BTE Venture 60 Build Thread (Sort Of) - RC Groups
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Feb 12, 2013, 02:51 PM
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Build Log

BTE Venture 60 Build Thread (Sort Of)

As a fairly new guy on the RC block, I am building my 3rd kit and will try to post some info & comments as I hopefully progress. The kit is the Venture 60 just re-released by Bruce Tharpe, & so here we go.

After a really great article about the Venture 60 that just appeared in the Jan '13 issue of Flying Magazine by Larry Kruse ( a master builder & major RC author), I feel pretty sheepish in even attempting to show or tell anyone anything about how to build this great airplane. So I will just share some of my experiences & photos, & only hope that it might add to that body of knowledge that is already out there about this exceptional kit that Bruce Tharpe at BTE has been producing since the early '90's.

Also I am installing an electric motor in my V60 & so will be making some modifications of the kit in order to do that. Actually, very little appears to be needed to do this other than a different firewall mount, some added ventilation, placement for a Lipo battery & finally an access hatch I plan to build in the top of the fuse between the firewall & cockpit.

So to begin with, here are a few photos of what you get when you order one of these V60 kits from Bruce:
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Feb 12, 2013, 03:16 PM
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Venture 60 Build Thread Continued

Having jumped in with both feet, I've made some progress that can be shared.

OK, now that we've seen the box & some of the magnificent wood provided in this kit, which not only leaves very little to your imagination but actually also not nearly as much to do with it as most other kits require, let's move on.

If you've never built a kit before, Bruce's intro on the first page will set the stage & really give you all the basic advice you need to get started. But first I took every single piece of wood or metal out of the box & both inspected & inventoried them against the detailed parts list in the manual. And what do you know, every bloody piece & part was there & also in excellent condition! All the small parts were neatly bagged & organized, & the various larger wood & metal parts were clearly categorized & described to make this whole process much easier than ever before. So at this point, itís off to a good start.

The build manual begins with the wing panels. But I first read through the entire manual a couple of times. Then I spent a fair amount of time just studying & ultimately appreciating the extraordinary full size set of plans provided with this kit. Between the manual & these plans, I can't imagine that anything has been overlooked in the need-to-know category.

My first observation (probably not the last with this kit) is how could any wing be any easier & more likely to be successfully built than this one! I remember times past when I had to painstakingly place & glue every separate rib on a set of spars, being careful to keep each one at 90 degrees, & then finally cut & install each shear web between them. Or even when the shear webs were already cut, but what work was needed to get them to actually fit properly between the ribs! The parts in this kit are cut with such precision that you just layout some spars & TE, & then start by aligning & glueing one rib in place. After that you just basically glue a precisely made shear web in its place next to the rib you just glued, which then establishes the placement & alignment of the next rib & shear web. You glue each rib & shear web this way, & just keep doing the same until you're at the wing tip. And you have the added guidance of building on top of, & placing each spar, rib or shear web over, completely detailed plans. Here are some photos to show how easy & reliable this construction method is:
Feb 13, 2013, 06:13 PM
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Venture 60 Build Thread Continued

Following on with construction of the right wing panel for the V60, the next steps involve installing the balsa sheeting at the wing root that covers the initial 3 bays of the wing. Sheeting is placed both on top of & on the bottom of this wing location. This is the only sheeting on the wing & operates to strengthen this root area where normally a center aileron servo would be installed, where the dihedral brace is installed when the wing panels are joined, & where dowels are installed in the leading edge the secure the wing along with wing bolts to the fuse. I elected though to install two separate wing servos outboard in each wing panel, & Bruce provides an optional kit with complete parts for this purpose.

Once again, the V60 kit includes sheeting material that has been tailor made for this work. Some very minor trimming is needed & I had to soak the sheeting on the leading edge in warm water to allow it to fit the curve at this location. As suggested I also used yellow wood glue (Titebond) for this sheeting instead of the thin CA I used to build the egg crate structure (recommended because it allows for easier sanding after it dries). So I first sheeted the top & then the instructions said to cover all but one forward set of bays with this same sheeting material on the bottom.

