship is admirable, perfect fitting joints! I need to invest in a set of those bar sanders. I had some extra cash for some shop equipment a few months ago and stood there in the hardware store looking at the scroll saws and the belt/disc sanders next to each other. I flipped a coin and bought the scrollsaw. Thus far, I would have put many more hours on a sander. oh well.
Thanks Paul.. I'm hoping for around 4lbs. or so. I'm just going nuts with this balsa though. Its been a while since I've built a kit that has so much balsa. So many on the market are getting by with ply/lite ply... but balsa is more like putty to me, yes its alot easier to get things tight with balsa.
I also own a scroll-saw... it mostly collects dust from the sander.. Here's a pic of all the tools I've used in these steps...
Pic #1. The hand tools and supplies used in these steps...
Rulers-12" and 36"
Smallish miter-box and cut-off saw
Small cutting board, very handy so I don't cut everything else.. :)
The ever famous "sanding bar"... 11" I've got a few with different
grades of paper, and a few different lengths, this is the one I prefer
for this size work though.
I didn't mention either that I'm using mostly CA on this plane, the engine-mount area, and wing-joint will be done with 30min epoxy, as well as mounting the rear stabs... but medium CA is working great in this climate..
And Pic #2. is my best friend today... if you don't have one of these I highly suggest it as a next tool for building. It picked up my production immensely. I got this at HarborFreight many years ago at one of thier sales for about $40. What used to take hours sometimes, now takes literally seconds.. and what it doesn't do, the bar-sander picks up for near perfect fits.
I'm pumped to get the covering on already..this thing's screaming graphics to me.. ahh.. I've got a ways yet..although its going much quicker then I thought.. I'm working on the rear stab/elevator.. will have some more pics in a while... :)
I'd forgotten how much I enjoy building really.. life's good. :)
I can see if this plane were going to be electric, I could probably rethink alot of the structure, as there's nowhere near the vibration with electric power... but I'm just thinking full on HOT DOGGER!!.. haha.. its been a while since I've had a hot-dogger.. and this little plane with a .45 or .46 is just the ticket. I think there's just enough there to hold onto that engine.. :D
I almost didn't build it, and was going to start another one, but I caught a few of these Dazzlers on YouTube and they were just too cool... and someone at my club had the TowerHobbies Uproar flying a few days back..which is a very similar plane.. they look like they fly pretty light anyways... We'll know in a few weeks hopefully.. :)
Still working on rear-stab area.. I'll be back.. :)
The elevtor/stab area...
Pic #1. is the rough cut of the frame, identical to what I did with the fin/rudder.
Pic #2. shows the short frame-member on the right is cut to size/angles and ready to glue. I use that to fabricate the short left frame-member pictured before I glue.
Pic #3. The main frame is glued. The gussets are ready to glue in. These are the inboard gussuts, theres also gussets at the tips which the next few pics will show.
Pic #4. The inboard gussets finished.
Pic #5. Off the board. Notice it to be a one piece elevator. It in fact is a split elevator. I built them this way for productive purpose.. at this point its a simple matter of just cutting them in half, and hitting them with the disc to square everything up, and get rid off the off-cut around the edges.. and get the final shape.
Pic #6. is the finished elevator/stab center section ready for some further steps.
I blasted through the hor.stab while my camera was charging, but it was built using same methods previously discussed... and is pictured in #6 with the elevator.
This is the tail-group basically. The elevators are joined with the usual 1/8" brass wire/joiner found in this type of kit. I'll get some pics of how I'm going to recess that joiner into the elevators tomorrow.
This aircraft really is cake to build, and quite enjoyable. Its going by relatively fast. If I didn't stop for pics and updates I'd probably be into the wings today, and I'm not any kind of fast builder either... but...
I'm done building for today.. and it was a great day! Time for some web-surfing and some Teli(vision). :)
I'll be back on it tomorrow... joining the elevators, then switching the plans over to build the ailerons, and start the wing... just going by the book. :)
There's something about gluing sticks together, forming a structure, that makes a person feel good.
You should be feeling pretty good !!!
Well Hello there Tom... Yes.. I'm feeling pretty useful lately.. you stick guys know what I'm talkin' about.. ;)... and having alot of fun doing this.. Its been way too long ago that I've delved into a box of balsa.
Thanks for checkin it out...
I started today with grooving out the elevators for the brass joiner rod.. it took a little time, as you don't want to hurry it.. its easy to split, or fracture the wood/structure if you apply to much pressure in the wrong place...
