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Feb 22, 2009, 04:28 PM
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Build Log

GWS E-Starter Tricycle Build Log


I have been a fan of the GWS E-Starter since I purchased my first one 2 years ago. This was late in my first season of taking up this RC aircraft hobby in 2007. I purchased that E-Starter as my aileron trainer after being self taught RC flight on a GWS Slow Stick and RealFlight flight simulator. That first E-Starter was built pretty much stock as a tail dragger. I have rebuilt that plane several times learning more each time. With the last rebuild I made it a tricycle and really love that plane. However, it has gone through a lot including a few crashes - some equipment failure (OK, so it was equipment failure only 1 time) and some pilot brain failure. This plane still flys great but it is time to build a new one putting together all of the upgrades and improvements that I like.

This will not be a light build although I do not think I am doing anything that will make the plane inordinately heavy. Here is what I plan to use:

Aircraft – GWS E-Starter NPS (no power system)
Motor – TowerPro Brushless Outrunner 2409-12T Motor, 1,600kv
ESC – TURNIGY Plush 25amp Speed Controller
Battery – ZIPPY 1600mAh 2S1P 20C
Prop – HobbyCity APC Style 9x6-E
Servos – Hitech HS-55 (x4)
Receiver – Spektrum AR6100
Transmitter – Spektrum DX6i

Other than the steerable nosegear making the model a tricycle, the modifications I plan to do will be the addition of carbon fiber and a little fiber glass at strategic locations for strength. I will also be using balsa to make slightly oversized ailerons that will be actuated using 2 servos programmed as flapperons.

Something new for me on this build is that I will be painting this model. My current E-Starter looks painted but I used magic markers, not paint. I have found that magic markers are not permanent when applied to Styrofoam. The color transfers to my hands when I handle the plane. With the handling of over 140 flights there are places where the color is getting pretty thin. I have attached a picture of my current E-Starter. I may copy the paint scheme on this new E-Starter build or I may do something else. I have some time to make up my mind before I will be ready to paint. Suggestions for paint schemes will be considered.

Finally, I want to mount the wing in such a way that I do not need to use rubber bands. I am trying to come up with a good way to slide the front of the wing into a fixture that holds it firmly and then use the stock screw at the rear of the wing. I have a few ideas myself but do not have anything concrete. If anyone has any ideas on this please let me know. It needs to be very strong. I plan to fly both scale and sport and do expect some stress on the wing. I will be using the wing struts for the support they offer but want the wing mount to be very secure while still allowing the wing to be removed easily.

I am a nerd (an engineer by education and profession) and, in general, have strong attention to detail. I will be posting information and pictures with some of this detail. I hope I do not get to anal. Please forgive me if I give too much detail or post too may pictures.

I am not in a big hurry with this build. It is still pretty cold and windy here in Western Kentucky and I have an E-Starter that flys very well. I will be taking my time on this build and in my own mind, doing it right. So now, on to the build.

Freddy

Edit - Thought I would add a video of my current E-Starter tricycle. It kinda shows why I like this plane so much.

Having fun with my GWS E-Starter (5 min 5 sec)
Last edited by Fredriksson; Feb 22, 2009 at 06:27 PM. Reason: Add video
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Feb 22, 2009, 06:23 PM
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The ARF Kit


My new E-Starter arrived in perfect condition. As you can see by the writing on the box in the attached picture I ordered the plane from Advantage Hobby. They have pretty much everything for RC at decent prices. I also got the nose gear, sport wheels and servos from Advantage along with several other hardware items I was needing.

I unpacked the plane and everything looks great. Even the winglets on the main wing are in perfect condition. These winglets, I have found, are very thin and weak and break very easily. I have a fix for that - fiber glass. I will be getting to that soon.

Motor, ESC and a few other things still coming from HobbyCity.

Freddy
Last edited by Fredriksson; Mar 08, 2009 at 09:58 PM. Reason: Added title
Feb 22, 2009, 08:33 PM
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Beginning Work on Elevator and Rudder


I have started the build. I used a sharp hobby knife and have cut out the flight control surfaces - rudder, elevator and ailerons. I do not attempt to cut all the way through the Styrofoam with a single knife stroke. I use light pressure on the knife only going part of the way through the Styrofoam. After 5 or 6 light passes with the knife the cut will be all the way through the Styrofoam and the control surface will be free. I take this cut right up against the rear edge of the wing, horizontal stabilizer or vertical stabilizer leaving the excess foam on the control surface. These cuts will be cleaned up with sandpaper.

