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Jul 02, 2011, 04:12 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Build Log

Fr3aK Zone

Hello all,

Many of you may have already been following the "DLG Molded Project" thread in the composites forum, but I decided to tone down on that two year old thread and post a dedicated build thread for my newest airplane, the Fr3aK Zone.

This airframe is my first Rohacell wing and will be my light air ship. The wing weighs in at 119g trimmed, and the fuse is a special layup to remove weight from the aft section and drive the overall weight down to 35g. Tails on this build are 16.4g. I have been making tails lighter than that recently but I color matched these to the airframe and I'm too lazy to make another set just to shave a gram or two from the tail.

This build will be rudderless, as is my norm, and I'll be using Hyperion 09SCDs in the wing and a JR DS188 with pull / spring in the fuse. Power will come from a 350mah 2S Lipo and one of my regulators. I'll use a 6ch FHSS-3 Airtronics receiver in the "2.4ghz friendly" fuse.

Here are a few pictures of the "kit" as it starts out. I'll post a bit of progress a couple of times a day until the build is completed. The whole build took me around 8 hours, with most of two hours involved in mounting the wing servos and internal top drive. This is my control method of choice, especially in uber-thin wings like this has.

Speaking of wing, I have to give special thanks to G_T (Gerald Taylor) for supplying me with the full progression of Zone-2M (molded) sections and also for doing all of the aero design work on the wing. Thanks again... she's flying great.

This airplane is fully molded, meaning that I made CNC molds of every part used... wing, tails, fuse, canopy, and tail mount. Development on this has been very slow because of my limited free time, but it's been worth all the work.
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Jul 02, 2011, 04:27 PM
Registered User
pocket rocket's Avatar
Looks very nice Tom

Wish I could have one

I'll buy you a beer at the next IHLGF trip to Stone Brewery to celebrate its hatching

Jul 02, 2011, 04:43 PM
Registered User
C Robinson's Avatar
I am one who has followed your "DLG Molded Project" thread and have watched you devote a great deal of energy, creativity and finances to this project. It's great to see the results of the evolution and I will say you should be very proud of what you have accomplished. Those parts look awesome!
I have been flying a less optimized Zone-V2 foiled wing for a few months now and I love the way it performs. Yours should be even better!

Beautiful work and thanks for sharing,

ps: The sticker on the wing tip is a pretty big deal to alot of us
Jul 02, 2011, 04:46 PM
Jeff Carr
Disser on the tails is cool. I cant wait to see this in a little over a week. Should be sweet. As always following with great interest

Jul 02, 2011, 05:24 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
First steps - mounting the wing to the fuse.

I designed the wing to have a holddown at 34mm and 123mm from the LE. The forward bolt location can be plus or minus about 5mm, but the aft location goes right through the hingeline of the wing and between the drag spars, so it's placement is pretty critical.

One thing different about this "moldie" is that the wing is made using a four piece mold instead of a two piece, and because of this the halves are joined with a wrap of cloth after removal from the mold. My workspace is really limited so I have to build this way. This wing is also molded with reflex, so the fixed portion of the flapperon at the root has to be cut loose and re-fixed using the fuselage as a reference for cruise camber.

For starters, I drill a hole at 34mm back from the LE in the center of the fuse. The bolts will thread into an aluminum blind nut that slides through a very small piece of 1/16 ply epoxied to the inside of the fuse. Once I have that hole, I put some epoxy / cabosil mixture on the ply and put it on the bottom of the fuse through the canopy opening. Gently tip the fuse back so the assembly slides until you see the hole in the aluminum through the hole in the fuse you drilled. Now use a wing bolt to "catch" the assembly and pull it up into place. Only do the front bolt for now.
Jul 02, 2011, 05:24 PM
Aurora Builder
Sweet looking airplane. Hopefully I can see it in person one day!
Jul 02, 2011, 05:41 PM
a.k.a. Matt Nelson
MattN's Avatar
Tom - your parts look awesome. I'm totally impressed by your workmanship. Good decision to start a new discussion thread around the matured product.

I dig the way my Edge-winged plane flies, and am very curious about the zone-v2.

I think you need to get a plane in the hands of somebody living in a southern area who can flight-test it all winter...

Jul 02, 2011, 06:13 PM
Registered User
David Forbes's Avatar
I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Tom in his basement skunk works a couple of weeks ago, and watched him lay up a vertical tail. Very nice. Tom has put up a major investment in both time and $$ to get where he is today, and has also been extremely generous with what he's learned in the process.

The next day flew 3M with Gavin until Tom showed up with his new plane. I got a major itch to fly hand launch and the 3m was immediately grounded, so we flew hand launch the rest of the day, even though Gavin was DLG-less.

I was super impressed by Tom's molded Zone V2. No matter how hard I threw Tom or Gavin had my bagged Zone by at least 30' on launch (doesn't help that I'm gettin' old}, and when I had the sticks on it I was really impressed by how well something w/o a rudder could fly. I hardly missed the rudder at all, so it might be time to re-think the rudderless thing and try it again. I could never get it to work before.

