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Jun 18, 2010, 04:16 PM
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KJMDES's Avatar
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Zip33 Build and flight reports for production kit

Hi All,
I've started this new thread to allow builders to discuss the kit and flight performance. As this kit just hit the market, I'm sure we will all benefit from some observations and experience.

If you are new to the Z33, you can check out the original thread at;

Last edited by KJMDES; Jun 19, 2010 at 01:18 PM.
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Jun 19, 2010, 03:29 AM
ajroahkni's Avatar
Got to maiden my zip33 today at polipoli. The weather & conditions sucked. South winds blew nearly downhill....but in what few windows of air I had, I was very happy. I built mine stock to incidence and slightly (w/in parameters) tail-favored. it floated along well and didn't drop a wing once (to the contours of the hill and wind direction, I REALLY put it in tipstall environments and did not see any of that happen.

Stoked, and can't wait for halfway decent conditions to see what this thing can do.

BTW, set up and trimmed to manual spec on the 'multijig' the zip33 flew straight and level from first toss (I chickend out and had kevin throw it for me - wasn't necessary to do that).

Looking forward to good air and to hearing how you guys are doing with the build. I used ultracote lite and it was very forgiving.

My production kit on the left, kevin's two incarnations center & right

like rockettes



Jun 19, 2010, 01:16 PM
Registered User
KJMDES's Avatar
Cool pix John. We need to get a really big window fan to take up to the hill. Strange again that the only decent air was in the fog. Density!

Jun 21, 2010, 04:42 PM
F3J-F3K-F3F- What to Fly??
Dale Thompson's Avatar
SO, My build continues. Fitting the front servo required a lot of bending of the structure to get the servo wire into the opening. After reviewing the final result the servo case is bonded to the entire B3 part. The strength comes from the servo case bonded into the structure, might as well cut into B3 into allow the servo wire to slip into into the structure.

I assembled the cranks and test fit them into the frame. I hooked up the electronics and set the DX5 I was planning to use to the low rate (80%) and tried it out. Too much throw, the cranks will rotate past to the loading position on the lowest rate. The DX5 is too simple a TX for this plane. I will go to my 72 Mhz gear to have a TX with variable rates and end point adjustments, I think that a precise level of adjustability is required in this design.

I wanted to check the total throw needed and test the crank limits but i did not find any reference to the travel of the TE.

What is a good set-up for control surface movements?
Jun 21, 2010, 05:45 PM
Registered User
KJMDES's Avatar
It is tricky as stated, but the flex is acceptable. Unless you don't feel your way through the fit, it could result in damage to B3. I'll expand the manual on this.

The mech is designed to use the available servo travel of 60 degrees. Then to load, 100-125%TA should bring you to around 65 degrees. Some radios may require you setting limits, then poping the ball link to load. I do both and don't find the maunal load any problem. I would not worry too much about travel until you fit and set the incidence. That is where you determine crank zero. From there, you can look at travel.

From zero incidence, you should have 7-7.5mm up / 5-5.5mm down - measured at the TE

Last edited by KJMDES; Jun 21, 2010 at 06:03 PM.
Jun 25, 2010, 07:17 AM
F3J-F3K-F3F- What to Fly??
Dale Thompson's Avatar
Did some more work last night and had a couple more comments. I switched to a Lightflight D6 72Mhz reciever and installed all the gear. It would be nice to have some Laser markings on the ply sides to show the initial center locations of the cranks in the slots. This way you can check that the initial linkage set up was correct.

I finally figured out the reason for adding the paper to the sides of the battery pack. This keeps the conductive carbon rods installed on the sides of the fuse from shorting out the cells. Once you understand the reason for an instruction step I can do a better job of execution.
Jun 26, 2010, 07:13 PM
Registered User
KJMDES's Avatar
Thanks for the comments.
All are making it into the manual.

Jul 16, 2010, 11:17 AM
that's gonna hurt...
FYI - If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, AeroMicro has Zip33s in stock.

Even if you don't need a Zip, stop by and check out Aeromicro, one of the last real hobby shops left in the Bay Area.

Aug 06, 2010, 02:09 AM
RC Man Child!

Just finished my build, what do you think?

we'll se how she flys really soon. Thanks Kevin for such a great build.
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Aug 06, 2010, 04:27 AM
Registered User
KJMDES's Avatar
Now thats some flash. I'm of a mind to steal some color scheme for my next build.

Good luck on the maiden. Let us know how it goes.

Aug 06, 2010, 02:35 PM
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KJMDES's Avatar
Hi all,

It's been a few weeks since I did an update. The Z55 has been a central focus of my efforts, and it is an intense project to be sure.

Now for the update;

The Z33 is selling well. Aufwind, and MAN are working on reviews as I write this.

I've had a few questions on the kit, so here goes;

Control Travel and rates: Some of you have indicated that your radios require more than 80% rate reduction to keep the wing drive-pin engaged. I'll amend the manual soon, and for now just say that radios differ in their travel range, so the thing to remember is to adjust the travel until you can't disengage the pin with slight finger pressure on the wing. The flight loads will try to pop the pin out of the drive-crank at the extreme end of travel, so adjust to a safe point, and disregard the actual rate value, as wherever you end up, the max travel is just short of disengagement.