For sanding the surfaces where the hinges will be I like to use a fine grit 3M Brand sanding sponge. On the control surface itself I use the block and sand the cut edge following the molded angle on the control surface on one side. Then I do the same for the angled surface on the other side. This will bring the top and bottom surfaces on this front edge to a point. To finish I lightly sand this point to a flat about .125" wide. This flat surface is where I will make the slots for the hinges.

I use the sanding sponge to smooth out the opposing hinge surfaces on the wing, horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizer. These are the surfaces where matching slots will be cut for the aileron, elevator and rudder hinges.

For this build the Styrofoam ailerons will not be used. In my opinion, the Styrofoam ailerons are too weak and do not have the authority that I like. I will build a set of ailerons from balsa to use on this plane.

Freddy
Last edited by Fredriksson; Mar 08, 2009 at 09:59 PM. Reason: Added title
Feb 22, 2009, 09:09 PM
IWC
IWC
Registered User
thanks for the pics and vid. I will subscribe to your build thread.
Feb 23, 2009, 07:12 AM
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Enlarging Battery Box and Adding Bulsa for Strength


Worked on the fuselage last night. The battery location on the E-Starter is rather small for many LiPo batteries and the door is known to be weak. I want this E-Starter to be able to accept LiPos up to 3S1P 2200mAh. Normally I will run the plane on 2-Cell LiPo but want to have the ability to use larger 3-Cell LiPos. Using a 3-Cell 2200mAh LiPo as a template I marked out the area in the battery area where Styrofoam had to be removed. I then used a Dremel with a sanding attachment to cog out the Styrofoam. Needless to say, the stock battery door will not be used.

Removing this much Styrofoam from this area leaves the area weak so I cut some balsa to use as braces around the new battery area. At the same time I cut some balsa pieces to help brace at the front of the rear landing gear area and at the servo mounting area. The picture below shows these 7 pieces of balsa that will be glued into the fuselage for strength. Also shown is how the large LiPo fits with the Velcro strap that will hold the LiPo in place in the battery box.

Also in the fuselage the tubes for the rudder and elevator servo actuating rods were installed. These were put into place and glued in with foam safe CA.

Freddy
Last edited by Fredriksson; Mar 08, 2009 at 10:00 PM. Reason: Added title
Feb 23, 2009, 07:10 PM
FFF Junkie
subscribed.
Feb 23, 2009, 10:11 PM
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Spackle and Sand Horizontal Stabilizer


As I have already stated I plan to put a decent paint job on this plane. Reading here at RCG I found numerous references to LWS - Light Weight Spackle mixed with water to prepare the Styrofoam surface for painting. So I bought some LWS when I was at Lowe's getting sanding supplies.

I thought I would see how it looked so I sanded the Styrofoam mold roughness from the horizontal and vertical stabilizers and got them ready to spackle.

When I was at Lowe’s I was searching for a soft blade to spread the spackle. When I could not find anything my wife suggested cutting a spreader from an empty plastic milk container. And that is what I did and did it ever work great! I mixed some water into the LWS on a Styrofoam plate and using the small spreader cut from the plastic milk jug (actually the jug I used originally contained water but I think you get my point) spread the thin mixture onto both stabilizers. I was surprised at how well it went on and smoothed out with the spreader.

After drying for 30-45 minutes the LWS was ready to sand. I used 600 grit sandpaper and the surface came out so smooth. Then my wife had another suggestion. She and I play a little billiards now and then and she pulled out a product made by McDermott Cue Manufacturing called McMagic. It is used to condition pool cue shafts to make them smooth to slide easily between your fingers. The text on the front of the package said it all, “Forget 600 grit. McMagic contains grit equivalents to 7,500 grit!” Now you wanna talk smooth surface, the series of 4 plastic sheets of fine, extra fine, super fine, and ultra fine really made the surface smooth. These sheets are made of plastic and can be cleaned with soap and water. It may be overkill on smoothness but is there such a thing as a surface for painting being too smooth? I will find out soon enough.

