#13 Model Airplane Building Clinic <<MM ETana<< - RC Groups
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Aug 31, 2012, 01:15 PM
rtibbs's Avatar
Build Log

#13 Model Airplane Building Clinic <<MM ETana<<

With Frank's blessing and since I have my kit I'll start my build log.
First the disclaimer…..There are many ways to build an airplane kit. What I’ll be describing in this build is what works for me. As this is a clinic for new kit builders I’ll probably be a little more wordy than normal. I do invite questions as this is the only way we learn. Also if you have questions regarding my build or yours and don’t feel you’re getting them answered I invite you to PM me your phone number and I’ll call you to discuss any issue you may have.
All that being said …..On with the build.

For me the start of any build begins with studying the plans and the instruction manual.
Several of the kit manufacturers provide a downloadable manual for their products in .pdf format. This allows a potential builder to review the construction and decide if that particular model kit is what they would like to build. Mountain Models is one of those manufacturers. Also, to help keep costs down, a downloadable manual is the only manual available from some kit manufacturers.
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Aug 31, 2012, 01:25 PM
rtibbs's Avatar
Careful review of the plans/instruction manual allows the builder to understand the building sequence and avoid any pitfalls along the way. For a new builder I would encourage following the instruction manual building sequence as the model has been prototyped and any corrections to the manual made or in some cases, addendums added to the instructions.

I usually begin construction with by building the “Tail feathers”. This gets me into the “groove” for building a new model. For this build I will (probably) follow the building sequence as laid out in he instruction manual.

The adhesives I’ll be using are thin & medium viscosity CA, Titebond III and epoxy. Thin CA for “most” of the balsa to balsa joints, medium CA for the balsa to ply joints and Titebond for ply to ply joints. Epoxy will be used where additional joint strength will be required such as, landing gear mounts and motor mounts and firewall. I’ll remove most of the laser burn when gluing with epoxy or Titebond.
Sep 01, 2012, 11:02 AM
rtibbs's Avatar
Before we get into the "meat" of the build I'll address a couple of other items I feel are important.
First, while it may seem premature to some, you should start thinking about covering. Covering, just like paint, doesn't cover defects it only highlights them. (Ask me how I know) A good covering job starts with the first glue joint. Keep all joints nice and tight and don't have any pieces or parts sticking up. While prior to covering you generally will have the opportunity to sand the surfaces, todays lightweight electric models don't have lots of extra material to sand off. This goes for butt joints which require gluing. I generally use something like Titebond, Sig-Bond or some type of aliphatic resin glue when applying sheeting or planking a model. If I'm planning on glassing certain parts (We'll cover this further into the build) I'll use CA as it moves things along faster. Also, I will remove the laser burns from any part that will show through the covering. Especially if you plan to use a transparent covering material. The burns can be removed with a light sanding or an Artgum eraser works well and avoids the possibility of removing wood.

Another item to consider is the type of hinges you are going to use. If you know what hinges you are going to use you can provide the necessary structure as you build rather than leave it to last and not have enough "meat" for the hinge.

Some of the more commonly used hinges are : CA hinges, pin type hinges and hinge points.
Also there are various tools available for cutting the hinge slots. DuBro makes a nice set of tools for this purpose and the trusty #11 blade makes a nice slot for CA hinges.
Sep 02, 2012, 05:53 AM
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I first join the fuselage sides and bottom pieces taking care to the keep all the finger joints nice and tight then glue with thin CA.

Pressed the “T” nuts into the LG mount and front former using my drill press as a “press”. Then wick some thin CA around the “T” nut flanges.
I used epoxy to attach the LG mount as this is an area (for me at least) that requires a little additional strength).

I keep the fuse bottom pinned flat against my building board to avoid any twists in the fuselage. As the “T” nuts extend below the fuselage bottom I had to provide a couple of holes in my building board to keep it flat. (I could have shimmed the bottom up to clear the “T” nuts)

The fuselage is assembled dry with all the formers before gluing. The only exception was gluing the LG mount and two formers in place first.
Sep 02, 2012, 06:01 AM
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After all the formers were glued in place using CA the next step was to add a couple of stringers to support the turttledeck sheeting. I decided to add some strip balsa to give the stringers support to avoid any waves in the sheeting when butt gluing the sheeting to the fuselage sides.
Sep 02, 2012, 06:09 AM
rtibbs's Avatar
The next step was to glue the firewall in place and add the reinforcements for the wing mounts. These were attached with epoxy.
Next comes the turttledeck sheeting and even though it’s only 1/32 thick I like to pre-bend sheeting when it involves conforming to curves. I use a mixture of water with some vinegar added. I apply this with a fine spray bottle. Spray the wood on the side opposite the direction you want it to curve and the moisture naturally curves the wood. I then hold the sheeting in place with painters tape until it dries. After drying the piece can be glued without worring about splitting the sheeting (Hopefully)
Sep 02, 2012, 06:15 AM
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With the turttledeck sheeting applied the main body of the fuselage is pretty much complete.
The 'tab lock' construction of the fuse is excellent and the entire fuselage could be dry fit before requiring any adhesive. This results in a nice straight fuselage assembly without any twists .
Sep 02, 2012, 09:34 AM
wood is good
loNslo's Avatar
Very neatly done. What an incredibly strong looking fuse the tab & slot construction makes!
Sep 02, 2012, 11:09 AM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
I agree, very nice. And great job of explaining your building process with corresponding photos. Very well done.

And I also like to reinforce the areas where the turtle deck sits. The thin sheet of balsa tends to crack on me because I always happen to grab it at the wrong place at one time or another.

Sep 02, 2012, 11:17 AM
rtibbs's Avatar
I agree Frank and when I return from my LHS tomorrow I will be adding some triangle stock to the firewall as well as reinforce the hatch area. I also tend to have 'to many thumbs' when handling the model. Don't wish to crush the sides
Sep 02, 2012, 03:31 PM
-- Made in DETROIT --
cool Etana build thread with many pics..I'll use this for ref when I start mine.

Sep 02, 2012, 03:51 PM
Registered User
Referring to post no. 5, is the stringer a part of the design and your change is just the addition of the back-up strip?
Sep 02, 2012, 04:08 PM
rtibbs's Avatar
Originally Posted by Turner2
Referring to post no. 5, is the stringer a part of the design and your change is just the addition of the back-up strip?
Turner2, yes the stringer is part of the design. As the stringer is butt glued to the fuselage sides I opted to add the 'backup' strips between the formers to eliminate any waviness between the formers. By glueing the backup strips to the inside of the fuselage sides this kept everything nice and straight.
Sep 02, 2012, 04:20 PM
Registered User
Yes, it looks like a good addition. Thanks.
Sep 02, 2012, 09:39 PM
God is my pilot
JimTMich's Avatar
Take a look at the rudder and elevator servo mounting area, I found it to be a little weak. The mounting area flexes under knife edge loop loading. Reinforcement is needed.

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