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Old Oct 26, 2011, 09:09 PM
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Build Log
Alien Aircraft Raven Build Log

Hello fellow RCGers! I've been a part of this forum for a few years now and figured I'm about due to put up a nice build log. So here goes. The project is a Tom Herr Alien Aircraft Raven. I've wanted a Herr design for a long time, ever since seeing the starlight and AT-6 way back when. After seeing his new company/web site and the prices for all of the cool looking planes, I decided to pull the trigger on the Raven. Here's the link for the site http://alienaircraft.com/k106.htm

Let's get to the build. I received the package today (after ordering on Sunday- that's faster than Amazon's delivery!) and here it is on the bench ready for unpacking:
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Old Oct 26, 2011, 09:12 PM
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Unpacked and inspected. Looks good. I can't believe this laser cut kit with all of the extras is currently going for about $140. Awesome!
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Old Oct 26, 2011, 09:15 PM
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Full size CAD plans are also included, which is not the case with a lot of the boutique kits out right now....
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Old Oct 26, 2011, 09:21 PM
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I've been kit building since I was a kid, but this is my first laser cut kit build, and I am amazed at the precision a laser CNC can produce. Here's the plywood set of parts
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Old Oct 26, 2011, 09:25 PM
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Fin/rudder assembly being laid out. Unfortunately, my bottle of CA is fried, so no gluing tonight. I knew I should've bought a bottle with my order. Tom sells it on his site Oh, well good excuse to stop off at the LHS tomorrow after work. Until then....
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Old Oct 27, 2011, 06:28 PM
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Well unfortunately, we had to take our cat to the vet this evening, so no stopping off at the hobby shop for me. There is still lots of planning to do though on this project- and I'm going to need help from all of you out there in RC land. Here's my first list of questions:

-Will HS55 servos work well for this craft, or do you guys prefer something lighter/better?
-Thanks to the work and ingenuity of RCG user EdLokken, who also built a Raven, I plan on installing GWS micro retracts. If anyone has any tips/tricks on installing these little guys please let me know- as I have never worked with them before.
-The retracts will also force me to use one servo for the aileron instead of the 2 individual, as the plans call for. I'm following Ed's lead on that as well, but once again, I have never used an aileron cable so any hints there would be awesome!

To give a baseline on what I've built before- which might help with your suggestions and comparisons, I have built several of the Guillow classics, and Oly650 glider, a sophisticated lady glider, a Bird of Time, a Peck Polymers Prairie Bird 50, a Chuperosa hlg, and a Mini Kestral designed by the master designer and builder (and AMA hall of famer) Dave Robelin.

Thanks guys can't wait to see your suggestions!
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Old Oct 29, 2011, 09:00 PM
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Alright, I got some CA and got to work today, if anyone is even reading this Feel free to add your suggestions per my questions above. Anyway, I finished the tail group and immediately moved on to the fuse. What an awesome kit this is- you would have to try to get the assembly wrong. I can't believe how quick this thing goes together.
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Old Oct 30, 2011, 01:25 PM
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I've included photo's of my Raven build. I did make a couple of modifications to the kit. First, I added a hatch on top of the nose and a battery tray because I didn't like having to take off the wing to change batteries. The covering for the hatch hasn't been cut out yet but the opening is visible through the covering. The hatch is sitting next to the fuse. It hasn't been covered yet.

The wing was modified to go in the fuse with dowels at the LE and attach with a single 6-32 nylon screw at the TE with a blind nut. Mounting the wing with rubber bands is a PITA in my opinion.

I also added balsa doublers to the fusealage at the nose, on either side of the motor simply to strengthen it. I could easily see myself breaking one or both off. I'm using the recommended Himax motor and CC Thunderbird ESC I ordered from Alien with the kit. By the way, the Himax motor is REAL NICE! It's quality can't be beat, well worth the money. I'm using Tower Pro SG90 9 gram micro servo's throughout. The ESC will mount under the battery tray with velcro. I'll be using a Spektrum 6 channel park flyer RX.