Needless to say I was impressed with the surface of the stabilizers after sanding with the 600 grit sandpaper and the McMagic sheets. I have attached a picture of the horizontal stabilizer before and after the LWS application. The difference is easy to see in the picture. The prepared stabilizer has no hint of the Styrofoam beads. I will use this on the entire surface of the plane in preparation for painting.

Freddy
Last edited by Fredriksson; Mar 08, 2009 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Added title
Feb 23, 2009, 10:21 PM
Midnight Maniac
planekiller's Avatar
That looks fantastic!
Feb 24, 2009, 10:37 PM
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Spackle Battery Box


I did not get much accomplished tonight. I decided to paint the inside of the enlarged battery box. OK, so my wife thought that painting the inside of the battery box would be a nice touch. So, I sanded it out and laid down a thin coat of the LWS. Tomorrow I plan to sand down the LWS and tape off the area for painting. The attached picture shows the battery box with the fresh LWS.

I believe I have decided on the paint job. At this time I am planning to do the same paint scheme as my current plane shown in post #1 but just black and white. I still have plenty of time before painting so I could change my mind. For now I will use black paint on the inside of the battery box.

Freddy
Last edited by Fredriksson; Mar 08, 2009 at 10:03 PM. Reason: Added title
Feb 28, 2009, 08:26 AM
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Tape and Paper Battery Box for Painting


I got a little more work done on my E-Starter. I sanded down the LWS in the battery box. Then I taped of all of the non-paint areas. I wanted to keep the surfaces to be glued free of paint. That included the areas at the top of the battery box between the sections of Styrofoam where I will be gluing in the balsa reinforcements. The attached picture shows this.

My order from HobbyCity finally arrived. Well, kinda. No one was at home for the delivery so the package is at the post office. I will be picking it up this morning.

Freddy
Last edited by Fredriksson; Mar 08, 2009 at 10:04 PM. Reason: Added title
Feb 28, 2009, 10:16 PM
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Soldering Motor Connectors


I'll save the painting for a bit. I went down to the post office and picked up my package from HobbyCity. It contained the TowerPro motor, the Turnigy ESC, and some carbon fiber rods. It also contained some replacement motor shafts. I know that the 3mm shaft on the TowerPro motor can bend very easily so under $5.00 for 3 spare shafts is a great value.

The TowerPro motors come with a GWS style geared motor stick mount, motor mounting hardware and prop mounting hardware as shown in the attached picture. The motor comes without connectors on the electrical leads so the first thing to do is solder the male side of the 3.5mm bullet connectors to the motor wire leads. It is correct to put the male side of the bullet connector onto the motor and the female side of the bullet connector on the ESC. This is because the female side of the bullet connectors are insulated completely and the chance of shorting out an ESC is minimized.

Below is a description of how I solder bullet connectors along with pictures. This is probably available on other posts here at RCG but I have seen many questions about soldering that have been posted so here is just one more description.

For soldering I use some basic tools. A standard Radio Shack 15 Watt soldering iron, Radio Shack lead free silver bearing solder (rosin core solder works very well too), and a Kronus Helping Hands device. The helping hands is indispensable for holding things. It's like having an extra hand or two available.

There are probably many rules for good soldering and I am sure I will miss some, but here are my basic rules that I use.
1) The soldering iron must be hot. Give it time to get up to temperature.
2) The tip of the soldering iron must remain clean with a thin layer of shiny solder on it. Clean it while hot by melting a little solder onto the tip and then wipe off the excess solder on a damp sponge or cloth. Keep the sponge or cloth on your work surface and move the soldering iron tip to the sponge or cloth. Do not hold the sponge or cloth in your hand. Remember, the soldering iron is very, very hot. Always assume the soldering iron is very, very hot. This may save you from burning yourself, someone else, or something else some day.
3) When soldering, do not use the soldering iron to melt the solder directly. Use the soldering iron to get the items to be soldered together hot and then touch the solder to the items to be soldered. Let the heat of the items to be soldered actually melt the solder - not the iron.
4) A good solder joint will be shiny. A dull solder joint is an indication of a bad solder joint. Usually it is called a cold solder joint because the dullness is a product of the lack of heat. If the joint is dull, re-heat it. Usually you can fix a cold solder joint.
5) Be conscious of heat transfer through the items being soldered. In the RC hobby most soldering consists of soldering wire to a connector where it is less critical but if too much heat travels up a wire it can melt the insulation. Try to work as quickly as possible to minimize the heat transfer and the damage that heat can cause.
6) Wires to be soldered should already have solder soaked into them. If they don't, go ahead and heat the wire and add some solder. Be sure that the solder flows well through the strands of wire.

