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Old Jan 01, 2006, 06:33 AM
Electricholics Anonymous
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WARREN, MICHIGAN
Joined Jul 2005
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edi,
My wife is from Germany and is surprised at how well you write in english. Do you teach english? or did you spend alot of time in America. Yes my wife does at times read the forums with me.
Happy New Year
Mike
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Old Jan 01, 2006, 08:54 AM
edi
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Elstertrebnitz, Germany
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Mike,

I have never been to the U.S., but I've been to England twice (for about a week both times), the last time three years ago. I don't teach English, but Sorbian (a.k.a Wendish - no, it's *not* Serbian) at the university in Leipzig. However, I do read English texts quite often (mostly R/C-related ) . Thanks for the compliment anyway!
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Old Jan 01, 2006, 04:49 PM
edi
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Did the tailplane this afternoon. Nothing surprising for everybody familiar with Kurt's kits. The first two pics show the laser-cut parts provided in the kit. The other two show the finished tailplane. But the additional balsa is completely taken from the scrap of the laser-cut parts, too (there is more than enough), so you won't need any 1/8" balsa here from your own stock.
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Old Jan 03, 2006, 04:25 AM
edi
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I think I'll need some help with the fuselage: I want to sheet it and I can figure out more or less where the individual sheets ended, but I also want to have a darker hue than balsa. Since I usually take CA for these jobs I am afraid I'll end up with light regions when I'll try and varnish the fuselage after sheeting. So I am considering dying the wood before sheeting. I thought about onion peels here - we use them for dying eggs for Easter.
So it might be something like: cardboard for sheeting templates, rough cutting of the balsa, lots of onion peels in hot water, soaking the wood in it and gluing it in place.
I am also considering applying white glue to the frame, let it dry and iron the sheeting on. Varnishing afterwards. However, I am not sure this will work with 1/16" balsa.
Any opinions?
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Old Jan 03, 2006, 08:21 AM
Designing on the edge
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Edi,
Use the stringered fuselage as a form to apply hot water softened balsa. Wrap the pieces with a cloth to hold them to the fuselage and let dry. When done, the balsa will retain the shape. Balsa can be molded a lot like plastic and is quite an artform. I know of one book written on the subject. You use more balsa than needed and trim to shape after forming.
--Kurt
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Old Jan 03, 2006, 09:46 AM
edi
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Well, that was more or less what I had planned. Only that I wanted to put lots of onion peels into the hot water
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Old Jan 03, 2006, 03:50 PM
Scale nut
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Santa Clara, CA, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edi
I think I'll need some help with the fuselage: I want to sheet it and I can figure out more or less where the individual sheets ended, but I also want to have a darker hue than balsa. Since I usually take CA for these jobs I am afraid I'll end up with light regions when I'll try and varnish the fuselage after sheeting. So I am considering dying the wood before sheeting. I thought about onion peels here - we use them for dying eggs for Easter.
So it might be something like: cardboard for sheeting templates, rough cutting of the balsa, lots of onion peels in hot water, soaking the wood in it and gluing it in place.
I am also considering applying white glue to the frame, let it dry and iron the sheeting on. Varnishing afterwards. However, I am not sure this will work with 1/16" balsa.
Any opinions?
Here's what I did for my Albatros Dr1:

I built a plug from lite-ply and foam and fiberglass. The plug was used to form balsa skins for the fuselage sheeting by first soaking the skins in water (I found that a pot-full of hot, boiling water achieved the same mold-ability as a couple of days of soaking in room temp water) and then forming them on the plug with an ACE elastic bandage to hold the balsa in place. Each piece was allowed to dry for at least 24 hours before removing it from the mold. (The process can be accelerated in the summer by leaving the balsa/plug in a hot car!). A total of 8 pieces was made:
  • Left and right pieces to cover the sides from the front of the fuselage to the front of the horizontal stabilizer
  • top and bottom front pieces to cover the top and bottom of the fuselage front from the front of the fuselage to the area of greatest fuselage height
  • top and bottom rear tail cone pieces to cover the very rear of the plane, top and bottom, around the stabilizer and tail skid support areas
  • top and bottom pieces to cover the top and bottom of the fuselage from the area of greatest height rearwards to the front of the tail group

I thought (briefly) about trying to duplicate the actual panels of the Albatros, but decided against it for several reasons
  1. Having scale panel sizes would require that the underlying structure be scale with supporting formers and stringers underneath each panel joint. Having unsupported but-joints in the sheeting would not be good. I didn't want to do this.
  2. The larger sheeting pieces add a considerable amount of strength to the fuse. I used 1/16" light-weight balsa for the majority of the formers and 1/8" contest weight balsa for the stringers.
  3. Fewer joints means less work in making the pieces accurately. I'm lazy!

