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Old Jan 27, 2012, 10:33 PM
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SteveSw's Avatar
United States, NY, Bethpage
Joined Nov 2011
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Build Log
LISF Prairie Bird Build

Well, it’s winter time here in the northeast and some fellow members of the Long Island Silent Flyers (LISF) and I thought we would try our hands at a small rubber powered free flight build to pass some time between other projects while it’s cold outside. To my knowledge, this is the first LISF rubber powered build.

LISF is primarily an R/C glider club with a flying field at Stillwell Woods Park in Syosset, NY with a very enthusiastic and diverse membership. They maintain a web site at LISF Home Page and they are definitely worth looking into if you are in the market for a place to fly gliders, small electric or rubber powered planes here on Long Island.

We ordered Prairie Bird kits directly from A2Z Corp and they were nice enough to throw in some sheets of different colored tissue so that all our birds don’t look the same. It’s really a nice, complete and easily built kit which should provide enough experience to step up to a more complex build in the future.

While I have been building balsa FF on and off since I was a kid, some of our members are new to building so it’s my hope that we can all share our experiences, help and learn from each other while having some fun.

This build is not just for members but open to all so whether you have a kit or just a set of plans, come join us! Also, there is no timeline for this build so you can jump in at any time.
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Old Jan 28, 2012, 05:31 AM
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Yak 52's Avatar
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Hi Steve, sounds like a fun project. Will there be a mass launch fly off?

Jon
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Old Jan 28, 2012, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Yak 52 View Post
Hi Steve, sounds like a fun project. Will there be a mass launch fly off?

Jon
Hi Jon, Its my hopes that we can all meet at the field in warmer weather for some lessons in trimming and yes, maybe go for bragging rights in both timed flights and some down and dirty mass launches.

Steve
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Old Jan 28, 2012, 09:03 AM
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There are probably as many ways of building as there are kits out there. As I build mine, I will try to explain best I can what has worked for me which might change from time to time depending what Iím working on. If you have a way that better suits you, then go for it. At anytime if someone has an alternate way of doing something, please chime in so that we might all benefit.

I usually start by building the tail feathers first. Just a force of habit, I guess! Most of this kit is constructed of 1/16 inch square balsa sticks. Looking over the wood supplied, I pulled out the hardest balsa sticks and put them aside to use for the wing leading edge which will help resist warps from creeping in later on after covering. Without getting technical, just by digging in a fingernail, you will be able to figure out which sticks are the harder (also the heaviest) ones. Itís also good practice to put the lightest wood in the tail and rear of the fuselage to save on any nose weight needed later on.

Easily cut with a single edge razor blade, I just pinned the balsa sticks out around the perimeter of the plan cutting as I went making sure I had nice fitting joints. A quick cleanup with a sanding stick if necessary and I then went back and glued them. I find it easy to put a small puddle of glue on a piece of ceramic tile and just dip the end of the stick in it. No excess glue to scrape off the parts later on later on and any dried glue (even CA) will pop right the tile.

The joints should be just snug enough so that they donít move around. Too tight or with a gap will put undue stresses on the framing that might show up later on as warps. This pretty much carries over to the rest of the build. After the perimeter is done, I went ahead and installed the internal spars and gussets.

Building the tail was pretty straight forward but I did make a small deviation from the plan. Instead of butt gluing the center of the leading edge of the stabilizer as shown on the plans, I like to splice them in as shown in the photo as I feel it adds a lot more strength.

Likewise, the rudder went together quick in the same manner. I did steal a piece of the laser cut parts sheet to make up my own gussets as the rudder needed a couple at greater than 90 degree then those supplied in the kit. They were installed making sure the grain was perpendicular to the joint for strength.

After the glue dried, I pulled the pins and ran my sanding block over the top of the parts to smooth one side before flipping them over and sanding the other side. Rounding over the edges was painless using a homemade sanding block which is nothing more than a piece of hardwood with a 1/8th inch groove filed into it and a piece of fine sandpaper contact cemented in.
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Old Jan 28, 2012, 12:56 PM
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United States, CA, Aliso Viejo
Joined Jan 2004
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looking forward to following your build. I have had this plan in the build line up, but I have two others to finish first. Keep the nice pictures and details comming!
- Dirk
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Old Jan 29, 2012, 09:40 PM
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USA, NY, Woodbury
Joined May 2010
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Steve,

What are those black things your t-pins are going through to hold the wood down?