As far as actual travel goes, the wing varies on the build tolerances, so refer to the former comments. The elevator should not exceed 8mm up, and 6mm down.

There was an unfortunate crash with Proto 2, but I was able to get close to two hours of good flight evaluation, so the design was fixed, and I am building the pre-production ship now. The manual is coming together, and barring any further glitches, we should be shipping in ten days. Patience, patience……

The standard kit comes with the light-air wing. A few weeks after we start shipping, an optional wing will be offered that will raise the loading a bit, and allow improved aerobatic performance. It will not turn the ship into a ripp'in sloper, but for a wood kit at a loading under 8oz/sqft, I am sure it will turn in a very respectable performance.

The new wing will only be offered as an option for approx. $60, and there are no planes to offer it as an alternative for the kit. The Z55 is a light-air sloper, so the new wing is just to give you a choice to carry to your flying site.

I had to make a decision regarding the release of this kit, and due to a very soft market for this type of kit, it's been bumped in favor of the Z1. I will continue to work on the design, but don't expect it will be ready till the end of the year. The good part? It will be a better ship for the wait.

This new design will follow the Z55 into production, and will be a 1 meter, fully aerobatic Twisty for slope. The loading will be in the 8oz/sqft range, and controls will be wingeron, elevator and rudder. It will be an X-tail to improve knife edge performance, and should be a very snappy ship. The price will be approx. $100 for the full kit.



Kevin J. McDonald
Aug 30, 2010, 01:54 PM
F3J-F3K-F3F- What to Fly??
Dale Thompson's Avatar
I finally got back to my Zip 33 build.

One of my goals on a small plane like this is to make easy to take along when traveling. A sloper that fit's into my luggage and still can rip it up would be fantastic.

The mounted V-Tail makes this a challange, but I learned on my Stingeron build how to make it removable (thanks Adam). I made a CF mounting bracket for the 105 deg V-tail that captures it with one 4-40 nylon bolt. The elevator linkage was changed to Dubro micro ball links to allow the linkage to be removable. This works very nicely and allows the elevator to be removed and lie flat for transport. AND -- It all fits back into the Box it came in.

Once the tail was done the rest of the build was straight from the manual.
I balanced it on the jig and off to the slope. The final AUW was 199 g with no nose weight required. That's a bit above the other reported builds, but it's for the slope so I'm not concerned.

I went to Davenport on a day with the normal 15 -20 and slightly north conditions.

This thing rocks!! It penetrates, its stable , it's fast and very predictable.
I could have sworn I was flying a 60" plane. The roll rate was OK on my 50% settings but I had programmed 60% as well and thought the cams would be OK. This produced a nice tighter roll on the first revolution but the loading popped the rod out of the cam and down it went. The result was only a cracked wing rod. That Ply is tough. A new wing rod and back in the air on low rates for more fun, I could not be happier. This is a real slope plane that pumps and scoots and flys really well.

There is a new upgrade to add magnets to hold on the wings and to extend the cams for a bit more travel, all refinements that improve the plane. I'm going to make these upgrades in the next few weeks, but until then I'm going to get some more airtime on this plane.

I think I have finally found a small transportable plane that I can take almost anywhere and fly.

Thanks Kevin
Last edited by Dale Thompson; Aug 30, 2010 at 02:00 PM.
Aug 31, 2010, 10:15 PM
Registered User
KJMDES's Avatar
Cool mod. I like the carbon and the fact that you didn't up the weight that much. Good job.

I'm so deep into the Z55 project, I haven't had time to think about it, but I do expect to address this aspect someday. Likely next year after the Z1 starts shipping.

I did get the updated mag retention done, and those kits will start shipping on Monday. I've sent an update offering the mags and a retro-fit guide to anyone interested. It's free, so if you didn't get the email, drop me a line and I'll send them out.

Glad you like the performance. The Z33 is still the highlight on our hill most days. Like a pesky bee amoung the Radians and other, huh, slower ships.

On the roll-rate aspect. I've redesigned the cranks, but they are a bear to retro, so I am not sending them out. All I can offer is to carefully zap some jaw extenders from thin ply. But, and this is a big but, do it at your own risk. I tried it, and found that the alignment has to be perfect relative to the crank pin jaw. Otherwise, the pin hangs at the transition.

Sep 28, 2010, 02:49 PM
Registered User
Synergy1's Avatar
Are you shipping the zip 33 or the 55 to the uk?

I'd been trying to get a talon (in order to make a super talon) but nobody here seems to sell the talon kits anymore - they seem to always be out of stock.. and then I came across these and realised things have improved on a lot.
Sep 28, 2010, 02:59 PM
Registered User
KJMDES's Avatar
The Talon has been discontinued. Long live the Talon..........

I have shipped several Z33's to the UK and Europe. Z55's are finally shipping out this week, barring anymore hold-ups, screw-ups, or otherwise nasty realities of the Laser. Looks good at this point.

Shipping to the UK for the Z33 is $30 by prioity post. The Z55 should be around $35.

The site ordering is not set up yet for international orders, so email me and I'll let you know how to get around it to order.


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