Pic #1. The joiner as it will be installed in the elevators. After getting the placement correct via center/center, and accurately marking location, I used blue tape(I mentioned I use that alot) to mark my depth on a 1/8" drill bit. I drilled it by hand(yes, just the bit in fingers) and again just slowly cut it in to the depth.
I drill alot by hand on balsa for a few reasons. One being, balsa is so soft I can get it done just grabbing a bit and doing it quicker then I can set up a drill. The biggest reason though, is its much more accurate, and you can feel more of what your doing. If the bit gets tight in the wood, simply wrap it with a scrap of sand-paper for grip. :)
Pic #2. The next step is grooving the leading edge of the elevator to accept the joiner. I prefer using a brass tube with the inside diameter sharpened. Just spin the tube on the tip of a sharp #11X-acto will get it sharp.
Pic #3. From there I slowly use the tube to SLOWLY cut into the edge of the inside elev. LE. With the tube just flush with the surface it leaves basically a perfectly cut crevis that is "not quite open to the top yet.
Go slowly though, as its easy to split at this point.
BEWARE: The edge of the sharpend tube can slice alot things! So be aware of the pressures you invoke on the assembly. Reasonable twisting with the tube with light pressure is much better than trying to force the tube through the wood. It will cut through definately and actually leave a perfect plug.
I'm forever aware though that if that tube slipped as I'm applying pressure, it could/would stab me in places I care to not even mention.. especially true with bigger tubes and apps.. which the same technique again works very well. :)
Pic #4. Shows a start and finish. The elev on the right has only been drilled. After cutting the groove as described above, I simply take my Xacto and shave out the rest of the groove.. using the tube a bit to shave the groove, and I've used the drill bit as a small grinder(by hand) to relieve the "bend" area in the elev so the joiner seats correctly.. so basically using the same tools to fine-tune the fit.
Pic #5. Seated decently, the wire is totally flush with the LE of the surface, and should mate nicely when the surface is beveled. I will double check it all in a bit.
Pic #6. Close enough for "Rock-n-Roll". The joiner is seated nicely. I've aligned the surfaces via twisting and tweaking the joiner for a perfectly straight edge, as well as surfaces aligned to each other.
I'll be back in a while with some more progress..
These are the tools used for the elevator/joiner installation.
I did mention already that I used a scrap of sand-paper to grip the tube and drill-bit for traction. It worked great.
The smallish dowel looking pieces just above the joiner area are the actual plugs I took out of there. The plugs do get stuck in the tube, so I used a wire to simply pop them out.. and wa-la, instant small balsa dowels.. I get a kick out of some of the small scraps left over. :)
At this point I'm identifying a top/bottom-right/left to this assembly, as I want the joiner to be installed exactly as I now have it. For this I use small marks, tooling marks you might say. In this case, I simply marked a very small "dot" with my sharpy in an inconspicuous place on the right-sides. This way I won't make any mistake about it, as long as I have to dot to the right. The dots can't even be seen unless you know they are there.
I'm sure others have thier own methods of doing this too.. that would be interesting to hear how anyone else does this type of thing. :)
On to the ailerons.. I have to switch out plan sections, do a little house cleaning you might say.. keep it nice.. its coming along pretty good for just a few days so far.
Pic #1. Framing.. I cut all the pieces for the outer frame oversize, and definately taking the angles into consideration. Always cutting the long pieces first, and evaluating the straightness of the stock, starting with using the straightest stock for the long pieces.
Pic #2. Like frames I cut all at once, I cut the cross beams/braces all at once. These are cut oversize a fuzz or so(1/16++). Sometimes I'll face them so one side is true, that way I only have one end to deal with when it comes to that glove tight fit we like. Easily done when everything is rectangle and 90degrees at this point.
Pic #3. Braces in, ready to pull aileron1 off the board. :)
I won't bore you/me with pics of aileron2, as it went identically.
Pic #4. Ailerons off the board ready for some final-cuts. I used my trusty cut-off saw to cut the ends very close. That saw(in a few pics) cuts balsa like butta...
Pic #5. The ailerons ready-to-shape(and stuff).
Pic #6. Tools used during these steps. Theres just a few tools that make all this a snap. These are a few. The one pictured earlier is my belt/disc sander.. my friend. :)
Ok... so I'm off to the wing now...
I've got some chores to do around the house so I'll probably have some more progress tomorrow ... and I'm taking my wifey out tonight somewhere too..its date night... and we know when the wifey's happy.. everybody's happy...so its another great day!
Dazzlers.... who has one?? I'd like to see some pics.. :)
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