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Archive for February, 2006
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 27, 2006 @ 06:40 PM | 6,975 Views
One of the problems of increasing mail-order dependence is lack of the ability to go "juslookin". In San Antonio, we only have one really friendly shop (2nd Chance R/C) like I grew up with in Houston (Anybody remember Ace Hobbies off Tidwell?) and they are a part time limited stock operation. The others just business (very busnesslike if you like markups over list in one) or car oriented.

I went to Austin with a friend and flying and music road trip. (We both fly models and play bluegress.) There are only national chain stores left there for model airplanes. Calls to others get "not in service" replies. The yellow pages had an add for Discount Hobbies in Georgetown, another 20 miles up the road. We took a chance, went there, and I'm glad we did. Good stock of modeling supplies (of course no one builds kits anymore so they were sparse). Friendly place, magazine prices, discount for club members. In my "juslookin" mode I found some Hobbico building aides I could not live without. Check them out.
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 22, 2006 @ 10:49 PM | 7,112 Views
I was having trouble getting good, well servicable, pictures in the shop. Too much glare with the flash, direct or at an angle. Too dark without a flash. So I made a diffuser for the flash.

"Made" is a relative word and diffuser sounds fancier than the fact. I taped a piece of printer paper over the flash.

Although I'm still sorting out some techniques I like the results, you be the judge.
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 22, 2006 @ 10:27 PM | 6,613 Views
Iíve started building and you can see how thatís going in the build log. As I go, though, I may reserve some of the building info for the blog. This time, Iím going to show you two things. A simple way to stabilize and use CA and a compression system for laminating.

I like to keep my CA bottle sealed when not in use. That means not cutting the top open. Rather, I take the top off and use disposable pipettes to apply the glue. An open bottle, however, is a potential disaster looking for a place to happen. I take modeling clay and form it around the bottle to make a base. I do this over a piece of Monokote backing so drips donít glue the clay to plans or the workbench. (See Photo 1)

I donít like working with epoxy except for the most critical jobs (and experience is telling me they are further apart all the time). Itís heavy and the chemistry bothers me a little. I prefer to use aliphatic type glue and my personal favorite is Pica Glu-It (though I understand Pica is history). These glues are very good but warping is a possibility. To prevent warping the lamination needs to be held under compression. I have two lead plates, about 12 pounds each, to apply the pressure. To keep the lead from digging into the balsa or light ply and spread out the pressure, I use flat ĹĒ boards. Spread the glue, overlay the parts, put on the weights, and the wait. I usually give this overnight. I am not a speed builder. Use CA for everything if you want speed.
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 17, 2006 @ 11:16 PM | 6,820 Views
After 4 years of not building Iím at it again. Iíve built a lot so I donít have to start simple. I acquired a Balsa USA Eindecker to be my first build. Iím posting a build log in Power - R/C Scale so go there for details. The last three planes I built I never flew. I had a giant scale PT-19 (an ARF but still a job), an Astro Hog Bipe (really nice) and C/L Flite Streak. I sold the first two four years ago and the last one just today.

Cleaning up my workshop was a real chore. Turns out my milk crate with flite line items was put on the floor to make room for some crap uh property of my daughter when she moved back in (for the second time in four years). My fast field charger, my starter, my tachometer and my field battery were destroyed when our washing machine wore out there was a massive leak. Other things were missing too. Mostly tools but odds and ends. One thing was the chuck key for my drill press. Who needs a chuck key for a drill press. I had three battery powered drills two heavy duty and one light duty. The latter was just gone and of the former I have the drill/battery of one set and the charger of the second. Thereís other stuff but itís more annoying than critical.

I got some more clamps to replace the missing. I had already bought a replacement drill. I got some new rotary tool fittings. I cleaned up the rest of my tools, etc., etc. Mostly I just cleaned and threw trash and junk away. In the process I reclaimed my building tables. I have two. The primary...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 08, 2006 @ 04:13 PM | 7,065 Views
Even when I quit flying four years ago, I kept going to the club meetings for a while but tapered off. I quit altogether when I started driving my son to acting lessons in Austin every Tuesday (and our meeting is on Tuesday). Now that Iím getting back in I find I want to go to the meeting again. When I found out the same venue was hosting a Bluegrass jam session on the same night (and playing Bluegrass music is a passion of mine) I told my son he was on his own for first Tuesdays. I packed my mandolin and my airplane and went to the meeting.

