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Jul 20, 2019, 08:35 PM
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Build Log

2019 Xplorer X3 Build - Prep


I decided to track my Xplorer X3, 2019 edition, build here instead in a public thread. In a number of posts I'm going to try to cover in-depth the manner in how I approach building this model. The first time I tackled this it was very intimidating. Luckily I have access to some top notch pilots and builders, Jody Miller and Jeff Duval. Both of these guys have build tons of Xplorers and know how to get them built and setup to win contests. Hopefully I'll try to best pass along tips and tricks that I've learned so that anyone reading should be able to build one of these models with confidence. This first post will cover getting things ready.

Getting Your Model

First things, first. Inspect everything you have. Do this before you sign for your model from the shipping company. In the USA our NAN dealer is Soaring USA. They pack their models for shipping in probably the best possible manner. Everything is bagged, wrapped in bubble wrap, covered in foam, and taped down. The box even has a 2x2 running down its back so it can't get compressed. Even still, shipping companies, I'm looking at you FedEx, can still come up with some creative ways to damage items.

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Description: You can see how the creases and holes match up. Inspect your models before signing for them!

The box on the left was delivered to my residence in December of 2018 and the box on the right is the latest in July of 2019. You can see how FedEx has some piece of machinery that has placed creases and holes in the same spots. The more heavily damaged box on the left contained my extremely fragile NAN Explorer Big Flap. The fuse in that one did not make it unscathed. FedEx was kind enough to just drop the box and leave. This time I was able to catch the driver before he left and made him stand there while I unpacked every piece of the model. No damage this time. My suggestion is to sign up for the shipping company's notifications and have your shipment diverted to their local pickup hub. For FedEx this would be a FedEx Kinkos location. You might be able to avert some of that last mile damage from loading it onto the smaller trucks.

Preparing for Assembly

There is actually one step you should do before getting ready for assembly. You should really, really assemble your model and make sure that all the fit and finish is good. It is rare that you'll get blems, and it happens, but it is better to know where they are before you start than to wrack your brain trying to figure out if you caused the blemish during your build or if it came that way. It also makes a great time to take a picture of your new pride and joy when it is shiny and new!

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Description: A happy Xplorer owner!

I keep a bit of a messy workbench and it isn't the largest to work on a large center panel for a 4m Xplorer. I now build my models on a fold-out table. You can find these tables at Wal-Mart or the like. They're the type you're likely to see at a contest or at a flying field. They're about 2m long. While you're at it make sure you get a stool or something to sit on that gets you to a comfortable height for your work surface.

Before beginning building you need to make sure you have all the tools you'll need. You might not need them all to start away but at least set out what you have and note what you need so that you'll have it on hand before starting that part of the build. Here are the items that I use when I'm building:
  • Ruler and if possible a small hobby sized T-square
  • Scissors (you may need different sizes)
  • 600 grit sandpaper
  • Small weight with line attached
  • Hobby knife with fresh blades
  • Pen-vise with small drill bit (a jewelers version works best)
  • Razor saw
  • Small hand files (not pictured)
  • Tweezers and hemostats
  • Dental picks
  • Conical grinding bits
  • Rotary cut-off wheels (thin cut if possible)
  • Rotary tool
  • Isopropl alcohol
  • Car wax
  • Hardwood 1/8" x 1/4"
  • Painters tape
  • Felt tip pins or Sharpie
  • Various glues (thin and thick CA, 30-min epoxy, micro-balloons, and finishing/laminating epoxy)
  • One of each type of servo you'll be using
  • At least one of each servo frame you'll be mounting
  • Wiring harness
  • Heatshrink
  • Lighter
  • Paper towels and a good quality microfiber towel

Please realize that this isn't exhaustive but this should get you in a close ballpark. You may even have something better you can substitute for one of them or you may find that you just don't need it. Here's a picture of most of my stuff that I was inventorying before starting:

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Description: An incomplete example of a complete set of things you'll need.
Last edited by mikejr83; Jul 20, 2019 at 08:41 PM.
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