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Jul 04, 2011, 05:42 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Who knows what the future will bring Tim. Right now I just want to get a few more built so I have spares. I have two full airframes flying now, and will be a bunch more comfortable after I have at least one more done. Maybe I'll make a few here and there this winter after I see how they fly for other people. Gavin has one almost finished and Garth will have one in the next few weeks as a result of the USA F3K postal contest that Bruce put on. There are a handful of people flying my fuses with their own wings as well.

After spending more time on this ship in the past few weeks, my Blasters just don't really do it for me anymore. I had launches today on the "beater" (the one I took to Poway) of 180 feet on average and several "nature assisted" launches over 200. Considering the wind wasn't blowing much if at all it was a good test. Unlike other new airplanes I've had in the past, I'm measuring EVERY change I make to see how it affects launch, float, run, penetration, handling, turbulence, etc on EVERY flight. So far a bit more scientific approach has helped alot.

I didn't fly the one in this build thread today, but it launches every bit as well as the beater, and it's quite a bit lighter. The wing I have in the box right now is a bit heavier construction (targeted at 135g) for windier days and ballasted launching. Now that I've standardized all of the bolt locations etc I can start making interchangable parts

It surprises me how pretty it is both on the ground and in the air, and the glide ratio is surprising. It's very similar to the Steigeisen in launch and run, but it's much friendlier in the turns and seems to climb more solidly in the weaker lift. Gerald and I have had a few conversations about the thermal modes and how much camber to use... some of it validates the design and a few aspects make us scratch our heads a bit. We'll get to see a few more of these at NATs and for the rest of the summer so I should have a really good feel of what people think of them in another month or so. So far I've handed the sticks of the beater to about a dozen different pilots, some F3J guys and some F3K guys... everyone so far has had really positive feedback about how it turns and how well it seems to hold out in even the lightest lift. Honestly as thin as the wing is, I had my reservations about light air work but so far I'm thrilled with the performance.

I'll post some of the radio gear photos later tonight and we'll put some in-flight video of the airplane up here tomorrow or Wednesday depending on how the weather holds up here.
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Jul 05, 2011, 08:35 PM
God Created me to Create
The_Builder's Avatar
Tom Kudos my friend, you did it !! A very nice American made molded airplane. It is really nice to see another builder keeping it here at home ! For me, your project has pushed me to build better and better planes and for that I have to thank you. Your project has taken a great deal of hard work but you have plane you can be very proud of. I Love the white plane with the red and blue wing tips. That is Very pretty!

Jul 05, 2011, 10:16 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Thanks Paul. I just joined the white / red wings tonight. It's very similar to the one here, just with different cloth weights. I forget which wing # this is now... I think it's six or seven.

I'm on the homestretch now for NATs with at least two airframes and maybe a third complete. I actually practiced this week once (don't fall over) and I plan to go out again tomorrow for an hour or two if the weather holds up.
Jul 07, 2011, 06:04 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Sorry for the lack of posting. I was a bit distracted by the WC going on.

Back to the build...

Here's the hardware kit sans the peg. It's pretty simple with a pair of top drive horns and an elevator horn, some stab and wing bolts, a tail spring, and a couple of tiny aluminum tubes for the spring to "live" in. Pull string is 50lb fishing line, prestretched of course.

I start out by picking a location for the servo. The fuse is rounded quite a bit, so blocking the servo is necessary. For this installation, I'm using a JR DS188, which is a fine choice for pull spring. Only one servo goes in here and it needs to go as far forward as possible. When I do pull / spring, I try to make sure that the string for the elevator is on the throwing peg side. If lateral launch forces move anything around (like a receiver or ballast) we don't want that pinching down on the elevator string. Some 5 minute epoxy and cabosil make short work of mounting the servo. I drill a tiny hole in the side of the fuselage so I can loosen and tighten the servo horn and pull string.

Attached are some pictures of the servo installation, location, and the fleet as it grows.
Jul 10, 2011, 11:24 AM
Transplant Chey WY from Reno
Thermaln2's Avatar
Hi Tom,

In the simple hardware photo, you use an offset springwire for your stab? Have you changed you opinion regarding having the arms of the spring in line since Poway, or is it just easier to make? Is there a tight friction fit of the wires into the Al tubes? Have you every had the issue of the wires slipping out and the wire damaging the foam of the elevator in the line of the hinge?

