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Nov 06, 2017, 09:11 AM
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Build Log

T-33 T-Bird - 1680mm by RC Lander (Crashed - Destroyed. BOO!!!)


Time for a new jet.... but why? So many to finish, and so many to fly already!

Well:
1) It is big
2) It is very cheap (on sale)

I always had liked my 70mm Panther and the T-33 is quite a similar aircraft, but this time at more of a 105/120mm EDF size! BIG.
Even though it also fits - and comes with - a 90mm EDF setup.

I was 'worried' about RC Lander.... as their stuff tends to be very OLD Generation and fairly poorly 'executed'. And once again, it was exactly that... oh well.

HobbyKing had it on sale for AUD$520 and it would cost a fair way towards that for the EDF and ESC it comes with.
Plus reviews on it were not that bad.
RC Lander stuff can end up LOOKING pretty good, but they are still very 'rough' made models. And seeing pics of it looked good, and flying reports were very good, I decided it would be a 'good idea'.

Once I got the jet I found it was the 'latest' iteration/version of it. Which had all the upgrades added over the years, plus a 12 Blade Dr Mad Thrust (RC Lander) 1000KV 10S 4500Watt EDF. And a ZTW Gecko 150A HV ESC. So those were great to get with it, and made it excellent value!
The retracts are BIG and robust too, so they are worth quite a lot of $.

One nuisance is that it uses Wire Pull-Pull steering. And it is a really bad setup! Not that ANY wire Pull-Pull setup is any good!
So that will need to be modded into a PUSHROD steering system!

The paintwork is very good! A bit dodgy in some areas, but overall very good. More so for all TOP/SIDE surfaces - which the foam finish is also excellent for all of those. But quite lacking on the UNDERSIDE of the wing!

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Jan 13, 2019 at 11:51 PM.
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Nov 06, 2017, 09:16 AM
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EDF and ESC


EDF and ESC

(need better pics!)
Nov 06, 2017, 09:24 AM
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Pretty Big


At 1680mm Wingspan, and pretty close to the same in length, this is quite a big FOAM EDF jet.
Combine that large size with the 'straight wing' traits... plus 'end plates' of the tip tanks... and you get a very high lift model that has clean and stable flying ability. As per all the reviews attest to.

Seeing it is a big, they have to make the fuselage in numerous smaller pieces that you have to glue together.
That was quite easy and was a well thought out design by RC Lander.
The foam quality is pretty good too - and it seems to be EPO, but I have seen it said that is is SEPO which is a better version of EPO.
To me it looked just like EPO though.

Building up the Fuselage was quick and easy. Everything fit well, if not near perfectly, so the outcome was great.

The way things are 'done' it reminded me exactly of the RC Lander 70mm panther. But those are very old designs, and the T-33 showed SLIGHT improvements in RC Lander's ideas and implementations of those. But not by much... so they would still be the "worst" of all the model aircraft manufacturer options.
And you find that out more when you work on the WING !!!

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Nov 06, 2017, 09:47 AM
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Wings


The Wing comes in two pieces to be joined into a one piece Wing.
I decided to add two Carbon Fiber Spars, instead of having just the two 'cheap chinese plywood' wing JOINERS they give. They are short and more or less only joint the Wing halves. meanwhile the Wings themselves have a LOT of spars and reinforcing, so they are very strong - and heavy. It is just that they are JOINED weakly! Thus adding Spars is pretty well a Must-Do thing!

I used 2x 5mm OD Carbon Fiber Tubes for the Spars. They can only go out into the Wing so far before they hit a near Full Chord rib for the Main Gear Retract mounts. But it is plenty of distance to make for a very strong Wing then.

I first mounted the Wings one at a time onto the Fuselage, bolting them on to check their alignments - and lucky I did!
When BOTH are on, and butted to the centre, the mounts do not line up. The bolts/holes to the captive nut positions!
I also found that when they butted up that meant each wing had a 2mm GAP at the face to the Fuselage. That is a LOT.

After checking things over to be sure, I decided to trim off 2mm from each Wing centre face. Plus I checked the Wing Mounting Bolts, and they were all good then. So that seemed something it really needed.... 4mm removed - 2mm per Wing join face.
I couldn't trim that off perfectly, or to the perfect face angle again. But it was pretty good and can be filled up.

I added the two Spars and joined the Wings so I could bolt them onto the fuselage to check all positions, gaps and bolts etc.
It all lined up BUT I found that the rear end 'tail/tang' of the Wing was WAY up into the air 'above' the Fuselage! Even though the main Wing sections were fitted nicely to the Fuselage - perfectly aligned and no gaps at all. About 15mm to high up!
PLUS, the centre area at the front of the Wing was WAY above the Fuselage underside there too! Again about 15mm too high up.