I used thin and medium CA for attaching the skins to the fuse. A little joint filling (not much was required) and a light sanding, and the fuse was ready. Because the CA wouldn't take stain well, I actually painted the fuse with clear dope tinted with some red, yellow, and black. I kept playing with the tints and mixture on a piece of scrap balsa until I was happy. Oh, the panel lines were drawn on prior to the doping. I used a brown watercolor pencil to mark the panel lines. I wet the balsa first and then just drew the lines on with a sharp watercolor pencil. Worked very well.

Some might suggest trying to do away with the plug and use the actual fuselage frame to mold the pieces. That might work for pieces without compound curves or if you're going to do the panels as small, individual pieces, but probably not for the Albatros if you take the route of making a small number of large pieces with compound curves. It takes quite a bit of force to get the skins to be the correct shape even when they are made pliable with the water. When molding, some areas of the balsa are compressed, and some are stretched. I applied a lot of force to the ACE bandage when forming the skins on the plug to make the balsa follow the contours of the mold without buckling or tearing. If you try to use the real fuselage for that, then you're likely to break it unless it has been over-designed from a strength standpoint. If it's strong enough to be used as a plug for the compound skins, then it's probably heavier than it needs to be. The strength of my fuselage is primarily in the sheeting and not in the underlying structure.

Jim
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Old Jan 03, 2006, 03:53 PM
Scale nut
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Santa Clara, CA, USA
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Wanted to show a shot of the fuse with the panel lines being applied. Also I've included a shot of the finished plane which shows the panel lines and coloring to a good effect. I'm very happy with the results.
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Old Jan 03, 2006, 07:39 PM
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Nice job Jim, a rare bird indeed.
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Old Jan 04, 2006, 01:34 AM
Scale nut
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Santa Clara, CA, USA
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Thanks, Floss. I'm looking forward to seeing Edi's fly.

Here's the only other picture I could find of the Albatros Dr1.
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Old Jan 04, 2006, 04:13 AM
edi
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Thanks for chiming in, guys. Jim, to tell the truth, one of the main reasons for not building your Albatros Dr.1 was building another fuselage just for forming the sheets although you have a perfectly valid point because you have a template you don't have to be afraid about breaking when pressing the sheets in form. But hey, I am lazy, too! So I would certainly consider this when I would be building several planes at once, but one is really enough for me!
For Kurt as a designer, there is a strong point against it because it's not really feasible for a kit. As for the structure ending up overbuilt - I don't think so. Kurt has used this in his Alb. DVa and the Pfalz D.IIIa, and I just love being able to grab the fuselage of the Pfalz w.o. having to think first - and right now the Pfalz is my biggest, but also my lightest Triplane (well, the 23" Fokker Dr.1 is lighter, of course). You can argue that the Pfalz is not as bulky as the Albatros, but the curves aren't really easier with the thin nose, and I was able to partly sheet and partly plank the fuselage (trying out the different techniques) without soaking the wood first. But I'll take your advice, Jim, and add the original panels simply with a marker. It just looks great the way you did it, no need to go overboard with scaleness!

I would have loved some comment on the onion peels ...

Ah well, some shots of the started fuselage.
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Old Jan 15, 2006, 10:15 AM
edi
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Sorry for not posting anything here, but I am rather swamped lately. What's more, the next building steps involve quite a bit of sanding and I have lately become allergic to balsa dust . Since I already have a cold I can't seem to get rid of I don't want to make it any worse. So I have purchased a Proxxon sander I will be able to connect directly to my vacuum cleaner - should arrive any day now. On the positive side, I have finally cleaned up my building space
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Old Jan 17, 2006, 06:30 PM
edi
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Just wanted to show off my newest 3D puzzle, one of those where don't want many pieces Isn't it just amazing what a bit of beef-handedness can achieve with a rotary sander within a fraction of a second?
Good thing I had cleaned up my building space, otherwise I would have never been able to find all the parts. On the interesting side: I tacked all the bits back freehand within five minutes and ended up with a straight fuselage. Weird.
Oh well, I guess I was overdue for a bit of hangar rash. Rather now than later
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Old Jan 17, 2006, 09:18 PM
Scale nut
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Santa Clara, CA, USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edi
Just wanted to show off my newest 3D puzzle, one of those where don't want many pieces Isn't it just amazing what a bit of beef-handedness can achieve with a rotary sander within a fraction of a second?
Good thing I had cleaned up my building space, otherwise I would have never been able to find all the parts. On the interesting side: I tacked all the bits back freehand within five minutes and ended up with a straight fuselage. Weird.
Oh well, I guess I was overdue for a bit of hangar rash. Rather now than later
That looks pretty rough. What happened? I know the feeling. I was test assembling my Sopwith Triplane wings last night, and I dropped the interplane strut right on the top wing. Went right thru the tissue on the bottom surface. Gonna have to redo that bit. Building these planes can sometimes be a case of 2 steps forward, 1 step back.
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Old Jan 18, 2006, 03:31 AM
edi
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It's very easy. I have used my brand-new proxxon rotary sander to go over the fuselage and inadvertently touched the spinning part on the other side with the keel which snapped immediately and took some other bits with it. Much easier to do than to describe
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