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Old Mar 09, 2011, 09:05 PM
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Radical RC Stick 400 Build Thread~~~Now with Video

Welcome to the build log of Radical RC Stick 400. This is the latest effort by Radical RC, one of the industry leaders of strong, well built planes that fly great. Through a combination of pictures and the included written instructions, I hope to use this build thread to illustrate the ease of build and solid flying characteristics of the Radical RC Stick 400.

While the stick design itself is not new, the Radical RC (RRC) Stick 400 capitalizes on the time-tested design elements through model strength and extreme light weight. Radical RC uses the laser to its fullest potential with design elements that are not possible with old die cutting methods. Intricate dove tails, cross grain stiffeners, wing hold down latches, self jigging and interlocking connections,etc., all contribute to an easy building, great flying plane. Once you begin to build (and fly!), you will appreciate the time and effort that is involved in designing, testing and kitting these planes.

A quick word about the designer: Dave Thacker is the driving force behind Radical RC. Not only does he design his planes, he also tests them and flies them to make sure you receive a top notch product. His customer service is fantastic and is one of the hobbyís best advocates.

Alright, enough talk. Letís build. One more thing, as if you needed another reason to build this plane, its made in the USA!

A quick word about the kit. I wont bore you with how itís packaged or what color the cardboard is. I will tell you itís well protected and easy to understand.

Update: The sun was out and I took a little time off of work today (ahem) and headed down to the park for a quick flight or two. Ordinarily the place is dead but today, wouldnt you know it, the local news camera is there getting some weather footage at the time. I had no idea until most of the way through the flight. So my loss is your gain. Here is an edited version of the Stick400 video. I am posting this now as I have no idea they keep it posted (and I have no idea how long it will be before my boss sees this):

http://link.brightcove.com/services/...d=903096775001
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Old Mar 09, 2011, 09:10 PM
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Lets take a look at what the kit looks like out of the box. It probably not a bad idea at this point to seperate the parts and keep them in a container according to their usage. Also, keep your balsa negatives and any extra pieces. These are handy in case you need a quick piece or snap a rib. The rib negatives are a nice reference. You also need a few of the balsa pieces later on. Wait until your all finished to dispose of them (or not dispose of them).

As you progress through this build you may notice burned edges of the balsa from the laser cutter. Some people sand this off but it doesnt bother me a great deal. If it was a scale plane then maybe but for my tastes it will be fine.

As well there are small tabs that hold the pieces to the surrounding "spruce". These hold the pieces in place. They should snap away when you push/pull the pieces out. You may need to sand these off during building but a quick pass or two with a sanding block should grind them off.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 01:13 AM
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Lets quickly discuss Radical RC kits. They contain a nice set of worded instructions along with sheets of plans. The plans are the same size (8 1/2" x 11") as the instructions and are intended as a reference point: you dont (and cant) build over them as you would a traditional kit. But thats ok, these kits go together nicely and are designed to self-jig and line up well.

There is also a nice breakdown of various power systems. This plane does have a wide variety of power options and requires some thought of what you want this plane to be. The instructions mention brushless options, brushed options as well as glow. It encourages creativity and this airframe will handle a wide variety of systems. Radical RC planes build light and strong, 2 words that arent always found together in descriptions of planes in this class.

I am initially going to use a Himax 2812-1080 on 3s 1800 20c batts.

To build this model, you will need the modeling basics:

Exacto knife and blades.

Sanding block, sanding paper (220 grit is perfect).

Some kind of tack cloth or shop vac.

Adhesive. You could probably use CA throughout. There are a couple places where youll need high strength so you may want to opt for wood glue or epoxy.

A flat place to build. Much of this plane is self jigging so it would probably be difficult to mess up the alignment even if you tried.

Masking tape and/or clamps.

Drill and small bits.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 01:16 AM
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As for adhesives, I am going to primarily use Titebond II wood glue. If you use it sparingly (properly) enough, it rivals CA in weight. Nothing wrong with CA and I will use it for this build.

Im playing a little music (Warren Zevon, Lucinda Williams, Randy Newman and Ralph Stanley) and having a cold beverage.

Lets begin...
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 01:37 AM
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This will also be my first build using a magnet system for building. I dont have too many jigs built for it yet but it wont really be necessary for this one.

We start with the wing first. We are going to start with a few sub-assemblies first and bring them all together.

The Leading Edge (LE) consists of 2 ply pins layers (that combine to make one) and 2 balsa ends.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 01:40 AM
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Now, fit all the parts together. They should slip together nicely. Next, glue it against a straight edge or surface. Its important to make sure the LE is straight and true in the relaxed position, you should not have to force it into place. Glue that sucker up.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 01:43 AM
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The trailing edge (TE) also consists of 2 balsa ends and 2 ply layered center parts. Assemble like you did the LE.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 02:07 AM
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When you have these glued up, you should notice the center ply section is thicker than the balsa ends.

The instructions point out a cool trick. Take a sanding bar and using masking tape, tape the ends to create an elevation difference on your sanding bar. This way, not only does the sanding bar slide easily but we can sand confidently knowing you will sand it evenly and down just the right amount.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 02:11 AM
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Now using the plan, line up the tail ribs in order. Starting from the center work outward. Its pretty easy going. Note how the center ribs are notched for the spar doublers.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 02:16 AM
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Now find the center rib ply doublers. Glue the ply doublers to the outside of the balsa center ribs.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 02:44 AM
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Now slip the lined up tail ribs into the correct spots on the spar. Excercise a little caution here, it is balsa wood after all. They will be a snug fit and if you have to pinch the tips a little, thats fine. For the most part, all of these balsa connections are very tight and snug and thats good. If you run into a situation where its so tight it feels like its going to snap, hold off. You may have to sand it slightly and thats ok.

For our model here I didnt have to do that even once but your results may vary. The ribs should slip in nicely.

Also note the holes in the spar are off center and will only accept the ribes correctly one way. This detail ensures you have the ribs correctly lined up. Sight down the spar when you are finished, if any are above or below the spar, they are probably not in correct. Reverse it and see if that helps.

Hold off on glueing for now.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 02:54 AM
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Now take the TE and line up the notches on the TE with the rib tails. They should in easily but be careful, thats a thin point. Also note, the ribs should slip in all the way and seat nicely. Its a common mistake to not have them seated and messing up the wing. Also note at this point you should also install the ply wing eject ramp in the rear center section of the wing. Notice it is conspicously absent from my pictures. I installed it later but its much easier (and correct) to do it now.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 02:13 PM
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Now find all the nose ribs. Lay them out like the we did with the tail ribs. Some of the nose ribs will be notched to accept the ply spar doubler. The center nose rib and sub ribs have a male point (a sub rib is a nose rib without a tail rib). The other nose ribs have a female socket to accept the tail rib point.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 02:22 PM
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Now finish up placing the nose ribs in the spar. Try and make sure you keep all your connections nice and snug.
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Old Apr 03, 2011, 02:29 PM
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Now take the leading edge and wiggle it into place in the slots of the nose ribs. Work from one side to the other, take your time and it will go pretty smooth.
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