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Old Oct 07, 2012, 03:56 PM
Hatters gonna hat.
madbomber's Avatar
United States, CO, Denver
Joined Apr 2011
359 Posts
Hi Steve,

First things first, I think the Outerzone is wonderful. I too am one that checks the site daily for the new round of plans that comes out. I think you have done a great job with the site design and I find your Tag Matrix is a really good way to narrow results, one of the best I have seen on any website, in fact.

I also think that you are doing a great job of administrating the site and I am happy that you are enjoying it rather than finding it to be an inconvenience, although I do understand that you may tire of it eventually. I also agree that letting users upload files is probably not a great idea. One thing that I really appreciate about you doing all of the uploading is that the Outerzone has great quality control. I feel that the quality would most likely decline should the submission of content be turned over to the masses.

As far as how "pure" must a plan be to be considered original goes...Im not terribly picky in the plans that I choose, at least not at the present time. I think the idea to have several versions of a plan, all labeled correctly, would be a really good idea. I also agree that poor or somewhat incomplete plans should not be excluded from the OZ. You are doing a fine job using your discretion to determine what should be hosted and what isn't worthy and I say keep it up!

However, I do have two suggestions.

1) After you select a model and the site takes you to the page to view a larger "thumbnail" of the plan, pictures, comments and any other info, you have to click another link and go to the "download page" in order to get the plan. I know you do this to be able to log download requests, but I feel like the site would be more streamlined if the "download page" was omitted. Im not terribly familiar with the back ends of web pages so I dont know how to go about the coding so that you could still log the DL requests but skip the download page.

2) What do you think of adding some type of "shopping cart" feature to the OZ. Something where you could select several plans and the site would allow you to download all the plans you have selected by clicking a single link? Could be useful if someone wanted to build a model of a particular aircraft but wanted to view the different versions of the plans to select the one he/she liked best to build from. Or simply for people who are downloading multiple plans at a time.
Im not sure this feature would get used by the majority of OZ users, but I thought I would throw it out for discussion anyway.

In my opinion, implementing one of the suggestions I have made would eliminate most of the need for the other, although having both of them would make me a happy camper.


Lastly, I am in support of adding boat plans to the outerzone. Like you, I know nothing about them, but I am most definitely interested. I wouldn't even mind seeing plans for other things such as home built model engines, steam engines...etc.

I know all of that would be a ton of work, probably cause lots of problems and may even require another person or two to manage, which could cause more problems in and of itself, but its food for thought anyway.

Bottom line, keep up the good work. My modeling life would be much less interesting without the Outerzone.
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 09:58 AM
WMD
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Bradford, UK
Joined Jan 2010
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To owlsabie, Guizzo 17, Mike1484, John O'Sullivan, aussie robyn, Teals1, everyone ...thanks for the very kind words. Don't be surprised if you see me quoting you in the near future.

Ok, BalsaBird is having a go at scanning those 5 plans, so no-one else needs to be working on those right now... I think a lot of the time between us we must end up doing duplicate work on plans.

Madbomber, these are good points. I've never actually planned to open admin up to everyone all at once - I always thought it should be restricted to a group of trusted volunteers who all had to login with username and passwords. But yes, I agree, the simplest case for now is one person doing the admin. And I guess a result of that (for now) is that all text entries have the same style, the same consistent meaning, you don't have to wonder, as you read, what each person meant by each phrase... I'm rambling now.

I will look into streamlining the way users get to the download page and the logging. Fair point. It is a little clunky. That, I agree, is not a very elegant system right now.

A shopping cart (favourites list?) is a nice idea, even if we don't get around to the download bit of it, just being able to save a list of links to your favourite plans would be cool. I actually did build that, over on the admin side, for me, I just haven't got around to copying it across for public users. But there would have to be some kind of login screen for that facility to work, just to identify who's list is who's.

Theoretically download traffic is free and unlimited now. I am a little wary of letting users do batch downloads all together just because of how it might slow the server down... but will look into it. Probably do-able.
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 10:02 AM
WMD
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Bradford, UK
Joined Jan 2010
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There is an almost philosophical point about not making downloads too easy.... this will make no sense I guess.. but myself when I want to find a plan, I go online and I use Outerzone. I mean I don't have a set of local folders with all these plans replicated on my PC at home. Outerzone actually *is* my filing system. So, myself I actively do not want a downloads folder with 3,457 pdf plan files in it. Because how would I ever find the plan I wanted, in the middle of there? So in some ways I almost feel I should be encouraging users not to download too many plans. It's (honestly) easier to use Outerzone as a filing cabinet, keep them on here and grab the one you want as you need it. Saves managing a duplicate filing structure on your local pc.

