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Old Dec 28, 2014, 09:05 PM
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Build Log
Pilatus PC-6 Porter 40 The World Models Kit

I pre-ordered one of these kits when I saw the first add for it. The kit us produced by The World Models and is number A340 Kit. I did not purchase any of the optional accessory packages. The wing span is 64 inches and listed weight is 5.5 pounds. I am planning on installing a Tacon Bigfoot 25, 4s 3300 LiPo, and 70 Amp SC. The kit arrived in great shape and is really a heavy box full of balsa, plywood and other parts. It also included two pilot figures, wheels, pushrods, control horns, spinner and fiberglass cowling with clear vacu-formed cover. The major assemblies seem to be bagged individually. It should make locating the required parts easy. It also includes a really nice set of full sized plans and two instructions books with a lot of assembly photographs. The first manual covers the building and covering of the kit contents. The second manual is the one that is included with the ARF version that covers installing your equipment and prepping the plane for flight. I thought the main wheels were too small (2 inch diameter) so I ordered a set of Dubro 3 inch treaded lightweight wheels. I am also going to add flaps and attempt to make working spring loaded landing gear struts for it. I am also going to use a MAS three blade 11-8 propeller and a new spinner. It looks like a fun build so let's get started. it might take me a little time to make the landing gear work.
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Old Dec 28, 2014, 09:37 PM
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Starting the fuselage build

The parts look simply amazing. I have build a lot of kits but none with this level of prefabrication. It doesn't take long to remove all the laser cut parts from the scrap wood. The assembly instructions are really nice and start with a photo of all the parts. There are about 125 photo illustrations for just the fuselage. Every step seems to include just a couple of parts. You start by taping a lot of parts together before adding some C/A glue. Also make sure you follow the steps in sequence as it looks very easy to end up with parts that can't be installed because of previously glued parts. The fuselage is also built in your hands so you even build it on the kitchen table between meals if necessary. (You didn't hear that from me) The firewall has 4 blind nuts installed that are spaced 40mm apart. Unfortunately my motor mount requires a spacing of 30mm so I moved the blind nuts inward. Maybe I should have ordered the electric power option. It wasn't that hard to move them. The landing gear mounting blocks F26 & F24 are directional. Make sure you get them right or you will have to modify the fuselage bottom. It is really hard to see the direction in the photo and the instructions were translated into English from another language. As I found it is not too hard to modify the bottom pieces after you install the front block backwards. Since the fuselage is tapered toward the tail I elected to sand a slight angle on formers F8 - F11 to make them fit flush with the sides. When it came time to mount the front formers F2 and F3 bent a little under the pressure. I added a small piece of 1/4 inch square balsa to keep them straight. I am also using 20 gram servos so I need to modify the servo mounting tray F18 as it is sized for standard servos. I certainly don't want to modify the servo tray after it is installed. I am even going to install the servos now to make it easier to connect the pushrods. The fuselage is closed and only has servo access through a hinged passenger door. I also plan on using two elevators servos since there are already two elevator pushrods. I am also going to use wood glue to reinforce all the C/A glue joints when appropriate. This will leave a nice fillet in all the corners for some added strength. Now back to building instead of writing.
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Old Dec 29, 2014, 06:45 PM
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Finishing the Fuselage

