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Old Mar 10, 2008, 02:38 PM
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Tom, Oslo, Norway
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Build Log
Guillows SE5a

I'll start a thread on converting this one as it's currently occupying my building board. The Guillow's 200 line of models is originally constructed as rubber powered free flight models. The wing span is 24".

I like the looks of the SE5a and it seems to be easy to model as there is mainly straight outlines, no double curved surfaces. Also it has a fairly long nose section which means little CG problems for the model.

I started this build as a static model in the 80s before I took a break from model airplanes. Had all the tiny balsa sticks glued together, but not covered neither assembled the wings and fuselage into one kingdom. As it was planned a static model I built it with scale dihedral.

After dusting it off I decided to make it into an electric powered 4 channel flying model as it is possible with today's lightweight and powerful outrunners and tiny R/C gear. All the balsa wood+glue weighs 56 grammes.
Motor: NewPower Booster 10 37 g
ESC: Kontronik miniPix 10 g
Battery: Graupner LiPo 2S/480mAh 30 g
Receiver: Dynam 5ch micro 9 g
Servo: 3xHitec HS-55 24 g
Did I forget something? so far 166 grammes
Hope for total weight less than 250 grammes (9 oz) which is within recommendations from NewPower.

The first thing I did was cutting the rudder from the fin and the elevator halves from the stab. I went for 1/16" trailing and leading edges which looks a bit too tiny. I'm going to use the covering material itself for hinges, so I don't need large areas to glue the hinges to.

Then I turned my attention to the ailerons - all four of them. The outline is indicated on the drawing and to my surprize I found that the rearmost interplane strut was located on the ailerons. I decided to keep the kit's location and make the ailerons a little narrower. I had to make a partially new trailing edge in the aileron position and chose 1/8". I decided to use top hinged ailerons and use the covering material for hinges.

I've never had a wing break in the air before, nor any flutter in the 70s and 80s when I flew sport and pattern. The wings in this kit are only butt joined. I'm sure thats fine for a gentle free flight model. But I intend to put this bird through what it can do. Many people think these WWI couldn't do any acrobatics, but they did both loop, roll and spin. And that's essentially all the aerobatic manouvers there is!
Should I reinforce the wing joints?
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Last edited by Biplan; Mar 14, 2008 at 09:02 AM. Reason: Changing the category
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Old Mar 10, 2008, 05:12 PM
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Kansas is windy.
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The butt join for the lower wings should be fine. The flying forces definitely won't stress them too much but of course a really hard landing may. For this join, use epoxy or polyurethane glue for strenght- not CA. Be sure to make the struts strong enough (out of spruce, bass, or CF reinforced balsa) with a strong joint at the fuse.

Good luck on the conversion. I did the 28" guillows stearman and it turned out great, but note that I did significant lightening of the structure.

Lose as much weight as possible in the tail section. I can't stress that enough!

I just finished a 24" SE5a but this was a Peter Rake design, not the Guillows.

Are you sure you want to do the ailerons? As far as reward vs. effort goes, this is not the best bang for the buck. Consider 3 channel, with the stock dihedral. Trying to make this a truly aerobatic airplane by the addition of ailerons is kind of like putting lipstick on a pig.

Be prepared for a wealth of good advice. Review as many other conversion threads as you can; this will be time well spent.

Good luck,

Phil
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Old Mar 10, 2008, 05:44 PM
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I agree with Phil - I've also just built a slightly larger (27") span IPS-powered SE5a and it flies great on R/E...stable if you want it but quite agile if you crank up the throws. Only downside to models of this size is that they can be 'fiddly' to install linkages and I'm all in favour of keeping things simple. Model should be a great flier with or without ailerons though - SE5a's always seem to fly well!

Look forward to your build

Steve
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Old Mar 10, 2008, 09:55 PM
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The SE5A is a nice flyer. I built one with a 12mm bl geared at around 7oz. Rud/elev controls.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...highlight=se5a
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Old Mar 12, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Tom, Oslo, Norway
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Thanks for the feedback. I don't think I would be satisfied with the flight performance with R/E only. Flew a 37" R/E foamie Cub last summer to restore my stick feeling. It took just a couple of 8 minute flights and then I wondered why I didn't pick up where I left in '84 with full house.

My concern about the strength of the wings are the lack of a top spar to take compression load when pulling out from a vertical dive and that both spars, LE and TE are butt joined at the same rib.

Phil, I don't remember for sure what kind of glue I used for the wing joints 24 years ago, but it probably was UHU Hart balsa glue.

I'll follow you advice and strengthen the struts - would that be only the ones connecting the top wing and the fuse or the ones out on the wings, too? I expect to do a few nose overs on landings as the grass on our club flying field is not to scale. It seems that everybody else fly bigger planes over here nowadays.

