EYE-PLANE: Easy to build/fly AP designed around EYEPOD mount, VIDEOS & FREE plans!
11/16/2010: IMPORTANT UPDATE NOTE: MAIDEN TEST FLIGHT WAS COMPLETE SUCCESS! EXCEEDED ALL EXPECTATIONS!
Ground to air and air to ground videos posted!
USE ONLY THE DRAWINGS POSTED IN POST #62! Do not use any drawings previous to this post! The build thread will continue to completion per tested prototype.
Some of you know me, either through my build threads, RC kits, motion picture special effects or my websites:
www.jarelaircraftdesign.com (RC aircraft dedicated site, kits etc.)
www.jareldesign.com (Client/corporate based site, special effects, prototypes etc.)
The response to the new EyePod camera mount system I released the other day has been phenomenal and seems to have drawn quite a lot of attention.
Link to the EyePod camera mount: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1333287
I received several emails from people asking if I had a plane specifically designed for the EyePod Mount… I hadn’t thought about it since the EyePod was designed to be mounted anywhere (and on just about any plane or helicopter)! But as I thought about it, I began to mentally imagine a really simple, super easy to build, super easy to fly, AP dedicated plane… I imagined it capable of flying slowly yet able to penetrate mild winds, stable, short take-off & landing… I wanted it to be small enough to fit into a small car assembled and I figured it aught to be cheap!
Cheap, as in: “FREE”!
After designing and selling RC kits for more than 20+ years (since 1987), I figured it was time to offer an RC plane that was fun, that incorporated what is becoming an ever-growing interest in aerial photography (To get above it all and really get a new perspective on flying by “seeing” what our plane “sees”). It had to be a design that just about anyone could build and fly… Oh… and did I say “cheap” as in “free”? Once this plane has been completed and proven in test flights, I’ll post complete full size plans here as a PDF download so that you can create your own Eye-Plane… I’ll also show how to build a “non-camera nose cone” for those that just want to fly this plane as a Parkflyer.(If there is enough interest in adapting some other sort of camera (either to the EyePod Mount or directly to this plane, we can explore that as well.
The other feature about this thread is that I will be designing, engineering and prototyping this AP dedicated plane, in “Plain Sight”! That means any mistakes, cuts that are too long, foam sanded too deep, parts that don't fit... Will all be apart of this build along with sharing how I determine certain aspects of the design, approach the build, tips and techniques used to accomplish the various tasks and why.
NOTE: I started this last night and figured I'd share as much as possible in this first post because I want to get building in the morning... Grab a cup of coffee... This post will be a long one! (I anticipate the rest of the posts will be much shorter and will have photos and videos of the actual construction process.)
To begin with, I wanted this plane to be extremely stable (stall resistant!), enough so, to be considered something on the order of a trainer even in winds over 10mph! (Trust me…even for seasoned pilots… when you add the “mission parameters” of trying to capture something on film (even in a no-wind situation), your mind is going to be pre-occupied with your photographic target… It would help if your plane would do some of the flying on it's own! (One of my earlier AP prototypes flew for 7 minutes with the transmitter sitting untouched on the ground (No gyros! No autopilots of any kind! It carried a Nikon S210 and could perform sharp banked figure eights 3 feet off the ground within the base lines of a baseball field on a 2-S 1320mah battery!) With that kind of stability, it became a lot easier to weave in and out of trees, and other “obstacles” trying to get that “perfect shot”…
As an entry level or “sport” aerial photography platform, this plane is being designed around the new EyePod camera mount and the really inexpensive 808 key chain camera. (If you are not yet familiar with this amazing little camera, you really owe it to yourself to check it out… I believe the price has dropped to below $10 (China source), and you can order one direct for about $25 shipped. There are also a few members here at rcgroups that are importing them and can be found in the classified section here!
Please! If you are one of these rcgroups members selling these cameras, I invite you to post your contact info here in this thread! (I’ve got three, but could use a couple more and I know there are a lot of members that not only may not know about this camera (yet!), but when they do, will be wanting to know how to get their hands on one!)