I am just amazed at how this is coming together. I finally found the first part that I needed to modify. The 1/8 square fuselage bottom center longeron F50 was 1/8 inch too long. Bummer the first Exacto cut. In retrospect I must have installed a part off by 1/8 of an inch. The forward fuselage center longeron F43 was also too long. This one took two passes with a sanding block to make it fit. Before I installed the bottom I used a scrap piece of 1/8 inch square balsa to apply a small bead of wood glue along all joints. I smoothed the glue with my finger where it would fit. I thought that the plastic push-rod sleeves that the wire push-rods run in were too short for my taste so I installed some of my own that come within about an inch of each end. I also added some scrap plywood from the cutoff wood to allow mini servos to be mounted in the fuselage servo tray F18. I also bolted in the three servos, centered the output arms and drilled them for .062 wire push-rods. I lined up the push-rod tubes and hot glued the tubes in place. I also decided not to cut off the outer ends beyond the rear fuselage. When I installed the fuselage bottom sheeting I had to sand three areas around the front of the fuselage to make the bottom fit. I guess maybe the fuselage sides were not bent quite straight. It wasn't noticeable to my eye earlier. Part F30A is used to sheet over the top of the front fuselage by the instrument panel. I couldn't believe how well the part was cut considering all the curves. I simply used instant glue to attach one side, added some wood glue over the two formers, bent the balsa around and then instant glued the other side. It almost didn't even need sanding when I was done. Now you need to install the triangle wood reinforcements. They are all cut to length and sanded to the correct angle. With the built in right thrust each of the four firewall triangles needs to be a different angle. I also added a scrap piece of balsa with a straight pin at the rear end of the stabilizer cutout to keep the wood from breaking during sanding and finishing. The hinged door looks like a big deal but was installed in less than 15 minutes. The hinge holes were all pre-drilled in the correct locations. The door is a little tight so I will probably have to sand the edge a little to allow for clearance with the iron on covering around the edges.

The fuselage is all balsa on the exterior so the covering should stick really well. I have seen problems making iron on covering stick to plywood. The last part of the fuselage build is the forward battery hatch. I am still amazed that the fuselage was literally built in my hands and only required minor sanding and one short balsa cut to complete. I don't think I have ever built a fuselage without really using any tools before.

Next is the battery hatch and tail surfaces.
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Old Dec 30, 2014, 07:12 PM
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Finishing Up the Fuselage, Battery Hatch and Tail

The battery hatch fit together really well. The latch that holds the hatch closed is already glued to the center balsa piece out of the box. I did have to use a file to raise the hole for the latch in the cockpit bulkhead about 1/2 mm. I also had to file the dowel pin hole at the front up about the same amount. The battery hatch is built in place with a piece of wax paper to keep things from getting glued together. It took a total of about 15 minutes to complete the battery hatch. I added a couple of 1/4 inch square balsa to the front and rear formers to make them stiffer. All the tail surfaces edges are rounded over at the factory. The hinge slots are already routed out and ready to go. The factory rounding of the fin leading edge also took in account the front dorsal fin ahead of the fin. After about five minutes the stab and fin were done including sliding the hinges in for a trial fit. I left the stabilizer end plates off to make covering easier. They are already laminated with a pocket that slides over the stab tip. Total time to finish the fuselage and tail surfaces is under six hours so far. If this model was being built stock you might get it all framed up over a weekend and ready to cover. The last photo shows the wing parts ready to start assembly. I am going to skip the instructions and build the wing pinned down to a board and build conventionally. The instructions show it being built while just sitting on a table with C/A glue. Time to start building the wings.
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Old Dec 31, 2014, 07:05 PM
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Wing Assembly

