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May 07, 2015, 07:13 AM
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Build Log

Building a Super Tuffy!

Been a long time since I put something in my blog so I thought I would write about my recent purchase of my favorite plane the TuffWing. This EPP wonder is the creation of Brian Christal from the small state of Texas (I'm from Alaska )

I had one of the first versions of this plane and I flew the crap out of it over the years. It was a nice replacement to my old Zagi, not as "floaty" but she likes the speed! I tried several motors in her going faster and faster. The tuffwing served me well over the years but lately when she flew, she was well... Wonky! Might have been the few fun"mishaps" over the years had taken their toll!

I decided that I was time for a replacement but this build I was going to add a few improvements and turn the tuffwing into a super tuffy! I noticed some patterns occurring from my mishaps and my friends:

- Tearing at the trailing edge to servo pocket, starting at the curve before motor mount.
- Epp hinge line would tear or get worn out over time.
- Carbon spars would pop out if glued with CA
- Control rod and ply control horn would bend/break.
- Over time nose will get floppy, soft and separate from coroplast battery bay.
- Carbon spar was shattering/breaking right at battery bay.

Along the way I had made fixes and some improvements but now I had a chance to incorporate them all into this fresh build!

I had a small dilemma, all the changes would mess up the great neon paint job so I contact Brian and asked him if I could get a unpainted kit. He replied right away and 4 days later my unpainted kit arrived hot off the CNC machine! What a nice guy, I also asked him about the changes to from V1 to V2. Seems that he added a few options, improved the motor choices and a thicker walled main spar.

Ok lets get started...
The glues I used for assembly were:
- Medium Ca
- White gorilla glue
- Beacon quick grip
- 3M90 spray adhesive

One of the first things I thought I had to replace was the main spars because my old ones were totally shattered and broke easy. I was going to use a carbon arrow because I thought it would be stiffer. Brian had informed me that he had improved the spars and got thicker walls. He was right, my arrow was no better so I used the kit spars. I did lengthen the spars and cut a 45 degree in the middle spar at each end so it was a tight fit with the leading edge spars.

I really like quick grip when working with epp. I like it more than welders glue, this stuff sets up quickly, is flexible and dries clear. My first build was with Ca and it quick but after a few crashes spars, motor mount just "pop" apart. After all the spars were glued in and the half's joined with quick grip I ran gorilla glue in the spar channels to fill them in. This part is a bit of over kill, the quick grip should be fine but I do like the penetrating properties of the gorilla, use either or...

Next I added the coroplast battery box but I use the quick grip. Once again Ca just doesn't hold up over time, Box separates from nose and it loses its rigidity putting more stress on leading edge spars. I even used picture drywall hangers, drill holes in coroplast , mark on epp, drill holes, glue hangers and replace metal screw with plastic one. I also added magnets to hatch instead of velco.To insure everything fit properly I cut out foam so my ESC (60 amp) would fit, lengthened my motor wires and shorten my ESC power wires. Nice and neat and not a rats nest like before.

Now here is where the super begins, I had to stop the tearing of the epp when flying at 100 + mph and a slight glancing of terraferma. I was going to reinforce the wing with 3M90 spray, ultra thin drywall mesh, and finally 3mm laminate.

First I sprayed a light coat of 3m90 in the curved area, taking an old credit card I spread the glue evenly. I placed some mesh on the area and smoothed the mesh and glue in place, after a few minutes the card might get sticky and lift the mesh. Wipe the card with turpentine or spirits to clean it. I used that technique for rest of wing, I just used a few more pieces to reinforce nose as explain in instructions instead of tape. I then sprayed a thick coat of glue and squeegeed it evenly all over. I let it dry for a day so I put the motor mount together and glued the control horns in.

Motor mount was easy just tack together with medium Ca then I went over it with epoxy. I did have problem to begin with I was sent to bottoms so a quick email to Brian and a top 2 days later...

I do not like foam hinges but I found a couple of ways around it. One way is to cut them off and just attach them with packing tape. Another is to use welders glue and blenderm tape, spread glue over hinge , lay down tape, light coat of glue over tape, wipe. glue melts tape and makes a zone that will not tear or wear out. I used 3M90 and blendrem, just spray than lay down while tacky.

Once the mesh is done, the wing will get extremely stiff, very cool! When you use the laminate over that, oh boy!! Like a flying drum! The rest of the build is straight forward, I am using digital metal gear servos, Upgrade Control Horns (G10), 2-56 control rods w/metal clevis. Finally I like the NTM 2700kv motor but I may try the 3000 kv motor I think my 60 amp esc can handle it. This setup allows me to fly either 2200 3S or 1800 4S battery. I cannot wait to maiden this, should fly on rails, no more wonky! My retired bird will go too slope soaring only or I may put my "old" slow motor back on it.

More to come after the servos get here....
Last edited by Dakrat; May 07, 2015 at 04:08 PM.
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May 10, 2015, 07:19 AM
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I like your ideas Dakrat. I think the mesh is similar to the stuff used on the Ritewings. Any idea how much the wing will weight RTF? Mine weights 21oz with the 4s 1600 in it. It flies so nice now that I'll leave it alone and might build another one like your Super Tuffy.

It may be easier to use wooden elevons rather than stiffening up the foam ones.

I noticed the nose droop too and used C/F tubes to hold it up. I slipped the same tubing on the stock push rods as the plane was apparently flexing them at high speed.

Will be following with interest.
May 10, 2015, 08:49 PM
Sky good, Earth bad!
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Whipped out my scales and it said 25.3 oz. Hopefully I will get to maiden it by Tuesday...
May 10, 2015, 10:32 PM
Sky good, Earth bad!
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Well the rest of my gear came in so I proceeded to finish up my build.

I ran Iron over all the seams and hit spots that looked like they needed some more heat. I did this last because glue come out and dirties the iron that why you only clean it once.

Next up was laying down colored tape from HK and prism paper w/adhesive (Darice) from Joann's after that I cut seams for servos and placed them in double sided tape. I also added the prism paper to the winglets, make sure you have a left and a right!

I centered servos, cut the 4-40 rods and installed dubro ez connectors. Almost done, finally I took the iron on a lower setting and smoothed out tape in spots.

Last edited by Dakrat; May 11, 2015 at 07:39 PM.
May 13, 2015, 04:13 PM
Registered User
Thanks for posting your build on this. It has been hard for me to find much information from flyers on these. Your build looks awesome!

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