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Old Nov 05, 2004, 05:04 PM
I even seen a house fly!
LedKitty's Avatar
Montreal!
Joined Oct 2003
2,700 Posts
Cool
Doing a Rufe conversion my way!

Hi guys!

Ok, I'm finally getting to my Rufe conversion of a GWS zero! What with the first snowfall bound to come down tonight, I figure it's best to get my winter builds started!

Yes, I know quite a number of Rufe conversions have been done, and I've seen zeroes outfitted with GWS floats, but while the GWS float seems about the right size and shape, I'm not terribly fond of their construction. They're way too heavy in my opinion, and they also tend to take on water, which for floatplanes is... bad. Pat Tritle did an excellent job on his, but I figured I'd try a slightly different approach on mine . I'm rather picky on aestetics, and as an artist, I will be eyeballing and playing it by ear a lot to get things just right.

So, what I'm doing is blowing up the plans for my 16" Guillows Rufe and using that as a base. I really love the lines of the Guillows Rufe, so I'm hoping I can stay relatively true to those proportions and still keep it flyable/landable/etc.! From what I've read, for this particular aircraft, the step needs to be 1/4" behind the CG. I tend to like flying my zero with the CG just a tad behind the wing spar, so looking at the Guillows bird, it looks about right.

The GWS Zero has a span of 33.5", so we're looking at a multiple of approx. 2.09. My plan (and here's where it gets neat) is to use 1/8" (twice the 1/16th stuff the Guillows kit is made of) balsa formers and keels, use carbon fiber for the stringers and skin the whole thing with balsa, fiberglass, and voila!

So I've already scanned the Guillows plans and traced out the parts I need in Auto-Cad. Next I'm going to have to "shrink" the formers by the thickness of the skin. I was thinking 1/16" balsa. I definitely don't want to go any thinner than that, but will that be thick enough? Also, while I'm going to be using 1/8" thick formers and keels, I'm guessing the CF stock I'm going to be using doesn't need to be that thick. If anyone's done this type of construction, I'd love to hear about your experiences and figure out how I'm going to get this done. I'm thinking I may want to make laminated keels to make it stiffer, but as is always the issue in this hobby, I want to keep things light. Who knows? I may even need to double the number of formers at this scale, and maybe the stringers too?

So anyhow, that's project one for the winter, so I'll keep updating this as I go, and I hope that this thread may attract similarly minded individuals and that they will toss their cents in and make this project a success! This is going to be my first balsa job at anything over 16" span scales in a long long time, so bear with me!

Cheers!

Kitty
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Old Nov 09, 2004, 12:18 AM
I even seen a house fly!
LedKitty's Avatar
Montreal!
Joined Oct 2003
2,700 Posts
Rufe! You know! Navalized Zero? A6M2-N?

Hmm.. ah well, this thread should hopefully get more interesting as it progresses!

Attached is my zero, the one I'm going to be converting I'm gonna pick myself up a spare wing off e-bay and what with all of a Rufe's float attachment points fitting neatly under the wing, it should be a snap to switch back and forth between Zero and Rufe mode!

K
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Old Nov 09, 2004, 12:33 PM
In Thrust We Trust
Norfolk Intl, Virginia, United States
Joined Jul 2004
1,660 Posts
Ahh!

So! Rufe. I knew that. Thats very nice. I'm interested in seeing more of your project. Love balsa, built 200 of them over these many years, just don't have time. Have to finish a few foam projects before I do. Love all seaplanes, please keep us posted.
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Old Nov 10, 2004, 07:12 PM
G G Ghost Pirates !!!
Vyceroy's Avatar
USA, NC, Gastonia
Joined Dec 2001
8,823 Posts
O0o0o0o0o Kitty its Purrrrrrrfect .. cant wait to see progress ..
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Old Nov 10, 2004, 10:05 PM
I even seen a house fly!
LedKitty's Avatar
Montreal!
Joined Oct 2003
2,700 Posts
Thanks Ron! And WD!

I figure I'll have better luck landing it on water anyhow! I'm too used to landing my planes the moth way, ie: drop here! The zero's a bit heavy, and I (like clockwork) always tear those spindly gear off the wings! I then toss them over my shoulder I fly without gear for the rest of the day! Much easier to line up those hotter landings with a nice BIG LAKE! *lol*

K
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Old Nov 10, 2004, 10:24 PM
G G Ghost Pirates !!!
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USA, NC, Gastonia
Joined Dec 2001
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i agree LK .. always nice having the whole lake as a runway .. no approach problems.. .. even though i still screw up ..
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Old Nov 12, 2004, 05:49 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,704 Posts
There was a kit.....

Umm Kitty?

Guillow's used to kit the Zero in a 27" span IIRC. The kit's been out of production for awhile, but you never know who has one stashed on these boards. Would make dealing with things like a cowl, canopy, etc a bit easier. I also recall that Pica was planning on developing something a bit larger- perhaps your plans are flexible?

Sam
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Old Nov 12, 2004, 06:26 PM
I even seen a house fly!
LedKitty's Avatar
Montreal!
Joined Oct 2003
2,700 Posts
Hi Sam! I *could* pick up the 27" span zero (I know where to find them) but... the plan is to build the float kit for the GWS Zero I already have! It's the top pick up there
So I don't really need canopies, cowls etc, etc.

