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Posted by wingloada | Aug 18, 2020 @ 08:04 PM | 4,012 Views

It's been many years since I posted here. All said, things are fine and I hope to be here a bit more often than in the past few years. I hope you are all doing OK during these tough times.

My current project is building a CNC hot wire foam cutter based on rckeith's plans and instructions. I've wanted one of these since Kevin Sharbonda showed me his hand-built CNC cutter many years ago when I picked up the wing cores for my eSupra. I've now completed the build, run through the calibrating and testing and now I can cut very precise foam cores of all sizes. I have been testing the machine and software on very small wing panels just to see what the accuracy can be without using a lot of foam materials. The cutter is controlled by rckeith's GRBL HotWire Mega 5X for CNC Foam Cutters Windows application.

Here are a few videos of the cutter at work.
Three...Continue Reading
Posted by wingloada | Jul 06, 2016 @ 05:22 PM | 8,381 Views
Over the holiday weekend I decided to make a simple 18" catapult glider for my niece and nephew to fly and learn with.

I searched the internet for a nice design and found a beautiful simple drawing from an Oakland club newsletter called the "Mowry Cat" by Dave Parsons for both 18" and 22" spans.

An hour or so in the CAD software and I had some full-scale measured drawings to build the 18" span version.

The original is an all-balsa plane, I think, but I decided, since I had some leftover scrap materials, to make it with the materials of a DLG with a CF uni LE and fiberglass over foam wing, CF molded pod with CF tube boom, and fiberglass over foam tail parts.

It was a fun little project that took about 4 hours to build after the parts were vacuum bag molded. All said about three days from idea to launch. Today we took it out and flew several nice flights off a simple rubber band catapult pushed into the ground for launching. AUW is 2.33 oz....Continue Reading
Posted by wingloada | Apr 05, 2016 @ 02:03 PM | 9,021 Views
Another building year from March to March. This year I had less time to build for work and family reasons but I did continue improving my composite building techniques with a complete build of an eSupra based on Curtis Suter's stressed-skin Red Merle design. I also built a set of new fuselages for the composite Allegro wing completing a full composite version fuselage, tail and all. I learned to roll carbon fiber booms and completed a new fuselage and tail for my Edge DLG. I built new larger ailerons for the Vivace 100 and at the end of March, I began a build on a modified eSupra wing set for my electric Vivace wing extended tips for the eSupra wing center section. I compiled all the needed parts and materials to build a Bubble Dancer but I haven't begun that build at this time.
Posted by wingloada | Jan 16, 2016 @ 01:27 PM | 9,792 Views
Over the holiday break I was able to finally build the fuselage and tail for the Edge DLG wing I built a while ago. Much of this post repeats items posted originally in my SuperGee II build but the fuselage and tail posts are new. I thought it good to put them all in one place together.

The good news is that the plane comes out with an AUW of 10 oz., which is about an ounce lighter than my SuperGee II....Continue Reading
Posted by wingloada | Nov 08, 2015 @ 05:44 PM | 10,441 Views
I had some time to build this weekend so I took on a limited project to make larger flaps and ailerons for the original Vivace 100 wing. That prototype wing had 1.25" TE balsa pieces for the flaps and ailerons and they proved to be way too narrow for positive control in flight. I had redrawn the plans with flaps and ailerons that were the more conventional 25% chord and so I decided to replace the too-narrow ones with these new ones.

To make it simple, rather than cutting the additional width into the current wing chord, I enlarged the chord by approximately 1" at the root and then tapered the chord along the same elliptical shape as the original. The result is a wing with an 8.25" root chord and a bit more area overall, which should only make the plane fly more easily, I think.

The new AUW is 39.5 oz. for the electric version so the new flaps and ailerons added just about one oz....Continue Reading
Posted by wingloada | Jun 08, 2015 @ 05:43 PM | 12,002 Views
I had some carbon fiber left over from my eSupra wing build so after watching Curtis Suter's video a few times, I've decided to learn to roll CF booms for a DLG. I bought an inexpensive stainless steel golf wedge shaft from Golfsmith for less than a dollar that will serve as the mandrel. The finish is very smooth and it's straight and true. The dimensions seem almost exactly right for a DLG boom matching those of an Allegro Lite boom from Mountain Models, which are 32" long, 0.67 diameter at the large end and 0.36 at the small end.