I'll try my best not to add any weight in the tail. Have decided to use 2 millimeter (1/16") carbon rods for rudder and elevator control. The hobby shop guy recommended using .8 millimeter (1/32") piano wire with Z bends both ends and attach them to the CF rod with shrink tubing + CA. I'm thinking of using nylon clips both ends to save weight. Is this a good idea? What glue is best for CF to nylon?

Thanks for the link, OnVacation. Any special reason for you to choose green? I've decided to model one of the planes of my favorite SE5a ace, Ira Jones of 74th squadron. From what I've found most SE5as were dark brown.
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Old Mar 12, 2008, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biplan
My concern about the strength of the wings are the lack of a top spar to take compression load when pulling out from a vertical dive and that both spars, LE and TE are butt joined at the same rib.
Hi guy.
I built this kit stock four years ago except for the following changes:

Put a strip of 1/64 ply on the wing joints.
Glued a small balsa block to the ribs at the base of each wing strut notched for a small strip of metal with a hole. the metal strip is trapped between the block and the rib.
Then when the model was finished I rigged the wings with woven spiderwire.
Power (which was barely adaquate) was a small GWS geared brushed motor.
total weight was 8 oz.
the rigging made it very strong, I cartwheeled it quite a few times with no damage.
And though it was just a three channel, I flew it hard with lots of spins snaps and hard loops.
here are a few pics for inspiration.
BTW it was covered with coverite's microlite.
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Old Mar 13, 2008, 02:04 PM
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Tom, Oslo, Norway
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Thanks, Taildragger. Great in flight photos!

I see the SE5a has been converted to el by several modellers previousely. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

Need to shut down the computer and spend more time at the building board.
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Old Mar 13, 2008, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biplan
Need to shut down the computer and spend more time at the building board.
It's a shame it's so much easier to type about it than to do it.
Got a 1/4 scale cub calling me at the moment too. (electric of course.)
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Old Mar 13, 2008, 07:03 PM
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I chose green since I just thought it always looked good on SE5As. Almost bought that little green Eflite foamy, since the SE5 is such a good looking plane.
This plane has enough nose that you don't need to be terribly worried about tail weight. My batt did not need to go clear against the firewall, as on some bipes done, and I added a steerable tailwheel that links off the rudder, which added tailweight. Nice to have ground handling, as I did an ROG takeoff with it. I was able to make the scale vents on the area under the engine on the full scale, and almost had the correct count of them, if it wasn't for the battery door blocking the last 2 or so. The vents are both scale and useful for cooling.
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 04:02 PM
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Tom, Oslo, Norway
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Aileron control horns for biplanes

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnVacation
I chose green since I just thought it always looked good on SE5As.
That's a perfectly good reason.

Spent the best of the day fiddling with aileron control horns. Maybe pull-pull linkage is a good idea after all. Phil and Steve are right - it is a lot of extra work. I did take time to walk off the frustration for an hour in the sunshine, though.

Starting this thread acts as a whip to get a little done every day. I searched the web for other small SE5a models and found Aerodrome RC. They make kits for three sizes! The building manuals are generously downloadable. For the smallest model Steve Perry uses Sullivan #507 Gold 'n' Rods. I had some of those from 25years ago. One of the problems with these small models is that there is no room for a straight part of the rod at the aileron side long enough for both a threaded coupler and clip. I've decided to skip the threaded coupler and glue ball links directly on to the end of the wire. If I'm precise there is no need for adjustment here. For linkage to the top ailerons I decided to use 2 millimeter carbon fiber rod.

Now I finally get to the control horns. I cut some out of .7 millimeter plywood. The shape and throw rate was given a lot of thought; this is the first bipe I build. (Bought a good used "Josefin" - not scale model - with ailerons on the lower wing only back then). For correct differential throw I found it easiest to put the control hors on the top side of the lower wing. In addition to correct differential there needed to be a place to attach the rod to the top ailerons. I also had to make sure there was no binding between the #507 and the CF rod in the fully down position. The control horns are glued to the aileron ribs so I need to cut a slit in the covering material. Also added another rib to the other side of the control horn for the covering to have something to adhere to. At the end of the day I'm satisfied with the result and confident that it will work as planned.

I'm curious about the original to which Guillow modelled his model. Googled the registration number (I think it is) C8740 and got a hit! Someone had picked up a booklet with old aircraft post cards at a garage sale.
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Old Mar 16, 2008, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biplan
That's a perfectly good reason.

Spent the best of the day fiddling with aileron control horns. Maybe pull-pull linkage is a good idea after all. Phil and Steve are right - it is a lot of extra work. I did take time to walk off the frustration for an hour in the sunshine, though.

