Joined Apr 2009
3DHS 42" AJ Slick Gear Fix
If you have a 3DHS 42” Slick I guarantee you love it. It is an awesome plane! I also guarantee that if you have a 3DHS 42” Slick you have broke at least one set of gear, maybe more. Broken gear sets mean you are no longer flying and when you have a fun plane like the Slick to fly, it’s no good to have it sitting there with a broken gear set.
If you check the 42” Slick thread and do a “Gear” search you will quickly see that you are not alone when it comes to breaking gear sets. If you check the 3DHS web site you also know that on a regular basis the 42” replacement gear is back ordered due to demand. The reasons for the breakage vary, but no one can deny that the stock gear breaks -a lot. There have been numerous solutions offered to fix or find a stronger gear set, but no one has yet to come up with a solution that hits all the marks – at least not until now...
Graph Tech is now offering a great set of gear for the little 42 that I am sure will please anyone who owns 42” Slick. The gear is stronger than stock, it is light, looks great, it is reasonably priced and will not over stress the gear box.
I conferred with several people who were willing to look at the stock gear set and offer a solution to a stronger gear set that does not break as easily as the stocker and Graph Tech is the one who stepped up and came up with the best solution. Here is little bit of information you might find useful:
The stock gear set:
Precision Aerobatics Katana Mid CF gear set:
Graph Tech gear set:
As you can see, the stock set is considerably thinner than both the PA set and the Graph Tech set. Also worth noting is that that stock set has a sharp angled bend away from the fuselage where both the PA and Graph Tech use a flowing radius bend. This radius bend is key to both strength and flexibility. A sharp angled bend creates much more stress at the bend vs a radius type bend.
What about weight (In Grams)?
I did not include the PA gear. As you can see by it’s thickness, it was much heavier than both the stock set and the Graph Tech set. Because the PA set had to be adapted to the 42” and was not purpose built for the Slick, it was difficult to mount. Although the PA gear served it’s purpose in testing to see if the 42” Slick gear box and fuselage could handle a much stronger gear set (The plane passed with flying colors) the difficulty in mounting the gear set made it not worth the effort. It was, though, almost indestructible and I was super impressed with the construction.
Will the Graph Tech gear break?
In short – YES!
It wasn’t easy, but I did manage to toast a gear set when a bug flew deep into my ear while I was flying and I took my hand off the elevator stick in an effort to get the little bugger out. Total rookie mistake, but when I reached back to the stick I accidentally knocked the stick forward and flew the plane straight into the ground. Needless to say, both the motor box and the gear did not survive. Outside of my own stupidity, the gear survived everything else I threw at it (See below)
Will the gear box crack or break out with a stronger gear set?
In short - NO!!!!!
The 42” is an amazingly well built plane for being so light. Obviously, using a gear set that snaps off easily can save a fuselage vs a stronger gear set that does not snap off, but does the 42’ need a weak gear set to save the fuselage or gear box?
There has been a lot of discussion in this area, but most of what I read was speculation. Over the past few months both my friends and I sacrificed our planes so you didn’t have to in an effort to find the truth. We have logged hundreds of flights and can confidently tell you that the stronger Graph Tech gear will NOT rip out you gear box. And when I say sacrificed, I mean sacrificed. We stalled, dropped, flat landed, bounced, flopped and dead sticked so many landings it was ridiculous. We managed to push both the Graph Tech and PA gear to it’s limit, breaking at least one set of each – but never, not once did we even so much as stress crack a gear box on the Slick.
Here you can see the Graph Tech gear flexing on a brutal landing. No damage to the gear or plane was sustained after this landing at all!
Close up after the landing:
Now to be honest, I was concerned that the stronger gear would be too much for the Slick. Rob at ADC hobbies recommended I use some Gorilla Glue in the gear box to strengthen it and so I did. I do not know what would have happened with out the GG, but it seemed like the GG Mod worked wonderfully – and the weight it added is hardly worth mentioning Here are a few shots of the Mod I did, I poured about a 3/16” of a layer of GG in the gear box, sprinkled on some water and watched it closely for about an hour or so, removing any GG that foamed up and over the gear box. Personally, I went overboard and I do not think you need to use so much GG. I used less the next time and it seemed to strengthen the gear box just fine. As you can see, it only adds the smallest amount of weight and it seems well worth it.
How much weight is added from the Gorilla Glue Mod?
How durable is the Graph Tech gear?
One of the contributing factors to the stock gear breaking is that it delaminates after it has been stressed a few times. This delamination seems to be one of the major causes for the stock gear to break. Sometimes when you least expect it. Again, after hundreds of landings and hours upon hours of testing, the Graph Tech gear it held up beautifully – never delaminating, even the slightest bit.
How easy is it to install the Graph Tech gear?
Easy! It does not come pre-drilled, but all you have to do is use an old broken stock gear leg as a guide for drilling the holes and the Graph Tech gear will fit perfectly.
How does the Graph Tech gear look on the plane compared to stock?
You be the judge...
How much does it cost?
Mike at Graph Tech told me it would be less than $20.00.
In summary, whether you are just starting out flying 3D or you are an experienced 3D hot shot, everyone flops their plane every once in a while. When this happens with the stock gear it is just a matter of time before the gear gives, usually taking a prop with it. If you want a gear set that will out last the stock gear, saves you from broken props, looks awesome, is light and is reasonably priced, then the Graph Tech gear should work for you.
Mike said he will get a direct link up so that you can order the gear. And when he does, I will update this post. For now, here is a link to Graph Tech. Shoot Mike an email and ask him for the 42” Slick gear and he will hook you up.
Special thanks to Steve at Precision Aerobatics USA and all the RCGroup guys who emailed me and encouraged me to see this little project through.
Joined Apr 2009
I emailed Mike a week ago myself. He replied that he had decided to do the next run with a stronger yet more flexible resin mix. He said he hoped to have the gear available this week (Week of 10/11) I will follow up with an email to him and try and get a hard date that the gear will be available. As he is for the most part a one man operation, I think he underestimated the demand for the gear and was caught off guard.
He is a good guy and always comes through, plus I do not have any doubt once you guys get a set of gear you will be stoked, but in all honesty, Slick owners have been spoiled by the lightning quick email responses from Ben at 3DHS and Rob at ADC Hobbies. Those guys "Get" the power of the Net, that's for sure.
Mike is not what you would call internet proficient. My take is he is a little more old school and a hands on type of guy, but worth the wait...
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