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Old Jul 01, 2010, 09:31 PM
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adam757's Avatar
Joined May 2008
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Build Log
Cloud Dancer electro

Hello everyone,
Recently, I've converted a Cloud Dancer fourty designed by Fred Reese to electric. My brother turned me on to this great little aerobat as my first scratch build for electric.Much of this build used references from Jim Bourke's "Amplifying the Ace Cloud Dancer" back in 1997.I was introduced to electrics many years ago first with my brother flying a converted Sig Seniorita with an Astro flight cobalt 25 and a 16 cell NiCad pack.The second time was when he flew an electric glider called the Ultra.Those planes were impressive!Back in the early eighties,my Dad and us two boys started out with rubber powered freeflight,Control line and eventually glow RC planes.I stayed with glow for some time and then stopped flying RC in the mid nineties.Just three years ago my Dad had me build him a converted Seniorita for another project.That was the first time building an electric plane.I've enjoyed it so much that I had to have an electric aerobatic plane of my own
This build log is a bit unusual in that the plane has already been successfully flown.The project started in January this year with plans coming from RCM plans.The maiden flight was in late June.
The first set of photos is after the parts were cut out.This was in February.
All of the balsa is from Lone Star Balsa .The only plywood in this build is the firewall(1/4") and the 1/8" for the other main formers and landing gear parts.These tasks were completed over the course of about a couple of weeks.To start,some velume paper was used to trace all of the parts to be cut out on a scroll saw and then final sanded by hand and a drum sander mounted on a drill press.The velume paper patterns were mounted with a little bit of spray adhesive to the wood parts before cutting them out.For multiple parts,such as the wing ribs,I spray mounted two sheets of 1/8" balsa first and later the patterns.After cutting out the parts and sanding; the double stuck parts and the patterns were easily removed without solvent.This was a lot of fun and made me appreciated the sometimes mundane tasks that are done for the kit builder ! More to come...
Cheers!
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Old Jul 02, 2010, 08:46 AM
Visitor from Reality
United States, VA, Arlington
Joined Dec 1996
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Hi Adam
Looking forwards to more on this electrocution. This was a very attractive model that never seemed to catch on like it should.

Often wish I'd had a go with a Dancer, after my 1997 foray into high powered electrics - Four Star 40 and Great Planes CAP 232 with 20 nicad cells and MaxCim geared brushless! The Dancer would have been a good fit between the superb flying but somewhat pedestrian looking Four Star and the great looking CAP which, at 6-odd pounds RTF was a little flakey at times if I forgot to concentrate real hard.

Don't keep us waiting too long

D
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Old Jul 02, 2010, 11:21 AM
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Joined May 2008
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Hi Dereck,
Not to worry, will be posting often as possible.This plane was a pure pleasure to "kit" with minimum problems.Haven't flown much lately with our typical Southeast Texas weather but will surely get after it when the ground dries up!As the voice from that popular 60's SciFi show said,"Please stand by.." :-)
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Old Jul 02, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Test

Test
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Old Jul 02, 2010, 11:31 AM
Keep 'em flying!
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test

test
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Old Jul 02, 2010, 12:01 PM
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Wings

On to construction!
The wings were started in early March and finished up about three weeks later.Straight foward construction and an easy build.The plans came with the construction artical from a August 1995 issue in RCM magazine.These were followed pretty closely save for the mods.The bottom 3/8" hard balsa spars and trailing edges were pinned down first over the protected plans and the ribs glued in place with thin CA.You'll note that there were some holes bored out of the second ,third and fourth ribs for the servo extentions.This was done just before the layup.After all of the spars were glude in place the landing gear blocks were fabricated from 3/4" square hardwood from Home Depot.These were routed with a router bit mounted in the drill press. Took a couple of attemps to get those right.
Next,the landing gear wire was cut and bent from 5/32" music wire using a home made jig simular to the Harry Higgly tube and wire bender.These are easy to work harden by the way!(If not done right).The landing gear blocks went in first and then the rest of the wood using the landing gear as guides.All of this was glued in with five minute epoxy.The landing gear is retained with Sig nylon straps and small wood screws.
Next,wing sheeting..
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Last edited by adam757; Jul 02, 2010 at 12:10 PM.
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Old Jul 02, 2010, 09:56 PM
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Sheeting and joining

