Spaaro's blog View Details
Posted by Spaaro | Mar 05, 2018 @ 12:31 AM | 1,637 Views
I've been on the road and across 3 states since the middle of January. Relocating cross-country...resolving old property issues...and, by the grace of God and very, very dear friends, including exciting and adventurous experience as well[..several national parks, Pacific Coast scenery & outdoor wonder sites!..].

Is it truly too much to fervently desire/seek aviation & aeromodelling amidst it all??

I had packed all my tools, projects and R/C stuff into storage and carried only the simplest necessary for an extended 'road trip'. Out of that, only: tape, superglue, a hot melt glue gun, metal ruler, tape measure and pens/pencils might pass for 'hobby' equipment!

The wide, open landscape, clear skies and mild weather of Central Valley, CA pushed me over the edge, though.

I've bought a couple of EPO foamy HLGs(..One R/C-ready, minus rec'vr & batts; the other--'T-tail 'Blaze'--qualified for R/C conversion by others..), 2 foamy 3-channel/2.4 GHz 'Champ'-clone trainers from a seller in Bakersfield...some extra batteries, receiver and 2nd-hand transmitters.
All for less than $175!

I also couldn't resist scavenging potential, 'scratch-build'-grade odds & ends from some thrift stores I wandered into and now have the elements for an ambitious glider.
Most of this will depend on whether I can learn that arcane 'art' some on RCGroups are familiar with: "Build-Inside-Your-RV/Camper/SUV"!

Best encouragement has been the folding table...Continue Reading
Posted by Spaaro | Jun 05, 2017 @ 04:48 PM | 2,637 Views
Just about finished with building this fuselage pod...yesterday and this early morning fabricating...assembling...sanding...filling...rep eat.

Almost ready to surface, just digs & dinks in the tapered tail area to level.

The Composites and Slope forums are incomparable treasures of learning 'how-to'; I have to try that method of using a tinted, color under-layer of filler--to properly gauge sanding & surface prep before sealing. I start work on the tail boom & feathers or the wings?

General arrangement/plan drawings to follow......Continue Reading
Posted by Spaaro | Jun 04, 2017 @ 07:12 AM | 2,704 Views
My orbital sander crapped out while I was modifying a cabinet organizer for additional shelves.

I used the time in between repairing it to do further work on the glider plug I crafted from a Wii controller adaptor.

- Filling in the gaps & openings in this Adaptor Body to achieve the desired 'Pod'-shape.

- Used white styrofoam blocks carved roughly to fit the two, gaping openings in the underside.

- Sand to contour.

- Mix up a filler compound of Gorilla Glue, saw dust & diatomaceous earth...spackle it in.

- Wrap with cello-tape & compress until fully cured.

Repeat using Xylene-thinned G.G. and more DTE versus saw dust each time...sand...fill...repeat. I also applied a UV/'black light' grow light during my build to speed the cure of the adhesives I used; I found it effective upon CyA, polyurethane adhesive and epoxy, greatly improving the rapidity with which I could push ahead.

- Sanded the tail boom wood cladding into a more uniform/symmetrical & refined shape. Added a turtle deck receiving notch on the 'Forward' wing-saddle end.

- Reinforced the sidewalls w/additional wood prevent crushing/flex when subject to vacuum when bagged.

-Added hoops of steam-formed bamboo rod to support the top cover/turtledecking.

I fixed the orbital sander in time to use it to aid all this contouring and filling. I hope to complete building this plug and start 'fine' finish sanding/surfacing later today.

I am really happy with...Continue Reading
Posted by Spaaro | May 28, 2017 @ 10:09 PM | 2,609 Views
Finally have some time to dedicate to plane building & project development again!

I didn't do much hobby stuff during winter unfortunately but I did organize my work space, creating:
- Dedicated tool shelving, caddies & cabinets...

- Wall-mounted tool organizers(..its FANTASTIC giving everything a 'home' beyond cluttering counter space, plus knowing where it all is!..)...

