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Oct 08, 2010, 02:33 AM
ajroahkni's Avatar
Build Log

Zip55 by Zaerotech

This is my build of the Zip55 from Zaerotech.

The Zip55 is a wingeron made of wood, cool stuff. But what caught my attention is that it is a 4-servo wingeron. As in on-the-fly incidence changes. As in tail-sliding rudder goodness. As in looks-way-cool-on-the-ground-I'm-not-quite-sure-how-to-make-it-work-in-the-air landing and flight conditions mixing. (can't wait)

And let me just mention right now the fold away into your pocket v-tail. WHAT? Yup.

Kevin's been great in inviting us along as he proto'd and developed the Zip55. You can read through that thread here

For some history, the Zip55 is the big brother of the very fun Zip33. Though at first it was supposed to be 50"es. It grew 5" while still on paper.

here's a shot of the Z55 from

(e-option mods/build instructions are provided for with the kit. I'll be doing the sailplane version.)
Last edited by ajroahkni; Oct 08, 2010 at 02:48 AM.
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Oct 08, 2010, 02:59 AM
ajroahkni's Avatar

tail feathers

The kit is beautifully cut and unwrapping it provides that wonderful, signature scent of laser-cut wood.

For tonight's enjoyment, I decided to put the tail feathers together - its like the first 3 pages of instructions...just enough to get the toes wet.

Here's the balsa sheet that houses the tail - the remnant cutouts make for a pretty cool graphic.

Straightforward stuff. Cut the tabs away, pop the pieces apart.

There's one stab done

Now they're both done

And the control surfaces too!

The pesky process of aligning stabs and setting up a proper V angle are now a thing of the past. Kevin provides anti-idiot jigs with all of his kits...just put the post in the jig's slot, lay the stab on the "sled," interlock the teeth, and drip some CA.

Quick work of part one, that's for sure. One final picture for the night - and looking at it, I realize that I forgot to Gap-CA the ply-balsa joints.
Oct 08, 2010, 03:09 AM
satinet's Avatar
the smell is good

Love the zip kits.
Oct 08, 2010, 03:32 PM
ajroahkni's Avatar

tail drive mechanism, pt 1

i couldn't resist doing a litle more fiddling around this morning before work. The tail drive is an engineering marvel, and the sucker's tiny (don't be fooled by the close up shots).

shot mid-sand, one right and one left.

this piece fits onto that piece...that piece is scribed to tell you where to place this piece. note that the end there will overhang & get cut off once it's glued down. I shouldhave spent some time sanding the inside grooves before gluing down - I highly recommend it (make sure you have a delicate thumb's not that big in real life)

easy alignment!

the two blades done - notice the ends have been cut off.

I still have fine-sanding work to do to get it to move freely, but here the primary parts of the tail drive.
Oct 09, 2010, 01:53 AM
ajroahkni's Avatar
Hey all, me this mike on?

Working my way through the v-tail control cartridge. Man this thing is an engineering marvel. I've seen the finished product and how well it works and how simple it makes tuning a v-tail, but to put one together myself...that's geeky sweet. You guys that bought the kit - this step is worth the price of admission.
Oct 09, 2010, 03:02 AM
Sane til the lift starts!
kpeevyhouse's Avatar
You've got me drooling with those pictures.

Hopefully I'll have some extra spending money soon, because I really want one of these planes!
Oct 09, 2010, 03:37 AM
ajroahkni's Avatar

cartridge time

Thanks Kpeevyhouse.

As far as I'm concerned, the cartridge design incorporates all that is cool about wood...I was thinking: Kevin could probably miter the cartridge out of delrin or something. But laminating pieces of wood is so much more rewarding.

Anyway, here's the bare cartridge, after the nyrod sleeves are affixed.

it's not translucent, just carbon dust mixing with shadows.

Cams in place.

that nose-like thing at the top is the eject button. WHAT? Yup.

Because you laminate a ply doubler for the jaw, it is important to make sure that your balls fit in the jaw before calling it done.

Sleeves are affixed together with heatshrink and a dab of CA. 160mm and 140mm after that - precise.

The cartridge is done! No glue yet, just get everything sanded flush enough to slide-fit into the precut boom.

From that last picture, everything should make sense. But I couldn't resist dry-fitting the V into place. Man, the fit is tight, the mount is rigid. There's a freaking eject button for goshsakes!

That's all for tonight.

Part two of the instructions puts together the fuse. And that happens tomorrow.
Oct 09, 2010, 10:38 AM
Registered User
Awesome build thread.

