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Old Feb 05, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Build Log
Phaeton 90 Electric Build

Here is my build of the Balsa USA Phaeton 90 kit. The kit I have is from an Estate sale so I am not sure how old it is, but for reference the instruction manual is typewritten and there are no pictures! As I will note some of the parts are not usable but put no blame on Balsa USA as I suspect that it is more do to aging of the material then actual fault of the company. Were necessary I will make new parts and replace the old ones. I did get an up to date manual as there were a couple of areas that were foggy in the original documentation. I noted that there are also some differences obviously the kit has had some minor changes over time.
DISCLAIMER:
I am building this as an electric model from the start and as such I will be doing things that I would not recommend be done to the model if it is to built for use with a glow/gas engine.
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Old Feb 05, 2012, 10:05 AM
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So to continue this thread may be intermittent as there will be interruptions in my life that will forestall the build at times, but please bear with me as I will be posting the entire build and hopefully a successful maiden flight.

To start off with here are the parts for the fuselage from the kit note the plywood formers BHD-2 and BHD-4 both are warped, twisted and have surface cracks I will rebuild them as making them from balsa plywood. Basically I will use 1/16" balsa with the grain running horizontal with 1/32" balsa with the grain vertical laminated together. I used Gorilla glue spreading a thin layer with a squeegee on the 1/32" balsa and then damping the 1/16" balsa and sandwiching the whole thing together inside of folder wax paper with about 20 pounds of weight on it until it sets. Afterwards using the original pieces as a pattern I cut the new formers out.
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Old Feb 05, 2012, 10:10 AM
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Now I took the liberty of drilling some 1-1/2" lightening holes in the plywood sides (that is the largest forester bit I have) and preparing the firewall for the mounting of the motor and providing cooling air for the electronics.
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Old Feb 05, 2012, 10:24 AM
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I looked at the directions and plans and really got concerned with the butt joint in the upper longhorn just behind the cockpit. I decided to use a scarf joint instead and have it placed further forward so that it will be encased by the 1/8" sheeting and the plywood interior. First I found the straightest 1/4" square pieces and then using a straight edge cut the scarf joint and glued them together and let it set up. I am using Titebond II to glue everything with, I have used CA to anchor the T nuts on the back of the firewall. And as mentioned earlier I used Gorilla glue to laminate balsa plywood.
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Old Feb 05, 2012, 10:29 AM
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The right side is framed and the 1/8" balsa sheeting is applied to the forward section and also at the tail. I do cut the uprights and diagonals for both sides at the same time and number them to insure that both sides will be the same.
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Old Feb 05, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Both sides completed and clamped together for sanding I did discover in this process the notches for the main landing gear plywood plate and mainly the rear cabane plywood mounts needed quite a bit of trimming for proper fit.
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Old Feb 05, 2012, 10:36 AM
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Main landing gear plywood plate fitted after trimming.
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Old Feb 05, 2012, 10:57 AM
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I am working on the electronic layout for the interior, I have decided to have the servos mounted upside down above the lower wing and just in front of the cockpit, this will provide access in the future and as you can see I have the servo mount constructed. I also made the plate to hold the motor batteries but I still need to cut the slots for the Velcro tie downs. I think at the moment I will have a hatch from the back of the cowl to the forward cabane struts for battery access, I am not sure where the fight battery will go yet (the 2 LiFe cells) and the UBEC. I think that the receiver will be directly in front of the servos, as the signal lead from the ESC will dictate that location. I may even put it forward of the bulkhead as i will be opening the hatch to install the batteries anyway. Oh the battery plate is 1/8" balsa with 1/64" plywood laminated on each side, very strong and lightweight. The final picture shows the gussets in place.
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Old Feb 05, 2012, 10:59 AM
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Just in case someone is wondering why the posts are all at the same time I had trouble getting the pictures from the camera and didn't want to start without them. I finally got them loaded to the computer and re-sized.
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 04:41 PM
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The sides placed in a jig (the jig is not totally completed yet, but severed the purpose) and the firewall, formers and crosspieces added and set up overnight. Epoxied the firewall reinforcements (the manual does not include this step) and also the main gear plywood. Apparently the newer version has a different main gear arrangement and you will need to add some additional support as noted in the manual. The 1/4" square piece in front of the main gear block is the forward support for the battery platform, the rearward piece is glued to the front of the former. The clamps are holding the hardwood blocks for the wing bolts while the epoxy sets.
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Old Feb 08, 2012, 10:39 AM
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The old saying: "The best laid plans of mice, men and model builders" has reared its head! I was planning to have a hatch in the upper forward part of the fuselage but I have discovered that the cowling will be in the way. I have the cowling from Fiberglass Specialties for the Phaeton 90 with cheeks. The cheeks wrap up the sides and cover part of the upper fuselage. So back to the drawing board I think I will build a "box" like structure to house the batteries and insert them from the lower wing opening, working on that at the moment
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Old Feb 08, 2012, 12:47 PM
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Things are looking great. I am presently building a sig kougar II and converting to electric. sometime if you can angle the battery you can get it in a smaller space. I moved the canopy back on the kougar to put the hatch on the top. It has taken on a cool new look, so well see what happens. keep posting I will enjoy your progress
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Old Feb 08, 2012, 04:01 PM
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Thanks zzcutter

I am fitting things in, I didn't realize that building a large bird would have the same problems stuffing things in that the smaller ones do!

Working on the battery box and working out where the arming plug and receiver switch will go. Trying to decide if I want to use a toggle switch or slide switch for the receiver. I have a Arm-Safe arming plug which I have decided will go behind the cheek cowl on the right side this will put it just in front of the cockpit and the receiver switch on the left side. This should keep my hands away from the prop.
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Old Feb 09, 2012, 04:45 PM
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Here are the latest pictures. The batteries are mounted and trial run finds them easy to install from the wing opening. I have Velcro on order to hold the batteries in place it will wrap around from the front of the battery box to the rear and be joined there. The arming plug is installed, I decided to cut a hole in the outer sheeting the size of the outside diameter of the plug and then actually mount the plug on the plywood inner sheeting. the gap between the outer and inner sheeting was filled with a piece of 1/64" plywood wrapped around the hole and CA'ed in place. Made for a neat installation. The reason for doing it this way is the depth of the plug and the length of the screws. I might have gotten longer screws to handle the 1/8" sheeting, the 1/8" plywood and 1/4" gap but even then I would have to put in 1/4" filler where the screws are.
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Old Feb 09, 2012, 06:40 PM
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Did you put foam in front of the battery pack at the fire wall. I got the motor installed today on my kougar using an e-flite power 46. I have to shoot some photos. keep the photos coming enjoying your build
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