- A dedicated vacuum laminating table & wing building forms

I did do lots of doodling and fleshing out details for my builds underway(..the 1930's biplane plug, several approaches to wing building, some glider fuselages..).

One new idea that sprang up was a novel fuselage plug that grew out of a discarded Wii controller adaptor. I think it is a Wii 'Fishing' or 'Sword Fight' rod/wand housing attachment...possibly a generic brand.

It just screamed 'glider forward fuselage pod' to me.

So...with a length of wood as an axial armature and pieces forming a tapered tail brace + wing a deodorant bottle's conical lid for a nose fairing, I'm quickly shaping a good size plug.
I'll finish forming over its gaps & openings with scrap plastic & veneer wood; then surface seal, tape & wax. I think this will be my first glass shell test prototype...before the biplane.

This makes 3 gliders I have without wings and only 1 with tail feathers. I just might bash up a Dollar Tree foam board set of wings to get something flying sooner than later.
Posted by Spaaro | Sep 24, 2016 @ 03:15 AM | 6,399 Views
Cannot believe there was a surreptitious, angry/vengeful targeted shooting of 3 Cosmetic's Sales Women in the Macy's department store at the large mall in the next county over!?

I considered going there to watch a movie tonight at the adjoining multiplex, too!?

PoS is still at large...

Every 10th or 11th person in this country now seems to feel they have the 'right' to solve their personal gripe or spurned affections with gun violence!

Wherever you go this weekend and this whole fall season approaching the Elections, please be on your toes and 'Situationally Aware'...of your surroundings AND of those milling around you!
Posted by Spaaro | Sep 22, 2016 @ 04:07 PM | 4,645 Views
Finally scored some necessary additions to my bagging set-up:

-A gauge, down to -30 mm Hg... $8 bucks!

-A proper-sized & ported, brass 'Tee' accommodate it and the compression fittings that accept my tubing size...$4 bucks.

At least 3 bags I can run simultaneously. Now to actually clear table space for dedicated resin & 'lay-up' prep, instead of shuffling my sundry 'junk' around with each task!

After having read thru the "Electrifly/Great Planes 'deHaviland Tiger Moth" thread from 2010 - 2014, I see it was a kit prone to brittle foam fractures!

Mine happens to be immaculate, but I've reviewed how its flight handling tolerates 'weight gain' well.
I want to give it's thin, undercambered wings some CF spars and a 'veil-weight' glass cloth-skinning...along with the fuse and tail.

This to fly it outdoors and mod it for disassembly the way others did.

Anyone have a direct link to 'light glassing' tips for micro-size planes?
Posted by Spaaro | Sep 20, 2016 @ 09:53 PM | 3,425 Views
Between running errands, household repairs and car do-dads, I haven't touched my J-3 Cub....which I fear might become more involved than just mounting a replacement prop adapter.

However, my browsing of the 'F/S Forum' pages and eBay connected me with sellers willing to part with these beauties below!

The DH Moth came from a gentleman in N.C. and the Aerobird-3 resulted from a generous transaction courtesy of 'Stanbur', out of TX, here on RCGroups!

For 6 and ~8 year-old kits, respectively,--N.I.B.-- they are both pristine...and reveal design and materials/construction indicative of this hobby from that time.

My QA Director, 'Erhlah Greye' and her son and my Security Chief, 'Halley', helped perform the Receiving Inspection and 'Bill of Lading' inventory.

They are actually eager for me to construct more 'Bird toys' for them to chase, as they're not sure what to make of the Cub taxiing along the driveway.
...Its small AND it DOES fly, though?......Continue Reading
Posted by Spaaro | Sep 13, 2016 @ 01:45 PM | 3,417 Views
While I take a break from crafting my biplane fuselage plug, I now focus on creating my first vacuum bagging system.
I found a sufficient, cheap/used Chinese-made pump on craigslist last fall and it has gathered dust all year until now.

Over that same span of time, I've slowly studied 'DIY vacuum system' tutorials, including:...the incredible "Telos Build" & "$10 Aquarium Pump Conversion" thread...'what works/doesn't'-discussions from slope & sailplane crowd and composite fabbing.
Then, if I couldn't source accessory parts from Home Despot or the excellent composite suppliers nearby--at least at bargain cheap pricing--I'd scour thrift stores, salvage yards and garage sales for the remaining odds and ends, tubing, diaphragms and plastic connectors.