Bullet connectors are so easy to solder. They have a nice barrel on the end that holds solder so it does not want to run. You can follow the attached pictures showing my technique of soldering (as if there is any other way to do it).
1) Place the bullet connector into your holder (Kronus helping hands clip) with the solder barrel facing up.
2) Touch the tip of the hot soldering iron to the outside edge of the connector end. Hold the soldering iron against the connector heating the connector up.
3) As the connector gets hot, touch the solder to the inside of the connector. When the connector gets hot enough it will start melting the solder. Melt enough solder to fill the connector joint end.
4) Keeping the soldering iron on the outside of the connector, take the wire and dip the end into the molten solder. Hold it there for a few seconds allowing the wire to get hot.
5) Remove the soldering iron from the connector holding the wire upright. Hold the wire as still as possible while the solder solidifies.
6) It should only take 3 to 5 seconds or so for the solder to solidify. Once the solder is solid, your solder joint is done.

Most often the solder joint should be covered with heat shrink tubing which is an insulator to keep anything from touching the joint and shorting out the electrical circuit and to keep you from getting shocked. With bullet connectors you can add the heat shrink sleeve after the soldering is done. However, when doing some soldering like attaching a Dean's connector you will need to remember to put the heat shrink tube on the wire before soldering. You can not put the heat shrink tube on after the soldering is done.

To shrink the heat shrink tube position it where you want it and just add heat. I have heard of many that use the heat from the soldering iron to shrink the sleeve by holding the iron just below the heat shrink tube. Not touching the tube because that will melt the tube but real close so that lots of heat gets to the heat shrink tube. I prefer to use the flame of a cigarette lighter to shrink the heat shrink tube. Just enough to shrink the tube, not enough to melt it or set it on fire. I have attached a picture of the completed job of soldering the bullet connectors to the motor wires and adding the heat shrink tube. Not too bad of a job if I say so myself.

While I had my soldering equipment out I went ahead and soldered the female bullet connectors to the ESC motor leads and a male Dean's connector to the battery leads. Now the ESC is ready to use.

Freddy
Last edited by Fredriksson; Mar 12, 2009 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Added title
Mar 01, 2009, 12:42 AM
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Attach Motor to Stick Mount


While working on the power system I decided to go ahead and mount the TowerPro motor to the stick mount. When I bought my first TowerPro motor and looked at the motor mount I had no idea how to get the motor onto the stick mount. There were 3 holes in the motor and no 2 of them lined up with the 2 holes in the stick mount. And even if they did the motor would not be centered and would be way off of lining up with the motor shaft hole in the cowl. I did a search here at RCG and found the answer. Here is what I learned and how I mounted the TowerPro motor to the QWS style geared motor stick mount. Pictures are attached to show how this works.

First, remove the motor mount collar from the motor by removing the 2 Allen screws. Using one of the mounting screws, mount the motor mount collar to the stick mount as shown in the picture below. Notice that the motor shaft will line up on the stick mount exactly where the motor shaft would be if a geared motor was used. You will have to drill the 2 lower mounting holes into the stick mount. Center the motor mount collar and use a 5/64 (2mm) drill to drill the 2 holes. Put the other 2 mounting hardware bolts and nuts in place through the newly drilled holes and the motor mount collar is mounted. After this the bottom section of the stick mount can be removed. It is not needed and just adds weight.

When mounting the motor it is important to use something to keep the screws from coming loose. The motor causes a lot of vibration that can make screws come loose and even unscrew all the way. This is a terrible thing to learn when a plane is in the air. I like to use the Loctite Blue Threadlocker for securing screws. On this model I have used Loctite on all three of the nuts that attach the motor mount collar to the stick mount. To do this I first tightened all the nuts. Then, one at a time, I loosened the nut, added a small drop of Loctite, and then re-tightened the nut firmly. When these dry the Loctite will keep them from coming loose. With the blue Loctite you can get them loose again if you need to. Do not use the red Loctite. That stuff is really tough making it very difficult to loosen the screw or nut again.