More wing construction.This is now around the last of March and much of the wing construction is complete.After the spliced balsa dried,the large sheet is cut into four diagonal pieces to sheet the top and bottom of the leading edges as per the plans.These are tack glude to the spars first with medium CA , addhered with wood worker's glue to the ribs and finaly to the leading edges with medium CA.The trailing edges were all sheeted with 1"x 1/16"x36" medium balsa and glued down with med CA and the wood worker's glue.Later all of the rest of the sheeting was put on with the bottom center section omitted for later.Next,all cap strips from 1/16"x1/4" hard balsa were installed.
The ailerons were cut from shaped 2" hard balsa stock ,beveled,and hindge slots cut into them and the wing.Sig and Great planes easy CA hindges were used. For the wing servos some 1/32" lite ply was lamenated to 1/16" sheet balsa for the hatches.The servos will later be mounted to these using hard wood blocks.In the fourth bay were the servos will live some strips of 1/16" ply was cut into 1/4'' strips and installed between the ribs and recessed so that the hatches would mount flush with small wood screws.Balsa that was lamenated prior would face outside so it could be sand easily to match the contour of the wing.
Just before joining the wing panels all of the sheeting was trimed and sanded flush.A dihedral brace was prepared earlier from three pieces of 1/8" ply and sanded to shape.A slot was cut out from the first ribs in between the main spars for the brace.One panel was pinned flat to the work table and the other propped up to 3".After mixing up some thirty minute epoxy,the brace was smeared with the glue and inserted into the free wing panel and then applied more glue to the first rib.To keep excess epoxy from spluging out a strip of painter's blue tape was put on the bottom of the wing joint.
After a day or so I took up the completed wing and finished cutting out the slots for the landing gear wire.To finish off,the wing tips were made from 1/8" medium balsa and supported with little triangles of 1/8" balsa top and bottom at the spars.At this point the wing was pretty much done except for installing the 1/4'' hardwood dowels for the wing grabber.By the time the wing was fully completed it used almost all of the wood I ordered and weighed in at one pound.The fuselage would come in at almost the same without tail feathers.
To continue.....
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Old Jul 03, 2010, 10:29 AM
Visitor from Reality
United States, VA, Arlington
Joined Dec 1996
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Yup, looks like a wing

Very brave, all that wire bending. I've passionately hated wire-bending since I was a kid - even now, I have a wire bender etc and still hate it. For many years, I used torque rod UCs like your CD -they are great on lumpy grass, with their width.

Fortunately, I have this custom design/build service that now always puts a CF or alloy gear on the fuselage

Tapered solid balsa ailerons - a blast from the past indeed. Many old English kits used this method. It was a shame that none of the folk who made tapered aileron stock knew that their dimensions never fitted those needed for wings. I've built many kits with 'aileron stock' ailerons that were nowhere near what was drawn on the plan.

Then I built my Four Star 40 and found that, despite their looking ugly, flat plate 1/4" thick sheet ailerons worked fine.

Last tapered wing I built like this, I cheated. Drew up the ribs in CAD, added tabs to jig the ribs up to sit level on the building board and got them laser cut!

The jpg is how I figured out fitting servos into a reinforced rib, so the hatch can be light and non-structural. It's somewhat trickier to make than the standard ready-made approach and doesn't show off your expensive servos like the IMAC lot, but it keeps the wing profile smooth and puts the servo output and aileron horn in the same rotational plane.

