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Apr 02, 2019, 09:04 PM
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Ultra thin (.012") balsa sheet / covering experiment


I enjoy preparing sections of material and surface sanding them down to see the unique resulting properties.

Typically with these tests I remove a huge amount of material because otherwise the material(s) would be too thin to hold together for sanding, or be glued with integrity, or with a perfect finish, etc. In the end something comes out that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts.

I have no practice application for this one in mind but thought it was interesting. Just sharing here.
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Apr 03, 2019, 08:24 AM
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I love this type work: laminated sheet composite experiments.

I've not tried quality balsa as you have, but I spent a couple summers[..2015 - 2017..], making up combinations of cedar, poplar and bamboo with a few different fabric clothes, papers & adhesives.
Seeing 'how' they behaved and what weights I could achieve for plane construction projects.

What size model does that backlit fuselage belong to?
Apr 03, 2019, 08:20 PM
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I've also tried some interesting wood combos and they are buried in a sailplane thread. A few stand out...I tried a trailing edge with balsa, basswood, and teak and was impressed at how that combo held together. The idea of course was to match the density with the thickness, but in doing so there seems to be some magic properties in gluing similar densities together in a set of transitions from soft to hard.

Breaking Test - Thin TE Balsa/Basswood/Teak (0 min 28 sec)


Anyway, here's the weight of the test...3" x5" section calculates out to 0.28oz/ft. (Ultracote is 0.18oz/ft sq)

And I did think of one application - wing sheeting. You could actually have the sheeting grain run parallel with the fuselage and supported by stringers on the ribs. I don't know if this would be more than a novelty but perhaps it would allow a fully sheeted wing with a lower weight. It could even be undercambered and because the covering was already attached, the surface would be ready to go.

By the way, the fuselage is a 50% scale of a Mini Telemaster I'm scratch building. Going off design for the structure to makes sure it is as light as possible.


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