In addition, when using this TowerPro motor there are some Allen screws that need Loctite. The two Allen screws that hold the motor to the motor mount collars and the two Allen screws that hold the motor bell to the shaft. On my motor, one of the Allen screws at the motor mount collar was pretty loose. To use the Loctite, first tighten the Allen screws. Then, one at a time, remove the Allen screw, add a small drop of Loctite to the end of the Allen screw, and then screw the Allen screw back making it good and tight. The picture below points out the places to add Loctite. The idea is to not have any of these screws come loose.

After all of these screw have the Loctite applied and the screw tighten down, the motor and motor mount are ready to mount onto the plane. On the E-Starter I will be using the upper stick mount hole in the fuselage. The motor connector wires will pass through the slot below the mounting stick. So when I mounted the motor I positioned the connector wires at the bottom.

Freddy
Last edited by Fredriksson; Mar 08, 2009 at 10:05 PM. Reason: Added title
Mar 01, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Freddy:

For the ailerons, I use triangle stock balsa, usually about 1" is good. It has plenty of authority and add snap to your turns. Make sure before you glue them in, you have plenty of travel. I want to read about making the triangle landing gear. I have a new estarter in a box, my third, which I hope to build soon. Right now, I'm working on a balsa L19 in the builders section.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredriksson
I have started the build. I used a sharp hobby knife and have cut out the flight control surfaces - rudder, elevator and ailerons. I do not attempt to cut all the way through the Styrofoam with a single knife stroke. I use light pressure on the knife only going part of the way through the Styrofoam. After 5 or 6 light passes with the knife the cut will be all the way through the Styrofoam and the control surface will be free. I take this cut right up against the rear edge of the wing, horizontal stabilizer or vertical stabilizer leaving the excess foam on the control surface. These cuts will be cleaned up with sandpaper.

For sanding the surfaces where the hinges will be I like to use a fine grit 3M Brand sanding sponge. On the control surface itself I use the block and sand the cut edge following the molded angle on the control surface on one side. Then I do the same for the angled surface on the other side. This will bring the top and bottom surfaces on this front edge to a point. To finish I lightly sand this point to a flat about .125" wide. This flat surface is where I will make the slots for the hinges.

I use the sanding sponge to smooth out the opposing hinge surfaces on the wing, horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizer. These are the surfaces where matching slots will be cut for the aileron, elevator and rudder hinges.

For this build the Styrofoam ailerons will not be used. In my opinion, the Styrofoam ailerons are too weak and do not have the authority that I like. I will build a set of ailerons from balsa to use on this plane.

Freddy
Mar 03, 2009, 08:53 PM
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Preparing Balsa Ailerons


I had hoped the weather would warm up a bit so I could paint the battery box and get the fuselage glued together. I have to paint in the unheated garage and do not want to paint when it is barely over 40°F. So I decided to get going on the ailerons.

taekwondo, I have the angled balsa but it is not 1". The cut out for the ailerons in the wing is 1-3/8" at the inside tapering to 1-1/4" at the outer end. I want ailerons with lots of authority so I started with 1-1/2" angled balsa.

First I cut them to length so they were just under the length of the cut out in the wing. Then I used the medium grit sanding sponge to taper down the hard angles at the base of the balsa where the aileron meets the wing. This will give the necessary clearance for good aileron travel.

I have attached a picture showing the shape at the base of the balsa aileron before and after the taper was sanded. There is also a picture showing the balsa aileron positioned in place on the wing. The aileron will extend slightly beyond the trailing edge of the wing - more so on the outside edge. This oversize aileron will give plenty of authority to the roll axis. I will attach the ailerons later. There is still lots of work to do on the wing before it is time to attach the ailerons.

Freddy
Last edited by Fredriksson; Mar 08, 2009 at 10:06 PM. Reason: Added title
Mar 04, 2009, 08:01 AM
Houng-wen Lin
GWS4CEO's Avatar
Nice to see your modification.

But, wish that you also equipped with GWS servos, prop.....


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