I haven't flown since before we set off to move to Chicago just before Christmas 2009! Unless flying a yellow micro jellywobbler in the 'living room' counts as flying... Hopefully, a couple more months and we'll be where I can look to join in the local indoor flying scene. Outdoor Winter flying around Chicago can be a little too bracing

D
Who wants to make some balsa dust real soon
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Old Jul 03, 2010, 08:29 PM
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I tell ya it was a mind bending experience that landing gear!:-0But I digress...This design seems to be accomodating to some common materials and sizes of balsa I noted.For example all of the spars,leading edges,and trailing edgaes are 3/8" square sticks. Also when I built up the wing you just pinned it all flat towards the trailing edge and it took care of everything.I remember back in '93 or '95 when I built a fourty size Cap 21 from Great planes it was a good kit but with a bit of complexity. The flying was pretty good but it could tip stall kinda easy and accellerated stalls were very easily done!Needless to say while it was being flow inverted at a low altitude the engine quit and I accidently stalled it.It pancaked in and that was that.
Cool idea by the way for the servo installation.You're a bit more progressive than me in that I still revert to pencil and paper for such tasks;-)
Bummer when you don't get to fly as much as you'd want to ,but any flying is still that magical levitation everyone seems to love.
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Old Jul 03, 2010, 09:10 PM
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Moving parts

At last! On to making my ailerons/flaperons do some aerodynamic action.This was around the last of March.The hatches that were prepared earlier now have the slots cut out of them for the servo arms.By laying the servos on the wing portion of the plans ,I wanted them to be as close to were the original torque rod would've been for a straight and bind free function.That would put them at right angles to the aileron but appear slanted in the fourth bays.Next, small hardwood blocks were glued to the insides of the hatches and the servos screwed in.While trial fitting.The servo wires wanted to interfere with the arms ,so...the wires were worked around and a homemade "staple" was fashioned from a pin and insulated (to prevent chaffing)with a bit of electrical tape and pushed into the little blocks.
Small nylon control horns were installed in the ailerons and attached to the servos.The rods hooked to the servos with a golden clevis and an EZ connector to the horns.The throws for the ailerons were set to 5/8" up and down and the flaps were around 20 degrees at half flaps and 35 degrees at full. This would be fine tuned later.In the mean time the motor was ordered in early March.I had a Hacker A-40 10S with a 12x6 APC prop figured according to the projected weight and perfomance I wanted.At the time ,Hacker was retooling some of their motors and delayed several shippments. This put the motor coming in early May.The guys at Aeromodel were really nice and reassuring when I querried about the estimated time of arrival.It was worth the wait as we will cover later in the first runs of the power system...
Stay tuned,preparing for the fuselage.
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Last edited by adam757; Jul 03, 2010 at 09:20 PM.
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Old Jul 03, 2010, 09:53 PM
Visitor from Reality
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Joined Dec 1996
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Hi Adam
CAPs are notorious for snap rolling. A buddy of mine back in England designed a CAP 20 or thereabouts, published in RCMW over there. Eventually admitted that test flying was such that he upped the tailplane size by 50% over scale to erradicate a nerve wracking tendency to snap roll if you thought about one.

My Great Planes 40 sized CAP 232 kit electrocution looked gorgeous, on the ground and in the air, and mostly flew very well. Admittedly, it weighed nearly 6-1/2lbs, with a 20 cell nicad pack, but again, it was best not to think about snap rolls if there was a planet close by.

There's something about CAPs

Must agree about motors. I had a Hacker B50s with epicyclic 'box. Hammered the dickens out of it, 700W into a 15 x 10, never so much as hiccupped.

Don't knock pencil and paper, its way quicker than CAD. You think lots about putting down a pencil line, make sure its in the right place because its a pain to move it. CAD, you can move anything! So, mostly, I do, again and again, and often back again... OTOH, getting those tapered wing ribs laser cut was a real treat, I don't mind admitting.