I had used the supplied Wing joiners, which were angled to give DIHEDRAL, but I can see that having Dihedral is what 'raises' the Wing Centreline to be that 15mm above the Fuselage underside! How did they arrive at that idea!!
That Dihedral also made the Wing Joint Facing angles not to be right to butt up against each other with no gaps. SHEESH!!

Then on top of that, the TWO plywood joiners they give are different Dihedral angles! If you sit one in place then the other one is a 'wrong' angle to match.
Using the lesser angled one as the Dihedral angle to use, still had that 15mm higher centreline section.
I decided Dihedral would be useful. so I would modify the Wing centreline underside to make it all match up.

THEN the problem is the Airbrakes are right at that front centreline area so the 'matching' has to be done within 20mm = a very steep slope.
There was just no other way to do it all.
At least the Underside is not seen much ever....

The rear end was tapered down in a smooth path and can just be 'forced' down to complete a good fit, with the rear centre Wing Bolt tightening that down in position.

So all in all, getting the Wing to FIT even just WELL was a big task of modding to do!
It is a REALLY BADLY made assembly! It seems most people mention about the GAPS it will have, and also the mis-matching underside heights.

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Nov 18, 2017, 07:58 AM
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Thrust Tube


The RC Lander T-33 comes with an acrylic Thrust Tube - but it was made to suit the RC Lander 5 (6?) Blade 90mm Alloy EDF unit. The same unit as the Dr Mad thrust that comes with this BUT this one has the 12 blade rotor. That means the exhaust diameter of 78mm, which the supplied Thrust Tube has, is NOT RIGHT for that.
You can't alter the one given as it does not have enough material to enlarge it.

I bought some sheets of 0.38mm (micron) 'rigid acrylic sheet', that come as 1000mm x 760mm, and made up a new Thrust Tube.

One 'issue' with the T-33 is the "Tailplane Hump" that intrudes as a bulge into the rear ducting. This deforms the Thrust Tube as it goes past it and thus it ends up an OVAL at the tail pipe end, and offset downwards. This would cause a thrust offset - down thrust.
You can force it into a circle again by hand, so that shows it can be re-shaped by the time it gets to the tail pipe exit. To do that you would add a 'ring' in the tail pipe, of the correct diameter to enforce the Thrust Tube to be centered. Possibly a ring of balsa wood. It needs something like 6mm thickness around the inner circumference. I have not decided how I will do that for sure yet.

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Nov 18, 2017, 08:03 AM
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ESC, Wiring


The ESC (ZTW Gecko 150A HV) also has an additional "Capacitor Pack" hanging off it - not mounted anywhere, just hanging on its pos/neg leads!
So I extended the leads a bit and made a small mounting bay, and aluminium clamp strip, to fix it down solidly.

The tail end servo leads were set to pass down a central channel, as per the EDF motor leads come through - but I was not happy to have the motor leads WITH the servo leads in there! Possible cross-talk, interference. So I made a new narrow channel to the side of the EDF and ran the RC wiring that way - well away from the motor leads and the ESC.

I have not decided where it is best to place the RX, so no wiring lengths for the RC leads nor the battery leads have been completed yet.

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Nov 18, 2017, 08:11 AM
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Tail servos and control horns etc


Linkage Stoppers....
I don't really like Linkage Stoppers at all !! But RC Lander has always LOVED using them! Supplying them with their aircraft. (very "90's" stuff!)

I had decided to put EMBEDDED Control Horns into the Flight Control Surfaces, and also to use Ball Joints for all connections.
I had 2mm threaded pushrods and all the bits required, but it is a nuisance to do Ball Joints at BOTH ends as you have to epoxy some threaded links onto the non-threaded, cut, pushrod end, so that you can fit a Ball Joint to that end also.
Hmmm, now I think I was a bit lazy!
I just USED the Linkage Stoppers that were supplied, for the servo arm ends.....
I CA'ed the Linkage Stopper thread/nuts... and Blue Loctited the grub screws. So they should be reliable and fine really.
The Ball Joints and Control Horns are WAY nicer - better - than the supplied bits I didn't want to use. It is all very rigid and no freeplay etc. Just how I like it to be! 100% Fit For Purpose! Reliable and SAFE!