Posted by wingloada | Mar 18, 2015 @ 03:42 PM | 32,711 Views
Following Curtis Suter's layup design, I'm starting on my ALES eSupra build. A few months ago I bought a set of really great foam cores from Kevin Sharbonda who has an impressive CNC cutter and makes beautiful cores. Following my mixed experience building the composite Allegro wing this winter, I have decided not to build the stressed skin (no spar) eSupra with Carboweave but rather with a modification of Curtis' design for ALES (not for winch launch). I'm using Curtis' layup but I'll be adding 1K carbon disser strands from the uni carbon back to the TE spaced about 1.5" across the entire wingspan. Curtis suggested this to help increase torsional stiffness on this very light stressed-skin layup. Disser will be a new technique to learn and I've been reading up on how to make the disser/fiberglass laminate fabric in preparation.

To start the build, though, I'm am working on the fin-rudder and horizontal stab. I'm building them to Dr. Drela's Supra specifications using 1 oz. Aramid skins.

The cores are prepared and I have waxed and painted the mylars. They'll cure for a few days and then I'll layup the tail pieces....Continue Reading
Posted by wingloada | Mar 05, 2015 @ 04:32 PM | 13,249 Views
Another building year from March to March. This year I spent a lot of time learning composite building techniques with a new Super Gee II and additional Edge wing that I cut the foam cores for. I also built a Mimi mini DLG and a composite Allegro wing to prepare skills for an eSupra wing I plan to make in the coming months based on Curtis Suter's light stressed-skin eSupra wing. To round it out I built an electric fuselage for my 126" Vivace and a new extended nose electric fuselage for my Allegro Lite.


Posted by wingloada | Jan 31, 2015 @ 05:46 PM | 15,644 Views
Over the past two weeks I have been assembling the materials for a Bubble Dancer. I nearly have the parts necessary. I'm thinking I might feel the urge to counter some of my more recent composite experiments with some old-school wood cutting.
Posted by wingloada | Jan 31, 2015 @ 04:40 PM | 15,989 Views
Over the last few weekends, I have been putting together a vacuum reservoir system for bagging. With this, the pump doesn't run continuously but only for a few minutes every now and then while holding vacuum in between.

The system is sold as a 'short kit' from Joe Woodworking online.

I call it a short kit because you need to go to Home Depot and pick up some bits and pieces along with what is included in the kit and it is assumed that you already own a vacuum pump to use with the system. The parts are excellent quality and the instructions made the whole thing very easy to understand and build. The kit's not cheap (about $170) but for me, having it all arrive knowing it works and fits together was worth the extra cost over collecting the parts on my own.
Posted by wingloada | Nov 09, 2014 @ 06:58 PM | 20,910 Views
Since I am learning the art of foam core cutting and composite construction, I thought I'd turn my hand to making a second wing for my Allegro Lite. This one will be a bagged composite wing that, I hope, might even be lighter than my built up wing. I'm generally following the Allegro (pre-Allegro Lite) design by Dr. Drela available at the Charles River site.

Last weekend I made the templates by printing the airfoils in Profili and then gluing them to 1/32" ply with CA. Today I cut the blanks from 2" Foamular and cut the cores. I am still very much a beginner with this -- evidence: I cut two right side mid panels rather than a left and right — and the power supply I am using is inadequate so the wire drags in the middle too much. I did get a (nearly) complete set of cores cut and later, when I am less emotionally connected to the work, I'll evaluate them to see if I should make a better set before continuing onward.