I probably should have just built the wing the way the instructions called for but I can't trust myself to build it warp free when it is not pinned down. Any way the parts are all so well cut they all fit like a glove. The parts I cut by hand were not up to laser cut standard. My new piece W13a was cut from 1/2 x 1/4 balsa. I used the same size balsa to make a flap leading edge. I used a file to make hinge slots before I glued anything as it would be difficult to cut a hinge slot that is only 1/16 inch above the bottom of the wing. Since the W12 sits on the wing sheeting I made an additional 1/4 flat strip for the bottom of the flap. The wing structure had a handy spar W12 that I used to splice my new W13A spar that holds the flap hinges. The only extra work was to cut the ribs at the back of W12. I started by separating the parts into a right and left wing. I slipped the pieces of the left wing together to help visualize what the right wing was going to look like. This helped decide what parts to glue and pin down to the building board. The only part that might cause a problem is W19 that holds the blind nut for the wing strut. It indexes into notches in ribs W4 and W5. I started by pinning all the bottom sheeting, spars and aileron servo mount to my building board. I used some of the ribs to position the parts properly. Then I glued the 1/4 square front spar and vertical web W10A. Then I added the rear sheer web W12. Next came all the ribs while remembering to put in the W19 strut blind nut. I assembled the wing kind of following the sequence in the instructions. I stopped after installing the wing tubes so that I make and install the flap servo mounts. The fiberglass wing tubes took some sanding to make them round enough to fit into the laser cut holes in the ribs. The tubes looked like they were made by wrapping resin coated fiberglass cloth around a round mandrel. This left a seam that was causing the problem of fitting the tubes into the wing. These tubes have been the only parts that didn't fit without any work if you consider sanding to be work. Make sure that you insert the wing rods before sanding the tubes so that you don't break the tubes. The fiberglass is really thin. I think that the wings assembly should be complete tomorrow. The only thing I can see that will delay completion of the model now is that I didn't have any music wire to make my functional landing gear. It is not going to be delivered until 6 January 2015.
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Old Jan 01, 2015, 08:16 PM
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Finishing up the Wing.

There is not much to say about finishing up the wing. All the parts fit perfectly. There is one extra cut to make on the inboard hinge slot. The back of the slot was blocked by gluing in W12. It is a simple cut to make. I wasn't too sure about the way the wing sheeting was designed but it has grown on me. The airfoil looks better when the forward sheeting goes beyond maximum thickness like this one. The carbon wing rods are even filled with a wooden dowel that will make them much stronger and less prone to breakage. I added my own wing tips as the full size plane that I am making has upward swept tips. This also will make the paint scheme look correct.
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Old Jan 01, 2015, 08:34 PM
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Nice job so far, you got me interested in this kit! Are the flaps on the plans or are they your own addition?
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Old Jan 02, 2015, 07:02 AM
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Flaps

The flaps were my addition. Since the real plane is STOL capable the model deserves flaps. They were really easy to add.
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Old Jan 02, 2015, 09:52 AM
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Wooden Construction Complete

All the wooden parts are glued, sanded and ready for covering. Total build time to this point is less than 8 hours even with the flap modifications. If there is any interest I can post more photos and a better description of the flap modifications. So far I would rate this kit in the top two or three of all the kits I have ever built. This one is certainly the easiest to assemble to this point.
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Old Jan 03, 2015, 05:19 PM
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Thanks, I'd love to see details of your flap mod...have this kit on order now!
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Old Jan 03, 2015, 09:06 PM
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Flap modification details

You need 4 pieces of 1/4 x 1/2 balsa about 14 inches long for flap leading edge and hinge mount. You need a couple of pieces of 3/32 plywood 2 inches square for the servo mount. You need two pieces of 2 1/2 x 2 1/4 by1/8 inch lite ply to attach the servo mount to. two small pieces of 3/32 sheet about 1 1/2 wide by 3 1/2 wide to fill the gap between W30 & W31 where the servo is mounted. You need two flap servos that will fit between the main spar and the rear fiberglass tube. I used a metal geared 11 gram HK servo. The dimensions above were based on the servo fitting inside 1 1/12 inch square space. If your servos are bigger you could always duplicate the aileron servo mount in the outside flap rib bay. You also need an extra channel in your receiver for the flaps. I used a "Y" cable to connect my servos. If you use 2 different channels for flaps you came mount them as a mirro image like the ailerons.