Fortunately, with the wing still pinned to the build board, before doing this I had read ahead in the manual & saw that further steps, after the bottom sheeting, would include cutting open a section of the root rib (W-1) for the installation of a single servo after joining the wing panels. This cutout opening then along with the one bay area left un-sheeted would give you the access needed to cut a slot in the second rib (as well as the root rib) for the insertion of the dihedral brace at wing joiner time. But without the servo cutout opening, I would only have the open bay area to use to try to make this interior rib cut. Now probably experienced builders out there would have no trouble with this & might even jump at the opportunity to put their master builder skills to work - - - but I thought about it & then said, ďI donít think soĒ. So this lower sheeting still isnít installed as I have continued working to finish off this right wing panel.

This finishing work basically consisted of (a) removing the panel from the build board, (b) then trimming the spars & trailing edge material protruding past the first & last ribs, & (c) then sanding carefully to not distort the shapes where the wing panels would be joined at the wing root end & where the wing tip material would be added at the other end. And an endplate rib is also attached at the wing tip for added strength & some better ability for the covering material to adhere to the wing at this critical point before being stretched over the tip.

But I overlooked to mention one of Bruceís critical instructions in his manual, & expect he might even take back my V60 if I donít say something about it. AFTER REMOVING THE WING PANEL FROM THE BUILD BOARD, YOU NEED TO TAKE MEDIUM CA & GO OVER EVERY WING JOINT!!! The size of this big wing really makes this pretty easy to do, & I have to say I canít imagine those nice little ladies in China doing this as thoroughly or carefully as I tried.

The wing tip pieces were the next step & they are both hefty in design but very simple & straightforward in their construction. Bruce frequently seems to employ a method of joining (glueing) different pieces of balsa together like pieces in a jig saw puzzle, with their grains running in different directions, that become welded together to become a single, & now stronger, unit. He does this with things like a wing tip, horizontal stabilizer, vertical fin or rudder. A bit of final sanding for smoothing & shaping & I am now at the point with the right panel, where I am going to have to tackle this problem of cutting out the dihedral brace slots & putting on the bottom sheeting. The pictures below hopefully will show the progress Iíve just described.
Feb 14, 2013, 04:27 PM
Registered User
excellent work
Feb 14, 2013, 07:19 PM
Registered User
big bird - many thanks for the compliment but this kit lends itself to being able to make it look good. Also glad that someone appears to be interested in the V60!

Feb 14, 2013, 09:17 PM
Visitor from Reality
Stick with it Jed, Bruce Tharpe is one of the best designers around. You'll have a ball flying this big gal.

Feb 15, 2013, 01:45 AM
Registered User
Dereck - good to know you are looking over my shoulder & will really appreciate your input/reaction to some of my EP mods. Particularly when it comes to creating a hatch in the fuse. I've seen your Sig 4 Star work & hope to come at least close to what you & other experienced folks have done. Thanks for keeping me on track

Feb 15, 2013, 09:53 AM
Visitor from Reality
Hi Jed
When Bruce made a run of EV60 kits, back in the dark days before the LiPo was marketed to us , it had a battery hatch just like most of the electrocuted Four Stars of that era.

The big changes are that packs are much lighter and smaller now, plus that a V60 sized outrunner is lighter even than the geared Astros that tended to power the likes of the EV60.

Suggest you figure out your drivetrain and stick with batteries either identical or of very similar weight, as the LiPo battery is likely to be well forwards in the model and any change in pack weight will affect the CG somewhat. When you get there, put the uncovered model together, even if only with tape and pins, drop the expensive bits into place and see how the CG is doing.

Probably good to do this before you add the fuselage top deck too - fitting a hatch before the top deck is added is much easier than fitting the top deck, then hacking it apart to make your hatch.

As it's a big and aerobatic model, suggest you look at a doubler strip along the top edges of the fuselage sides' insides to compensate for the strength lost due to the hatch. I use 1/4 x 1/8 Bass wood, with the 1/4" face glued to the fus sides. I usually put some kind of frame on the hatch bottom to resist the fuselage sides being pressed inwards if/when the model's picked up by the fuselage in the middle of the hatch.