The meeting started about 7 pm and went through the usual club subjects winding up eventually at the highlights of the evening Ė show and tell, crash dummy, and raffle. Some people routinely spend $10-20 on the Raffle, God bless Ďem, but I just never got so excited. A dollar for two tickets and Iím satisfied. The ďcrash dummyĒ award is the typical misery bonding experience that many clubs have. Iíve won my share - no guts, no glory or crash dummy awards.

Show and tell is one of my favorite parts of the meeting. Itís amazing what you can learn about an airplane and its owner by just listening to the presentation. We vote on the best and the winner gets $10. Last night the highlight was really nice Top Flite P-39 Aircobra. The model was great but so was the presentation than covered a lot of lowlights of the Aircobra in service. I would call it fun scale but that doesnít do it justice since that category includes ARFs and this...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 06, 2006 @ 06:36 PM | 7,346 Views
Swap Meets

First Saturday in Feb means Tri-City Swap meet. Getting started again means cleaning up the workshop. In doing so I was able to segregate out things I donít need and can live without. The swap meet would be a way to trade some of that off.

For someone who never, typically, had more than two planes flying at a time, I had a lot of radio stuff. Since the newest piece was 5-6 years and since it was old connection Airtronics, I knew it would not be worth much. Still I priced it for what I would take and let nature take its course. I didnít sell much radio stuff but that was OK.

What I did sell a lot of was junk. I took lots of things I did not want and put them in a $1 box. I made most of my money from that. All my stuff was priced fair so I knew I would be taking it home but I made my nut (entry fee for me and my son and breakfast for us both) in the first half hour and everything else was gravy. Kind of like flying, the social aspect was a key part of the deal. The $1 box proved to be a real conversation starter. Besides the junk, I took a box of magazines, 50Ę - $1 ea., and sold $2.50 worth (thus putting me $2.50 ahead of the garbage can).

Some people sold a lot of stuff. Those are the people who had their ďcome-to-JesusĒ moment and knew that if they wanted to sell their junk, it had to be priced right. Other people cling foolishly to the thought they can recoup their investment and go home with everything they brought with them. I felt particularly sorry for a lot of owners of finished airplanes. The good, well-priced stuff left early leaving only the overpriced hangar queens and war weary.

The swap meet is a good way to rotate your junk stock. Sell yours, buy someone elseís. I only did a little of this but I was happy. Left with most of my junk, some new junk and some extra green in my wallet. If you can get the right attitude you can really enjoy a swap meet.
Posted by GRW3 | Feb 06, 2006 @ 02:08 PM | 6,863 Views
I want to introduce myself. I'm George Wilson from San Antonio. I've been a modeler for over 40 years and like most of us, this has been an on and off proposition. Right now its on again so, hence the title of this note, I'm a retread.

I have been on the sideline for nearly four years, starting from when I found the need to taper off. This includes two years when I did not even hold a transmitter, even the ones in my shop.

But the allure of modeling runs deep in me, just as it has since I saw the Cox control-line demonstration ring at Disneyland when I was a kid or my first R/C model at the San Jacinto Battleground Park.

I'm a modeler, not an expert but not a beginer either, more than a flyer. I like to fly too but with a casualness that relaxes me even when the airplane is in risky situations. A great afternoon is 3 flights and 3 hours of conversation.

My club, the San Antonio Prop Busters, has just gone through some troubling times, loosing two fields in relatively short order. We now have two again, one of which is a peaceful countryish venue that I really like and the other is a joint use agreement with a private airport.

I intend to use this blog to talk about modeling and flying. To talk about the retread process. To discuss modeling politics in a disengaged manner. To tell (and show hopefully) about the things I do. Some specific topics will be become threads in the regular group sections.