Are you rounding over all the outside edges on the stabilizer?

Trevor
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Old Jan 29, 2012, 10:43 PM
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Hi all. I glued up the tail and rudder and waiting for it to dry. I hope it releases from the wax paper as it was hard to control the glue. Steve, thanks for your photos. They are very helpful. Also the tips on the splice joint and gussets.
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Powerbud View Post
Steve,

What are those black things your t-pins are going through to hold the wood down?

Are you rounding over all the outside edges on the stabilizer?

Trevor
Those are pinstops. Plastic washers that you slip onto your pins. They fit the small #1 T-pins very nicely. After the pin is pushed into the building board, it's a simple matter of sliding the pinstop down to hold down the wood. Very handy, very cheap but not easy to find. I know A2Z and Rockytop Models stocks them.

Yes, and the rudder too (except the bottom edge, of course). As a practice, I roundover all edges except the trailing edge of the wing.

Steve
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by RJMack View Post
Hi all. I glued up the tail and rudder and waiting for it to dry. I hope it releases from the wax paper as it was hard to control the glue. Steve, thanks for your photos. They are very helpful. Also the tips on the splice joint and gussets.

Glad you build is coming along. Yes, a photo is worth a thousand words...especially the way I spell! I just finished the wing myself.

You might find it easier to remove the parts with the wax paper from your building board and then gently peel the wax paper away from the part. To be honest, I usually crack and have to reglue at least one joint per part. Just part of the fun, I guess.

Try to go easy on the glue. Just more to clean up afterwards and who needs the extra weight anyway!

Steve
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by derogg View Post
looking forward to following your build. I have had this plan in the build line up, but I have two others to finish first. Keep the nice pictures and details comming!
- Dirk
Thanks Dirk, I'll certainly try!
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveSw View Post
Glad you build is coming along. Yes, a photo is worth a thousand words...especially the way I spell! I just finished the wing myself.

You might find it easier to remove the parts with the wax paper from your building board and then gently peel the wax paper away from the part. To be honest, I usually crack and have to reglue at least one joint per part. Just part of the fun, I guess.

Try to go easy on the glue. Just more to clean up afterwards and who needs the extra weight anyway!

Steve
Thanks for letting me know the likelihood of a crack when I remove from the wax paper. Now I know what to expect so I'm less likely to throw it to the ground and stomp on it.
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RJMack View Post
Thanks for letting me know the likelihood of a crack when I remove from the wax paper. Now I know what to expect so I'm less likely to throw it to the ground and stomp on it.
What glue are you using?

Steve
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Old Jan 31, 2012, 07:04 PM
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Actually I need to buy a new bottle as the yellow carpenter's glue was very thick and hard to apply. I will pick up titebond yellow glue if you think that makes the most sense.
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Old Jan 31, 2012, 09:31 PM
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eastern pa
Joined Feb 2007
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Originally Posted by RJMack View Post
Hi all. I glued up the tail and rudder and waiting for it to dry. I hope it releases from the wax paper as it was hard to control the glue. Steve, thanks for your photos. They are very helpful. Also the tips on the splice joint and gussets.
RJ,
You could also try slowly sliding dental floss back and forth between the balsa parts and pinned down wax paper to release from each other. Something I have tried which works for me.

If there are some globs of glue left cut them off gently with a sharp razor blade.
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Old Feb 01, 2012, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by RJMack View Post
Actually I need to buy a new bottle as the yellow carpenter's glue was very thick and hard to apply. I will pick up titebond yellow glue if you think that makes the most sense.
Yes, you do! If the glues too thick you won't get the needed penetration into the wood resulting in weak joints. Some even dilute it with a little water. As a rule I buy the smallest container I can no matter what glue I'm using. Even then I wind up tossing the bottom quarter of it out due to it getting thick. I imagine its the air that displaces the glue in the bottle.

Steve
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