No hurry...time to wrap my head around this while pursuing other projects.

I'm finally ready with:
-Chinese RS-1, 3 CFM pump for $10, craigslist.
- 4 mil. plastic sheeting roll from the Orange Store: $9.00
- Tacky caulk from Fibreglass Supply, near Bayview/Burlington Regional Airport.: $5.45
- 1/4" plastic tubing from a CPAP kit in a thrift store; 25 ft for $2.00!
-Assorted lengths of extra tubing, plastic & brass connectors, nipples & tees
from Commander's Salvage Yard for $7.00
-One 3.2 Gallon steel reservoir tank from a discarded water purification system @Skagit Salvage Warehouse: $10.00

= $ it $50 after sundry Dollar Store and mocha latte stops.

I don't have a pressure gauge or vacuum switch to monitor my system yet; I haven't researched if there are cheaper, 'DIY alternatives'...versus a new unit from the Fibreglass Shop for $44!

I'm open to recommendations...
Posted by Spaaro | Sep 11, 2016 @ 01:58 AM | 3,304 Views
I've always been fascinated with biplanes and more recently the 1930's era military biplanes:
the Hawker Hart & Fury series...the Fairy 'Fox' and 'Fantome'...Gloster family ...Curtiss, Arado, Heinkels, Koolhovens, WACOs, Bleriot-SPADs, Czech Avias and lesser-known Japanese Aichi and Yokosuka-types.

Instead of picking a known, scale subject to model, I decided to 'approximate' the look and feel of one. Combine some of their most appealing aesthetic character in a 'made-up' the drawings I made in my school notebook margins. Epic air battles that '..may have taken place..'.

I also let this be my opportunity to try a construction approach that has been on my mind for a long time:
Could I use generic, household items to form a crutch, over which I could create a proper model fuselage?

Something with more character than a combat SPAD or slope soarer--the simple plastic, 'Whiffle Bat' & cartoonishly simple proportions.

After looking through web images from various companies and countries that built prototypes and actual production aircraft, I sketched up something that took advantage of some of the shapes I had lying around the house.
Detergent & toiletry bottles and beverage cups.

The goal is a stable, solid plug that I can detail, wax and create 'layered-up' monocoque shells with vacuum molding/bagging...something light, attractive and 'potent-looking' when done.
In an Imperial War Museum way...[..see profile diagram..]

It...Continue Reading
Posted by Spaaro | Sep 10, 2016 @ 09:29 PM | 3,093 Views
High time I posted in my blog space!

Having started and stopped 4 different airplane projects since last summer without completion, I decided I couldn't let THIS ONE go by without enjoying SOMETHING FLYING!

I've managed to get my 'fix' with an E-Flight/Horizon UMX - AS3X 'J-3 Cub' for the last 3 months. Well...2 months or so, between repair downtime--both for my car, residence AND the R/C model!

Resilient...smooth...pretty to look at and full of wonderful performance for its size & price-point, it is my first NIB, aileron plane! A BIG help cutting my teeth on becoming a skilled R/C pilot.

I recommend this plane for just about anyone, including ambitious beginners with good intuition for model flying.

Flying models is 'pleasure' I've put off many times over the years, while 'real life' & USN duties got priority!

I have to thank 'E-ZoneMag/RCGroups' for "..being there.." this past 20+ ...for modeling community, innovation, education and endorsement of this amazing hobby & science.
I was a scratch builder of static and free-flight since childhood, but I only seriously considered R/C when I learned electrics had become viable in the late 90's.

The articles, forum discussions and build threads...and collective wisdom of dozens of other enthusiasts and professionals has given me the confidence to keep pushing ahead.
...and finally mature my own builds, methods and projects, now that I have shop space! You've helped keep me SANE!

Aiming to have two, home-brew gliders and a biplane RTF by the end of winter.