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Nov 21, 2017, 05:54 PM
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Wing control surfaces etc


I made up some 'modded' nylon control horns to be embedded into the Wing flight control surfaces - the Flaps and Ailerons.
To give them a more solid 'fix' into the surfaces I put one slot into each control horn, and embedded a 2" strip of carbon fiber into the control surface (longitudally) for the control horn to 'key' into/onto. Thus giving it a very large surface area - well, internal foam area - for it all to be bonded/affixed to. eg Not just the control horn vertical bit embedded on its own.
This is all epoxied in.

The Flap and Aileron pushrods are 2mm rod with threaded ends, and Ball Joints as per that tail surfaces.

The Flaps came with no glue on the hinges for the wing portion. This allowed them to be removed and painted 'inside' - Red.

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Nov 30, 2017, 08:57 AM
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Pushrod Nose Wheel Steering


The T-33 comes with Pull-Pull wire steering - that it just a rubbish method! Fraught with slop and error.
PUSHROD Steering is by far the best method. So I always do that....

First I needed a Control Arm for the pushrod steering system. There are only very limited options in buying those, so I most often make my own from Alloy. In this case it can be done very easily... just a bit of cutting, filing and drilling... then one hole to Tap for a 3mm (or 4mm) grub screw.
In the T-33 there is no real problem leaving it as a pure 'oblong block' - but most often I file away a lot of the unnecessary material to form a more traditional steering arm shape. Seeing I am not fussed over WEIGHT at all, and that the 'oblong block' looks fine in the T-33, I will not bother machining it to be 'nicer'.

When you make your own you can have a nice LONG 'Slider Rod' - which is where any steering travel will be 'absorbed' that occurs when the nose gear is RETRACTED. You must have a Slider Rod to account for that OR use a separate Steering Channel so that you can DISABLE the Steering Servo when the Gear Switch for Retraction is switched. But even then there is always SOME other source of a bit of 'motion' in the pushrod system, so it is just best to ALWAYS use a Slider Rod method. It is sort of a case of "Using Pushrod Steering?... then HAVE a Slider Rod!"

The next Pushrod Steering (or even Pull-Pull) requirement is to have a Servo for the Steering of course.
I wanted mine to be totally accessible... easily!
The best place for that was on the fuselage inner wall, right after the upper front battery tray. That keeps it from 'wasting' space in that battery area.

I made up a 5ply Plywood mount/bracket for the servo and then screwed that onto the rear corner of that Upper Battery Tray. I could have epoxied it all in, but I decided I wanted it all REMOVABLE also. For any future work it might ever need done.
The Servo can already come out on its own anyway - out sideways from the mount.

The T-33 has the nose areas all closed off with Clear PVC pieces inside the nose area. This meant I needed to use a soldering iron to BURN a hole through that, for the pushrod to pass through. I made it large enough to fit the whole Servo end control horn on it also - to make it very easy to fit, remove, do work on ever.

The Steering Servo arm 'points' outboard - towards the fuselage inner wall - so that its arc of travel matches the Nose Gear Steering Arm arc.

I need to add a 'Guide Plate' towards the front end of the pushrod length. This is a piece of plywood with a SLOT horizontally in it, so that the pushrod maintains a particular HEIGHT on the Slide Rod. This is so that the pivot point of the steering control arm is the same height as the retract pivot point.
This means the 'folding' process of retraction/extension creates 'zero' pushrod pressure - even though the Slide Rod is there to 'absorb' that anyway. It is all just much smoother flowing, less servo stresses, if it is 'just right' in the first place. So it is worth the easy addition of a guide plate.

All in all, in operation.... perfect. Zero freeplay and solid accurate motions. And no issues under retraction or extension. Which is the whole aim of doing it anyway!

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Dec 06, 2017, 05:42 PM
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Tip Tanks - removable


Because the Wing Tip Tanks are so HUGE, they would almost certainly be damaged in transport if they were left on the wing. Thus I made them removable.

I used a pair of 3mm Threaded Nylon Standoffs, and 3mm hex headed bolt, per side.

A 20mm standoff is used in the tip tank as that runs from where it meets the wing tip outwards until leaving free space for the bolt head. This standoff is drilled out to 3.3mm to remove the thread it has, and to make it easy for the 3mm bolt to pass through.
A 30mm standoff is embedded into the Wingtip. It is longer than the 10mm of thread needed so that is has a large surface area to bond to the wing foam - to assure it will never 'spin' free.
The 3mm x 30mm hex headed bolt is long enough to run just 10mm into the Wingtip threaded standoff.

