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Archive for April, 2006
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 29, 2006 @ 12:34 AM | 20,687 Views
I've written before about using tools to prepare the surface for finish sanding. Previously time it was the belt/disk sander. This is great for big blocks and strong pieces. Sometimes, however, you need to work on things that need more 'feel'. Still you want to use a tool to remove the excess balsa. Sanding will just frustrate you. The piece will end up smooth but wrong. For those delicate jobs, use a plane.

Here are a selection of planes that I use. From the picture below:

1) Wilkro Razor Plane - This is an old hobby plane that I found at a swap meet sometime in the past. The original price was $2.98 on the box. I don't remember what I paid. This is an excellent plane for really removing the material. It has a separate attachment for interior radius work.

2) Martor Balsa Hobel - This razor plane comes from Germany and it is a gem. It has a great feel. It can't remove as much material as the Wilkro but it has a better feel. The razor compression plate can be moved to the front for hogging larger amounts of balsa and working up close. The plate also has a radius cut out that can be used for an edge break tool. I got the Martor at a trade show in England (I've spent a lot time in England over the years.) but they are available in the US.

3) X-Acto Spoke Shave - This is for small shaping jobs. You probably got one with your X-Acto set and may not know how to use it. It's hard to explain but I just kind of cup it in my palm and use a gentle rubbing motion to remove...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 21, 2006 @ 12:01 AM | 16,820 Views
I just read on Jerry Nelson's website the Phil Kraft has died. Before there was Futaba and JR there was Pro-Line and Kraft. Of the two, Kraft was really the epitome of first class equipment for the regular modeler. Phil Kraft was the guiding force behind doing it right. I never got a Kraft radio but I always aspired to own one.

Most modelers, of a certain age, have flown a Kraft design. If not one of his pattern designs then most likely an Ugly Stick or one of the ten million derivatives...

I saw Phil fly at the Lake Charles Nationals in the early '70s. He was not the top dog anymore but everybody paid attention when he was up. (At another Lake Charles Nats I saw Dave Platt fly the first really succesful ducted fan in scale competition.)

My first trip to Toledo was in 1983 (at the Hockey rink). I remember the giant Kraft booth. The "Big Thing" was their new frequency selectable system. I think it was their last Toledo show. Success killed them not in R/C but in computers.

Goodbye Phil - Thanks for Everything
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 18, 2006 @ 03:01 PM | 15,489 Views
The basic fact is that gasoline is as close to a perfect commodity as there is. (A perfect commodity is a something that is sold for exactly what it costs to deliver it to you, raw materials - processing - delivery.)

Last week I bought gas here is San Antonio for $2.699 a gallon. At that same time the average crude oil price was $69.03 per barrel. A barrel is 42 gallons so, going with the simple concept that all parts of the barrel are of equivalent value, just the raw material of gasoline is worth $1.646.

This leaves $1.053 for refining, distribution, marketing and taxes. At the same time the average commodity price on the gulf coast was $2.179. The $0.533 difference between the commodity price and the crude oil price covers refining, processing, special blends for different areas, required additives and brokerage costs.

So taking the average commodity price from the sales price leaves $0.482. Texas gasoline tax is $0.20 so that leaves $0.282. Federal tax is $0.184 so that leaves $0.098 for the station. From that (9.8 cents!) they have to pay facilities, taxes, salaries, etc, - Not! Why do you think they've all become convenience stores?

BTW, Texas does not have the lowest gasoline tax it's about mid pack. The highest is New York with 69 cents. Some states have gasoline tax and sales tax so the higher the price the more they make.

Pricing is, of course, relative. I was recently in London and gasoline was 96p per liter. With the pound going at approximately $2 per this equates to a gasoline cost of $7.27 per gallon.
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 12, 2006 @ 11:11 PM | 15,922 Views
While buying is not the primary goal, it is a goal. I had bugeted for one big item with intent to find other things too. In particular, I was looking for materials for my Eindekker. Below you will find a picture of my acquisitions.