It's almost finished. The tailfeathers are covered, all thats left is to cover the wing, add red trim covering and do final assembly. The pushrods are cut to length for the tail, I still have to make the aileron pushrods.

When I ordered the Raven I also ordered a Dragon sea plane and the Cessna 310. I want to try to put retracts in the 310. Those projects haven't been started yet, but winter is the best time for building. I've been all summer working on the Raven simply because I'm doing to much playing and flying instead of spending time at the workbench.

Cheers. Enjoy your build.
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Old Oct 30, 2011, 02:52 PM
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Nice looking Raven. Please keep the pics coming... It's great to see other flyer's mods to this plane. The design really does seem mod friendly, which is more than likely on purpose. I really like your hatch idea- I might have to do that considering I havent covered my fuse yet. I never realized I'd have to take the wing off to swap the bat. I too will be using a a nylon bolt for wing mounting instead of bands- I've never liked rubberbands on a models, it just kills the aesthetics and is hard on the covering and structure in general. Are you planning on using retracts? Shouldn't be too hard (I hope) As soon as this vikings game is over, It's shop time!
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Old Oct 30, 2011, 04:44 PM
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No retracts, I don't want to add any more weight. If you look closely at the third pic, you'll see the wing is resting on the gear wires bent and installed per the plans. I have a set of the same wheels Alien recommended and they're really light.

I have some 3S 1300 mAh lipo's that I'm going to use for flying. If you do the hatch thing, make sure you have the batteries your going to use for flight and insure you can get them into the hatch and onto the battery tray before glueing in the tray. Mine'll BARELY slide in!!!
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Old Oct 30, 2011, 06:53 PM
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I hear ya on the weight thing regarding the retracts. Since I really want to go with retracts for this plane, I figure I can mitigate the weight gain by only using one centrally located servo with a flex cable for the ailerons. GWS micro retracts only take 1 servo for operation and are pretty light.

Good advice TD on the battery hatch, unfortunately I already cut one in . I cut (not very cleanly, I know) the hatch border as close I could safely get though, so I should be OK if you got yours to fit, as my hach is pretty close to yours.

I was having some fun in the shop today and playing around with the idea of using some side air scoops to dress up the fuse and breakup some of the boxiness. I love the looks of the RV4, so that was my inspiration. I carved them out of soft balsa and hollowed them out. Weight penalty is only 1.5 gm.
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Old Oct 30, 2011, 10:09 PM
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Great build thread guys, these planes are coming together nicely. I really like planes from the Herr Hangar too.

I think I might need to get a PT-17 before this though. keep the picks up, they look great!

Dan
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 12:16 PM
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It's not the width of the hatch that's critical, it's how far the battery tray sits into the fusalage. The fusalage formers limit the length of the hatch. If the tray sits too high, the battery will not go in.

It looks good so far. I like the cowl cheeks.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 12:29 PM
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Carnifax-

Thanks for your comments. I highly recommend an Alien kit- you can't beat the price for what you get. I'm actually surprised there aren't more postings on these kits. As far as I can tell, this is the first Raven build log.

Taildragger-

I wasn't even aware of a battery tray. I'm glad you're building one of these along with me! That tray wasn't in the kit was it? It wasn't in the instructions, I know that much. Thanks for the heads up.
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Old Nov 01, 2011, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolebotic View Post
Carnifax-


Taildragger-

I wasn't even aware of a battery tray. I'm glad you're building one of these along with me! That tray wasn't in the kit was it? It wasn't in the instructions, I know that much. Thanks for the heads up.
The battery tray is entirely my idea, it's not in the kit or the instructions. I fabricated it out of 1/16" ply and made my own mounts for it. I tried to make it light but strong enough. You can see one of the holes I put in it to make it lighter in the posted picture, I also made it as narrow as the battery, except for the fore and aft places where it mounts.
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