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Apr 04, 2016, 06:41 PM
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Build Log

Cloud Surfer - 2000mm by Hobbyking


Yes, I have a Bixler 2 (the second one), but I wanted a larger form of the same aircraft type to set up for longer range FPV.
I was going to get the PowerZone 2600 - it was the easily leading first choice - but it costs a "lot" (AUD $300 with shipping), and when the Cloud Surfer came in at AUD $118 including shipping, well that slaughtered the value stakes! I really wanted the PZ2600, but at that huge price difference it just did not add up. Though the PZ2600 was about AUD $170 on the last sale.... and that COULD come around again.... one day.....

The PZ2600 has a lot more internal room, but the Cloud Surfer has enough. The CS also has wider chord wings so I would say the total lift amount would probably come close the PZ2600 which has a narrower wing chord.
So anyway, the Cloud Surfer "won the contract"....

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Apr 10, 2016, 08:29 PM
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First impressions


What a hefty Wing !!!
At 2000mm it is 25% more span than a Bixler (approx). But it is made WAY stronger than just that "25%" stronger! It is made very robustly.
It has Wing Spar TUBES - Two per Wing - in each Wing, to slide the long 10mm Spar into, and the shorter 6mm secondary Spar into. This forms a VERY strong Wing - not a flimsy thing like the Bixlers have.

The Fuselage has a 5mm, or 6mm, Spar running from under the Wing and all the way to the Tail end - to provide strength to the Boom. The Boom is actually relatively short in length, almost the same length as a Bixler - not 25% longer to its larger scale. But that is fine - it does not need to be longer.

All servos are "17g", not 9g... so they are easily adequate for their tasks. All Analgoue and non-Metal Gear though, but that is fine too really. It is just a "Glider' really....

The Rudder, as per on Bixlers, is SMALL - not like on a Glider at all. Anything with 'long' Wings needs very good YAW Authority to turn them! So this is a shortfall, just like it is on Bixlers.
They WORK still... it is just that they are only JUST adequate.
I will extend the Rudder to have more surface area, and thus more Authority WHEN you need it!

It has a large WHEEL in the Fuselage underside - about 70mm, and it is a softish Rubber one (Vulcanised Rubber type?). That will help reduce belly landing 'harshness'! Well, if landed on nice ground/grass...
The aircraft will still really need a lot of Fiber Tape put on its underside to protect it from the friction heat and foam rash it will otherwise end up with!

There is a lot of internal room, though still not 'tons'. Plenty for any LOS aimed setup, but for longer range FPV you want/need a bit more - due to using a lot of battery capacity and more FPV equipment that just for short range 'around a park' type FPV.
There is more room under the Wing, but that is not accessible in the stock form, so to get access to that will need some mods done.

The T-Tail looks nice and is quite robust. The Fin has two spars running up from bottom to top.

The plane was originally designed to have the Elevator and Rudder servos in the fuselage up front, under the Wing region, but for a T-Tail they needed the servo in the Tailplane - so it is moved to there. There was a "normal" tail version of the Cloud Surfer design also, thus why the Elevator servo can be up front for that layout.
To get more room up front it will be better to move the Rudder servo to that tail end also.
Apr 10, 2016, 08:33 PM
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Blenderm Tape and WBPU


The first thing I did was put Blenderm Tape over all the foam hinges. Also over all the wiring channels it has (Ailerons, Flaps, Elevator servo/Fin).
Then I coated all the parts (dis-assembled still) with one coat of WBPU, to 'lock down' all the decals, and the Blenderm Taping.

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Apr 10, 2016, 09:13 PM
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Rudder servo moved


I took the Rudder servo out of the front tray area and moved it into the Fin. The Fin is very thick and that allowed the servo to be put in 'depth-wise' fine. That makes a smaller and tidier amount of servo seen externally.

I removed the Rudder pushrod tube.
Then ran an extra servo lead for the Rudder servo and joined the Rudder and Elevator servo plugs together with CA.
I needed to hack a bit of foam out of the Fuselage Fin "hole" so that the servo lead socket can fit inside there with the Fin plugged in.

The Fin/Tailplane assembly will have a bolt-on setup made for it later - rather than glue it on permanently.
That will allow changing servos, and getting to the plug/s, easy. Plus reduces the space needed to transport the CS when the Tail is off.

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Apr 10, 2016, 09:19 PM
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Battery tray extended


With the Rudder servo gone from the rear end of the Battery Tray it means you can extend the tray more rearwards.
The main need for this is if you ware setting up a more loaded up Long Range FPV format. You will have a high battery weight, and might need to move that more rearwards to achieve the correct CofG balance point.
I will be using an 800g 4S 10,000mAH 10C Multistar battery.....

Rearwards of the stock battery tray are two servo 'pockets'.That foam area has some high points that you need to cut out.
Then the low points back there are a good place to put in a 6mm balsa wood 'bridge' so that there is good support for a tray extension piece.

