F3B/F Tracer Build-SoaringUSA.com - RC Groups
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Sep 19, 2009, 10:55 PM
Detail Freak
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Build Log

F3B/F Tracer Build-SoaringUSA.com

*************************CLICK ON COMMENTS TO ^^ OPEN THREAD!

B-day present to me, from my wife (I picked it out for her, and she doesn't know just how well she did....)!

270g Fuse (has about the first 1/2" filled with lead shot already)
68g V-tails (pair)
135g Joiner
592g Left Wing
597g Rt Wing
56g Misc Hardware/covers
1718g Empty weight -60.6 oz!
138g 6x 761 servos
31g Fusion 9 rx
115g 5 cell 2/3A 1500 pack
35g Target made ballast tube
2037g Total, before build out, 72 oz

I may try to shave some weight here and there to trim the fat. It does have music wire pushrods in the snakes, for example.
The joiner is a bit heavy for its size, and is likely very strong.

Wings have ballast tubes in the roots, 14mm diameter x 267mm long.
Should hold some weight, but maybe not enough. Calculates out to about 16oz per side, so 900g total in the wings.

************************************************** *******
EDIT: Looks like I can fit a "Ceres" rectangular tube in the fuse to hold 7 slugs; they are 4.6oz each in the stock brass (32.2oz, or another 900g), or 6 oz each in lead (170g each, 1.19kg total), 42oz total.
So, I should be able to ballast up the Tracer with between 64 and 74 oz of total ballast, if the wing tube is in the right place (it's centered on 109mm).
************************************************** *****

Nose is considerably long, may not need ANY balance weight whatsoever, or probably very little.

Molding quality looks good, on par with my Xplorer from NAN, and the inside of the wings is neat and tidy. Wing skins feel very robust, and I can see the slightest hint of what looks to be "disser" fabric beneath the deep red paint.

Tail is two-piece and on SOLID CF rods, which I like.

Fuse looks good, and is based on the favored NAN Carbon/Kevlar hybrid fabric they use in most of their other planes. I like this fabric, it seems very strong for the weight. Forward of the wing is all glass and Kevlar, so the plane is 2.4 friendly for those inclined.

Overall, the quality looks very good, ESPECIALLY for the cost, but time will tell.

There are a couple things that aren't done for you that normally are, namely the v-tail linkages are not there in the kit. Quite a few planes have this part pre-made for you and already installed except for the balls themselves.
No biggie, if you can bend music wire, you're golden.
The tow hook slot isn't cut out either; the outline of where to dremel out would have been nice, but, just ahead of the CG range is where I know it should be.
Also, there is no servo tray provided. To me, this is OK, since I don't like pre-installed ones, and it is a waste to throw away a pre-machined one that doesn't match my servos or layout plan....
The canopy opening comes pretty far back towards wing LE's, and so I will attempt to strengthen this possibly vulnerable area by extending the servo tray aft into the closed area behind the canopy. It's worked well in the past for me.

Last edited by target; Nov 25, 2011 at 06:59 PM.
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Oct 13, 2009, 10:50 PM
Registered User
Brandon's Avatar


That thing looks slippery bro!

The hardware kit is excellent....turnbuckles and all makes for easy adjustments huh?

Oct 14, 2009, 12:26 AM
Detail Freak
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Those aren't actually turnbuckles, the threads are both Right Hand threaded. Still, they are very stiff, much more so than all-threaded rods.
Turnbuckles would be really nice with the plastic MPJet clevises though.

Last edited by target; Nov 30, 2009 at 12:26 AM.
Nov 30, 2009, 12:40 AM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Here are some pics of the construction. I hate fuse building, so of course I chose to start there.....

Even though this fuse is very streamlined, and smaller in cross-section than some F3F planes, it's a bit taller than most of the newer F3B planes, and as such, has a LOT of room (IMO) for gear, which affords a chance for creativity with the layout. Too bad all my planes look about the same inside.

A 5 cell, 2/3A 1500 MaH pack gets "swallowed" by the nose of this thing. The Fusion 9 rx I don't consider small, and it disappears as well, ahead of the canopy front lip. PLENTY OF ROOM!

