|Feb 05, 2009, 07:42 AM|
Bleriot XI 1/2 scale build
Got loads of good ideas myself over the years from the online builds in the model forums so I thought I would do one myself and maybe I will be able to give something back.
I Always wanted to build a really big model, and after being in the model scene for 25yrs I thought it was time to start.
I have always liked early 1900’s aircraft and thought a ½ scale Bleriot X1 would be very appropriate coming up to Bleriot’s 100yr anniversary.
Obviously no kits are available or even plans so I searched about until I found Mick Reeves (UK) 1/3rd scale version, and noted he had a ¼ scale plan as well so I thought I’ll get those and have them blown up at a local print shop.
When speaking to Mick he suggested he could blow them up for me and also get the wing & tail ribs cut as well which was a great start.
I bugged a friend into going with me for a Mans few days to Duxford & Old Warden Museums in the UK Mainly for me to see the Bleriot, which was the example Mick had based his plans on.
Old Wardens Bleriot G-AANG serial no. 14, is not only genuine Louis Bleriot built 1909 version, but the oldest flying aeroplane in the world today, so very nostalgic and a fantastic choice to model.
I had arranged ahead with the museum to get behind the scenes and it turned out that the Bleriot was stripped in the workshop for a bit of restoration, which was even better as we got to see everything up close, and the wing etc in it’s uncovered form. I think between us we took over 300 pictures !
This was all around this time last year and I have spent until now, phaffing about with other projects and only getting really started into the Bleriot after Christmas.
Being a big Project I have been wondering where to post a build log, and along with one on my side of the atlantic I wanted to get some feedback/help/ideas from the american forums.
Don Coe has already done an excellent build of a 1/3rd scale version on RC Scalebuilder so I decided on here, as have found this to be a great forum over the years and was where I first discovered that you could build your own CNC router which I built a few years ago and have been CNC'ing ever since.
|Feb 05, 2009, 10:58 AM|
Joined Feb 2007
Talk about real modeling
You guys deserve the best possible congratulations for a super modeling job.
|Feb 05, 2009, 01:09 PM|
The model is going to be 150" long with span of 173" still hav'nt decided on how I am going to power it, thinking on a 100cc with a redrive so I can swing a scale prop.
Along with Micks plans I am using the Laurence Prince instructions of the early 1900's on building a full size bleriot which has a lot of very useful information.
The Plans are huge took me a few evenings just to stick the large house-plan size sheets together, I think there were about 25 of them !
The side view of the fuselage is about 14ft long, not easy to fully roll out in the workshop !
The ply wing ribs have been made in two pieces due to there length, as the wing cord is about 41” and will have to be joined together. Wings are fairly straight forward really, as is the tailplane, so I am starting with the fuselage first.
|Feb 05, 2009, 01:42 PM|
You may be interested in this site and clip in upstate NY... Awesome place... a living Museum. I miss it! Look around lots of other pics and movies.
|Feb 05, 2009, 07:06 PM|
Got some wood for the main fuselage. I had first planned on using yellow pine for the main fuselage intending to pick some nice clean straight grain stuff and get it sawn to size at a local carpentry workshop that a friend of mine recomended.
When I got there the owner suggested that Poplar might be better and he had some on a rack for years covered in dust ! It is a close grain timber and known for its flexibility so I thought it should be suitable.
When I went to collect it I was really pleased how perfectly finished it was.
He Has a thickness planner that does all four sides at the same time so you end up with a perfectly sized piece of wood, you don’t even need to sand it !
Looking at the end of the wood all the grain was at 45 deg, and it was in the full 12ft lengths I needed for the main longerons which was perfect.
Afterwards when reading through the Laurence Princes notes on building a full size Bleriot he suggest that “if a good straight grained Poplar can be obtained it would be a very serviceable wood too use” so that made my choice even more pleasing !
Main fuselage longerons are 15mm square at front tapering to 11mm square at the rear. Full-size is 1 3/16” (30mm) to 7/8” (22mm) in most models it is not practical to use scale timber but in this model it seems it will work out well throughout.
The front fuselage is curved slightly and I had thought about steam bending it, but I am going with the suggestion that is also done on the full size of slitting the timber up the middle and adding in a piece of 1/16” strip spruce and gluing altogether on a jig.
|Feb 06, 2009, 02:35 AM|
This is sweet.
Let me know if you need a prop for it..laser cut laminated mahogany would be a work of art and a labour of love
I am worried that you had to split the ribs. is the chord really more than 3ft long?
Poplar is an interesting choice..would have gone for lime (bass) or spruce, but poplar is actually a useful wood too.
I assume wing warping is on the cards too..
|Feb 06, 2009, 07:23 AM|
Do I want a prop for it you bet !
The prop on the full size is a beautiful shape, my intentions are to swing a scale prop approx 41" dia, not sure how yet but will probably go with a 100cc and a belt redrive.
Dont need any performance or speed justs needs to get it off the ground.
Whatever I do I will have a scale static prop, so we will have to keep in touch!
Yes the cord is 41" split ribs wont be a problem they are machined to give a good joint, also the wing has 5 spars so plenty of support.
I was'nt familular with poplar either, but seems to have been used for loads of unusal things like bows, snow board cores, musical instruments and most common matches.