The extra tray extension was made of 2.5mm Basswood ply, epoxied in.
Then the whole battery tray has a large piece of Velcro stuck onto it - to hold the battery from moving.
I will add one or two Velcro straps later, to fully secure the large and heavy battery!

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Apr 10, 2016, 09:42 PM
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Wing attachment system


The stock CS has a Wing attaching system somewhat like a Bixler. They are plugged into Wing "holes" and the Motor Pod above the Wing is part of the Fuselage itself.
Interestingly they do not give any screws/bolts to keep the Wings in place! The centre join of the Wings is a "Jigsaw" fit and just 'loosely' interlock to prevent them moving outwards on their own!

In reality there generally is no real outwards pressure on Wings that tries to make them slide out, but they CAN due to various situations. The Jigsaw interlock is probably somewhat OK, but still lacking and a bit dangerous to rely on!

But I want access to INSIDE the Fuselage under the Wing, so this need a quite different Wing attaching method done. You wan the whole Wing and motor Pod to come off, so that you get that fully open access into the Fuselage.

First I sliced off the Motor Pod. So now the Wing/s can be just placed 'down' onto the Fuselage. That also allows access to cut open more of the Fuselage from under the Wing, to get to its internal space.

The two Wing Spars make the Wing form a very solid 'single' piece when they are slid together. To keep them held together I wanted a screw/bolt system. But it also needs a way to bolt the Wings onto the Fuselage too.

The best solution was to make an Aluminium Plate to go over the top of the Wing join. This plate then is also the way the Wing gets bolted down through - it gives a large surface area over the foam so that you won't get foam compression from the bolt down system.

I made plywood plates, with 3mm Captive Nuts, that were epoxied into the Wing join area - two per Wing side. Thus the Aluminium Plate get bolted down onto the Wing centre.
You can leave the plate attached to one Wing half for transport anyway.

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Apr 10, 2016, 09:43 PM
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Wheel and Battery


Just a quick look at the large 70mm 'Soft' Rubber Wheel, and how large the Battery area is.
10,000mA fits with ease. But with the Extended Tray there is even tons more room! Thus balancing the 800g will have a lot of leeway - the battery can move back quite close towards the CofG, so I expect you will be able to balance out the plane for any configuration with ease!

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Apr 13, 2016, 06:50 AM
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Fuselage mounts for the Wing


I cut out foam at the forwards, and rearwards, ends of the Wing saddle from inside the Fuselage, under those ends where the Wing seats onto. This was to make the surfaces flat for the Wing mount plates I made for the CS.
You can see those plates in the pic below.
First you just Epoxy those in underneath the foam Wing saddle area. No need to drill holes etc yet.

I removed the Aluminium Wing Plate to drill the four Wing Bolt holes (4mm) - mark the hole position when the Wing is on the plane. You need to have them inwards of the fuselage walls, but also make sure they pass through 'good' Wing foam areas - not right on some edge etc.
Once the Epoxy is fully set, put the Wing on and THEN you can drill right through from the top and through the Wing Mount plates. Do ONE, then insert a bolt, then do another, insert a bolt.. etc. To make sure all the holes do end up perfectly aligned!

Remove the Wing and drill 5.5mm holes into the mounting plates to fit the Captive Nuts into.
My plates were made of 2.5mm Beech Ply = hard wood. Captive nuts will not dig into that, unless hammered in - which you cannot do in the plane. But that is fine....
I made some 3mm Basswood Ply squares of about 15mm, and drilled that to 5.5mm also - to fit the Captive Nuts into. This allows hammering in the Captive Nuts - seeing these are not in the plane yet - and then Epoxy them onto the wood square so they can never come loose and 'turn'!!
You now have a Captive Nut with a 15mm square plate epoxied onto it and NOW you can Epoxy hose in one by one, into the main mounting plate holes. The Captive Nut 'cylinder' sticks out of that 15mm plate and thus can be fed into the man mounting plate 5.5mm hole.
Epoxy them and TAPE them on while you can get to it easily, before putting the Wing on so you can bolt it up for the bolt pressure to hold the plate/nut assembly in place AND perfectly aligned ot the bolt then of course!
You MUST do it this way, fitting the Wing and using a Wing Bolts, so they all do end up perfeclty aligned!

Do one.... and for each next one you do, do up all prior Wing Bolts also. This again makes sure all things are perfectly aligned as each next one is done.

Once it was all done, feeling/testing the Wing mounting strength - and the Fuselage strength associated with that - was all great and as required! A very robust fit.
It is also quite easy to do the 6 bolts required for this stage of assembling the plane (which will be at the field). Well under 5 minutes... probably 2 or 3 mins really.

Next, to fit the Motor Pod.....
I will also add templates for the Wing Mounting Plates here soon.

