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Old Apr 07, 2010, 08:02 PM
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Finger Lakes in NY
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Plans - who needs em?

Well....I do.

I've been building a lot of EPP planes lately. My first was the Infineon - and those plans were great! Very little adjustment needed and it made me fall in love with EPP. (I hadn't learned all of the techniques by then - still haven't - but the plane turned out beautifully). Then I discovered leadfeather! Oh man what wonderful designs Dan comes up with. I've built the 32" Yak 55, the PbF, the SkyCart (with Yoshi driving!), the Apache autogyro, and the 42" version of his Edge 540T (the 42" plans are by motorhead). All are fantastic flyers (even tho I can't fly the Apache very well)! I was about ready to start on his latest - the Quick Stick, but I got sidetracked with Mr Flash's EPP Ultimate.

My point is, the plans for the Infineon, and all of the plans for leadfeather's and motorhead's planes are fantastic. The Infineon plans were the most complex, but the plane went together nicely. Leadfeather's designs, though simpler than the Infineon, were honed to perfection and the plans were updated regularly to incorporate his latest changes. And the pieces of EPP cut from his plans fit together like they should have.

Then comes the Ultimate... Now I'm not talking about the 30" version by Mr Flash (those plans are posted in the groups). I decided I wanted to go big and slick looking, so I ordered the back issue of RCM&E (Dec 2009) to build the 39" wing span version (also by Mr Flash - Dave Royds). The magazine arrived from GB in less than a week! I immediately took the plans to Staples to reproduce so that I didn't cut up the precious originals.

These plans are much more complex than any of leadfeather's designs, and even the Infineon (which by the way is also a Dave Royds design, with plans by Firetrappe). However, some of the complexity I think has to do with the fact the plans have to be fitted on a small blueprint that can be folded inside a magazine. Anyway, like I always do, I set about laying out and cutting templates. When I cut templates, I always check to see that things match up, and make adjustments when necessary. That way, when I cut the foam, I know the parts are going to fit together nicely. On previous models, the most I had to adjust was flattening out a nose for a ply motor mount instead of a stick mount, or maybe adjusting a slot thickness for my foam. As I started cutting templates for the Ultimate, I ran into several problems. First of all, if I cut the prints at dotted lines where parts (for example the fuselage side) had been separated to fit on the limited real estate available, and then tried to tape the pieces together, they didn't exactly match - and by a significant amount. Having made adjustments for that, I then made measurements for other parts that would eventually mate, and some of those measurements didn't jibe either....more adjustments.

So to make a long story short, the RCM&E plans aren't as nice as what I'd grown accustomed to with plans posted on rcgroups. I will still build the Ultimate, because I know I can adjust the plans (and the foam) so that it all goes together into something that flies. Only problem I have is how do I know it's the same plane that I see in the photos and videos. I'm sure I'll enjoy how it flies and it will actually be more my own creation than if the plans had been more acurate. But I think I more appreciate the effort of people like leadfeather who do the work of getting the design right, and then try to make sure that the plans actually, exactly match the design that they have gotten to fly so well.

Because some of us really do need good plans to build a great airplane. (Hmm, that Quick Stick is full fuse too....Dan, when are you going to do a biplane!)
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Last edited by scottyo; Apr 14, 2010 at 07:21 AM.
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 07:44 AM
Ahh...the smell of electrons!
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Finger Lakes in NY
Joined Sep 2007
141 Posts
Change in plans

I'm well along on the build for the RCM&E Ultimate 20-300 from the December 2009 issue. I hope to do a proper build thread when I'm done, but I thought I'd record a few photos here as I go. These are related to my blog entry and since it may be a few weeks before I'm done, I want to remind myself of some of the deviations I made from the actual RCM&E plans.
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Last edited by scottyo; Apr 23, 2010 at 11:25 AM.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 11:02 AM
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Finger Lakes in NY
Joined Sep 2007
141 Posts
Motor Bulkhead B3

This one I didn't catch until I had a lot of foam glued together. The motor bulkhead B3 is about 10mm (3/8") too short on the bottom. I didn't catch it when I was measuring to check templates. In fact after I discovered it, I still couldn't figure out where the mistake was. As I had done earlier, I compared the center-line of the B3 template to the side view of the plans. Exactly right, so I thought maybe I had miscut the foam. I measure it and it was fine, so I thought that maybe I had it set too far back in the fuse. Nope, measurement from bulkhead to nose was correct. After scratching my head for awhile, it hit me. I had compared the center-line of the template to the side view. That comparison wouldn't take into account the curvature on the top and bottom of B3. What I should have checked was the side measurement. It makes me think that whoever drew the plans did something similar.

Fortunately, they must have measured the slots in B3 from a more appropriate point, because the slots are positioned so that the error is only on the bottom (even if by the amounts of both curvatures combined). So, I only need to add a strip to the bottom.

I posted a note about this to Mr Flash's Ultimate thread, because this one was hard to catch before you've already got major components glued together. (Most of the others are easy enough to catch before gluing.)
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Old May 12, 2010, 05:49 PM
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Finger Lakes in NY
Joined Sep 2007
141 Posts
A bit of a rant...

Wow, these plans have some problems! Don't get me wrong, it's a nice design - it's just that I'm beginning to trash a lot of foam. I got started back on the build seriously, and I discovered I've got to recut the bottom F2 (the piece with the scoop intake/battery cover cut out). Even though I made my template longer on the aft end (to meet the LE of the wing), it still came out short at the nose. I also didn't like the way the opening overlapped B3 with my mod, so I decided to go back to the original cut line (actually a little short so that the front of the cutout rests on B3), and then add all of the lengthening to the nose (it needs almost 1 inch!!!). I'll post a photo after I've made the mod. This is very frustrating! It makes me think that no one built a plane from the actual plans before they were published in the magazine. If they had, I think they would have spotted these difficulties. [I also found that the lower of F6, F7 was too short, even after lengthening as much as I did (see post above).]

Note: If these were totally free plans, you wouldn't hear a peep out of me. But I purchased the magazine only for these plans and I am mystified that the quality of most of the "really free" plans posted on rcgroups (that I've built from) are so much more accurate than these. As an experienced builder, I can make do (even if I waste a bunch of foam), but I pity the poor inexperienced builders who fall in love with the looks of this plane, and then discover that it's terribly difficult to build.... What kind of impression is that?

End of rant.
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Last edited by scottyo; May 20, 2010 at 08:16 AM. Reason: Added photos
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