Link to the 808 key chain camera:
(This thread has over 300,000 hits and over 6,000 posts in only 400 days!) Fantastic source of information on this camera. I've learned TONS from it! Thanks guys!
In keeping with my target goals for this plane in the "cheap" category, I decided to rummage through my “junk drawers” for components… Chances are you will have similar items laying around looking for a “new home”… This plane is designed to accept a wide variety of components, motors, batteries etc… Something “close” is fine… don’t worry about getting the exact same items… I’m just specifying the parts so you can get an idea of what I’m planning to use… (The planned wing loading tolerances will permit heavier gear but if you plan on turning this aircraft into a speed demon, I suggest you beef up the wings.)
So after a long while, I found lots of “stuff” (I really have to sort through and clean those drawers out! Lol!) I found quite a few Brushless motors and chose one that I knew cost under $10: Hextronic 20g 1300kv (or 24g 2300kv They don’t come marked so I’m not sure which one this is.) Both cost $7.99 through Hobby King and both will turn a 7” prop (I’m planning on using a 7060 GWS… but I may have to “prop-down” to a 7045 if the motor gets too warm). I also found a 10amp ESC (Also from Hobby King: HK 8-10amp Brushless ESC for $6.50), and four Hextronic 900 9gram servos (also through Hobby King costing $2.69 each!). I had smaller servos and better motors, but I wanted this project to be easy for you to duplicate without having to go out and buy new or expensive gear!) I also found a Spektrum ar500 Rx and a box of Zippy (also through Hobby King), 2S-800mah LiPo packs (Only $6.58 each!)…
Ok… Pretty generic, pretty cheap (This stuff has been collecting dust for a while!)
Note: Yes, I place orders direct to China (I’ve been there working on client prototypes), but I also totally support my local hobby shop (just ask them! Lol!), and I do buy a LOT of items from “Al’s Hobbies” here in Medford… At the prices some of these components are sold for in China (and in the QUANTITY that I use them prototyping kits and creating motion picture special effects), I usually compile a few large orders per year.
So I went to Al’s (my local shop) and told them what I was up to and checked out some of the prices on items that you might select for this project that they carried… I’m guessing an E-Flite or Rimfire 250 to 300 park flyer type motor would be fine and the prices seem to run in the $20 ~ $30 range. Not bad considering they were sitting right there ready to take home! Battery prices were also really low as were the other items needed for this design… The really nice thing about your local hobby shop is that you can usually walk in and walk out the same day with everything you need. During my visit, I purchased 3mm and 5mm Cellfoam88 (Sold by Midwest), some Bob Smith Industries foam-safe, gap-filling CA along with a bottle of foam safe kicker… I also purchased a Carbon Fiber tube (48” x .210 diameter), also sold by Midwest. (CST also sells Carbon Fiber items).
Here's where the parts begin to come together:
After gathering all the components I had available to use for this plane (again, I could go with smaller, lighter gear, a more powerful motor and gobs of carbon fiber (I’m planning to use birch dowels for the wing spars and leading edge, using what I’m guessing most of you may have laying around your work bench or are willing to purchase). This plane could easily fly a little heavier than planned which is why I’m designing this plane around “average gear” and cheap materials… It just depends on what kind of performance you're after...
Sure wished I hadn't failed Algebra in High School:
I placed all the electronics, battery, camera, EyePod camera mount, a sheet of foam and a small foam fuselage ( a prototype I began months ago), on a gram scale in order to "guesstimate" the AUW (All Up Weight). It turned out to be 240grams (8.5oz) (Remember the word "Guesstimate"! lol!) It's a starting place from where additional estimating and more guesswork continue when the first “guesstimate” turns out to be way off! Lol!
For the performance envelope I’m wanting, I want this plane to have a light wing loading, still be able to penetrate into a light breeze, climb well, be VERY stable, fly slow and possibly thermal... for that, I'm thinking that I want a wing loading of between a 5oz and 8oz per square foot... Trainer material!