Starting this thread acts as a whip to get a little done every day. I searched the web for other small SE5a models and found Aerodrome RC. They make kits for three sizes! The building manuals are generously downloadable. For the smallest model Steve Perry uses Sullivan #507 Gold 'n' Rods. I had some of those from 25years ago. One of the problems with these small models is that there is no room for a straight part of the rod at the aileron side long enough for both a threaded coupler and clip. I've decided to skip the threaded coupler and glue ball links directly on to the end of the wire. If I'm precise there is no need for adjustment here. For linkage to the top ailerons I decided to use 2 millimeter carbon fiber rod.

Now I finally get to the control horns. I cut some out of .7 millimeter plywood. The shape and throw rate was given a lot of thought; this is the first bipe I build. (Bought a good used "Josefin" - not scale model - with ailerons on the lower wing only back then). For correct differential throw I found it easiest to put the control hors on the top side of the lower wing. In addition to correct differential there needed to be a place to attach the rod to the top ailerons. I also had to make sure there was no binding between the #507 and the CF rod in the fully down position. The control horns are glued to the aileron ribs so I need to cut a slit in the covering material. Also added another rib to the other side of the control horn for the covering to have something to adhere to. At the end of the day I'm satisfied with the result and confident that it will work as planned.

I'm curious about the original to which Guillow modelled his model. Googled the registration number (I think it is) C8740 and got a hit! Someone had picked up a booklet with old aircraft post cards at a garage sale.
Interesting to find what Guillows modelled. For their FW190, you would think it was a famous plane, but actually it was a lesser known early Afrika Corps A3 flown by Heinz Orlowski, before it had engine problmes and was trashed on landing. Took me forever to find that piece of info.

Bill
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 12:53 PM
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Tom, Oslo, Norway
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Top wing done

Finally it looks like I've taken a step forward. It doesn't look as nice as most builds I've seen here. It seemed to take forever to sand the under side of the wing and I was very careful not to break the tiny ribs as I sanded across the wood grain. I chose to sand along the grain in the LE and TE. Is that how it's unually done?

Then I prepared the LE and TE with Balsarite, the can from 25 years ago is still good. I know it's the wrong color, but I have a lot of sky blue shrink plastic covering material (also from 25 years ago). I think it's Coverite, but it's no name on it now. Came in a big, heavy roll, 27" wide and it has a sticky back side after the film is peeled off.

This is only my second attempt on shrink covering. The first one is a long time ago. Then I tried a Swenson product which looked like nylon or silk covering. My mother was not happy with the stuff that stuck to her iron after I borrowed it. I remember the iron was very heavy and it was difficult to apply gentle pressure. Now I've got a Graupner "Bugeleisen" which is made for the puropse. It's much easier to use and has an electronic thermostat with 2 degrees accuracy and a blue indicator LED. It came with a sock and a wire stand, too.

This is actually my first kit with a flat under side wing. As you can see in the photo all the different parts are not level despite all that sanding. I didn't want to take too much off, either. I don't even dare to post a photo of the top side. I covered it with some brown shrink plastic I bought recently, don't remember what brand it is. It does not have a sticky back side and it's rolled with white wax paper (or something) as a separating film. It was sort of stiff and took much more heat than the Coverite. It also came loose again at the edges when I started to shrink it. I'll try a heat gun and see if it will shrink more with more heat. Otherwise I'll have to redo the top side.

The weight of the top wing was 18 grammes before covering, 28 grammes after (thats exactly 1 oz, I think). I didn't weigh the wing with the Coverite only to compare the weight of the different materials. It came out heavier than I imagined.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 01:05 PM
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Tom, Oslo, Norway
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Aileron hinges

For aileron hinges I used Scotch Magic Tape (the semi transparent type as it has very good sticking properties that lasts) applied to the underside and the top covering material also. The tape was applied with the aileron in the way-up-and-folded-forward position. That way the surfaces of the wing TE and aileron LE forms a level surface to apply the tape. The ailerons moved easily before the top was covered. Hopefully they still move after I cut along the space at the inner end of the ailerons. Just have to find my scalpel first.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 01:34 PM
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Tom, Oslo, Norway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biplan
From what I've found most SE5as were dark brown.
That's not exact. It's amazing what information is on the web if one just search.

The coating was called "PC10" back then. It's short for either Protective Coating or Pigmented Cellulose and 10 is just a sequential number. When applied it was shiny and greenish, but soon weathered to a flat brownish color. It's main purpose was to keep the fabric from rotting from the sun. Peculiar - what was the average lifespan of WWI planes? 3 - 4 weeks? Ira Jones for one used them up at that rate.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 05:12 PM
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Looking good, Biplan!

I note your comments about domestic irons being too heavy for modelling use, but I use one exclusively for all my covering...the only difference being that I use a 12" metal ruler - heated by holding it onto the sole of the iron for 20 seconds - to apply the covering (I usually use Litespan).

I use this method for all my models, but it's especially useful for small models, as the ruler is light, easy to manipulate and can get into tight corners. Just be careful that you remember which end of the ruler is hot as it holds it's heat for quite a while!

Steve
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