This is just me musing... I doubt I'll ever convince most people of this. How many of us download a copy of every plan we see, for safe-keeping, and now have thousands? Actually, this may bore others, but to me the really really interesting bit is this: how do you find the one's that you want?
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 10:24 AM
I like real wooden aeroplanes!
Sundancer's Avatar
South-west France
Joined Sep 2007
4,417 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by WMD View Post
There is an almost philosophical point about not making downloads too easy.... this will make no sense I guess.. but myself when I want to find a plan, I go online and I use Outerzone. I mean I don't have a set of local folders with all these plans replicated on my PC at home. Outerzone actually *is* my filing system. So, myself I actively do not want a downloads folder with 3,457 pdf plan files in it. Because how would I ever find the plan I wanted, in the middle of there? So in some ways I almost feel I should be encouraging users not to download too many plans. It's (honestly) easier to use Outerzone as a filing cabinet, keep them on here and grab the one you want as you need it. Saves managing a duplicate filing structure on your local pc.

This is just me musing... I doubt I'll ever convince most people of this. How many of us download a copy of every plan we see, for safe-keeping, and now have thousands? Actually, this may bore others, but to me the really really interesting bit is this: how do you find the one's that you want?
I think you are dead right Steve, that's exactly the way I do it - browse, but I only download when there is a very good chance that I am going to build the model. Trouble is, even doing that the list of things I really, REALLY would like to build is still far too long - but then I think that pretty much everyone on this forum suffers from the same problem! Except maybe RFJ perhaps who builds so flaming fast his list is probably up to date!
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 10:47 AM
Sticks, Tissue & old Diesels
brokenenglish's Avatar
France, Centre, Amboise
Joined Nov 2011
1,458 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by WMD View Post
This is just me musing... I doubt I'll ever convince most people of this. How many of us download a copy of every plan we see, for safe-keeping, and now have thousands? Actually, this may bore others, but to me the really really interesting bit is this: how do you find the one's that you want?
Steve, I ain't really into philosophy, just ol' toy planes! However, my view is that you're only right for people who want to keep all plans.
I only download plans that either interest me historically, (and there are a lot!) or plans that I could conceivably build... i.e. I'm downloading for me, not for posterity. At the moment I have around 800 plans, that really is almost all I want. In fact, there are only a couple of plans that I'm aware of, that I really want and that I don't possess... So there's no way I'm ever going to need 3000+
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 11:09 AM
Edubarca
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Colombia, South America
Joined Oct 2009
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Originally Posted by Mike1484 View Post
Two thumbs up on the Outerzone site! I'm in there digging every week for something.One of the best tools for modeling on the internet ,helps keep the hobby healthy.

Mike1484
Hehehe, you browse every week I dig ABOUT 10 TIMES A DAY. Its becoming an addiction, a positive one which many people should have these days, especially young people who now think only about computers, internet, Iphones,. Not that these items are bad, It is simply that aeromodelling, as it should be, building and flying, helps to develop a healthy and satisfying life style. Thanks Steve for giving us your wonderful effort.
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 11:44 AM
WMD
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Bradford, UK
Joined Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenenglish View Post
Steve, I ain't really into philosophy, just ol' toy planes! However, my view is that you're only right for people who want to keep all plans.
I only download plans that either interest me historically, (and there are a lot!) or plans that I could conceivably build... i.e. I'm downloading for me, not for posterity. At the moment I have around 800 plans, that really is almost all I want. In fact, there are only a couple of plans that I'm aware of, that I really want and that I don't possess... So there's no way I'm ever going to need 3000+
Fair point, I am assuming everyone acts just like I do - like a kid in a giant toyshop. There will of course be people out there who have more self-control than I have, and that is surely a good thing.
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 11:51 AM
David
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United States, TX, Houston
Joined Mar 2012
147 Posts
Steve, I am you number 1 fan. If only the Internet and Outerzone existed when I was a kid, I would have never gotten into drugs and gangs. Just kidding. I appreciate all the work you've done to put this together. I visit several times a week to see what has been added and updated.