Posted by wingloada | Aug 09, 2014 @ 05:40 PM | 19,347 Views
I built this Allegro Lite electric about two years ago. It's a very nice flyer but to get the stubby nose to balance the tail, I have to add quite a bit of weight. There's little to no room up front for that in the pod as designed by Dr. Drela so this weekend I took on the project of building a new fuselage that has a pod with a longer nose moment and a bit more internal space. My preliminary calculations show that this should save 3-4 oz. on the AUW. If I make new tails and keep them to a total of 1.5 oz together, I can shave another 3 oz. off the AUW bringing it to only 1 oz. over Dr. Drela's build-to weight on the plans....Continue Reading
Posted by wingloada | May 30, 2014 @ 07:32 PM | 21,241 Views
Since I had some time over the long holiday weekend, I decided to take on a quick build of the Mimi 1M DLG with built-up wing option. I had gathered the plans and parts beforehand so the build only took about three days....Continue Reading
Posted by wingloada | Mar 29, 2014 @ 09:19 AM | 19,183 Views

I'm building an electric fuselage for the Vivace 126 using the (larger) pod drawings I made to fit a 38-42 outrunner motor using the lost foam plug. I can see where this technique might give way to learning to mold with composites.

Given the weight of the motor, battery, and esc, all in the nose, I have calculated that I should install the rudder and stab servos in the tail rather than in the pod. If I enlarge the thickness of the base of the fin, I can sink the two servos into it and drive the controls with short rods from there. The servo wiring will run inside the boom from the receiver to the tail servos....Continue Reading
Posted by wingloada | Mar 23, 2014 @ 10:27 PM | 17,752 Views
Posted by wingloada | Mar 20, 2014 @ 01:58 PM | 19,034 Views
Last year at this time I posted a photo of the four planes I had built after decades of being away from the hobby. The building continued this year so here's the update photo. I built a glider fuselage for the Vivace 100 but used the same wing as the electric version I had completed earlier last winter. That accounts for the 0.5 in the total number.

Posted by wingloada | Feb 13, 2014 @ 11:52 AM | 19,146 Views
I have created a model of the Viking 74 e-glider for X-Plane.

This plane has an electric motor but it can also be towed as a glider. Here's a link to a file that explains how to fly these in x-plane:
Posted by wingloada | Jan 28, 2014 @ 10:14 AM | 22,912 Views
In 2012 I brought home my very old Carl Goldberg 1/2 Viking model from my parent's house. I had originally built the plane in 1974. I have posted about that plane here and there's a photo of my rebuild-electric conversion from 2012 earlier in the blog.

This January, I decided to build a larger 74" modification of the plane for RES + throttle. I drew up the plans and started building. The fuselage is lengthened, the fin/rudder enlarged, and the stab modified to be full flying. The classic Viking pylon and pod are slightly modified for a longer nose moment and enough room for the motor, battery and other electronics. The wing will use the original planform for the outer panels with an added flat center section to bring the span to 74". The airfoil I decided to use is S3021 rather than Goldberg's original undercambered airfoil. I'm hoping for an AUW around 22 oz. [it turned out to be 26.5 oz.)

Here're some photos....Continue Reading
Posted by wingloada | Jan 05, 2014 @ 10:07 AM | 20,047 Views
I have updated the model of the Vivace 126 glider for X-Plane.

Here's a link to a file that explains how to fly these in x-plane:
Posted by wingloada | Dec 08, 2013 @ 06:41 PM | 44,828 Views
I have taken the plunge into composite construction with work on a Drela SuperGee II DLG.

I tried my hand at bagging the two tail pieces a few weeks ago using a large Ziplock bag and a hand vacuum pump. It worked pretty well but I could see the advantages of an electric vacuum pump and better bagging materials.

After I went back and forth over several options, Curtis Suter helped me find a great deal on a used oil-less diaphragm vacuum pump online and linked me to places to get the hardware I needed for a rudimentary constant-run pump setup. With this all in place I started in on the wing.

I had bought cores from Bob M. (rcbobcat55) a few months ago. I bought the fabrics over the summer bit by bit as I had spare dollars so it was just a matter of making templates, mylars, and cutting all the wing pieces from 1 oz. Aramid. Having Aramid scissors is essential, I found.

I put the left wing panel into the bag yesterday afternoon. I got up this morning after shutting off the pump at around midnight (8 hours on with West slow-cure epoxy). I had the wing half weighed down in the core shucks overnight. I pulled out the wing panel from the bag, carefully removed the mylars (I had used FreKote release) and they came right off. For a first time, I was very happy with the result!

The panel is a bit heavy -- 59 grams without the center joiner. I used a little too much epoxy (I mixed about 40 grams for the left wing panel). I did cover the wet-out top and bottom...Continue Reading