Laurence Prince (Building the Bleriot) refers to it alot in the full size construction details, one of the clean'est woods I have seen.
Full wing warping, and bar a 1/2 scale Anzani it is going to be full scale in everyway, if I can do it.
|Feb 06, 2009, 07:41 AM|
I have been working on the vertical and horizontal stringers. Most of them are 3/4x1/2" they are profiled/eliptical in the middle with the ends left square.
(See full size pic below)
Made first one by hand but very time consuming, Don Coe from the UK who has built a beautiful 1/3rd scale version (of which I will be stealing ideas!) used a belt sander and thought about going that way, but he mentioned pity that there is no machine available to profile wood like this and that made me think about my CNC router I built (after reading about them on here) a few years ago.
A friend suggested I try a "round over bit" and I made a few cuts with my hand router and found that the ¼" round over bit ran around all edges, left me with a near elliptical shape just needing a bit of sanding. Perfect, now get the CNC router to do it for me.
I got the CNC router to do two sides at time, then I was able to flip it over and do the other side. Also every pair of stringers are a different length, so the bevel/profile length needed to be adjusted in the Gcode to suit each time.
I made a Jig from some MDF and got the CNC to cut out a 3/4" slot, plus a location channel and fitted in some 6mm captive nuts at various places to clamp the wood down. Thought it was worth the bother as there are a good few to do.
Took a bit of time to get the starting/end distances correct for the first piece, but once set, the CNC does each piece in a couple of minutes, so got them all finished last night and they are looking good.
Also done a little video of the CNC cutting them Click Here to view video
|Feb 07, 2009, 06:48 AM|
The fuselage on the fullsize is held together by U bolts and wires, no glue used at all.
The U bolts also serve as a means of tensioning the wire bracing and is known as the Bleriot Turnbuckle. Hardly any conventional turnbuckles would have been used originally, but more and more have been introduced on the shuttleworth example and on others as they have been restored.
I have started making the U bolts from 2mm wire (bicycle spokes) approx 3 ½” long threaded each end for 2mm brass nuts. Need about 80 - threading is the tedious part, so I do a batch, leave them for a bit then do another lot!
Made a bending jig by drilling a hole the depth of the bend in a piece of nylon block and just fold them over.
I cut a couple of sample piece’s of wood just to test out the method along with swaging the bracing wire, and trying out the stain & varnish.
The stain being used is Ronseal Colron Antique Pine wood dye and Ronseal Polyurethane Gloss Varnish on top as recommended by Don Coe.
|Feb 07, 2009, 07:13 AM|
41" prop is possible ..
I think we can get mahogany in 4ft lengths, and the laser cutter will (just) handle it..or you could CNC it if you like, and your CNC bed is long enough.
In fact, given scale drawings of the laminations, you could jigsaw them out at this sort of scale. And spokeshave them down to profile..
I already have a 22x10 Bleriot prop I did for someone.
Here is one I built for myself in stripes.. still got the other half of it in stripes..you could have that if you like to play with. I.e. its a cut kit in mahogany and bass.
|Feb 07, 2009, 08:39 AM|
My CNC is only a homemade jobby, I only have about 24"x12" working area.
That is a nice prop, I only have one good pic showing the prop fitted to the shuttleworth bleriot.
|Feb 07, 2009, 04:01 PM|
Getting over to Shuttleworth is not a big deal for me. For more pikkies.
Be a nice day out actually.
As I aid in the email, 43x40 a 1500 RPM sounds on the money.
I am willing to bet the original Bleriot would not have had an engine that did much over 1000RPM if that.
Ok.. looks like you had either a 25hp Anzani or 50hp Gome rotary..so between 50 and 100W/lb on a 660 lb AUW so half scale would be 1/8 the weight and power. so 80lb is pretty close to the mark and 3-6 bhp needed.
Top speed was reckoned to be 45mph, and a 7.3' prop is all I could find out. Engine speed was 1200RPM with a gnome rotary. Mmm. That works out if that was its pitch speed about 3.3 feet pitch. With a bit thrown in for luck it has to be about a 7x4 foot. Scale is against us here, cos that fullsize is not what we would call a plane with any airspeed margin. It must have stalled at 30mph or so..
So the choices are - stick to scaleish pitch and throw power at it or steepen the pitch and go for scale power as well, but leave a bit left in hand for emergencies.
Further confusion., The Anzani engined one is quoted in the wiki as having a 6ft 10" Chauvière Intégrale prop doing 1450 RPM on a 3 cylinder radial.
Well I've found some possible props. It seems that props were not standardised at all.
|Feb 08, 2009, 07:01 AM|
I thought it was a Chauvière prop but could'nt find in the mountain of paperwork I have collected where it was written.
Some nice props there, the design I am after is DH1m.jpg it has more rounded tips than the anazim.jpg one, and looks more like the one on the Bleriot at old warden.
|Feb 08, 2009, 08:31 AM|
Set the bend in the longerons last night, cut a slit up the middle with the jigsaw then cut a strip of 1/16" ply to fill the gap and glued the whole lot up with aliphatic resin in a jig made from MDF .
Will be able now to plane down the longerons so they are about 11mm at the tail and start some assembly
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