I have told my wife that now that so many great plans are available, I will never buy another kit, but she keeps catching me bringing them in from the car late at night when I think she's asleap. Well, I won't buy as many thanks to you. I recently picked up a 48" plotter and now I'm good to go. - David
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 10:24 PM
Reduce the drama...
rick.benjamin's Avatar
USA, OR, Damascus
Joined Apr 2004
4,043 Posts
Steve
I visit Outerzone daily, thank you for setting up and running it.
Keep control of Admin priviliges.
Would be nice to have cleaned copies, but not if they cannot be deciphered.
I like to CAD reproduce old drawings (as Al Hogel does).
Working on a built-up wing plan for Mooney Executive by Mark Frankel who used a foam wing.
Thanks again,
Rick
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 10:47 PM
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New Zealand, Auckland, Papakura
Joined Nov 2006
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Plans

I do actually keep a copy of all the plans "I like". These are filed in one folder called 'model plans' which contains four other sub folders - cabin, pylon, rubber, scale. Each plan is then saved in the appropriate folder under the model's name and the wing span recorded alongside. Works for me.
Having a digital copy is great as I can produce a plan at any size. As an example, I am looking for the Mercury Teal plan. I can buy this from the UK, the plan not being that expensive. However I have to then pay freight and then have the plan enlarged which does add considerable cost to the model before I even begin to cut balsa.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 04:19 AM
MnM
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Portugal, Porto
Joined Aug 2001
69 Posts
What a great place Outerzone is! I myself have contributed 2-3 plans a few months ago but lack of time at work has prevented me from offering more, let's see what the future brings

I also pick and download plans I like, which is a problem as I like so many! Plans I intend to build (yeah, great excuse), plans with some interesting feature I need to study later (ditto!) and plans I remember having seen in the past and have the pleasure of meeting again, including my very first model the Keil Kraft Prefect .

No suggestions to offer as everything runs just fine! Keep at it more or less as things are and you won't go too far wrong. And last but not the least, Thank You Steve
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 11:50 AM
WMD
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Bradford, UK
Joined Jan 2010
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Ok, have posted the Wildcat plan up onto Outerzone, thanks to great scanning work by Balsabird. Also the Ta152 is here now, courtesy of katarra. The other 3 missing plans (from the book 'Flying Scale Models of WWII' from Model Builder magazine) will be in place in a couple of days, I have scans to work on for those now, thanks to katarra.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 12:23 PM
WMD
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Bradford, UK
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Actually, this has got me musing again... about the format of plans. I've just spent maybe an hour fiddling with the Wildcat plan to get it all onto a single large sheet, but of course it was originally printed over 7 small pages. Only 2 of those pages really needed to be stitched together, the fuselage itself. The rest were actually already perfectly sized for printing out onto A4 paper. You could argue that putting the whole plan onto 1 sheet makes it harder for builders. More work. It would seem to me ironic to print it out as a tiled pdf, sellotape it together, then start cutting it up again with scissors.

I have sometimes toyed with the idea of having 2 versions of each plan (I have too much time on my hands, clearly) so that the first is a default single page for viewing on a pc screen and seeing the big picture, then a second 'print-ready' version with the same plan chopped up to fit properly, I mean efficiently, onto A4 sheets. You would always have the option of just ignoring the 2nd version and printing one big sheet.

It does seem to me that a nice plan for viewing is fundamentally different to a nice plan for building. And they could be delivered better.

For comparison, the Wildcat is here http://www.outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=3495 and the Zero, from the same book but still in small pages is here http://www.outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=631
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 12:56 PM
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South Africa
Joined Feb 2009
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What I have done so far, is to print a "master plan" or two on single A4 sheets- 1 for reference, and then one or two that I can doodle on to work out where to put rc gear and things, or where I might make changes. When I print the tiled plan, I don't join it together. I lay the pages shoing the bits I'm busy with out on a piece of foam, cover it with wax proof paper and then build just that bit. It all gets held in place by the pins through the balsa anyway. This is where having a refernce A4 comes in handy- to find which of the stack of A4's I will need. As I build in my lounge, with the cats and things, everything has to go back to my study at night, and this makes it much easier. When I'm finished, the whole lot gets shoved into an envelope and takes up almost no space.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 04:03 PM
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Southampton, UK
Joined May 2007
757 Posts
Steve,
great job - a labour of love entering all those plans into a database with a good tag system making it easier for us to find plans of a particular design to peruse thru before making a decision on that next model.

One aspect that I think would be useful - particularly to those of us with CAD - and that would be to have access to those plans which have gone thru the CAD mill before converting to PDF. I have found that on some PDF plans, scaling up substantially gives poor results whereas scaling up on the CAD version would be much superior. I print my plans on 14" wide continuous paper and with CAD, I can easily manipulate the dwg to give clean 14" wide sections which dont need stitching together. I suspect PDF is preferred if it results in a more manageablefile size for downloading etc.

thanks once more for an excellent database of plans

john
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