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Jun 13, 2003, 12:13 AM
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My first balsa plane: The Wasp!

Well, my shiny new Wasp kit arrived today. This is my first experience building in balsa and I was a little nervous starting out, but for the most part it wasn't as bad as I expected, with one major exception: the wing.

The only major problem I had was getting the trailing edge rail onto the ribs for the wing. Those of you who have Wasps and have built other kits as well -- is it always as hard as it was on the Wasp getting that rail on there? I damaged the rail and a few of the ribs trying to get it on there. The notches in the ribs that the rail was supposed to seat into were VERY thin and broke off when I was trying to finagle the rail on. Is there some basic technique that I'm just missing out on that would have made this operation simpler, or do I just have to suck it up and practice more? I still had some reasonably good joints to glue, so I think the wing will be structurally ok, but it still bugs me.

Anyway, it took me just over 4 hours to frame it up from the time I opened the box. I still have to cover it, and I'll probably start on that tonight and finish tomorrow evening. The directions call for using paint/dope on the fuse, is that what most people are doing? I have no experience using dope -- is it going to basically work like paint for the fuse, or is there anything special I should know if I decide to go that way.

Here a picture of the bones. I'll post some more pics of the finished product when I get it covered.


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Jun 13, 2003, 12:23 AM
Live to ride... and fly!
Tres Wright's Avatar
Hey Mark-

It's been a long time since I built my Wasp, but I don't remember the wing being a problem. On assemblies like that, I start on one end and work the parts together from one end to the other, then go back and make sure each joint is snug before hitting it with C/A. Sometimes it is a little tricky fitting the notches into each other. But it beats the heck out of the old days of laying everything over a plan, pinning it in place, cutting-trimming-shaving to get the parts to meet up right, then C/A it all together only to discover you left something out that now won't fit in there right These laser cut notch-together assemblies are great because you can assemble the whole thing dry, check and confirm parts fit before glueing.

On the fuse, I used white dope on the ply part (bottom of the "T"), but I wasn't happy about the finish I was getting so I just covered the vertical part of the "T" with SoLite. It was pretty easy just to cover it, as long as you do it before you join the parts together. Oops, just noticed in your pic that you have joined the parts together, so you probably want to paint it instead!
Jun 13, 2003, 02:18 AM
Registered User
d_trafalgar's Avatar
Hi Mark,

Most likely your fit problem was due to material thickness. It's nice that we can now cut parts to within .005" accuracy but that can cause problems when tolerances in sheet thickness is a little off. I find that even on a single sheet of balsa there can be differences in thickness due to changes in density of the wood. Removing a few thou with some sandpaper would have eased your problems.
Most of the strength at that joint will come from the bond between the rib and the gussets in the TE rail.

I sealed my fuse with 50% thinned clear dope before painting. I also applied a layer of tissue to either side of the fuse at this time for some added strength....just like in the old days...... I chose finishing it this way because of the complex design I was planning. The thinned dope sealed the fuse from absorbing the heavier paint which I painted on as thin as I could.

Jun 13, 2003, 06:51 AM
Crash Master
Gene Bond's Avatar
I just sprayed the whole fuse assembly lightly with a can of cheap paint

I don't remember any problems with the TE fitting, either. I did dry fit the entire wing, then go back and drop some CA on the joints, as well.
Jun 13, 2003, 07:33 AM

Gene, Tres

How much CA do you use? Not looking for an exact amount but is a tiny drop enough for each joint? Or tiny drops on both sides of the joint? Thick or thin? Accelerator? Any other expert tricks? Details?

I have learned much from you both here in the 'Zone'.

Thank you

Jun 13, 2003, 08:06 AM


I am about to start building mine. Still trying to decide on the powerplant. Am leaning toward the 300 C with 2s 1200 e-tecs.
But might take this opportunity to go brushless. Dunno. Guess I'll have to decide before building the motor mount area. What power are you planning?

I opened my kit and had a look around. Everything looks good. I am finishing another build this weekend and may get in some late night building on the wasp. I got the medium CA, but I think thin would probably be better. Still need the wheels, and, well, just about everything else. It will probably be awhile before I fly this one.

I'll probably get some dope for the fuse. I am thinking about covering in saran wrap, but solite would probably be better for a high powered setup like I'm planning.
Jun 13, 2003, 09:35 AM
Thread OP
I'm going to start with an IPS-A and go from there. At some point, I'll probably go up to a 300, but I want to see how it flies on the stock power first. The motor mount looks fairly easy to modify after the fact, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Incidentally, I am Solite challenged. It's really giving me a hard time trying to get it covered, but I'll get it done eventually. It's almost certainly going to take me longer to cover than it did to build.