See y'all at The Bruce, and -m@, he knows where to send it for winter testing

Jul 02, 2011, 08:16 PM
hass-alfed and bass-ackwards
carlsoti's Avatar
That looks beautiful, Tom!
Jul 02, 2011, 09:04 PM
Registered User
Congrats Tom. If I'm not mistaken, this may be the first fully molded DLG entirely designed and built in the USA. It looks too pretty to keep to yourself. Hopefully in the future you'll decide to amortize those molds and sell a few to your fellow flyers.
Jul 02, 2011, 09:25 PM
Jim C
ShadowFalken's Avatar
Having seen these in person people are in for a treat. Tom has set a nice bar and that wing has a strong subtle hint on the right tip.

Good work Tom. You are more of a catalyst than you know.
Jul 03, 2011, 09:37 AM
Wood Chucker
Lacquerhead's Avatar
Originally Posted by tom43004
Hello all,

Many of you may have already been following the "DLG Molded Project" thread in the composites forum, but I decided to tone down on that two year old thread and post a dedicated build thread for my newest airplane, the Fr3aK Zone.
Naw, that can't be! You must be telling a fib! I've only been following that thread for a year and a half!! Dang it, gettin' older stinks. Personally I think there is a change in space-time when you have little 'uns keeping you busy. Thats the only explanation I can come up with based on my own experience. Enough of that, on to gliders.

Really nice work you've done there Tom. I have to admit I've followed that thread with a great deal of envy and an even greater deal of awe. I'm finally catching up with the 90's and getting ready to start cutting my own foam wing cores. Maybe I can catch up to you in another five years. Beautiful work.
Jul 04, 2011, 06:50 AM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Thanks guys.

Next steps: Once you have the forward bolt carrier epoxied into the fuselage, it's time to trim it down. I use a dremel cutoff wheel and cut it about 1-2mm above the wing seat. Use a piece of masking tape on either side to protect the fuse. Once it's cut off, you can then use a flat file to take it down to about a mm proud of the fuse. At this point you can mount the wing using only the forward bolt and align the TE of the wing with the center of the boom. Use string from the tips to the aft end of the boom to square everything up if you wish. Once you have things aligned, tape the TE of the wing in place and drill a pilot hole for the aft bolt using the wing as a guide. Now you can enlarge the hole with the correct size bit and repeat the process to epoxy in and trim the rear bolt block.

Remember now as you mount the wing for the first time that the wing is molded with reflex. The aft section of the wing between the flapperons is split at the root and "hinged" so that when you put the aft bolt in place, it will gently pull the TE down into cruise position. A little epoxy in the "hinge" line and between the root halves at the TE will solidify everything.
Jul 04, 2011, 11:51 AM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Mounting tails...

On this airplane, I'll be using a hinged horizontal and rudderless vertical.

For starters, I put a piece of tape on the boom marking the front of the vertical after it's mounted. Next I drill and countersink the top of the horizontal as well as the stab mount. I like to mount the tails with the wing already on the fuse to ensure alignment. Once the horizontal is mounted to the stab mount, I sight down from above and give myself about a 3-4mm gap between the LE of the vertical and the TE of the horizontal. Now I put a couple more pieces of tape on the fuse marking the forward and aft edges of the stab mount. Using a piece of 220 grit, I rough up the top of the boom where the stab mount will sit and I epoxy it in place using a small amount of epoxy. Now is the time to cut the slot in the top of the boom for the control horn movement. Don't be shy. The boom has a few extra layers in this area so you won't make it weak. Cutting the slot later is do-able but it's much easier to make a clean slot using a cutoff wheel in a dremel at this point. Mine measures about 15mm long and 3mm wide.

In the pictures you'll see that the holes in the horizontal aren't perfectly in line with the spread tow lines, so now I use a jig to drill and countersink those... and I pay more attention to the spread tow patch to make sure it's square when I mold the parts.

Once the horizontal is in place and lined up with the wing, let the epoxy cure.

Next is the vertical. The way I do this is to draw the outline of the airfoil on a piece of masking tape and place it on the boom. I use that as a template to dremel out the top of the boom using a cutoff wheel, then clean up the edges with a small router bit. It's very important that the slot pretty closely approximates the fin profile. More gap = more epoxy = more nose weight. Once you're happy with the top slot, cut the bottom in the same fashion and test fit the vertical. Be careful as you slide in the vertical because if the slot is too narrow and you use force, you'll damage the vertical visibly.

When you're happy with the alignment sighted from the nose and tail, make a small mark on the center of the LE of the vertical, and slide it in place making sure the vertical is centered. Epoxy or CA it in place. The tails are white but they're NOT rohacell, so foam safe CA is necessary.
Jul 04, 2011, 02:13 PM
hass-alfed and bass-ackwards
carlsoti's Avatar
Tom, This thread is reading just like any other high-end moldie build thread. I see that as a sign of the quality of your design and build skills.

Are you SURE you don't want to take this to market?

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