I originally thought this plane would have a wingspan of just less than 30”… It might work at that span, but I opted to play it safe and increase it to 34". I was hoping for between one to one and a quarter square feet of wing area… To accomplish this, I came up with a center wing panel chord of 6" and span of 8.5" (I wanted clearance between the twin booms for a 7" prop). I then added what was left in span to reach 34” which turned out to be outer panels of 12.75" with a root of 6" and a tip at 4.5" I wanted a tapered leading edge in case my plane became too tail heavy as I wanted a long tail moment (the distance between the tailing edge of the main wing and the leading edge of the horizontal stab.) A longer tail moment helps to create pitch stability but also adds more weight aft. A tapered leading edge helps add stability (kind of like dihedral, bur more importantly, it moves the Center of Gravity further aft which then reduces the need for a long nose (longer is more fragile) or having to add any useless nose ballast. I’m also keeping in mind that I’d like the plane (complete without battery), to balance on the CG so that any minor adjustments could be accomplished by moving the battery or, that a larger or smaller battery could be swapped without having to re-position the battery location… (A LOT to keep in mind at this point!)... So after drawing out the wing, I came up with a total wing area of 184.8 sq inches or 1.28 sq ft. Perfect!
At my estimated AUW of 8.5oz carried by this wing our EyePlane would have a wing loading of 6.64oz/sqft... Right in the middle of our wing loading target!
(Even if we build heavier and end up with an AUW of 9.5oz, our wing loading would still be 7.42oz /sq ft… And even if I go way off target and come up with 10.5oz AUW, the wing loading will still be 8.2oz /sq ft… Definitely within our trainer/stable/slow flyer target goal!
Putting the parts together with the numbers and figuring out where to start building:
Up until now, all I’ve done is created a conceptual rendering sketch and a side view “proposal” scale drawing to get a sense of where everything will sit. Since I haven’t created any proof of concept “chuck-gliders” to test and I’m choosing to begin building before doing any more analysis or any further aerodynamic number crunching, I decided to build the wing first, followed by the twin booms, tail feathers and installing the servos (all of which will be mounted directly onto the bottom of the wing near the twin booms). This will then allow me to cut out a profile fuselage, tape the components in place, attach it to the wing and move the components around to get a close balance on the CG (estimated to be about 30% back from the average chord leading edge)… This way, I can design/build the actual fuselage to match reality accommodating the components as they would sit in the fuselage balancing on the CG without having to add any lead if it were too short or end up with one that was too long and be fragile and easy to break.
So with the “boring stuff” (Math and number crunching), out of the way, I will go ahead and cut out the wing panels and tail feathers (Horizontal stabilizer area guesstimated (based on experience), at 15% of wing area… With the booms preset at 8.5” to clear the 7” prop, the only thing needed is to figure out the chord of the horizontal stab so that it’s area is 15% of the main wing. 184.8 sq/in multiplied by 15% = 27.72 sq/in. 27.72 divided by 8.5 = 3.26” chord length… That is what is known as a “TLAR” calculation… Although I had been practicing this form of aerodynamic engineering for years, I had no idea there was a term for it until I learned about it here on rcgroups! T.L.A.R (for those who don’t already know), means: “That-Looks-About-Right”!)
I'll take photos as I proceed and post them when I return. I'm attaching some photographs and videos of past AP and other "optical related" projects and work until then… Enjoy!
This is the maiden flight for the micro Dragonfleye a kit that should be ready for release here in this forum in a few weeks... AUW including EYEPOD camera mount and key chain camera is 2 ounces!
After I knew how this tiny (1-S Ember green dot brick) AP plane would fly, I tried it on something more difficult... Targeting a public kinetic sculpture I created a few years back on the busiest downtown intersection in front of the courthouse, across the street from city hall and 50 yards from the police station and if that wasn't enough, the wind was blowing at 12mph! I'll let the video speak for itself! LOL!