D
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Old Jul 04, 2010, 03:24 PM
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Fuselage construction

Starting to get to the halfway point on the airframe.This took place in early to mid April with mostly focusing on getting the fuselage almost complete.The third former was drilled to take the dowel grabbers and further modified for the battery hatch.A scrap balsa stick was glued to the top part of the former and the top rounded part removed to become part of the battery hatch.The right side was built over the protected plans completly with wood worker's glue.After that dried I turned it over and covered it with wax paper and built the opposite side directly over the completed right side.
The sides built up fast and easy.Using my handy dandy Miter sander from Formost made some nice and neat angled joints for the built up tailsection.All of that section was 1/4" square hard balsa.Little was changed except for the battery hatch and the fuselage being almost entirely from hard to medium balsa.
Next, the part I love the most at this stage;joining!!All of the formers were glued to one of the sides and then after curing both sides were brought together and pinned over the protected plans to dry.Much later,the tail section ends were beveled and CA glued together.There were some extra 1/8" sheet balsa formers made for the battery hatch.Four of them were made with the last one to be installed close to where the front of the bubble canopy would be.Some strips of wax paper were taped to the tops of the nose section and then the hatch was built in place.Some 1/4"x1/16' srcap spruce sticks were used for the stringers to tie the formers together and glued with med CA. The whole thing was sheeted with 1/16" balsa sheet and sanded to shape.
The same type of dowel grabber was used to hold the hatch in place in the front and locked at the rear with a clever sliding pin used on a kit of a two meter powered Crysallis built last year.It was just a piece of a t-pin bent at a right angle with a little loop at the top and a scrap piece of golden rod insert epoxied to the inside of the hatch.After sanding the hatch,it was quite fragile at this point.Some Finish Cure epoxy was sponge brushed to the inside.After curing it was ultra light weight and strong.
When I looked at this design while shopping around,I really liked the look of this plane .It remided me of a P-51 or some WW II fighter.It was tempting to go camo for the finished look,but not this time!
Later,more fuselage and wing work....
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Old Jul 04, 2010, 04:40 PM
Visitor from Reality
United States, VA, Arlington
Joined Dec 1996
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Yes, looks like a fuselage.

You can't beat a big top hatch to make refuelling easy. Most of mine end up with spare lengths of 1/4 x 1/8 spruce doublers inside the fuselage aperture, to compensate for the lack of a top structure, but yours looks to be adequate on the fuselage sides top edges.

A camo Dancer? That would be nice. Maybe 'borrow P51 stab shapes first, or even a Luftwaffe colour scheme? Recall a Four Star in dear old Radio Control Modeler, done up in a Me109 scheme, many years ago.

D
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Old Jul 04, 2010, 10:58 PM
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Around the early ninties I had a 40 sized Mystique from Dynaflight that was ,until now,the best aerobatic plane ever owned.You could shove the elevator stick forward and boop! outside loop.And would fly upside down all day.It was finished in a navy aircraft air carrier scheme (white on bottom gray on top with old U.S. markings).Anyway,there were a couple of caveats to this model.One it was hard to see if it was a little over cast at certain attitudes and two that lil sucker landed as fast as an F-4 on approach to the U.S.S Enterprise (carrier that is)!That was my camo plane if one could call it that. Ahh hatches.Love hatches. One of the many things I love about electrifying my stuff is finding creative ways to make it easy to get to your precious packs of power.Just off the subject a bit,I saw in your profile that you're into cycling.What kind of riding do you like to do?
Happy 4th Adam757
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Old Jul 05, 2010, 01:44 AM
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United States, OR, Corvallis
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Great thread. I really enjoyed my Cloud Dancer conversion back in '97. I've thought several times of building another. It's unfortunate that mine didn't last longer than it did.

I shaved weight everywhere I could on mine. Performance, for the time, was spectacular.

After my crash Tom Hunt gave me his Cloud Dancer. I took the equipment from my wreck and used it in Tom's model. That version was quite a bit heavier than mine but it still flew well due to the nice thick wing. I flew it for several years before handing it over to a local R/C pilot.

Jim
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