To stiffen up the hatch frame, the bottom sheet has its grain running across the fuselage. A former at each end of the hatch and one in the middle will usually suffice, plus a central longeron from front to rear former, centrally placed on the former.

Am building a symmetrical section wing right now. Have a feeling future models will return to derivatives of Bruce's TLAR (That Looks About Right) section per the Four Star series - way easier to build and they fly fine for sports aerobatifications.

Keep on gluing that wood

Feb 16, 2013, 12:08 AM
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Hello Dereck - Really appreciate all of the good advice coming from much of your Sig Four Star experience. I'm printing out your comments to append to my manual, along with other similar suggestions I've been collecting. And your hatch suggestions are very much in keeping with what I was thinking of. I suspect it will be one of the major, if not the major, issue to be tackled in this EP conversion of the V60. I've done most everything else before, but this type of hatch, I have not built into any prior conversion.

I will definitely try to work out the CG while the model is in the build stage & put all the components together to do that. My planned space for the Lipo is somewhere behind the firewall back to about half way between the second & third formers. Probably will end up needing to be more forward than aft. The hatch will fit in between the firewall & the second former, mounted inside the fuse frame as you suggest.

And you are quite right about Bruce's wing design for this plane being easier to build with the large flat surface behind the symmetrical leading edge. But I suspect I need to get back to building & not just spending time talking about the V60. Thanks again for your helpful input.

Feb 16, 2013, 05:36 PM
KOMET 44's Avatar
Recvied my kit on Friday.UNREAL!!!!!. For those who never seen a real kit,you oh yourself to buy one of these kits.sP
Last edited by KOMET 44; Feb 16, 2013 at 05:39 PM. Reason: more info
Feb 19, 2013, 12:42 AM
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Venture 60 Build Thread Continued

OK, it wasnít impossible to cut these dihedral slots in the root wing rib & even the next interior one, but it just seemed it would be much more daunting than it turned out to be. What I did, which Bruce might not approve of or recommend, is to add a couple of balsa strip pieces on both sides of the dihedral brace slots in both of the W-1 ribs (lined up right where the cut is to be made) to give support to the openings. Besides adding some strength to the spaces in the ribs where the dihedral support fits into, they also served as a guide when I was cutting out the dihedral slots with a very long narrow saw blade. I tried without success to find an X-Acto #26 blade but actually didnít really need it. Now I know those little ladies in China would just punch those dihedral slots right through those ribs faster than it takes me to say it - - but for me it did require some thinking about it beforehand. And after the saw cut, I used a long ladiesí emery board file to sand & check every little space & fit of the brace on the right wing panel; actually I think I ended up using every different nail file I could find in my wifeís supply. It really was quite detailed & painstaking work to try to get into the openings without either damaging the ribs or enlarging the slot too wide; somehow I donít think our little ladiesí job description permits that kind of fussiness. Finally I managed to be able to slide the dihedral brace all the way in without any problems. Whew!!

Next I went ahead & ran the servo & wiring through the openings I had made for them before installing the ribs. The wing servo goes in about the center of the bays behind the main spar, so an extension was needed, & this meant a larger space was required in those ribs it would have to pass through. In order to keep those rib openings as small as possible I decided to go ahead & make them just big enough for the wiring to pass through rather than large enough to be able to pull the wiring through with a draw string after covering. So my servo & its wiring is located where it will go even before I get to the plan location where the servo will be installed. At this point, since the plans call for a single servo, I am thinking that when I reach that point in the plans where this work would normally be done, that is where & when I will install the individual servos in each wing panel with the optional kit supplied by Bruce.

Iím glueing on the sheeting now that I opted not to install before when it was indicated to do so in the plans, but will go ahead & post this with some pictures as there is not too much exciting about wing sheeting.