Here's how the EYEPOD works... This is the unit this AP plane is being designed to use (although so many other tiny cameras or FPV units could easily be adapted... If there's enough of you using the same system that want a vacuum formed nose that fits this plane and accepts your pan/tilt unit, let me know, I may create some molds for it!
I'll be back later tonight or tomorrow with photographs of what I accomplished and how I got the work done.
I'm really laughing here...
"Interesting"... Already changed the wing plan drastically! I saw an old AP prototype I built for a client years ago... the goal was to make it fly as slow as I could walk fast... I had the specs written on the side and it had a 40" wingspan but only weighed 190 grams and flew like a dream!
So the fun begins already with changes as I build...
Still laughing... I feel like I'm in one of those dreams where you're back in school but you forget to get dressed and you're standing there naked in front of class?!?!?!
I'll definitely have some photos tonight or tomorrow... actually getting a lot done... Dreary and dark outside and I thought it was a lot later... On my way to having the wing panel parts done...
Hope you enjoy the "show"...! LOL!
Just begining and ALREADY we have changes?!?! LOL!
DO NOT USE THE DRAWINGS IN THIS POST!!!
FINAL DRAWINGS ARE LOCATED IN POST #62!
Build thread photos, steps and methods are accurate and should be followed.
Got a late start today… I’ve become so excited about this project that I began to see Tresa and Kyla pick up “my slack” around here, so I put in some time… Bless them! They TOTALLY support what I’m trying to do by getting the model aircraft side of my business “off the ground”… No complaints, no “looks” just smiles and kisses and hubs… Geeze! How could I NOT stop what I’m doing to love them back!
So I finally got started around 11 this morning and just as I was getting ready to follow the drawings I created earlier this morning I saw major changes looming over the horizon!
As I sat in the shop laying out the wing panels I noticed an old AP prototype I created for a client hanging from the ceiling… The target for that project: SUPER SLOW flight… as in: “Walking Speed”… Fortunately I always write down the specs on a prototype so I can compare changes… Pulled it down and began to go over it’s “numbers/specs”
My first “guesstimate” for the EyePlane was 30” and 184.4 sq/in.
After reconsidering, I upped it to a 40” span (I can always cut it down later after test flights if I want… Making it longer now will make changing it to smaller, easier later on down the road.) At 40”, I wound up with 221.25 sq/in.
I usually work with large items or do the messy cutting, sanding, grinding, machining or other wise loud dusty processes in the “shop”… The “studio” is up front and what I normally call my “clean room”… Sometimes I will sand in there just because I like the studio more in the winter. Because I was laying out larger pieces, I chose to begin working in the shop.
Something else that slowed m down today was that I totally forgot about documenting EVERYTHING I do! If not, how do I relate the info to you and/or how do I figure out where I might have gone wrong and back track to find a new solution to some now unseen problem? (That’s a MAJOR difference between ‘recreational” building and building a prototype to be duplicated later.) So, I didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted today, but the drawings for the “final” design are done, my wing panels are cut, my materials are gathered and ready, I’ve figured out how I’m going to create this wing and (as you’ll see in the next post, I actually got quite a bit of sanding/shaping completed!
It’s about 6pm and I’m going to call it a day after I post this and the next installment… In retrospect, I think I got a lot done: Committed to a wing panel and design, documented everything, photo-documented the build (Oh… here’s some advice… it is TOTALLY WORTH IT to purchase a rubber cutting mat… You can find them at craft and art stores… they will help produce the cleanest cuts you ever saw…! And save your blades… but… NEVER use CA on them… Pull the mat away and work on a different surface (or have a separate table to cut wood and foam)…
As for the “dime tour” of the shop: The two vacuum formers seen in the shop are 24” x 24” and 18” x 30”. Major heavy duty graphite rotary vane pumps in both pulling 27hg at 11 cubic feet a minute. Here’s a short video showing one of them producing parts for my ICON kits: (And yes, I designed and built all three machines! lol!)
