Dave Eichstedt's blog - RC Groups
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Posted by Dave Eichstedt | Feb 11, 2018 @ 12:40 AM | 1,963 Views
It's been quite a while since my last update, but that doesn't mean things stopped moving forward.

I'm building the first prototype right now! I have the empennage done, and today I finished framing-up the fuselage. Wings will hopefully happen next week, but I'm waiting for the wing tube & sockets (and the landing gear) from TNT Products, and I need the sockets to build the wings. On the fuselage, I just have to build the hatch, and assemble some vacuum-formed plastic bits. Right now I have about 30 hours into the build and I'm probably 75% of the way done with the structure, so I think it's going to be a very accessible project for most of you. Maybe not the best first kit build, but great for a 2nd kit.

I've been thinking about how to do the official announcement. My initial thought was to wait until kits are "on the water," but now I think I could benefit from a little build-up, letting you guys in on the project before that point. I haven't wanted to do a build log as the first prototype is just that, a prototype that's pointing me to several small changes needed in the design, and that's before flying it. Hopefully I won't have any major changes needed after flight-testing. The most I can imagine is a small decalage change or fine-tuning the thrust angle.

Once I have the first flight on the first prototype, then I'll let you guys in on the excitement. The thing is, I'll probably do all that on FaceBook. So if you want to see what I'm...Continue Reading
Posted by Dave Eichstedt | Dec 01, 2017 @ 06:55 PM | 2,067 Views
I have just finished creating the master cut file for the whole kit. Can't believe how much work this is when you're doing it for the first time. Holy cow! Much respect to those who have gone before me! Granted, almost everybody uses 2D CAD instead of 3D, and now I know why. But, I'm guessing the results will be worth it. Sure hope you guys like it when it's done!

Since I'm just at this point now, Shipping before Christmas is not a possibility. At this point I'm hoping for February. We'll see how fast things go from here. I do feel like the pace is picking up a bit. Getting hardware is proving a little more involved than I had hoped, but the jury is still out. We'll see how that comes together.
Posted by Dave Eichstedt | Oct 31, 2017 @ 08:06 PM | 2,002 Views
Got the stab framed up. To some extent, it's still amazing to see this thing coming together, that the CAD I drew actually works to create a structure where everything just fits. I guess as long as I keep that sense of wonder, I'll be in good shape!

Now that I know this works, I'll charge forward and get the rest of the parts transferred into 2D cutout files.
Posted by Dave Eichstedt | Oct 24, 2017 @ 09:36 PM | 2,310 Views
Still moving forward! The design work is done. 100%, completely finished. It took me about 6 months once I started using the right approach, and to be honest it was hard to focus. Very, very hard to do CAD 7-8 hours per day (which I couldn't do!) I expect the next model should go much faster, maybe even twice as fast. Since I understand the CAD package now, I'll be able to focus more on designing and less on learning the software or wrestling with it, which means I should be able to put in longer days at the CAD scope.

I've just spent the last week or so driving myself crazy over how to get my 3D parts all layed-out in a cut file in dxf format. Unfortunately Fusion360 doesn't have the functionality to do that all the way - it can get about 85% of the way there. I spent a bunch of time downloading and trying to use three different popular, free 2D CAD packages to finish off the final 15%, but was always stymied by Fusion's lack of robust dxf and dwg conversion. No matter what I tried, I just couldn't get a usable file to open in any of the other programs.

The answer was to use AutoCAD LT, which is made by the same company that makes Fusion360. Unfortunately it's not free, but as a business expense it's not too bad. I now have my first cut file done, which I'm going to use to cut a set of parts for the horizontal stabilizer & elevator and see how it goes. Then I'll apply lessons learned to go ahead and make the rest of the cut files. So building the first prototype will commence shortly. !!!! Finally!

I also connected with my plastics supplier this week and truly have them up and running on making that tooling. I will hopefully see some parts in about a month or possibly sooner. Time to ping the fiberglass guy, and also time to order some hardware. No shortage of stuff to do.
Posted by Dave Eichstedt | Sep 21, 2017 @ 02:51 PM | 2,196 Views
Things are about to get real. Yesterday afternoon I talked with my bank about options for financing the tooling and purchasing inventory for my first run of kits, and this afternoon I'm meeting with the director of the local EDC to get the scoop on filing articles of incorporation, which I'll take care of immediately thereafter. Then next week I should be able to hit "go" on getting the tooling started for all the vacuum-formed plastic parts.