So here are some photos showing the following: what the root & second rib look like before installation in the wing; the open lower sheeting spaces in the wing before closing them off; the balsa strip braces I installed in the wing root & second rib area; overviews of the final result before closing most of the lower root area off with the wing sheeting, per the plans; how the dihedral brace fits into the wing slots; & the wing panel with the servo & wiring in place before putting on the sheeting.
Feb 19, 2013, 04:58 PM
Visitor from Reality
Might want to re-think having the aileron servos sideways on like you have them taped into the rib bay. Snag is, if you get a high load on the servo, it can rock 'sideways' placed like that, which will affect the handling a little and stress the servo mounts some as well.

Photos show a couple of routes to mounting the servos securely and with the servo arm and aileron control horn in same plane of movement. If you prefer the present day 'servo hanging out in the slipstream' method, a ball joint on either the servo or control arm end of the pushrod will relieve the twisting stress applied to the pushrod ends.

My decider to go with these servo mounts - the last aircraft to look good with most of its controls on the outside was the Tiger Moth. It wouldn't work with the F22 or 787 "Nightmare Liner"

Hope that helps.

Feb 20, 2013, 12:24 AM
Registered User
Dereck - Oh no! I shouldn't have been so naive as to think someone would really think I was so goofy that I would mount my wing servos that way! But then why not - - how very silly of me to post a picture like that without clearly stating that the servo was just taped in that position as a holding location; the servo kit that Bruce supplies will mount it correctly in the fore & aft location mid span in that bay; also the plans kind of beat you over the head not to do something like that. But I'm glad watchful eyes out there are doing their best to save me from myself. Because I know I really need it, so please don't hesitate to let me know when anything really looks like I'm way off the beam. A servo in the wing mounted the way I showed it is certainly way off the beam, so thanks again Dereck for letting me know - - & please keep it up, for my sake. Cheers,

Feb 20, 2013, 09:45 AM
Visitor from Reality
Hi Jed

Well, I did get a little worried...

Above sounds like you've put a lot of effort into a good wing joining - well worth the effort, despite what China thinks, this is possibly the most important joint on the model, well above how well the decals join the covering

Oddly enough, have to admit to a bias here. The first ever BARF I saw fly lasted until it was flown - pretty gently - through a loop on the request of the assembler. The wing then parted company in the middle. Seems the assembler hadn't really read the manual concerning the centre joint and had epoxied the 'film covered wing roots into the moulded plastic wing joiner rather than removing the covering where the glue was to go. That was around 1989...

Am not really sure where I got my servo mount ideas from, though I do know the first time I used the rib mounted servo method was in 1998, in my Four Star 40E electrocution. Since then, have built one model with a central servo and torque rods, hated it and retro-fitted two servos.

There's so many models with servos hanging out in the breeze these days, I almost feel like I should do one to see how it goes, but it looks like spending a lot to make a model look ugly. I like the theory I read somewhere that the IMAC (Immense Model Aircraft Consumers ) lot do it to show off their extremely expensive servos.

Looking at my un-flown Four Star 20E hanging forlornly on the wall this single digit temperature day makes me wonder how I managed to build the kit without 'venturing' into some small aerodynamic fudges

Keep on gluing those wood bits together Jed, she's looking good.

Feb 20, 2013, 12:23 PM
Registered User
Dereck - The servo wing mount kit from Bruce provides for two options: first is a flush mount with the servo buried under a hatch with only part of the arm sticking out; second is a partially flush mount with a portion of the servo & arm protruding. I'm going the flush mount route - looks better & aerodynamically cleaner. He provides quite beefy hatch wood & then the servo attaches with blocks to the inside of the hatch, which in turn is screwed on to rails installed in the bay between the ribs about mid span. Pretty much the same way my Sig Kadet Sr & Seniorita's are done.

I too have only one plane with single servo with torque rod on my Kadet LT-25, & when I built that (my first kit) I spent so much time figuring out the EP conversion & just went ahead with the single servo. Flies just fine but probably could stand a bit more aileron differential than that which is built in. Also really nice to be able to use subtrim to even things out a bit.

Thanks again for the oversight to keep me from making any oversights.


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