There’s still one more room with a third, 24” x 48” vacuum former, but I have a client project going on in there and photographs would violate confidentiality… sorry…
As for the lines and beveling of these flat wing panels: The point is to create a wing with some camber and washout… The camber is what gives a wing lift… Rounded top, flat or under-cambered bottom with a sharp trailing edge and a gentle climb up and over the leading edge to help prevent airflow breaking away and creating turbulence and deteriorating lift…
Sanding the top of the root in the outer panel and feathering it out toward the tip where none of the top of the wing is sanded, helps create the washout… On the bottom, we do just the opposite… We sand the bottom trailing edge near the tip and feather it towards the root where we sand none of the bottom of the wing… When it’s completed and you look at the trailing edge from behind, there should be a “twist” of the trailing edge beginning at the bottom near the root and then climbing up towards the top of the wing at the tip.
What Washout does is to change the angle of attack of the wing from the root towards the tip… Generally in a stall, the wing is at a high angle of attack and the airflow is “stalled” deteriorating lift… If this happens at the tip where our ailerons are, the tip falls out of the sky like a lead balloon… Usually this happens on approach and take off especially if we bank into a tight turn or just try to climb too steeply… Washout decreases the angle of attack of the tip so that the root stalls first leaving us with some aileron authority at the tip which we will hopefully take advantage of to keep flying! LOL!
(Please note: The topic of theoretical aerodynamics can be a great discussion and pastime, especially over a few beers… I only offer this limited amount of information to give those of you who have not delved into this science, a minimal understanding… I just don’t have the time to address questions or engage in discussions about it here… I believe there is a forum just for that very purpose… I still study books and read papers on aerodynamics and new airfoils that are constantly being created… There are thousands of them! Great focus for those of you interested in designing your own planes (especially sailplanes!)
Ok. From here we go into the studio to sand these wing panels to shape.
Please note that the drawings posted here are only for conceptual understanding of what and why we are going to sand these panels… More in the next post.
More movement: Sanding Camber & Washout plus partial studio tour!
Ok… I usually don’t sand in the studio, preferring to keep it clean… It’s where I do my clay sculpting, electrical wiring, plastic fabrication (other than vacuum forming), things like pouring silicone and urethane molds and parts…
But it’s getting cold outside and the Shop is too big to keep heated all the time! LOL!
SO here are some photos of the wing panels being sanded… only sanding the trailing edges for now… Next post we will complete the sanding. Note that I am using sanding boards Take a piece of Masonite and spray 3M-77 on a pre-cut piece of sand paper and apply it... Or you can go the easy route (and expensive! Ever notice how the "easy" solutions can also be the most expensive) and by automotive grade sandpaper on a sticky back roll... I use yellow 3-M brand... never looked back since! The sanding board/block will help create a true, straight surface... Worth the effort and you will use it in your future work as well.. either holding it and sanding with it, or laying it face up on a table and running your pieces over it... Nice, true, straight edges and bevels!
The Blue masking tape is to help guide our sanding and protect the foam that will not be sanded… After this straight beveling part is done, I’ll show you how to make a semi-flexible sanding pad to soften these bevel edges and produce a smooth flowing airfoil shape (really easy and pretty quick…) I went this route on my micro Ryan kit (just released over in the micro/indoor forum… I also added a curving of the foam sheet wing by rolling a heated pipe over the foam… For this project, we’re just going to leave the foam sheet wing panel straight and sand the shapes we want to create into the foam as well as adding the short under-camber strips at the leading edge to help create an airfoil similar to a bird or a DLG Glider… thin, nice round entry, sharp trailing edges, washout and lots of under camber…
As for the studio… lots of eye-candy everywhere… The vertical space ship standing upright on the floor is actually the original docking arm used in StarShip Troopers. It's filled with yards and yards of fiber optic lighting, flurescent lights that show through tiny window holes, Sequencing LED's and motorized docking arm pivot and extensions... you really have to see this one up close to believe the detail!. The green space helmet was used in the green screen special effect shot at the beginning of StarTrek IX (There's a red one in the living room along with the power ranger helmets a borge type headpiece and well the living room is where my large drafting table is and I guess I should share a couple of photos there too... you'll understand whey when youe see! lol! (It's the kid in me!)...
