Guillows PC-6 Porter RC Conversion - First Time! - RC Groups
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Jan 05, 2013, 03:36 PM
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Scott Pavlock's Avatar
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Guillows PC-6 Porter RC Conversion - First Time!

Hi all,

This is my first Guillows RC conversion and I thought it would be cool to document the progress. Hopefully I can get some tips from you all along the way!

I have always been a fan of STOL turboprops, so I just had to go with the Porter. I am really looking to do a Twin Otter in the future, but until I find a small kit or plans I can scale down, this will have to do.

The most difficult part for me so far was figuring out what electronic equipment to use, and I'm still deciding whether or not I want to go with 4 or 6 channels for working flaps. It will all depend on where I'm at with weight once I decide it's time to start putting gear in it. I'm building as far as I can while I wait for the electronics to travel across the ocean; here is what I went with:

Servos: HobbyKing Ultra Micro Lineaer Servo 1.7g
Motor: AP05 3000kv Brushless Micro Motor (5.4g)
Battery: Turnigy nano-tech 180mah 2S 25~40C Lipo Pack
ESC: Castle Creations Phoenix 10 (Lightened as much as possible)
Receiver: Still deciding depending on how many channels I go with, but it will be one of the small Futaba receivers with the case removed.

My predicted electronics weight without lightening is
6 Servos: 38.2g
4 Servos: 34.8g

I am shooting for around 3oz/86g AUW, so we will see how light I can build.

The build so far has been going well. I am using a new glue that a friend of mine gave me called SuperPhatic glue (See picture). It has a consistency of runny white glue, and dries invisible for the most part. It is supposed to get lighter when it dries, which takes about 20 minutes.

I used this glue to do the fuselage frame, but ended up using CA for each of the formers so that they wouldn't fall over when drying. With the right half of the fuselage done I'm at 4g, and starting on the left half now. One of the pictures shows a gap between the formers after I glued them in place. Looks like the frame was a little thicker than the notches cut in the former. Do you guys think it's necessary to fill this gap, or should it be strong enough without it?

I'm going to pause on the fuselage now until I get the radio equipment so that I can still get to the mounting positions easily. Next is the tail feathers, I should have an update on those later tonight!
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Jan 06, 2013, 02:30 PM
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Scott Pavlock's Avatar
Well I got the fuselage as far as I want it without having the electronics, so I decided to start working on the tail surfaces. In the process of moving things around I ended up breaking a piece off the fuselage side where the cockpit is. Once I got it all re-glued, I went to glue the extra 1/16 support piece but ended up gluing it on the wrong side. As a result of both of these dumb mistakes, I decided to just cut the piece out and rebuild it as you can see in the pictures.

The vertical and horizontal stabs went together pretty easily. I'm at the point now where I am trying to figure out how to hinge the surfaces. What I decided to do is use small pieces of the MicroLite covering as hinges. That way they should be covered up and I won't have to cut into the structure of the tail for hinges. So to make a beveled surface I am gluing an extra piece of 1/16 x 3/16 to the trailing edge of each stab, and using a little 45 degree tool I made to bevel the edges. Everything is gluing up right now so we will see how this goes once it's dry.
Jan 06, 2013, 02:33 PM
I want to fly everything!
Lance Nordby's Avatar
Hey Scott,

I built a Porter a while back. Not the Guillows kit but an Airsail kit. Here's a link to the thread:

The Beav wouldn't let me post it in his thread because it's not a Guillows kit.

I went with four channels and have the flaps permanently down. I built another Porter before and found that because of the type of flying I did with it I flew with the flaps down all the time so I decided to save the weight and complexity on this one and just fixed them.

I bought one of the Guillows Porter kits with the idea to build an AU-23 Peacemaker out of it. I went to Office Maxpo to copy the plans so I wouldn't wreck the originals. The copier had been set to 300%. So I went with the flow and now I'm in the process of building a 6 foot wingspan version!

Good luck with your little Porter. I hope you have as much fun flying it as I have with my little baby.
Jan 06, 2013, 04:21 PM
Registerd Beaver
Smokin' Beaver's Avatar
Hi Scott,
Bill from MD has just finished a build of this one, to my knowledge you and he are the only ones to have tackled this one so far.

His thread is here and both yours and his are now on the 'Conversion List' thread.

Jan 07, 2013, 10:50 AM
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Scott Pavlock's Avatar
Thanks Phil!


Really interested in how you did your functional landing gear. I have always struggled with making a good set of gear that don't rip out of the airplane after 3 landings. Looks like a tube within a tube and a small spring on top? Would love some detailed pictures if you don't mind sharing. Good luck on your big Porter!
Jan 07, 2013, 11:43 AM
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Scott Pavlock's Avatar
So I have decided to go with the RedBull skydiving team's color scheme. Just ordered some Silver and Dark Blue MicroLite covering film. Tower Hobbies was out of it but A-Main had some left. I should get it by Friday so I can start trying my hinge technique this weekend. I found some cool files that have all of the RedBull logos so I'm going to print them out on my home printer.

Any suggestions on what material I should print the decals on? I'll need something very light weight.
Jan 07, 2013, 03:57 PM
I want to fly everything!
Lance Nordby's Avatar
I've always like color schemes with dark blue and yellow and red trim (like Mark Donohue's race cars for instance).

I'm away from home for a few days so I can't get you photos of the gear until Friday. I used a piece of 1/16" aluminum tube for the top of the strut and a bit of nylon tube (old fashioned antenna tube for r/c cars) for the lower half. At the very top there is a bit of thick walled heat shrink tube and a hole is in it for the screw to fasten it to the fuselage. At the bottom of the strut there's a couple layers of shrink tube. A short bit of small stuff (maybe two layers) that goes over the bit of wire that points up and bigger stuff that goes over them and onto the bottom of the nylon tube.