Jul 10, 2011, 02:36 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar

The aluminum tube is .030 inside and the wire I use it typically around .022 so there's some slop. I always leave the wire inside the aluminum a bit long so I've never had one pop out. Sometimes I use two springs and lighter wire if I'm worried about tension or worried about warping (think H.)

As far as changing modes, I tried the double-back spring for a while and it's just more difficult to make. This spring is dead simple and hard to screw up.

Sorry I haven't posted more pictures, I've been dealing with some family stuff for the past few days.
Jul 10, 2011, 04:41 PM
Wood Chucker
Lacquerhead's Avatar
Originally Posted by tom43004
Sorry I haven't posted more pictures, I've been dealing with some family stuff for the past few days.

Never, ever apologize for making time for family. We all understand. Real life does tend to happen from time to time.
Aug 22, 2011, 10:48 AM
a.k.a. Matt Nelson
MattN's Avatar

Been kinda quiet in this thread... Any more reports from the field with the Fr3aK zone?

Aug 22, 2011, 12:35 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
Well Matt, funny you should ask.

This original airplane died a horrible death at the NATs. I haven't had alot of time to build since I've been working on getting some molds CNCd for another builder. However, this past weekend I did pull two more wings to go with the existing one I had left, and I plan to fly these ships this coming weekend in Chicago.

Pictures from the weekend build-fest:

All three wings are between 125 and 129g out of the mold. The ST wing has some lighter glass on the inner skin to make up the difference. They're coming to a point where they look and feel as good as anything out there.
Aug 22, 2011, 12:41 PM
Kyle Clayton
Wave Glider's Avatar
Man the D-box one looks nice! Hope to see it in action at Bruce-a-palooza!
Latest blog entry: Helios and XXLite DLG
Aug 22, 2011, 12:52 PM
a.k.a. Matt Nelson
MattN's Avatar
New wings are looking great! I'd love to fly one of these sometime. I see the ST d-box is has a bias layup - why'd you change?

Originally Posted by tom43004
This original airplane died a horrible death at the NATs
bummer - what happened? How was it flying up to then?

Aug 22, 2011, 01:17 PM
Aurora Builder
I'm curious on the bias layup myself, I'm likely switching to a bias layup on my bagged D-Box wings, not because of the need for further torsional stiffness but because it lays down smoother on the LE.
Aug 22, 2011, 01:39 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
I changed because I found other ways of getting the bending stiffness I needed, and wanted to get the torsional stiffness up.

Thanks for the kind words guys. I felt really good when I pulled that one out. Every wing has been better than the last and I feel like the quality is top notch now.

Matt, it died in a launching accident on about the 20th throw. I had an all glass fuse and it may have been pranged a bit on a hurried landing the flight before. The nose snapped off and the servo "pulled" the string causing down elevator and it hit about 30-40 feet out pretty hard. To answer your question about how it was flying, it was doing wonderfully prior to that. All of the fuses include kevlar layers now to avoid this. The glass ones are fine as long as you don't beat on them. I, however, beat my airplanes up so I need the kevlar layers.

The design has some serious legs. Gerald did a great job giving it the aero properties that we all want in a DLG. It took alot of trial and error to get it stiff enough with such a thin profile, but we're there now.
I'm sure you'll see one on the West coast very soon.

I plan on bringing at least two of these to the Bruce, and hopefully get another ST wing or two done to sell individually. I'm in discussions with a couple of potential parts builders to do kits this fall on a limited basis. I could never do them myself, but with a little help I think we can probably bang out a few airframes a month.
Aug 22, 2011, 06:28 PM
Walter Roos
ROOSWH's Avatar
Well, when you need it tested by the over 70 crowd, I'll be up to it, unless it takes 10 more years. I throw hard, but fly like crap (some times)

Looks really good Tom. It would be nice to see a flying version at The Bruce.

Aug 22, 2011, 06:49 PM
or GPS, F, J, K, or even TD
FLY F3B's Avatar
They look really great Tom. Nice work.


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