Back to the studio: There’s a superman body on the wall (I designed and built the RC flying Superman for Mattel a few years ago.) RC car bodies, tools, lots of lights and lots of spare parts everywhere…. There’s still more, but I need to move a few items out of view before I shoot any photos (second client project)…
Oh… and music… 200 clean watts through several speakers play almost constantly and out the vertical blinds is a a view of our front yard, water falls, a koi pond, old growth Maple trees and a copper fish sculpture I created years ago… life is good!
Until next time, thanks for stopping by!
I’ll try to answer questions when I can… Really trying to build this plane quickly… turning out to be longer than I thought just by the nature of documenting every thing…
Question for you: With what I’ve shared here in drawings regarding the wing, could you duplicate what I’ve done so far? Are there any questions about what and how I’ve accomplished what I’ve completed? Trying to estimate the amount of information you might want or need in order to duplicate this build… (So easy to assume I’ve included information that I carry in my head but never get around to writing in the build! Lol!) Had several issues in the Ryan build regarding glue and kicker used on the plastic vacuum formed fuselage for that kit. Glad members asked!
Ok… Time to cook dinner and take a break.
Hope you’ve enjoyed so far!
"The Wizard of Oz"
You are so welcome John!
Funny that you would use that phrase as There are many times when I'm joking around... Especially when I make a mistake around here when I go into the lines from the movie:
"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"
" I am the Great and powerful OZ!"
"Oh... crap... oh well, guess that won't work anymore!" LOL!
Funny too because when I got into fine art, galleries wanted an "Artist's statement" they could post on the walls during showings... Pretty sure I have a copy I can post here, but I'm pretty sure I eluded to being somewhat like the "Wizard of OZ" with reference to the gallery viewers having known of my work before seeing my fine art in the gallery they were visiting, but just never knew "who was behind the curtain"...
When people find out what I do "behind the curtain" there has always been a mystique and wonder about what it's like... This is the place I offer school classes a field tour or I bring movie props and toy prototypes to their clasrooms and do presentations. Just completed a day long marathon at a high school for "career day"... The kids had a choice of which classrooms to visit based on the speaker (professional/profession) that was speaking that hour... by the end of the day, my classroom was standing room only... I remember CPA's, bankers, dentists coming to our career day when I was in highschool, but a toy maker? You could make a living making toys????
Of course, that's when I tell them that "Yes, you need math to do this, and English to write the proposals... and then I told them that I not only failed algebra and failed English, but that I also failed art and no matter what anyone tells you, it aint over until you choose to throw in the towel, until then... ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
Thanks for visiting! There will be more once I move some of these confidential items out of the way...
and the plane!
don't forget the plane!
It's Sunday morning 5am... not sure if that's the real 5am or do I change my clock to 4am or 6am... after 56 years, you would think that an intelligent person like me could figure this out! Probably goes hand in hand with my VCR/DVD player's clock still blinking: "12:00"... my remedy: a strip of black electrical tape! lol!
I have just found your thread and spent whatever time it was to read through. You have fired my imagination with your project.
I have many rc helicopters and have thought about attaching a keyfob cam to one of them. I have seen videos of guys who have done this and they look fun to do.
However I also look at the videos done using planes and they are in a different league, I can lose hours watching these videos on You Tube.
The pictures of the Micro Draonfleye show the simplicity of your briliant idea, it has to be a winner for you as it is so simple and simplicity always make for the best ideas.
I claim the right to make that statement having worked in Research and Development most of my life.
I shall follow your progress with great pleasure and as far as I am concerned you have now achieved the status of superhero
You are so kind and I take your perspective seriously knowing how involved R&D can be most (if not all), of the time...
I used to joke with people about being "lazy" as m source for inspiration (especially when you see the slotting tool I came up with for those who are not privy to routers, dremels or mills)... That's when my close friend point out that laziness has nothing to do with it! lol! Who in their right mind would figure out stuff like this???? LOL! So I guess I use my "left" mind...
