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Old Aug 19, 2014, 11:14 AM
ʇsol
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Build Log
Electra-Lite (scratch build)

Just before RCM Plans dropped off the face of the planet, I managed to get several sets of plans from them when I was in the mood for getting back into gliders. A couple of these I'd remembered from the original RCM articles, including Larry Jolly's/Tom Yantis' Electra-Lite. Never built any of 'em because, well, I've never scratch-built anything. First time for everything though, so here we go!


The Electra-Lite was originally published in the August 1979 issue of RCM, back when the electric-flight meant heavy Astro-Flight 05 can motors, nicads, and on/off switch throttles. My plan is to replace the can motor arrangement with an outrunner or gliderdrive motor still enclosed in a streamlined nose, using an A123 pack like I used on my Spectra project. The only other mods I'm considering are spoilers and a removable tail. The weight-savings of the modern motor, batteries, radio, and otherwise building light should negate the additional weight of the spoilers and tail mod. Maybe.

First - cutting the parts. I used See Temp to make some templates. The Electra-Lite inboard ribs are all the same, and the leading edge is a constant thickness from root to tip with a flat-bottom. Cutting them and sanding to match was reasonably simple.





Thinking ahead, I decided to bore holes for spoiler pull-cables. The wing is thick enough for featherlite servos. Weighing the two options I was surprised that the two-servo route wasn't all that much heavier than using pull-cables, but if I add them I'll use the same arrangement I used on the Spectra.



Now to start building! In the article/instructions Larry says to build the wing first and "...if you're like me, this is what will hold you up...". Well...nah, fuselages are always a pain for me (and this one may be moreso trying to figure out the motor situation). Otherwise though, this wing is just falling together. I can't remember putting one together quite this way though; the ribs are capped and center-section sheeted top and bottom, so to build it flat and straight the caps and sheeting is set up first, then spars, then ribs.



I used white glue on the first layer (sheets and caps) and second layer (spars), then slow CA on the ribs, holding it all together followed by the webs. Pretty much framing up a wing panel an evening.



Another option: making it a two-piece wing. Adds a couple of ounces but...hey, I drive a small two-seat car. A 93" wing is either a two-piece or it gets strapped to the roof!



Starting to look like something:

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Old Aug 24, 2014, 06:50 AM
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Very nice! Do you know of another source for the plans? Also, is this your first time using See Temp? This is the first I've heard of it and I'm wondering what you think of it.
Tom
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Old Aug 24, 2014, 08:51 AM
ʇsol
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Joined Jun 2004
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No, don't know of any other source. Incomplete or poorly-stored kits pop up on ebay occasionally with plans (a water-damaged kit has been on ebay for around $20 lately, for example).

I got the see temp idea from my Dad. He's been scratch building as long as I can remember and using see temp since he first heard of the stuff. The older see temp was clear and a little easier to use than the new red stuff, but it's still pretty good.

The material is a stiff, relatively thick, slightly textured, plastic. Tracing plans with drafting tools gives a really good outline. I found that I can trace carefully with a sharp #11 blade with drafting tools and get a clean cut in the material. They claim you can "score" the material, bend it, and pop the part out. Sometimes that works great, sometimes it doesn't. Could be my technique. The templates last forever though.
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Old Aug 24, 2014, 09:10 AM
ʇsol
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A little progress, wrapping up most of the basic wing construction. Need to bevel the center sections to match the dihedral and make a thick center plywood rib. I table saw would probably be great for that...if I had one.



Planning ahead for spoilers. I may still add them before I cover but...maybe not. I added balsa filler between the spoiler-bay and the spar, and a balsa sub-spar for the trailing edge of the spoiler, plus the spoiler cable tube. The outline for the spoiler cut-outs in the ribs are already marked; in theory I can later trim the covering, trim the two ribs, and drop the spoiler in place.



Wings mostly done!


Moving on to the tail: nothing really special here. The leading edges are laminated spruce and balsa.

Modern motors should make the nose 3-5oz lighter so I came up with some built-up ruddervators to see how much weight I'd lose. The built-up versions are about .25oz lighter (.5oz total) than then solid-tapered ruddervators I was going to use. Moving the 2-cell pack under the canopy may negate the need for these so I'll wait and see how things balance out to decide which to use.

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Old Aug 24, 2014, 09:21 PM
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Watching,

Ross
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 08:30 AM
ʇsol
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FYI, here's a see temp template. Kind of overkill for such a simple part though:

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Old Aug 25, 2014, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vulturetec View Post
FYI, here's a see temp template. Kind of overkill for such a simple part though:

You mentioned that you use drafting tools to make the see temp templates. I don't have any oth these, just a straight dge and exacto. In your opinion is the see temp worth it if one has limited tools to work with? I currently make templates from posterboard, which I cut with a nice pair of Fiskars (scissors).
Thanks
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 06:13 AM
ʇsol
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Sure. But, by drafting tools I mean a french-curve, circle template, etc. Nothing fancy. A French curve set is about $8 for a set at Office Depot.
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 09:11 AM
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Sure. But, by drafting tools I mean a french-curve, circle template, etc. Nothing fancy. A French curve set is about $8 for a set at Office Depot.
Haha. I thought I'd have to invest in long named complex drafting tools. I'm going to order some see temp and give it a try.
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 08:24 PM
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STILL USE DRAFTING TOOLS I USED IN DRAFTING CLASS IN THE 50s.

Ross
ALSO BUILT ONE OF THE FIRST ELECTRA LITES BACK IN 79. LJ LIVED 2 BLOCKS FROM ME.
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by harborflyer View Post
STILL USE DRAFTING TOOLS I USED IN DRAFTING CLASS IN THE 50s.

Ross
ALSO BUILT ONE OF THE FIRST ELECTRA LITES BACK IN 79. LJ LIVED 2 BLOCKS FROM ME.
Hi Ross.
Who is LJ
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 10:40 PM
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LOOK AT YOUR PLANS, LJ= Larry Jolly, designer of Electra Lite

Ross
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 10:45 PM
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LOOK AT YOUR PLANS, LJ= Larry Jolly, designer of Electra Lite

Ross
That explains it. I don't have the plans

I have heard the name now that you mention it.
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 10:48 PM
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Just finished a refurbish on a Larry Jolly "Pantera" that I started over 20 yrs ago. Gave it to a friend 1/2 way done and he never got to it. Flew it last Saturday. Friend passed away last year and found model, while gathering his planes for our club raffles. Promised his widow it would fly again.

Ross
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Old Aug 27, 2014, 10:45 AM
ʇsol
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That explains it. I don't have the plans

I have heard the name now that you mention it.
He hangs out around the forum too
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