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Apr 16, 2016, 04:48 AM
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Removable Tailplane


I wanted to make the Fin/Tailplane assembly removable. Partly to get access to the servo lead/wiring, and partly in case I ever wanted to remove the Fin/Tailplane for transport reasons.
I just didn't like the idea of gluing it on permanently! Plus I could see there would be a way to make it removable easily enough....

The aim was to keep the front end 'tongue' they use, but add a vertical bolt down the rear end area. I couldn't think of how to do the 'nut' in the Fin for that bolt.
'Athertop' posted a great idea of using a 3mm Standoff in the fin!!

I found some nice 3mm x 15mm brass standoffs and then decided to use TWO bolts to hold the Fin/Tailplane on!
I was going to use some Carbon Fiber Tube and epoxy the standoff inside that, so that then the tube can go further up into the Fin - not that it needs that strength, but more to give a better length of area to be epoxied into the Fin. But then I found some Aluminium Tube that was a perfect interference fit for the standoff!!

Even if it is quite a tight fit you can't afford for it to ever come out, or to ever spin in there! I was going to still Epoxy it in, but then I decided to 'peen' the aluminium tube into the hex sided standoff, plus peen the end of the tube, plus right above the standoff, so then it can;t move in or out of the tube also.
A perfect solution!

So now I had two 50mm long Aluminium tubes, each with a standoff.
Running a 3mm hex head drive up through the Fuselage/Boom bottom and into the Fin was simple. Then driving a large Philips screwdriver into the fin to make the hole a tight fit on the Aluminium tube. Then those were Epoxied in and everything aligns perfectly

To give the 3mm bolts something solid to mount against on the Boom I added small 2.5mm plywood plates. That is so the bolt heads can't pull through.
Job done......

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Apr 16, 2016, 04:52 AM
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Motor Pod


Pressing the Motor pod down onto the Wing Plate and its bolts marked the foam where those were. Then just a quick 'hand drill' with a 6.5mm drill bit made the bolt head reccesses it needed there.
Then I split the Motor Pod apart down the seam, because to make it all work - mounting, wiring and access to that, and ESC placement up in the Pod - I would need that internal access to SEE what is in there, plus to even be able to mod it to suit those tasks.

I made an ESC "cutout" rectangle in the top of the Motor pod, for the ESC, so that it is out of the hatch area and also then in airflow for cooling.

I decided NOT to use the stock motor mount system. I cut the rear end off the Motor pod - basically the "cowl" of the motor itself - so that I can add a plywood plate onto the rear end face. Then the motor will be bolted on with a custom made "X mount" sort of idea. Then the cut off cowl piece can be put back on over the motor to make it look nicer....
Using an X Mount setup means you can alter the thrust lines easily with washers, and thus tune it to be a perfectly neutral thrust result. It will also allow full access to the whole motor/ESC system - not something all glued together and inaccessible!
The Motor wires will be extended so that the Bullet connectors are at the ESC cutout, and accessible to disconnect/reconnect the Motor easily in future.

To bolt down the Motor Pod, onto the Wing mounting plate, I added three Basswood Ply plates into the Motor Pod. The front two are very straightforward and just have bolts run through those, to go into Captive Nuts in the Aluminium Wing Plate, but the rear one needed more effort to make it workable. This is because the foam above that area is VERY high - that makes it hard to get way down inside there to do up a bolt. So for the rear mount I added a 25mm brass tube, to bring the bolt head much higher up in the pod. That also allows a much greater surface area - of the tube - to be epoxied into the pod, and thus that supports the pod a lot more than if it was just a bolt right at the bottom into a plate.

The Captive Nuts are all Epoxied into the Aluminium Wing plate.

The next thing to do is add the Motor Mount setup onto the Motor Pod rear end.....

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Apr 17, 2016 at 08:58 AM.
Apr 21, 2016, 08:29 AM
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Motor mount and ESC/wiring


I made up an Alloy plate motor mount. That is bolted to the motor, and then that is screwed onto the Motor Pod plywood motor mount plate.
The plywood plate is actually offset a little bit to give right thrust, but the motor mount alloy plate can be adjusted via spacers used between it and the Motor Pod plywood plate. That will mainly be to set the required vertical thrust-line offset. To stop ballooning or diving under power.

The cut off Motor 'Cowl" can still be put back on, but I probably will not use that. Whilst it looks somewhat nicer, it also encloses the motor and stops it being cooled very well.
I will more likely make a partial cowl from a thin plastic strip that is wrapped around the Motor Pod end, to overlap the motor by maybe 10mm. Just to streamline it all and look nicer too.

I made an ESC mounting plate in the Pod top centre and it uses velcro on the ESC and mounting plate, to hold the ESC in there.

The ESC battery leads were extended to take the XT60 connector well into the battery area.

Note how little wire the stock setup uses per connection! About 2mm only. That is done the same on all the connections they solder up. A bit short really!!

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