Thanks for joining in, hope you enjoy the journey on this one... I know I'm having fun with it as I have let go a lot of the stress normally accoiated with designing, engineering, tooling up and producing a kit, hoping that not only everything fits, but that it flies as well...
One of my favorite quotes is by Igor Sikorsky:
"Designing a flying machine is nothing...
Building it is very little...
Making it fly is everything!"
I'll be bouncing back and forth between this thread and the EyePod camera mount thread... I have a third mount style that is ready and (for helicopter enthusiasts) I have a helicopter mount that fits under the landing gear and is small enough to fit on the popular CX2 and Lama style coaxials... (More on that one later this month...)
Slotting EyePlane Wing for Spars and LE dowels:
These conceptual drawings are OK...
Updated and final drawings are located in post # 62!
I woke up again WAY TOO early! So I’m going to take a break after this post.
Well... kind of a break...
I have several “Case Molds” to complete for the EyePod high temp vacuum forming bucks (I’ll be posting over in the EyePod thread later today with photos and a “how to” and why on case molds as well as posting another EyePod video. This video was taken from my tiny ICON kit just to give you an idea of how small a plane can easily carry the EyePod mount.(The ICON was reviewed here at rcgroups not too long ago).
Link for ICON build (TONS of photos as well as videos!): http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1058337
Ok… back to the building of our EyePlane:
Since my last post, I completed the angular sanding and photographed both the top and bottom of the wings together to show the difference… (I’ve been getting mixed up and right before I grooved the wrong side of a wing panel for the spar, I finally took some masking tape, and labeled the bottom of the wings (I suggest you do the same!)
I normally figure out easy and efficient methods for completing tasks on a kit from a perspective of having a minimal amount of tools and probably working on a kitchen table… If you have more to work with, great! Go for it! But if you are one of those who want to join in and might only have an Xacto blade working on your kitchen tale, let's see what we can do... (I rember clearing out my apartment living room in the mid 80's where I designed and built the Telos prototypes, created the molds and began production... My only "pwer tool" for a year, was a one speed Dremel and I remember thinking I had it made and could conquer the world... and I did,,, sort of... for a while before orders came in and I realized I was going need a LOT more tools and a MUCH LARGER shop! lol!
By the way!!! If you are working on a kitchen table, go buy a ¾” Melamine coated shelf at Lowes or Home Depot! (You can usually find a 48" x 10" laminated shelf for about $5-$10...) It will not only save your table, but many kitchen tables are warped in the middle where they sag over years of use… If you were to press fit and glue wing panels (or any long part like a fuselage), on that table, the part you build on that table will “inherit” the same sag!
Ok… So as you can tell, I could easily slip these panels into my mill and press a button (auto feed) and walk away! LOL! But how do you do it when your best friend and possibly only tool is an Xacto blade!?!?!
In the first few photos (taken from my ICON build thread), you will see how to make a simple and really efficient groove/slotting tool for use on foam sheet wings… The diameter of the dowel used depends on your spar (I chose to use a 1/8” dowel for both the spars and leading edges so I chose a 1/8" dowel for my tool... If you wanted a tighter fit, you could use a slightly smaller diameter piece of brass or plastic tubing... (I hate great landings that inadvertently find a rock or brush stump hidden in the grass that dent my LE… If you don’t put in a wood LE in an effort to save weight, you’ll be adding the weight on anyway, later when you affect repairs! Lol! So I just go ahead and put them on now…)
The measurements as to where to slot the wing panels are in the drawing posted… REAL IMPORTANT TO place the spar groove inside the 2-1/8” line! The rear part of the slot is located at 2-1/8” with the kerf (width of the slot), FORWARD of the 2-1/8” line! It will be covered later by the LE strip we’ll be gluing on underneath as shown in the final drawing of this post.
Use the tool SLOWLY and GENTLY! I use 150 grit paper… If you don’t have sticky-back sandpaper, just spray the back of a piece of sandpaper with 3M-77 and wrap it around the 1/8” dowel… make sure the part around the dowel is not creased… wrap it around the dowel dry and roll it first so you get a nice radius.