Aligning and fitting this all is very easy.
First I 'skewered' the Tip Tank portion using a hex head driver (1.5mm to have a pointy tip), but you could use any pointed item - Choosing a position that will go into the Wing at a clear area with no Spar etc in the way. Start at the seam of the Tip Tank join, and 'aim' for the same seam point inside it at the wingtip recess. Once through you can align the 'skewer' by sighting it all along the tank outer and inner sides.
Next I put the Tip Tank onto the Wing and lightly pressed the 'skewer' into the wingtip - to check that it was dead centre of the Wing thickness. Then when that is confirmed/adjusted, skewer into the Wing via the Tip Tank. Thus the whole path through the Tip Tank and into the Wing is aligned.
Next I 'reamed' the whole path out with a 4mm philips screwdriver. (again, many other items could be used to ream it out larger)
Score the Nylon Standoff surfaces with a knife, to form 'scars' for the Epoxy to stick better onto. Then Epoxy 'line' the holes, and thinly coat the entire standoffs - hold them with a bolt or real wooden skewer (3mm approx) - then feed them into their 'holes' in the Wing and Tip Tank.
The standoffs are a fairly tight/firm fit in the reamed holes and being hex in shape they do not 'spin' too easily in there. This means you can put the Tip Tank on and run its bolt through so that the whole assembly is aligned for sure as the Epoxy cures.

It is actually a quite fast and easy process to do.

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Dec 09, 2017, 04:44 AM
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Tailcone Spacer/Adaptor


The Thrust Tube diameter (78mm) does not match the Tail Cone Exhaust diameter.
Plus that Thrust Tube DISTORTION that is caused by the Tailplane mount area coming inside the Ducting.

To rectify both of those problems, I made up a 3D Printed Spacer/Adaptor which bridges/fills the gap between the Thrust Tube and the Tail Cone.
That gap is basically about 3.5mm so the spacer is a 3.5mm 'wide' ring, made 10mm long (should have been 15mm really!)
It is not quite a small enough INNER diameter, so the Thrust Tube has a small gap at the top. But at least it is all close to being perfectly 'round'.

At the moment I have just press fit it in seeing it is a good tight fit plus the Thrust Tube presses it firmly downwards too.
Hopefully it does not 'blow' out somehow!!
(I need to paint the inside of the Thrust Tube matt black....)

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Dec 10, 2017, 05:58 PM
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Cockpit & Pilot


I added a HobbyKing 'fighter pilot' with some red headrests as per the full scale.
I noted the rear seat is under the canopy's 'non- glass' area, and on a full scale it is NOT.
I pondered about modding/moving the rear cockpit but decided it was too much effort to bother. And I only wanted the front pilot anyway....

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Dec 10, 2017, 06:02 PM
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Battery straps


I always put a 'full floor' of velcro into RC models, with all batteries having velcro pads added to them.
This is NOT to lock down the battery - it is to 'partially' lock them down, but mainly to make sure they stay WHERE they are placed. laterally and Longitudinally. As for VERTICALLY..... velcro helps that a certain amount, but you want STRAPS for that!

An easy way is just screw velcro straps onto small plywood plates, and epoxy those to the inner fuselage sides.
For the T-33 you need to do that for the main 'lower' battery pair. But for the forwards battery, on the upper tray, you can just screw the velcro straps onto the same battery platform floor.

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Dec 11, 2017 at 06:35 PM.
Dec 10, 2017, 06:08 PM
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Wing mount spacer and wiring guide


When the Wing is put onto the fuselage the front center bolt/mount system does not 'meet' and make contact. There is a gap between the Wing and mount.
This means you could do up the front center Wing bolt 'indefinitely' and pull the wing 'down'/crushed - or even break the mount out of the fuselage!
You want the two surfaces to MATE.... touch... before either side is deformed instead!
To fix this I added a spacer block onto the fuselage mount.

At that same time I added a cross piece to guide the Wing Wiring into the battery bay, and AWAY from getting trapped between the fuselage wing mount and the wing inner surface. That happened once when I was assembling/testing things, so then I knew it was a possibility... good probability(!)... to occur! Thus the guide piece to 'block' that happening.

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Dec 10, 2017, 06:10 PM
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RC area extended


I needed a bit more room for RC stuff in the top rear deck area.
I am not sure why I didn't just make the WHOLE rear area as one deck in the first place! It was probably to keep the rear cockpit area clear - but that is not really a problem nor important really.
So I added another 'plate' to extend that rear deck/floor to go all the way to the battery area.

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Dec 11, 2017 at 06:40 PM.


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