Jun 13, 2003, 09:39 AM
Tip: Fit the wing to the fuse before painting/covering the fuse... Sand down thickness as needed to allow snug fit, but not overly tight.
Jun 13, 2003, 09:56 AM
Live to ride... and fly!
Tres Wright's Avatar
Leigh- on the laser cut kits where the parts are slotted together, I use a bare minimum of C/A. Just a drop of thin on each joint is all you need, it'll wick into the joint. On the "old style" kits where the parts are butted together, I use a drop of thin on each side of the joint. Then when the assembly is complete and unpinned from the table, I check each joint. If any of them are loose, I add a drop of thick C/A as a fillet. About the only place on a laser cut kit that I don't use thin is when joining large pieces together, like the vertical stab on the Wasp kit. I use thick C/A to give myself a little more time to work and to make sure the part is properly aligned before it sets (I put the C/A on the part before putting it into place).

==I have learned much from you both here in the 'Zone'.==

Thank you, glad you've found something useful in there!

On the motors, the Wasp flies decent on the DX-A, but it really performs great on a bigger motor. I've got a geared 010 on mine, but I suspect it would do nearly as well on a GWS 300 too. It'll weigh more, but if you use li-polys then it should still be a reasonably light plane. I didn't modify the plane's motor mount, instead I lined the motor gearbox mount with balsa to make it fit onto the existing mount. But if you think you'll never go back to the IPS, then modifying the plane's mount can be done too.
Jun 13, 2003, 10:50 AM
Crash Master
Gene Bond's Avatar
Thanks for the kind words, Leigh. Like Tres, I find that a drop of thin CA wicks into the joint and sometimes even to my fingers The only time I use Medium or Thick is on poor fitting parts, like hand-cut rib slots and such.

WJ is right, check the wing-slot to fuse fit before you paint or cover the fuse. The thickness tollerance on the thicker wood is better, but still it can be awful tight.

jms: I have not gone above a 180/M100 in power, due to wingloading, but I'm sure it will handle it. Maybe I should give it a try... I bet a B ratio with a 9x4.7 would get rather exciting. A C with a 10x8, like the SwitchBack would be fast and furious. But, I just don't think it needs it. It's a blast with the M100 type of power, which could be closely approximated with an EPS100C-1S on 3 Li cells, such as ET700's. I would probably use a 9x4.7 prop. Or, if your into the ($20 replacement motor) IPS-Duals, give it a go.
Jun 13, 2003, 11:05 AM
I've flown both the IPS and 300C (C Gearing) with 2-cell lipos (1200s) on the Wasp.

With the IPS you can fly it in no wind conditions at about 60% throttle.

If you go to the 300, even less is needed, but you have to get the weight balance right to compensate for the extra motor weight. Otherwise, the plane gets a little nose heavy, and tends to want to speed up and require up-trim.

David (Climax Models) is wanting me to put a RZ-2500 on the Wasp and do insane stuff that'd probably cause me to crash it. (I think he likes the idea so much to sell more kits.)

Although I've not tried one, I tend to agree with Gene, and that a Dual-IPS might be a great powerplant, without adding too much additional nose weight.
Jun 13, 2003, 12:14 PM
Registered User
d_trafalgar's Avatar

RZ-2500??......I was thinking more like 400 or 300......
For people who have the need for speed going brushless might
be a better choice than the 300C, since they are considerable less weight and capable of producing more thrust.....

Of course if you want to buy more kits that fine too.....

Jun 13, 2003, 10:53 PM
Thread OP
This wing hates me. First, I had my problems with fitting the TE rail, now it's rebelling against my feeble attempts at covering. I've spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 hours trying to cover the wing and have nothing to show for it but a pile of crumpled up Solite.

I have everything else covered, but the wing is really giving me fits. Oh well, back to read "For the Solite challenged" yet again and try one more time. I almost had it right the last attempt at least!

Jun 13, 2003, 11:31 PM
Ok, try this:

1 2
3 4
5 6

135 is the left side of the wing.... 246 is the right.

Tack spot 3 with the solite/iron. Pull snugly striaght across and tack spot 4.

Then come back and tack 1, then 2, then 5 and 6.

Then pull snugly, to remove excess and avoid big wrinkles, and tack the leading edge, then trailing edge.

Then trim the edges appropriately, making sure you have about 3/16" surface area tacked all the way around.

Then shrink, GENTLY with a heat gun, working quickly with the gun, so you dont burn holes in the solite.

Try that and see how it works for ya.
Jun 13, 2003, 11:44 PM
Registered User
d_trafalgar's Avatar
Hi Mark....

Sorry to hear your having so much trouble with the So-lite. I have never used it but I have used a number of other similar covering materials and the techniques are all very similar. Ounce you get the hang of it you'll wonder why you had so much trouble in the beginning. To bad you never tried dope and tissue before you'd still be happy even at this point.....

Yeah, what Bill says....that's a good method. Don't try and do everything all at ounce. Do the top and bottom separately as well as the wing tips.

Keep use posted.


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