But thanks anyway! ^_^

K
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Old Nov 14, 2004, 09:22 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,704 Posts
Hi Kitty

Oops- my goof. Now I get what you're trying to do- build the float out of balsa for the existing airframe... Duh. Anyhow it's a neat idea, although it's a bit backwards from standard practice- don't most people use foam floats on balsa airframes rather than balsa floats on foam airframes?

I'm sure you'll carry it off well though.

Sam
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Old Nov 15, 2004, 12:07 AM
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two-hill's Avatar
USA, WA, Bellingham
Joined Jan 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LedKitty
Rufe! You know! Navalized Zero? A6M2-N?

Hmm.. ah well, this thread should hopefully get more interesting as it progresses!

Attached is my zero, the one I'm going to be converting I'm gonna pick myself up a spare wing off e-bay and what with all of a Rufe's float attachment points fitting neatly under the wing, it should be a snap to switch back and forth between Zero and Rufe mode!

K
Sorry, Kitty, I still don't know what Rufe means. Please enlighten me.

Phil
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Old Nov 15, 2004, 12:50 AM
I even seen a house fly!
LedKitty's Avatar
Montreal!
Joined Oct 2003
2,700 Posts
Sam,

I've already experimented with foam floats for my tiger moth, it's just that this whole balsa former and CF stringer method struck me as neat, so I figured this project would give me some experience before I do a whole kit that way

Phil, during the second world war, the Japanese wanted to have a fighter capable of operating off islands where no fixed airstrips had yet or could be build, hence water operation. At the time, Mitsubishi was too busy producing the more common land/carrier based zeros, so Nakajima was licensed to build float equipped A6M2 fighters, which the Allied Forces nicknamed "Rufe". There were only about 367 of them built, and due to their freedom from airstrips and carriers were usually the first in and the last out.

The large central float only shaved 10 mph off their top speed compared to traditional zeroes, and with fuel stored in the float, their range was considerably longer. Their maneuverability remained quite decent, and with the same armament as normal zeroes, ie: two machineguns mounted in front of the cockpit, and two 20mm cannons in the wings, they packed a surprising punch for unwary foes.

Of course, the A6M2-Ns were still relatively early comers and their maneuverability was in part due to the lack of armour and self-sealing fuel tanks. Needless to say, as Allied tactics improved (ie: hit and run), the Rufes became quickly outclassed. All in all however, a nimble and very beautiful bird, in my mind, even more so than their land/carrier based sisters (although technically they would be considered brothers as Japanese fighter types were given male nicknames by the Allies!)

All clear Phil?

Kitty
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Old Nov 15, 2004, 09:58 AM
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USA, WA, Bellingham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LedKitty

All clear Phil?

Kitty
Very clear and very interesting. Thanks, Kitty.

Both my flying sites are so waterlogged I think I'll build floats for the Moth. The park ball field is also right next to a lake.

Phil
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Old Nov 22, 2004, 10:47 PM
I even seen a house fly!
LedKitty's Avatar
Montreal!
Joined Oct 2003
2,700 Posts
wagging tails

Hey guys,

Have been putting some more thought in the project, namely on the subject of how much I'm actually going to be flying it off land (ie: with LG) once I get this conversion done.. I knew about the A6M2-Ns having increased rudder area due the effects of the floats on the aircraft's aerodynamics, but I figured if I was going to be converting back and forth between zero and rufe modes, I'd simply leave the rudder as is, but it might be interesting to modify the tail so that it wags, as shown in the screenshots I took from Ubisoft's Pacific Fighters. I'll just chop the tail end off and extend the rudder so that it extends all the way down.

I'm also toying with the idea of adding a water rudder to help taxi.. The easiest way in terms of linkage to do this would be to have a servo mounted in the float connected to the rudder channel with a Y-connector, and then having the pushrod extend out through the rear of the float through a watertight seal of some sort... Anyhoo, it's food for thought!

And I think I will double the number of formers as well. At the size I'm building it, I think I'll need to extra strength...

K
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Old Nov 28, 2004, 07:54 PM
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near Twin Cities
Joined Jan 2004
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Rufe, Rufe.

Hey kitty,
I just finished one of these, hope you can go a couple steps farther.
I have not put a water rudder on yet. Still thinking of the way to operate it effectively. I built my floats from foam, took me part of an afternoon to carve them and prime them. I built the struts from ply sandwhiched between balsa and then sanded for the rounded contours. Dont have electric equipment in it yet but plan on flying it off the snow in a while. Help you out
if I can at all. Seems you have the will and the way, but wanted to offer. Kyle.
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Old Nov 28, 2004, 09:43 PM
I even seen a house fly!
LedKitty's Avatar
Montreal!
Joined Oct 2003
2,700 Posts
Always appreciated Kyle! ^_^ That is one BEAUTIFUL Rufe you've got there!

Did you mod the rudder at all? And how did you attach the tip floats? I was thinking of using the stock landing gear attachment pieces to hold the wires for the tip floats myself!

I'm going to "assemble" my 3D formers and keels in A-Cad, draw myself some key stringers using splines and work out how big and what shape my additional formers need to be My little Guillows kit uses 5 formers for the main float, I'm thinking an additional 4 should keep the skin nice and tough, also this is all total guesswork for me as I've never tried this method of construction before! For all I know, the CF stringers will do trick nicely without the additional reinforcement!

Kitty
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