#32 Model Airplane Building Clinic >> Stevens AeroModel Edge 540 << - RC Groups
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Aug 30, 2012, 07:30 PM
I'm not as bad as they say.
Build Log

#32 Model Airplane Building Clinic >> Stevens AeroModel Edge 540 <<

This is the build log for the StevensAero Edge 540.

This is part of the group build along started here:

Latest blog entry: AIrcraft I've built.
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Aug 30, 2012, 07:42 PM
I'm not as bad as they say.
Since the kit's not here yet I thought I would discuss some preliminaries. The purpose of this thread is to show/encourage/help/inspire model flyers to become model builders.

As the goal is to pass information along to new builders, I will try to be overly verbose and provide as many photos as possible. My co-builder will hopefully be able to help photo/video as well. Some things need demonstration and are hard to describe in stills and prose, for example covering compound curves with iron-on film.

All opinions are simply my opinions here and the result of my experience, so your mileage may vary.

So here we go.

First off the key to a great finish starts with the first glue joint. For me glue is a critical thing. I have all kinds of glue and tend to try to use the glue that matches the job. For airplanes I divide glue into to two categories. 1) Glue that never will be sanded, i.e. glue for internal joints and 2) Glue that must be sanded along side of balsa or other wood, i.e. glue for joints that meet the finished surfaces. For internal joints I use CA (I'm picky about brands), epoxy or other glues. For surface joints I use this:
I use it because it dries HARD and sands at about the same rate as balsa, so in a surface joint the glue joint will disappear.

All for now.
Comments and questions welcome.
Latest blog entry: AIrcraft I've built.
Aug 31, 2012, 08:16 AM
God is my pilot
JimTMich's Avatar
Thanks for the tips Mickey. I learned something already. I never liked the way CA sanded on exposed surfaces.
Aug 31, 2012, 10:20 AM
I'm not as bad as they say.

Tools of the trade.

Stuff I use and why:

1) Excel grip-on knife http://www.amainhobbies.com/product_...On-Knife-Black

Why? Because it has a hex nut on the end so it doesn't roll. It has a rubber cover and is easy to grip. The mechanism to release the blade is in the back, not the front. It doesn't jam when releasing the blades. It stays tight because your fingers aren't touching the clutch release when cutting.

2) Coverite covering iron : http://www.coverite.com/accys/covr2700.html or the hangar 9 proseal http://www.hangar-9.com/Products/Def...?ProdID=HAN135

Why? It gets really hot if you need it to (and you do to cover compound curves) ( BTW this thread is really good and is very similar to all my techniques -- https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=711624), and it holds temperature very accurately (also important when you get it really hot).

3) Norton 3X sandpaper http://www.nortonconsumer.com/SheetsDIY-3X.aspx
in 220 and 100/150 grit.

Why? It lasts a long time, it doesn't crease when you wrap it around something round to make a stick sander.

4) 3M 77 Classic, Note that this is the classic, not the new stuff. https://www.bindingsource.com/Produc...24+Fl%2E+Oz%2E

Why? I use it to make sanding blocks and do other temporary jobs. The classic works on styrofoam. The new stuff melts styrofoam but you can't get it in all states now
Last edited by mnowell129; Sep 09, 2012 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Added link to hangar 9 iron
Sep 01, 2012, 08:14 PM
Honeybadger don't care...
Luv3d's Avatar
Sinsei, I am preparing for the journey...

Looking to acquire the coverite iron next week. I have all else, other than the glue and kit....

Have you thought about covering colors/scheme yet?
Sep 01, 2012, 10:08 PM
I'm not as bad as they say.
Yellow on top. White and blue on bottom?
How about this?
Last edited by mnowell129; Sep 01, 2012 at 10:29 PM.
Sep 02, 2012, 09:00 PM
Honeybadger don't care...
Luv3d's Avatar
I like it!
Sep 03, 2012, 08:53 PM
I'm not as bad as they say.

More tools of the trade.

Well the kit is ordered and on the way, but we can continue with some preliminaries.
Pictured is some stuff that is helpful. First is a flat building board that you can stick pins into. Some builders prefer metal and magnetic holders, but I'm still good with a building board and pins. This is a balsa board from Guillow's (http://www.guillow.com/workboards.aspx). I also have one from great planes (http://www.greatplanes.com/accys/gpmr6946.html). The guillows one has a plywood box built onto it to make it very rigid and keep it flat.
Beginners are often steered to a ceiling tile from the home improvement store. These are workable but don't always hold pins as well as a balsa building board. Also you need to be careful to have the ceiling tile on some backer board as it is not sturdy enough to stay flat on it's on.
Pictured are various sanding blocks, mostly home made. The t-bar is from the hardware store, sandpaper is strips put on with 3m77. The sanding block is a trued up piece of aspen from lowes with 220 on one side and 100 on the other. Also applied with 3m77. One quick wet coat on the paper and then applied quickly will stick as long as you need it, then be removable. Also pictured are some homemade sanding sticks.
All this goes into rules #1,#2 and #3:
Rule #1 : Never sand with your fingers.
Rule #2 : In case of doubt, never sand with your fingers.
Rule #3 : If confused, see rule 1 and 2.
Sanding with your fingers causes grooves due to uneven pressure. It also causes soft areas to sand more rapidly than other areas, making dips (this is particularly true when using CA glues). It also worsens a low spot, rather than smoothing things out. The trick, is to always used the largest/longest sanding block that will fit the situation. At a minimum this is at least 2 or 3 wing bays or two fuselage bays. Final sanding should be done with a sander that is as long or longer than the wing panels. There really is no other way that I know of to get a true wing than a long sander. Anything less and you will be able to see waves in the covering when sighting down the wing/fuse.
The black spongy looking thing is a 3M sanding sponge from the Auto Body supply shop. It's used to sand paint/primer/clear.
So if you are looking to supplement your building supplies, a few bucks for some t-bar at the ace hardware, a can of 3m77, and some 3X 220 and 150, is a good place to start.

