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Old Jun 22, 2014, 12:57 PM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,473 Posts
Build Log
RCSA Free Plan Beaufighter e- conversion

Finally getting around to the conversion of my Radio Control Scale Aircraft free plan Beaufighter to electric. The model was designed around 2xOS.10FPs but I never flew her in that configuration after buying the little twin from a clubmate many years ago. My original intention was to give her a pair of Permax 450T motorsand 8xcp1300s, the same as the HVP Beaufighter, since she's a similar size. How times have changed though.

I stripped the model back to bare balsa and removed some of the internals -fuel tanks, throttle linkages (or what I could get at) and cleaned her up a bit. At 48" span the bare airframe weight, with radio but no power plant, is around a kilo, since there's a fair bit of ply in the construction but the lipos and brushless motors will make this a better proposition than it was when originally planned.

Unfortunately I don;t have any decent pictures of the model in her IC incarnation prior to stripping - just the one hanging from the ceiling shown below. The cowls are built up from play and balsa and I'd started filling in all the cutouts for the exhaust and cylinder heads with block balsa. Then another clubmate built a lovely little scratch-built Beaufighter and discovered the joys of cowls made from fast food packaging, in the form of Hot Pot containers. That led me to explore the possibility of using the base of a couple of plastic peanut butter jars, which has worked out reasonably well.

I've added a ring of flexible plastic strip to the rear of the cowl, to simulate the cowl flaps. The cowls from the HVP Beaufighter were a help in putting those together, though they are considerably more slender than those on the Deacon Beaufighter. The canopy also allowed the making of a plaster of Paris mould and to try the old pop bottle and heat gun technique to mould a duplicate. That hasn't worked too well - the profile of the only bottle I had didn't allow sufficient shrinkage to get down tight to the front and has left a nasty ripple in the front screen _I'll have to try again, once there's another bottle available.

There isn't much room for the flight battery and I'm undecided whether to try and put it in the belly pan, or on top of the wing, with a removable cockpit as a hatch. I'l wait an see how the pilot figure that I've ordered sits.
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Old Jun 22, 2014, 01:19 PM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,473 Posts
The canopy moulding didn't go well and I need to find another bottle or probably pull the canopy from sheet plastic - which I've now ordered. it will give me the impetus to make a small vacuum former, and I've already found a hinged frame for that.
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Old Jun 22, 2014, 01:23 PM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,473 Posts
Some shots of the servo installation and to think about battery placement.

I did consider having two entirely separate motor systems, with a battery in each nacelle - since there are already access hatches installed and that would give the minimal battery wire length, for the two ESCs, but i think I'd prefer a single battery mounted on top of the wing on the CofG and inserted through the back of the cockpit.
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Last edited by leccyflyer; Jun 22, 2014 at 01:33 PM.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 01:16 PM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,473 Posts
Rainy day in NE Scotland, so the opportunity to make a bit of progress on the power system. My larger HVP Henschel Hs129 flies quite happily on a pair of Permax 480s. This time I wanted to go brushless and had selected a pair of E-Max 2215/20s, which should turn a 9 inch three bladed prop on 3s1p 2700mah lipo pack and let me use Hobbywing 30amp ESCs that I have in stock. The nacelle to nose clearance won;t allow for much more than a 9 inch prop in any case. The Ramoser varioprops that I have set aside for the HVP Beaufighter might get a test, at least.

Running the setup through Motocalc a few times, surprisingly suggested larger motors than I'd originally intended, but having weighed up all the possibilities a pair of E-Flite 480s might have fitted the bill, the predictions for the model fell between two stools on entering the motor data for the drawer full of E-Max motors that I already have available.

First job was to figure out a battery position - I don;t like having to take the wing off, but wanted a single battery - then I thought that, since the crew enter the Beau from underneath, why not do the same for the battery? Measured up on the plan and
a. there wasn't sufficient room to fit the battery on top of the wing, without losing a former
b. there was just enough room in the belly pan.
So that was an easy decision and a battery hatch was soon cut out.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 01:24 PM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,473 Posts
The battery hatch cut out was straightforward, but getting the wiring harness in place wasn't as straightforward. It needed a couple of cutouts through the wing sheeting, either side of the retaining dowel.

That was easy enough but it needed the fabrication of a couple of right angle threaded rods of different lengths to alternately punch and rasp through the couple of wing ribs and the nacelle sides.

