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Archive for December, 2017
Posted by UpNup | Dec 29, 2017 @ 08:17 PM | 2,963 Views
The Ford Flivver has walls that are extremely rigid. But! All was well gluing together the frame formers. And all was well gluing down the 1/64” thick plywood foward sides.

The 1/32” sides needed glue and all that wetness began to bow everything. It was so bad it popped the sides of two plywood cross-beams. And it kept on bowing. I went into action and pulled everything out of the middle except for the side formers.

I threw the sides on a Formica counter and starting piling on the heaviest books I owned. The side panels began flattening out under the weight. When I removed the books 15 hours later, the glue was dry and the sides were flat.

Too much drama.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 27, 2017 @ 02:15 PM | 3,126 Views
Back in the summer, I made the instrument panel. Not having a guide, I used a penny for the oil pressure, a quarter for the tachometer, and ply/balsa carving for the on/off switch.

Today was the time to put it all into the top hatch. The Ford Flivver plans included a loopy template for the forward cockpit. I made an aluminum cutout from a pop can, but it didn’t work. However, I managed to find one curve that I liked, so I made that work. All that trouble a few months ago finally began to pay off.

I don’t know about you, but God has done some things in my life that I just had to scratch my head at the time and move on. But later, I saw how what I learned or a skill that I had developed made me smile and go, “So THAT’S why I went through that!” And boom, I use it to help someone. I’ve had cancer, had my position cut at work (twice!), cared for my wife when she had leukemia. And you just don’t get answers to the “Why God?” question at the time. Years later, we benefit from a stronger marriage, an ability to counsel others in crisis, and have an incredible new job opportunity that I would have missed stuck in the old job. And on this job, I don’t travel much, so there’s more time to build this plane.

The plans called for 1/4” thick and 3/8” wide planking, but I used 3/16” thick and 1/4” wide balsa strips. I used my rotary tool to neatly cut away the balsa cockpit wall extenders. After sanding with an 80-grit block, I touched up some cracks with balsa slivers and then hit it with some wet lightweight spackling.

UPDATE: This whole hatch had to be re-invented. The hatch extends much further and needed to be integrated. The thickness was not enough. And the instruments were not scale. Although the former came with the laser cut and matched the plans precisely, they needed to be updated to be more scale.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 22, 2017 @ 10:00 PM | 2,764 Views
Behind the Ford Flivver #268 pilot’s head is the world’s longest headrest. It reminds me of the helmets cyclists wear during time trials. They’re built to be aerodynamic and so is the Flivver’s headrest.

Making this 16 inch by 1 1/8 in. balsa piece that runs down the spine of the airplane intimidated me. I had to buy two balsa blocks, use the plan’s measurements and figure out how to cut them down and glue them together. After hulling out the bottom, I painted it silver with a brush. The silver paint is so fluid that it didn’t leave brush marks.

EDIT: To make it fit right, I had to add two laminations of 3/32" balsa sheeting. I put wood glue on one side and sprayed Windex on the other. I tied everything down with rubber bands. This put some dents along the bottom, but they were superficial and easily sanded out.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 13, 2017 @ 10:21 PM | 2,602 Views
When building the ribs, I mounted the servos with screws and glued them on plywood rails at an angle. The idea is that the servos must be perpendicular to the control horns to work correctly. The control horns were cut from the clear cover of an Apple iPhone earplug box. I cut them out with my rotary drill. I sanded them and painted them with Testors aluminum (dull silver) paint.

In this set, you'll notice that I've glued metal beads down the tops of the ribs. On the original wings, there are these beads just under the skin. It's like they are clamps or U-shaped staples of sorts holding down some kind of wire or line running down the tops of the ribs. My concern is that they'll melt through Monokote when the covering is ironed on. I plan to test it. The little metals beads were found on a 2 pound exercise cuff that my wife used. It had "runs" in them like a women's hose that dripped these tiny pellets. And they worked perfectly if they won't damage the covering.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 10, 2017 @ 08:16 PM | 2,716 Views
The Ford Flivver 268 plans are tricky in places. The fin and rudder have details that have to be closely followed.

The fin is 1/8 in. thick to build over the plans. When finished, you have to add 1/32 in. sheeting on both sides.

The rudder is 3/16 in. thick with extremely long and curved laminations. I made everything from cuts to sheeting. However the rudder has no sheeting.

The moment of truth is when the tail wheel bracket has to be inserted into a hole in the rudder and a trough has to be delicately run down the lower spine of the rudder. My alignment was off by only 1/16 in., but that threw the tail wheel off by 1/4 in. To resolve the problem, I could have re-soldered the bracket, but realized it could lead to new problems. I used a metal file to slim the top of the bracket insertion rod and cut the insertion hole on an angle. By gluing on a 1/64 in. plywood curved side, I covered where the bracket popped through the soft balsa.

There are two 1/8 in. dowel rods inserted into the bottom of the fin. Now, that means the 1/8 in. balsa rail gets cut through in two places! I cut the holes carefully and sliced the sides. Then I sanded flat the parts so that the sides didn’t bulge. I used CA to quickly fix the dowels.

When I put the 1/32 in. sheeting on, everything laid flat. I used yellow wood glue on the fin and it alarmed me when the balsa began to limber up. I moved quickly to glue both slides. I layed the glued fin on a Formica kitchen countertop and...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Dec 02, 2017 @ 12:52 PM | 3,108 Views
One of the most unique noticeable characteristics of the Ford Flivver 268 is its tailwheel. The plans provide some but not all details. In 1990, apparently Dereck Woodward that wrote the plans did not have access to a Williams Bros. 2 inch diameter Golden Age wheel. It matches the 3 3/4 in. wheels used in the landing gear. It beat having to make a ply and balsa tailwheel. However, during the tedious soldering I melted the plastic hub on one of the two tailwheels. Brass hubs conduct heat extremely well.

1. Buy or make your 2 inch diameter tailwheel. Drill a hole in the axle that is just slightly larger than 1/8 in.

2. Cut a brass axle and shorter hub. I found the brass tubing at Hobby Lobby. You will need a hacksaw and a very light touch. Run the 1/8 brass hub through the wheel to make a hub and then slide the smaller diameter brass tube through the hub. Cut to fit. Then use pliers to mash the ends flat, making sure the hub and wheel spins freely.

3. Bend and cut the wires. Solder the pull-pull brass strip to the vertical post being careful to place it perpendicular to the wheel axle. Then solder each piece of wire as directed. Tin every metal torch point prior to soldering.

4. Place a wet piece of cardboard next to the wheel hub. This will help wick away some of the heat from your soldering iron. An industrial high heat soldering iron is recommended. But touch the axle no more than five seconds at a time. Do not let that plastic wheel melt. Keep checking that it...Continue Reading