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Dec 29, 2010, 11:11 AM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
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Build Log

Building the Ford Trimotor

Well, after months of drafting and noodling, the Ford Trimotor build is final;ly underway. It turns out that the Trimotor is a far more complex airplane then I ever imagined, so there's still some noodling to be done, but figured it best to work out the kinks "on the fly", then put what works on paper.

The model is done in 1:20 scale and will have a 46.7" span. Power will be 3, E-Flite Park 250 Outrunners and 4 ch. Control. The airfoil used is scale, and will also have an airfoiled tail section, also scale.

So, now that the preliminary stuff is out of the way, it's time to start building!!!

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Dec 29, 2010, 11:14 AM
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pda4you's Avatar
Too freaking cool.....

Excellent, as always.

Dec 29, 2010, 11:15 AM
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Starting with the Nacelles

The nacelles are set up with 3 formers and four pre-shaped stringers to hold it all together. A drafting triangle is used to square it all up, then the sub-assembly is glued together with thin Cya. Then once that's done, the balsa stringers are added along with the foam (or balsa) tail block. Next up will be to add the balsa fill around the strut attach points.
Dec 29, 2010, 11:21 AM
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The Wing Center Section

The nacelles are an integral part of the landing gear assembly, and will be permanently mounted to the senter section. The center section will probably be permanently mounted to the fuselage to save on the compexity of unhooking the landing gear to get it off. The outer panels will plug in to the C-section to make transport a bit easier if need be.

The assembly is your basic egg crate arrangement with front and rear spars. The hard points for the nacelles are built into the assembly to receive the struts once it's time to mount the nacelles.

Now, with the nacelles and C-section roughed in it's time to start bending the struts and fitting the assembly together.

Dec 29, 2010, 11:31 AM
Single-task at best...
tim hooper's Avatar
Originally Posted by P. Tritle
. The center section will probably be permanently mounted to the fuselage to save on the compexity of unhooking the landing gear to get it off. The outer panels will plug in to the C-section to make transport a bit easier if need be.

Apart from the nacelles, you're facing the same problem I had with my Desoutter in that removing the CS would be a serious pain in the nethers. I opted to bolt the CS to the fuselage. The bolts lie in recesses and are covered over with film patches. This means they're fairly easy to access for major servicing/repairs if need be.

The outboard panels simply plug in to the CS.

Nice choice of project BTW!

Dec 29, 2010, 11:45 AM
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owlsabie's Avatar
I love these planes - will be following avidly. Will you leave the tail surfaces scale size, or enlarge them a little? they seem to be hidden behind the wing a bit?
Dec 29, 2010, 03:16 PM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
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Owl, I drew the tailplanes in scale outline. Enlarging will add a bit to the levels of stability, but over the years I've found that with these lightly loaded models that there's no tendency to snap out of the stall anyway, so the larger tail volumes really aren't necessary.

Dec 29, 2010, 03:34 PM
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owlsabie's Avatar
Thanks Pat
Dec 29, 2010, 03:44 PM
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E-Challenged's Avatar
Anxious to see what your motor/speed controls/battery pack/BEC choices and wiring will be.
Dec 29, 2010, 03:45 PM
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Lnagel's Avatar
Great subject, I will be watching this with interest. After having followed all of your build threads, I have one request. Would you please post larger photos? The ones you post are hardly any larger than the thumbnails. It would be nice if your photos were at least 800 pixels wide.

Regardless of the photo size I'm looking forward to watching this build progress.

Dec 29, 2010, 04:03 PM
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CurtissP40's Avatar

I will be watching your build closely!

FWIW, there is a restored and flyable Ford Tri-Motor at the Evergreen museum under the Spruce Goose in McMinnville, Oregon. I have seen it fly at local airshows. One clever thing about it is where the luggage goes - in the wing. The inside is lovingly restored with varnished wood.

Sigh - another kit on the TBD list. It will be finished in the Evergreen livery.
Dec 29, 2010, 04:15 PM
Warbird crazy!
new2rc's Avatar
So cool!

I have been hoping to get one of these in some way. This will be great!
Have to finish the Rapide and Quaker Flash first

Dec 29, 2010, 04:57 PM
It flew once before...
jofrost's Avatar
Oooh and all 3 will be turning ! I'm in !!
Dec 30, 2010, 01:15 PM
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Mounting the Nacelles

Mounting the nacelles has turned into quite a project -- mostly because the struts didn't work as drawn. So, I'll mount the first one "the hard way" and then draw the struts once I know thwey fit. Then, I'll use those patterns to bend the second set just to make sure the drawings are correct.

To set things up, the wing C-Section is jigged vertical. Notice how the nacelle was cleaverly designed to rest atop a foam block for alignment -- well OK, maybe I just got lucky and the block just happened to be the right thickness. But hey, it works, so we'll run with it.

Meanwhile, a drafting triangle is used to sight the LG strut perpendicular to the wing while the block holds the nacelle up so that the rest of the struts can be installed. The system won't be glued together until after the components are covered.

Dec 30, 2010, 04:39 PM
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Finally Got It Figured Out

After a bit of fiddling with the strut arrangement I finally figured out how all the struts are set up. After the first side was done I drew the strut components onto the plans, then made the second set from the drawings and got it all set up. At this point the nacelle mounts are basically finished, so can now go ahead and get the fuselage framed up and see how the landing gear mount is going to work out.

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