I will be watching this closely as I am in the process of building the Zip33 and I gotta put in a plug for Kevin. He is a master at designing these kits. Every part is cut to amazing standards. Even as small as the parts for the 33 are each one fits perfectly and the kit goes together quickly. Its been really fun to build from wood again after all those years of epoxy and glass. Its very relaxing to say the least.

sorry for the slight hiJack.

Oct 09, 2010, 11:19 AM
around Colombia
ShredAir's Avatar
Well, I'll be following closely. I may have to put a Z55 together when visiting my folks in Germany next spring. It'll be ideal on the small slope we have there.

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
Oct 09, 2010, 02:37 PM
satinet's Avatar
Originally Posted by A6INTRUDER
Awesome build thread.

I will be watching this closely as I am in the process of building the Zip33 and I gotta put in a plug for Kevin. He is a master at designing these kits. Every part is cut to amazing standards. Even as small as the parts for the 33 are each one fits perfectly and the kit goes together quickly. Its been really fun to build from wood again after all those years of epoxy and glass. Its very relaxing to say the least.

sorry for the slight hiJack.

I feel the same way - Kevin you're a wizard. I would be building it now if Dieter hadn't made me buy a pace f4.........
Last edited by satinet; Oct 09, 2010 at 03:32 PM.
Oct 09, 2010, 02:52 PM
ajroahkni's Avatar

Fuselage, pt 1

So the fuse is not a lot of parts, not a lot of work. It is as cool a skeleton as I've seen.

Fuse sheets

The potentially confusing pieces are marked. I can't help to think that I was the inspiration here, as I made a few wrong-part mistakes when I put together my Zip33.
(How do you idiotproof a design? Find the idiot nearest you and let him have at it. )

Kevin provides a squaring tool with his kits.

Bulkheads tacked into place.

Wanted to make sure I took a pic of this piece. This is where the magic will happen.

The first of ten magnets goes into place.

Sides tacked onto the horizontal spine.

I would not be exaggerating if I said that this is the most precise, well engineered kit you will ever buy. Every key clicks into position and locks up those around it, no need to tack as you go when putting the bottom plate on. Very satisfying in my human not so impressed (I'm late for walking time)

And that's where we end for now, as I ran out of both thin (to tack) and gap (to set) CA glues.

Part two of the Fuse work will build up the upper section, add the canopy, balsa sides and end with the tail & boom attached in place.
Last edited by ajroahkni; Oct 09, 2010 at 03:57 PM.
Oct 09, 2010, 05:51 PM
Good, fast or cheap, pick two
robh's Avatar
Awesome stuff John, thanks for the great shots and commentary. Apparently mine is on the way, at least that's what Paypal said over a week ago! Can you tell that I'm anxious?? Your efforts will sure make the process easier for me -thanks again!

Oct 09, 2010, 07:54 PM
ajroahkni's Avatar
It's worth the wait, Rob. You'll probably get a package on Monday. In my experience, USPS Priority usually only takes the weekend to get from HI to CA and I think Kevin mailed everything out by Friday (think it's on the other thread).
Oct 09, 2010, 08:05 PM
ajroahkni's Avatar

Fuse part 2

I couldn't find thin CA and the hobby shop was locked when I got to town.

But luckily, everywhere sells gorilla glue CA, which is what I'm using for gap duty anyway.

So, it's time to put the top on....but before you do, make sure to run that delrin slider piece through the drive channels a few times. Want to have a path clear of CA residue.

As this picture shows, the drive "box" is installed (the piece w/ the magnet).

I was in awe at the design on that step, this designer is clever.

Balsa sides & bottom get slapped on there, and enough of it to sand this thing round in the end.

Control rod guides for ruddervators.

Boom slides in and mounts flush to the front former. Real easy alignment in the instructions as well.

There she is, boomed.

The next installment will be gluing in the cassette. There was a few pages of instruction for that task, so I'll save it for next time.
Oct 09, 2010, 08:57 PM
Registered User
KJMDES's Avatar
Very cool John. But I'm now having a problem getting my head through the door. Thanks for all the compliments guys.

All kits shipped on Friday. I noticed too late that the two 5mm long heat-shrink tubes failed to get on the Bill-of-Material, so you'll all need to dig up about 10mm to make the two. These are used to stabilize the cable tubes. With 196 parts, something was bound to get lost in the shuffle first time out.

I'm starting another thread for those who would like to comment on thier builds but don't want to start a lone thread on their own. I'll drop the link here next week.

Dieter does like those monster machines. We'll hook him on the small stuff yet.........

Cheers, and looking forward to the next installment.
Last edited by KJMDES; Oct 09, 2010 at 09:28 PM.

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