A length of upholstery thread runs through the inside of the tubes to act as the droop stop. It is pinched at the top by the mounting screw and restrained at the bottom doubling back up the side of the tube and coming out at the top of the heat shrink.

I made the springs by hand but they are way too stuff. I need to try some HO slot car pick-up shoe springs but I always forget to get them when I'm at the LHS that stocks them.
Jan 07, 2013, 09:37 PM
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Scott Pavlock's Avatar
Sounds great Lance thanks for the info. I may build a mock-up this weekend to see how it works before I build the final version.

Small update on the progress; trying not to rush so I can pass the time before the electronics get here. I tried sanding the hinge point on the vertical stab. It didn't quite get to 45 degrees like I wanted. It more or less just rounded the hinge, which shouldn't be a problem. I'm interested to see how it turns out when I start trying to hinge it with the covering.

I also started on the elevator by adding the strengthening rod between the two halves. I cut out a small section of the hinge line to add a small piece of carbon rod, glued it all together and pinned it so it would stay straight.

That's all for now! I'll be starting on the wings this weekend, and will probably start designing how the ailerons and flaps will work sometime in the next couple days.
Jan 08, 2013, 10:55 AM
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Hi Scott and Lance,
Nice Build Scott i will be looking at it.
Lance that a Nice Porter you got there, i would like to know were did you get the airsail kit did you order from the States or form NZ.
Jan 11, 2013, 02:46 PM
I want to fly everything!
Lance Nordby's Avatar

I ordered the Airsail kit from a place called Third Coast something or other (in Texas?). It was a long time ago and I can't really remember. I'm not sure if they are still around.

I like the Guillow's kit a little better for the most part but then again there are some features of the Airsail kit that I like better. The Airsail has a vacuum-formed windshield as well as a vacuum- formed cowl instead of a bunch of stringers. The Guillow's kit will probably end up being a little heavier because of all the stringers.

Maybe you should get both kits and combine them!


Have you ever tried using thread for hinges? It's my prefered method especially on small planes where I need extra strength. On this plane I did the rudder with thread because it needed to be solid as it is part of the linkage to the tailwheel. The rest of the hinges just use covering (top and bottom).

Would you still like me to take some detail photos of the landing gear? I forgot to mention that the pivots on the centerline of the fuse are made from short bits of nylon tube from Du-bro micro controls. A pair of tubes are glued to a piece of 1/16" square balsa, wrapped with thread and soaked with a little CA glue. Then a hole was drilled to allow a Du-Bro button head wood screw to hold it to the fuse. Two of these assemblies mount the gear to the bottom of the fuse.
Jan 12, 2013, 11:49 AM
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Scott Pavlock's Avatar

I'm not sure I can picture how to use thread for hinges. Are there any build threads around here that have done that?

Yeah I would love some detailed photos of the landing gear!

I'm starting on some covering tests today as I just got all my colors in last night. Will be starting the wings today also so look for some posts later this afternoon with progress!
Jan 12, 2013, 09:05 PM
I want to fly everything!
Lance Nordby's Avatar

I just noticed you added another post. I was under severe peer pressure to go flying today and then I was working on my build.

Give me a little time to take some photos of the gear.

Thread hinges are easy. You basically have to sew a figure eight around or through the balsa then place a dab of thick CA on the thread away from the flexing area to hold it in place. I'll have to try to take some photos of examples.
Jan 12, 2013, 09:40 PM
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Scott Pavlock's Avatar
No worries Lance! Thanks for the tip on the thread hinges. I'll do a test of it tomorrow and see how it comes out. Sounds pretty strong and easy.

I got a bit done today. Started by doing a test of my covering and finishing the elevator halves. I'm going to try to use the small trim iron to cover the whole aircraft as I think it will allow me to have a little more control over the covering process. I tested the covering temps with just the top of the rudder and everything came out very nicely! While I was doing that the elevator halves were drying up, so now the tail is mostly done. Time to set that aside while I finish the wings.

I started the wings by designing how the ailerons and flaps will work. I'm going with a top hinge design, so I drew some lines on the plans to identify where to make my cuts, and then made temporary cuts on each of the ribs. Once I was happy, I finished cutting the entire right wing's ribs, and ended up cutting a little further to allow both the control surfaces and the wing to be capped with a 1/16" piece of balsa. The rest was pretty easy. I laid up the ailerons and flaps first, then the rest of the wing.

I have to go out tomorrow to get some extra pieces of wood to cap the surfaces. Also, it looks like Guillows put only 1/8 x 1/8 wing spar in the kit, so I'll have to get another one of those as well.

That's all for now!
Jan 13, 2013, 05:50 PM
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Scott Pavlock's Avatar
Quick update before the week. I'm heading to Milwaukee on business through Friday so there won't be any building or updates until next weekend, but I think I made a lot of good progress this week!

I stopped by HobbyTown today to get some extra wood so I could finish the right wing and hopefully start on the left wing when I get home on Friday. I unpinned everything from the plans and started fitting the caps to the control surfaces and the wings.

The ailerons and flaps are getting a 1/16 x 1/4" piece of balsa strip, and the wings are getting a 1/16 x 3/8" balsa strip. I set these down flat, mad some marks where the glue points go, then just laid the surfaces on the strips; pretty easy. Did the same with the wings, sanded everything so it was smooth, and that's it!

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