Use a METAL ruler UNDER the surface of one side of the sanding sled… Don’t let the ruler slip and slowly slide the tool up against the ruler and down onto the foam… as I slide it, I keep the edge traveling forward, up higher than the back… kind of like a surfboard or boat skimming across the water… this keeps the forward traveling edge of the dowel from digging in and ripping the foam (In the final photo you will see one of the LE strips ripped from going to fast and too hard… (This won’t matter as I can use it for the shorter center section…) Once you've traveled as deep as you can with the metal ruler under the sled, remove the ruler and allow the dowel to continue on it's own, firmly guided by the groove you've already created.
After the grooves are sanded, fit the 1/8” dowel spar in place… it should be flush with the top… we don’t want the groove too wide or deep, but thick glue will take care of most of this later.
Once the spar slots are created use your melamine shelf to help create the forward LE slots per the photos and diagram. Look at the last drawing of the completed wings to get an understanding of why we are grooving these pieces where the drawings and photos indicate…
Hold the LE foam strips down hard onto the edge of the melamine shelf so that sanding tool does not slip under the foam… keep the foam pressed up against the sanding sled and keep the sanding sled pressed down onto the melamine shelf so that you create the groove flush with what will become the inside surface of the wing and LE foam strip bonding edges.
Ok… That's it for today...I may hold off on building for a day or two… I have these case molds to pour and a new EyePod model to complete (now makes three!) to join the other two for a photo shoot over at my local hobby shop on a lot of the popular brand planes you guys may already have! This will give you an idea of how adaptable the EyePod Mount is…
Ok… have a great day… Looking forward to hearing what you think so far… enough info? (I’m a believer in thinking that there’s never too much info… but you never know.)
Joined Mar 2010
So many times I've leaned over to the Wifey during a movie, and whispered "some lucky guy got paid to make that.". Nice to find the "guy"!
The shop photos sucked me in- tools in use tell me so much.
Come see my HUGE 3-channel Helicopter collection!
Thanks for the support guys!
This wing is way more important than some of you may realize... it's actually an experiment to investigate performance over a non-modified flat plate wing and to compare with hot wired airfoil wings as advance research for an upcoming line of kits I plan to release... scale planes built like my Gee Bee where the main fusealge is a simple box but the "box" is capped with a HIGHLY detailed vacuum formed shell, cowl, cockpit, underbelly forward of the wing and any other scale charter items... the line of kits is called: "Birds of Prey~Birds of Play"... the goal, VERY SLOW flying park flyers that could easily circle inside a baseline of a baseball field, VERY stable, anti-stall characteristics and it would fly on a very cheap motor system ($15.95 brushelss/ESC combo on a small lipo... and cost under $69!)
This plane will prove my theories or send me back to the drawing boards.... The way I want my birds of prey... line of kits to fly is EXACTLY what my goals are with this plane... able to fly super easily, slow and super stable... cheap and using cheap equipment to do so...
The photos attached are a prototype based on the description I just shared... 34" span... flat plate wing (even the flat plate wing on this one flew fine, but I'm wanting even more!) I think you'll get the idea from the photos including the chap bell housing brushless motor... 8 x 4 prop...
Glad you like "touring" the shop and studio... I'm the same way! I LOVE exploring the backgrounds of build thread photos... I can often learn a lot by what i see... new ways to store tools etc...
As for film work... Thanks for your comments... amazingly, I have to remind myself often, just how fortunate I am! If you've visited my website at:
go to the about us button and click it... there's a two part video interview conducted by Locals Guide magazine with me telling the story about how I got into film work in the first place... funny story, also give a real insight into what is possible when one is "certain" that it is "impossible"! This is the story I share with school kids of all ages and offer to anyone thinking about going after a dream... ANY dream!
ok... that's it for now... a BIG day planned with a clip board filled with tasks to get completed today...
Thanks guys... hope you enjoy!
Oh... the GeeBee is no where near ready for release...
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