Then enlarging the hole with a piece of flexible cable tie and get a couple of string pull-throughs in place to take the motor wiring.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 02:13 PM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,473 Posts
For the motor mounting, the supplied radial mounts left the motors nowhere near far enough forward to clear the cowl. With a couple of spare radial mounts it was simplest to just cut some aluminium tube stand offs and use long smooth shanked socket-headed bolts to make up a squirrel cage style mount. It was too much to hope for that the existing captive nuts were in the right place, so those all needed drifting out

Getting the motors central used a paper template drawn up from the plan, with markings for the radial mount being added once everything was taped in place pilot holes drilled, clearance holes for the captive nuts and installation of those into the firewall. No epoxy on these nuts, just in case they need to be removed, if I have to fit larger motors. The firewall has sufficient holes drilled in it for fuel lines and throttle linkages, to allow the motor cables to be threaded through.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 02:20 PM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
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Couldn't resist just taping the cowls in place to see how they look with the motors. The cowls still need a couple of fitting blocks setting inside, to mate up with the mounting brackets. They also need the oil and exhausts to be added. I've got some spare exhausts from a HVP Beaufighter partial set of plastic bits, but need to carve a pattern for the oil coolers. I've knocked together a little vaccum former and might well make up some dummy Hercules engines to sit inside the cowls, as well.
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Old Jul 14, 2014, 01:53 AM
The faster the better!
TLMARK's Avatar
Southern England
Joined Jan 2009
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Very nice work
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Old Jul 14, 2014, 02:55 AM
buy a lot, fly a little!
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Hong Kong, Hong Kong Island, Central And Western District
Joined May 2001
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Good to see you back at it leccy, and up in Scotland now I see. I'll be watching with interest.

S.
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Old Jul 14, 2014, 03:01 AM
Most people are stupid!
dambit's Avatar
Australia, QLD, Gold Coast
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Looking very good.
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Old Jul 19, 2014, 03:29 AM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,473 Posts
Thanks Gents - another rainy day here, so hope to make some further progress this weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuart warne View Post
Good to see you back at it leccy, and up in Scotland now I see. I'll be watching with interest.

S.
Hi Stuart

Yep, I've moved up to Scotland and had a big sort out in the workshop - starting to make some inroads into the kit mountain too and extend my horizons to include slope soaring.

The HVP Beaufighter is providing some of the mouldings for this refurb, as I managed to get hold of a partial set on eBay. The little Deacon Beau is a bit too portly to cope with retracts, so she'll be going off a dolly. The idea is to have her ready to fly at the next Dallachy fly-in, which is in September and to realise a long-term aeromodelling ambition.
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Old Jul 19, 2014, 08:54 AM
Oh no, not again!
jhspring's Avatar
United States, LA, Carencro
Joined Dec 2005
5,230 Posts
Nice refurb. My poor HPV Beau is a ways down the queue I'm afraid. Good to see you back on the forums.

regards,
Jeff
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Old Jul 20, 2014, 01:37 PM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,473 Posts
Hi Jeff - the HVP Beau will come good in the end and I'm sure you'll get here in the air one day.

Bits of progress over the weekend, in between other jobs got some of the fiddly little bits sorted out. I wanted to fit a nice pilot and instrument panel etc, and having abandoned the idea of using the canopy as a hatch made some modifications to strenghen the slightly dodgy wing retaining dowl housing, which was only hanging on by the skin of it's teet,

I had ordered up the only bit of 3D printing in the model - a full body 1/16th scale pilot and a 1/16th pilot bust for the observer/rear gunner. They are slightly off scale, since the model is actually 1/18th scale, but they don't look to bad in the office.

My unsuccessful attempts at a pop bottle canopy led me to put together a little home made vac-former, cobbled together from an old kitchen cookery book stand and some Two-Bi-One and ply. I was quite pleased with it and, after some carving of various detail bits, comprising the prominent supercharger intakes I had my first go at vaccum forming. I made a set of three slightly different confiurations of intake housing, based on what was on the plan, what was on the photograph of the aeroplane I want to model and based upon the latter, to be split in two, to make an easier moulding job.

The vaccum cleaner hose was inserted into the vacformer box, the plastic sheet secured with aluminium tape to the frame, on with the gloves and playing the heat gun over the plastic until it sagged, I flipped the lid over, bringing the plastic into contact with the upstanding balsa block moulds.
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Last edited by leccyflyer; Jul 20, 2014 at 02:06 PM. Reason: added pictures
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Old Jul 20, 2014, 02:22 PM
All under control, Grommit!
leccyflyer's Avatar
United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
12,473 Posts
...and it worked! The first attempt the plastic wasn't quite hot enough and didn't get down onto the balsa block moulds. However reheating the sheet permits a second go and this time the vacuum grabbed hard and pulled the plastic tight. Unfortunately I'd been a bit greedy trying too many items and there was some webbing due to being too close together, The are certainly usable though and I'm pretty pleased with the results,

The next thing was to have a go at the canopy, which took a couple of attempts - the first one was perfectly usable, but had a small blemish on the bottom corner of the screen, caused by the plastic pulling away from the frame and loss of the vaccum. However, with the gear out and plenty of clear PTG plastic to hand the second attempt worked beautifully and returned a perfect canopy, that I'm very pleased with.

So, the vac former works fine for small parts. A bit of care is needed to make sure that the plastic really is soft enough and not to be too ambition in terms of fitting too many multiple items, too close together.

The Beaufighter pilot seemed pretty pleased with the outcome of the afternoon's work, too. Not as much progress with the dummy engines as I'd hoped, but that'll come.
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