Now another subject. I'd like to set the expectation for this build. We are not going to build a museum masterpiece here, nor are we going to build a junky looking midnight miracle. What we are after is a nicely finished, very straight, good flying 3d airplane. The super detailed/super finished airplane can be accomplished by almost anyone with enough patience. But what we are after here is a reasonably quick build that has the same general fit and finish as the typical (dare I say) ARF. So we will be often choosing "good enough" rather than "perfect" in this build.
Last edited by mnowell129; Sep 03, 2012 at 10:18 PM.
Sep 09, 2012, 08:44 PM
rtibbs's Avatar
Lookin' good. We both need to slow down or we'll be finished before the 19th.

Sep 09, 2012, 08:57 PM
Got Foam?
mjcmyers's Avatar
Quick noob question, what are you brushing on in pics 12&13?
Sep 09, 2012, 08:58 PM
I'm not as bad as they say.
Commentary on today's build:
Mark is a good 3D pilot but has never built this kind of airplane before. So we are taking the approach that if he asks a question, we write it down, since it's likely that others have the same questions.
Some of those questions were:
Q: Is this typically what comes in a kit?
A: It's typical for a Stevens kit, that is very complete. Not all kits are as well designed or complete as this. The Stevens kits are a complete joy to build due to the high degree of completeness and accuracy of parts fit.
Q: Any special way to unpack the kit?
A: Not really, but the laser cut parts need to stay stacked so parts don't fall out and get lost. Generally you need to leave parts in place until you need them. We did do an inventory.
Q: Does the fact that the stabilizer and fin being flat make them prone to warping?
A: Not really, you can pull a warp in or out of an airfoiled surface with the covering just as easy as a flat one.

Notes on the photos:
The first couple are just unpacking and taking inventory, and one where Mark has got the "this box of sticks is going to be an airplane?" look on his face.
Photo 1 was the first cuts of freeing the laser cut parts for the tail. I made a technique correction in photo 2, so Mark could see that the blade was vertical and get more control over the cut.
Photo 3 is showing taping the plans down with painters tape. This keeps the plans really flat while building the surfaces. The edge has rolled plans. I have actually ironed folded plans in the past to get them flat enough to build on. The pink plastic is some vacuum bag plastic to protect the plans. You can also use heat shrink covering backing, plastic wrap, etc. Just use something to keep the parts from sticking to the plans.
Photo 4 is putting CA on the joints. There were a couple tips here: 1)Q:How do pins go in? A: Usually at an angle to get a better clamping action. 2) Q: How do you get the CA applied correctly? A: Use a micro tip, then let a small ball of glue form on the end of the tip, then touch that drop to the joint. This allows you to control how much glue is applied. It doesn't take much.
Photos 5,8 and 9 show the popsicle stick sander with 220 grit that was used to clean up the laser burn. I do this after assembly because it's much easier and sanding the mating surfaces is really hard to get right without screwing up the alignment. The seams are barely visible. Cleaning the burn off the built assembly only takes a couple of minutes and will make a light colored covering job look better. After the interior is cleaned up the surface is trued with a block (no fingers!) with 220 grit as shown in photo 11.
Pre and post cleanup surfaces are shown in photo 7.
Photo 10 just shows the workbench with the good lighting necessary to do a good job.
Photos 12 and 13 show applying watered down instrument makers glue being applied to the joints with a small brush. This adds some toughness to the assembly, and the white glue puts some non-brittle glue in the joints. It adds very little weight for the strength gained.
Photo 14 shows the cleaned up, glue reinforced tail and some fuselage parts we got glued up before our time expired.
It almost looks like an airplane!
Because of schedules we'll be off the build for two weeks, but we will be back.

Questions and comments are welcome. My kit gets here tomorrow.


P.S. This session was 3 hours from box open to the last picture shown, just so can get a feel for how long this takes. Mark did most of the work himself. I did some demo sanding and helped find parts in the laser sheets.
Last edited by mnowell129; Sep 09, 2012 at 09:03 PM.
Sep 09, 2012, 08:59 PM
I'm not as bad as they say.
Originally Posted by mjcmyers
Quick noob question, what are you brushing on in pics 12&13?
Instrument makers glue, mentioned in a earlier post, thinned with water.
Thanks for the question.
Latest blog entry: AIrcraft I've built.
Sep 09, 2012, 09:01 PM
I'm not as bad as they say.
Originally Posted by rtibbetts@hotm
Lookin' good. We both need to slow down or we'll be finished before the 19th.

Not us. Our schedules are so difficult that we will be building in marathon sessions.... We are both out next weekend so it'll be two weeks before the next installment.....
Latest blog entry: AIrcraft I've built.
Sep 09, 2012, 09:08 PM
I'm not as bad as they say.
Update. I went and double checked. I have the Hangar 9 iron now. I've had both over the years and both are great. But this is the one I'm currently using.

Note that this is the proseal, not the basic model.
Latest blog entry: AIrcraft I've built.

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