1) Polk's Tracker III Radio - I've seen a lot of good reviews of this device this year but there's something about having the unit in your hand and talking with people in the know. My newest radio is 5 years old and my only computer radio, an Airtonic's Vision, is older than that. It needs batteries and, probably, a tuning. I liked using a single radio for all my flying but the Vision is limited to frequency modules. I have two but I always worried about the effect of plugging and unplugging the connections. I talked to the Airtronics rep but was not real satisfied with his answer, that is they have no plans for synthesized radios. I liked the look and feel of the radio, especially compared to the old Aristo Craft brown bombers of the past. The radios only come with one servo but I have plenty. The deal was set when my buddy said that all he has been using is the Tracker receivers. ($180, no tax, no shipping)

2) Fine Line Tape - A good deal for a buck, I'm going to be painting soon so this was great. ($1)

3) Foamy Hinge Tape - I've got a foamy waiting to be built and the price was good. ($2.50)

4) JR/Hitec/AirtZ servo leads - All my Airtronics stuff has the old connections. I've got plenty of old Airtronics connectors, enough to keep...Continue Reading
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 12, 2006 @ 09:39 PM | 14,193 Views
After spending all day Friday at the Toledo Expo we decided it was time to do a little touring. We jumped up early and set off for Muncie. The weather was good, even if it was cool and windy. Coming from the dreary Friday in Toledo it was great.

The drive isn't that far but it is over a lot of two lane, 55mph road. Since it was Saturday and a lot of the staff was in Toledo, the place was a little quite. It was great for getting a good look at the models. I think museums are one of the best inventions of modern man, and the AMA museum is very good. I could easily see it becoming bigger in the future. The staff was very friendly and very helpful.

We drove around the site to get a lay of the land. It was windy so the only activity was the kite seminar. (I am sure they were pleased.) It's pretty nice, even with the unintended lake from the rain. Somehow flat clear land looks smaller than the same amount with trees.

From Muncie we went to Dayton and the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. I've been visiting it for over twenty years. (I'm in the Jet Fuel business and the AF Jet Fuel research labs are just across the tarmac.) It's gone from one to two to three (and they're building a fourth) major hangars. My favorite is the first that focuses on WWI to WWII. It seems to me that the galleries are a little too dark but I suppose it is good for preservation purposes. The WWII display is much better now that the B-36 has been moved to hangar 3. We stayed until closing and then drove over to the Wright Memorial. There's a good view of the original flying field and the area in general.

You can't save enough money at Toledo to justify going there from many places. You go for knowledge and insight. Good prices and one of a kind finds are a bonus. Add some sightseeing to the mix and you have a decent trip.
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 07, 2006 @ 10:35 PM | 11,896 Views
We went to Toledo today and had a pretty good time. I saw a lot and bought some. Mostly I try to get info and mostly I suceed.

Some people have said that show was down from last year but the weather was bad south of here and it was cold and wet (but this is Ohio). I also think that people who go too often have an increased sense of diminishment. (I felt the same way when I went to Oshkosh too often.) Additionally, if you have a favorite that doesn't show up you'll feel the loss. I try to go every 4 to 5 years and it always seems fresh to me. I love it.

I was planning on getting a lot of pictures, for me and for you, but my new 1 gb SD card died at the very start of the show. Without it I was limited to 40 pictures and I held back. I did get some pictures of interest to me. Following you will see a few general interest pictures.

Tommorrow, we're going to Dayton to see the Air Force Museum. We're kicking around the idea of going to Muncie early in the day to see the AMA museum.
Posted by GRW3 | Apr 06, 2006 @ 11:22 PM | 10,918 Views
My best flying buddy, my son and I are attending the Toledo R/C expo this year. As a frequent flyer I'm not that partial to flying as a reward for flying but sometimes it comes in handy. I like to go to Toledo every 3-4 years and I like to go with a group. I supplied airfare (via mileage) and hotel (hotel points for many lonely nights) and my buddy rented the car. We're camping out in Boling Green.

But now, for something completely different...

My trip was rescheduled because a client just had to have me attend a meeting in England. I didn't want to do it on short notice but made the stipulation that they would have to get me back with my traveling party today.

My client, and good friend, has me put my license on the rental car too. I thought in case he gets tired. Wrong he knows I have hundreds of hours of driving in the UK under my belt, including one shunt, and wants me to do the honors. Well OK, it's not like switching from Mode 2 to Mode 1, but it is directionally similar. We get to the car and blimely (limey lingo there) it's a standard. Thank God we're starting at Gatwick and not Heathrow. Fortunately the shift direction is the same, left to right (and so are the pedals clutch-brake-throttle), even if you're using you're left hand to row the boat.

We did our meetings for 2 and a half days and then did some sight seeing at Hampton Court. Palatial estate of Henry VIII. I've included two pictures, a view from front gate and a 16th century rotisserie.

See you in Toledo