I'm not working on a website yet, since I still have a little design work to do as well as building the first prototype. Can't wait to get that done! But, regarding websites, can anybody here provide a good recommendation for an affordable web platform that can handle e-commerce transactions? I also will need to handle videos, so I don't want to get locked into a platform that has heavy bandwidth charges, else I'll need to find a way to maybe provide links on the website to a YouTube channel.

There's no shortage of stuff to do to get this thing off the ground. I'm generally working pretty hard at it, although a couple days ago we had to put down our black lab, which took some steam out of me for a couple of days. But, I'm back at it now, and pressing forward.
Posted by Dave Eichstedt | Sep 11, 2017 @ 03:26 PM | 2,672 Views
It's been a few weeks since my last update, and I've been busy. After Fond Du Lac I attended a giant scale event in Champaign (Saturday only) and had a great time. The following weekend was the Indiana Warbird Campaign in Muncie, which had ups and downs. I arrived on Thursday a little before noon, got set up and was able to get 4-6 flights in that afternoon. I put a new Bennett muffler on the G45 in my P-47, turned the high speed needle in about 1/4 turn and now I have a much faster airplane. Love it! Friday was blown-out by winds steady at about 20-25, but gusting much higher than that. Unfortunately I had a memorial service to attend on Saturday, so I left at lunchtime on Friday to head home. On Saturday the wind slowed down, and from the FaceBook posts it looks like everybody got a lot of great flying in.

Through all these events I've talked to a lot of people about my kit concept, discussed the first product, and solicited feedback for the second project. The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive! Thank you everybody for the input! Speaking of the first product, it's still moving forward smartly. I have a list about a page long of remaining design tasks for me to get done in the CAD, which I'm working frantically to get done. I've solicited bids for the fiberglass parts & plastic parts, and have selected who I'm going to use, so that stuff is in process. I also recently reached out to a trusted source in China to talk about supplying...Continue Reading
Posted by Dave Eichstedt | Aug 15, 2017 @ 10:42 PM | 3,086 Views
Owatonna was great (NAMFI), and next up is Warbirds and Classics Over the Midwest in FonDuLac, Wisconsin. This is a fun event with an awesome flying site, and I'm looking forward to it! I'm working on both my P-51 and Spitfire at the moment, and hoping to bring them both along with my P-47. Right now it's looking promising for getting them all there.

Again, if you plan on being there, look me up and we can talk about kits, state of the industry, or whatever else is of interest at the time.
Posted by Dave Eichstedt | Aug 08, 2017 @ 11:55 AM | 2,955 Views
I've just booked my hotel to attend the Northern Alliance Military Fly In this Friday and Saturday: http://www.namfiflyin.com/

Never been to this field, so I'm looking forward to flying some place new. If anybody's in the area, look me up and say hi, and I might even show you some images of the model I'm working on!

I'll be flying my Hangar 9 P-47 with the black and yellow checkered nose, and hopefully my Hangar 9 P-51 150 in the Glamorous Glen III scheme. Depending on how repairs go with the P-51, I might end up with either my silver Tiger Moth or the 30cc Spitfire instead. We'll just see.
Posted by Dave Eichstedt | Aug 01, 2017 @ 07:16 PM | 3,715 Views
Departing Horizon Hobby was a shock for me. I had planned to stay there until I retired! Unfortunately, we were kind-of going in different directions, so just over two years ago now (has it really been that long?) we parted ways. For the first year, I was focused on finding another job. This just didn't work out for me. However, at the beginning of the second year, I felt moved to start my own business(es) and do my own thing. One of them I have not yet begun working on, but the other one is making progress, the one you're probably interested in if you're reading this blog.

As I mentioned in a post or two, I'm working on starting my own kit business. It's gone a lot slower to this point than I expected, but things are starting to accelerate now. What took so long was learning a new CAD system. (Well, that, and a 6-8 week consulting effort that took up some time in the October-November 2016 time frame). The last CAD program I used was CATIA, and that was v4.1.9, long before the days of v5 and about the time that Dassault acquired SolidWorks. For budget reasons I decided on Autodesk Fusion360. As I assume would be the case with any package, modern CAD systems just don't work the same way they did 18 years ago. Much more powerful, but you have to go about the design process differently, and coming to terms with this new way of thinking is what has taken the most time.

I've had to start this design FOUR TIMES from scratch!

Attempt #1: Model was sized too...Continue Reading