Start by cutting ribs W1 thru W5 at the back of the slot for W12. See the side view photo. Save the cutoff portions for later use as a pattern. Cut two lengths of the 1/4 x 1/2 balsa to make part W13A and flap leading edge. Mark a place for 4 hinges even spaced along W13A. Make sure that they are not where the ribs are or where the control horn is going to be. Use a file and make a slot as wide and as deep as the hinge. It only takes a couple of passes with the file The bottom of the hinge slot will be made with the sheeting supplied with the wing already. Cut a piece of 1/16 x 1/4 balsa strip as long as the flap leading edge you just made. This will be the bottom for the hinge slots in the flap leading edge. I built the flaps with the wing pinned to a building board. The bottom sheeting W30 & W31 that comes with the kit is already glued in place. Glue the new W13A to W12 & W30. Do not get glue in the hinge slots that you filed. Now add the 1/16 x 1/4 strip without glue butted up to W30. Glue the new flap trailing edge to it on the the bottom only. Do not fill the hinge slots with glue. Pin down trail edge sheeting W29 to the building board. Glue the original trailing edge W15 to W29. Now you need to cut some new ribs for the flap. Take one of the cutoff portions of a rib and make a pattern. You will have to cut off about 1/2 inch from the front of the rib. Once the pattern fits between the new leading edge and old trailing edge you are ready to cut some new flap ribs. I used 1/4 balsa for the ribs. glue the ribs in place and add the top trailing edge sheet W29. Once you figure out where the flap servo control horn is going to be you need to cut a large piece like the ailerons have to attach the control horn to. I also used a sanding block to shape the new W13A and flap leading edge to match the ribs so that the top wing sheeting W28 will fit like it used to fit without flaps.

The servo mount is cut cut from 3/32 inch plywood. I didn't have 3/32 thick plywood so I laminated a piece of 1/16 plywood with 1/16 balsa for the servo mount. I had to sand it a little to make it flush with the wing but the bonus was that the exposed surface was balsa which iron on covering sticks to better. Now cut a piece of 3/32 balsa to completely fill the rib bay between ribs W2 & W3 that goes from the bottom sheeting W30 to W31. You are just boxing in the place where the servo mount is going to go. From inside I lay the 2 inch square servo mount on top of the balsa with the front touching the wing bottom spar W10. Use an exacto knife to cut around the servo mount. The mount that you made will fit perfectly in the hole. Now you cut the 1/8 lite ply to make the mount that will hold the screws for the servo mount. It overlaps the servo mount about 1/4 inch all the way around the edge. So the hole is about 1 1/12 inches square. I cut mine irregularly to fit around the servo that is mounted to the 2 inch square servo mount. I glued the servo to the plywood and added some small pieces of hardwood to screw the servo mounting screws into. After you get one side to look good then make the other side.

Just some notes the servos need to face the same way or you will need a servo reverse. So both servo control arms face the same wing tip. When I cut the 2 inch square hole one was closer to rib W2 and the other closer to W3. There isn't any way to center the servos between the ribs when the face the same way. There are more photos earlier in this post showing more of the flaps.

Hopefully these instructions are not too complicated. If there are just ask me some more questions. it is really no more complicated than building the ailerons.
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Old Jan 04, 2015, 06:49 AM
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Extra bits for the flap mod

Some other things that I just thought about are that I installed the servo to the servo mount before covering. I also use 4 dabs of silicon to partially glue the servo mount to the wing. Then I do not cut the covering. I just install the screws through the covering. Sometimes the covering does not stick really well to the servo mount because it is not balsa. I also sanded a small bevel between the hinge center line and the bottom of the wing. The rest of the flap fits flush to the wing trailing edge. I also used a flat screw driver blade to make a small impression along the hinge slots to allow the pin portion of the hinge to sit tighter between the wing trailing edge and the flap. This allows the flap to drop up to 90 degrees.
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Old Jan 05, 2015, 07:22 PM
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Covering Complete

Well the build is up to ARF stage now. I am going to be delayed waiting for pushrods and music wire for my new landing gear until Friday. The covering job took about a roll and a half of "Chinakote"and maybe three hours. With all the box shapes covering was remarkably easy. I was surprised that covering the stabilizer tip fences was easy. I thought I might have to paint them. The covering on the battery hatch wrapped around the edges but it still fits very nice without any extra sanding. I did have a little trouble making the covering stick to the plywood fuselage door. I painted the edges of the door white to match the interior and did not wrap the covering around the edges. There was no paint on the face of the door that was covered. I doubt if I could have made the covering stick around the edges anyway. Maybe I should have brushed Balsarite on the door to help the covering stick before I ironed on the covering. I ended up putting a little CA glue around the top curve of the door which flashed off when the iron heated the covering.