For the two v-tails, who needs more than 761's or even Hs85bb's for that matter?? Ultra-short arms will be used to get great servo resolution, and every servo will be the same in this plane; Airtronics 94761z's.

The fuse will be fitted as well with a ballast tube that will hold (7) "ceres" lead slugs, which weigh 6oz each, for 42 oz available in the fuse. The tube itself came in at 23g, heavy enough to do the job, but not overly heavy.

With the tails installed, the fuse balances 1" behind the recommended CG, and I haven't glued in the tray (which helps support the ballast tube) yet. I'm hopeful of a light-ish plane, 75oz or so, 80 oz tops.
I used 1/8" ply for the tray, will weigh it before attaching.

I used the stock holes for the wire in the ruddervators, it takes 2mm in metric, 5/64" (.078") in "standard" music wire. Epoxy for the roughed up wires, black CA for the balls. Standard fare there.

Last edited by target; Dec 31, 2009 at 01:26 AM.
Nov 30, 2009, 04:45 PM
registered user
looking great too !!! How does canopy hold on ? do you have to make your own wire setup ? nice solid wing joiner your photo's show that well
Nov 30, 2009, 06:40 PM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Yeah, I will either use a music wire, or a carbon fiber rod as a spring clip for the canopy.

EDIT: I used a .060" carbon rod, glassed to the underside of the canopy in two places inset from the front and back, and about 20mm longer in total, than the canopy itself.

Last edited by target; Dec 31, 2009 at 11:06 AM.
Dec 01, 2009, 07:19 AM
Everything's A Compromise
Larrikin's Avatar
G'day Target,
Pardon my ignorance, but could you confirm that the amount of joiner visible in the image is the full amount of joiner used to locate and support the V-tail surface please?
Dec 01, 2009, 12:34 PM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
That is a great question, and the picture I posted leads you that direction.

What is true, is that the tube in the stab is longer than the amount of rod that engages it when the rod is fully engaged in the fuse....

So, my plan is to use a little spray adhesive on the base of the rods, and tack glue them into the fuse. Then they will stay fully engaged in the fuse.
The amount of rod that couples to the stabs is fine, @ 40-50mm, I'm guessing.

They could have left the rods a bit longer, there is an extra 10mm (again, I'm guessing) of tube in the stabs that will be "empty" with the rods fully engaged in the fuse.

Hope that answers your question. Not ingnorance, per se, a valid point.

Dec 02, 2009, 05:14 AM
Everything's A Compromise
Larrikin's Avatar
Originally Posted by target
The amount of rod that couples to the stabs is fine, @ 40-50mm, I'm guessing.

Thanks Target, this is something the team is pondering with the Sniper. Calypso Cobra V-Tails stubs were only about 30mm long into the tailplane. Yet fliers have commented that the bars split the fuse open under rough treatment.... go figure. I think 40mm into the tailplane is a good compromise.

Dec 31, 2009, 01:07 AM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Ends up, that there is 55mm into the tailplanes and @<20mm into the fuse, David.

Dec 31, 2009, 01:20 AM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Here are some build pics.

The plane is 76oz balanced at 103.5mm, so I am very happy with that! It's ready to maiden!


Last edited by target; May 22, 2010 at 09:23 AM.
Jan 05, 2010, 12:54 PM
Registered User
Brandon's Avatar

That's 2-56 threaded rod for the linkage?

Jan 05, 2010, 01:24 PM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Yes 2-56, but you can also use 2mm and still use the MPJet nylon clevises.
If you go to 4-40, you have to use a metal clevis at each end or a Hayes at the surface end.
I use a metal clevis at the servo only so that I can grind a relief in it and still have it strong enough.
Or you can use a bike spoke or a z bend or a couple other options at the servo that doesn't bind on the pulling of the linkage.

Jan 11, 2010, 08:01 AM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Here's the slope maiden shot.

Jan 11, 2010, 11:56 PM
Registered User
Multeric's Avatar
Great thread, Target!

If you can, please write a small flight report about the Tracer.



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