Does anyone know an easy way to remove the clear backing material from Chinakote? It would be so much easier if there was an extra edge like Monokote has. Two pieces of duct tape is not strong enough to break the static cling. I just used a crooked Exacto blade to try and grab a corner. I chose Chinakote because I don't like the way that Monokote sticks or shrinks any more.
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 07:21 AM
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More Progress

The plane is done except for the battery and main landing gear. Some more building notes. The motor is mounted on 8-32 bolts and the aluminum spacers are 47mm long plus two washers to keep the firewall from being crushed. The canopy is already trimmed and drilled for installation. I used curved lexan car body scissors to cut the extra space around the spinner in the cowl. If you work in very small increments it won't chip the gelcoat. The wing servos were mounted before covering. I did not cut the covering over the servo and the four screws for each cover were installed after covering was complete. I also spray painted the interior of the fuselage white before the covering was applied to match the full scale aircraft.

The overall structure seems very sturdy. It might even be considered overkill for an electric plane. I guess it is great for the nitro version. The optional covering pack looks really nice in the instructions. If it matches the photos, all the pieces are pre-cut and ready for ironing. The instruction book tells you what sequence to apply the pre-cut pieces. There is a top and bottom of the stabilizer. Check the orientation before you install the tail wheel. The stabilizer is removable but you need to remove the tail wheel to remove the stab. Do not try to cover the struts with one piece of covering. Two pieces is a lot better.

There is also a metal ring installed around the outside of the firewall. I guess it holds the front together for the glow engine and is a more secure mounting for the cowl screws. It is installed early in the build. I uninstalled it before covering the fuselage and then re-installed it later. My kit was missing the tail wheel but had and extra package of tail wheel mounting hardware. Airborne models was very apologetic and said they would send me another one. They said the kits are packaged in groups of ten so someone has an extra tail wheel and missing mounting hardware.

I decided to recover the battery hatch. Initially it was all black like the instructions showed but that made the anti-glare shield too big. I will apply some black Monokote trim later. The aileron control horn has two different sized mounting screws. Make sure you put the shorter ones in the rear holes. I installed the flap control horn 1/2 inch behind the hinge line because it makes the geometry work better. When the flaps are level with the bottom of the wing that is actually full up in the movement. The door on my fuselage is still tight so I made a door knob from a 2-56 bolt and a couple of nuts. Otherwise I could not open the door after all the windows were installed.

I made a cockpit floor similar to interior floor that was provided in the kit. It just sits on some 1/8 inch square balsa glued to the fuselage sides. It sits a little lower in the fuselage than the interior. I will mount a pilot on it later. The nylon lock nuts for mounting the lower strut joint was too large to fit the bolt. That is why there is an extra package in the kit with the two correct sized nylon stop bolts.

The fuel tubing control rod keepers were too small to stretch over the adjustable part of the linkage. Several of them tore apart when I tried to stretch them over the control links. It would be really easy to cut some new ones from larger diameter fuel tubing. The included links look very sturdy and probably will not fall off any way especially on an electric powered version. The all up weight minus the flight battery is 82 ounces right now with the stock landing gear pieces. Time to work on the new main landing gear.
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Last edited by bettsmums; Jan 10, 2015 at 03:05 PM. Reason: Add paragraphs so that it is easier to read
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 01:27 PM
The Junk Man
Jacksonville, Florida
Joined Jul 2006
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Geez guy.

PARAGRAPHS, man PARAGRAPHS.

Walls of text are hard to read.

Tom
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