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Nov 25, 2019, 10:27 PM
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Cessna 150 from Dancing Wings models

I'm starting a build on this model from banggood (hobby king too?) and thought I'd put together a build thread for others to follow along with incase of a future build too.

The plane can be purchased from banggood Cessna 960mm Wingspan Balsa Wood RC Airplane KIT for $45, which seems like a reasonable price. The kit is made by Dancing Wings, which have nice kits for the price, but typically terrible instructions; this one isn't any different.

I made an unboxing video so folks could see what comes in the box.
Cessna 960mm Wingspan Balsa Wood RC Airplane (7 min 8 sec)

Below are photos of the initial kit and instructions I downloaded versus the nice shiny brochure that comes with the kit but offers no practical assistance. I also show my start to the build. This piece is the first upper corner of the instructions for building the fuselage. The only note here, is they are calling out F11 and F12 for structural ply pieces, but the actual marked wood parts are both F12. This is typical, you will find mis-numbered, not numbered, and just mixed up numbering with their kits. Typically with a little searching you can figure things out, it is just part of the fun. I will add that this first body piece is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle for assembly. Dry assembling first is a great idea to see how things go together, and in what order.
Last edited by HeliFlyer14; Jan 03, 2020 at 12:55 PM. Reason: updated thread name
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Nov 26, 2019, 08:40 PM
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I was able to spend more time on the build of this Cessna, moving on to sides of the body. As I already said, and will probably say again many times, the instructions are only a guideline. They show you the various parts for a given step, but no indication of an order. As an example today, I glued on the plastic window pieces for the side windows, then noticed the instructions showing two more pieces (A8, A11) where the windows are I thought maybe they were trying to number the plastic pieces, but then did find the two balsa pieces as labelled. Now the choice was to consider if the plastic should get sandwiched between or laid on top. I chose the sandwiched version to keep the windows from having such a deep inset, plus figured the thin plastic wouldn't effect the flatness of the two pieces being glued onto the body sides. it also became apparent that these two pieces were to nestle up to the basic structure built in step one when it was glued to the sides. This is another reason why I decided to wait for gluing them on, I wanted to first glue the step one piece in place then nestle the A8/A11 pieces up to the step one structure.

One of the things I like to do, is to locate and cut out all the parts for a given step, as I sometimes find some detail I had missed just looking at the photo "instructions". This was the case with the two A3 body sides. I hadn't noticed that they were the continuation of the body sides until I saw what they were. I also then saw why the front half of the body sides had the weird looking slot and key ends. The Dancing Wings plans are actually designed well, as is the case here with the sides. They designed everything so there was only one way for each side to be glued together, first the slot/key and then also a longer side and shorter side at the mating points to keep from flipping the part the wrong way.
Nov 27, 2019, 09:30 PM
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Today consisted in mainly getting the two body sides formed up. I ended up deciding to glue the A8/A11 formers that go around the window area, before assembling the body as previously mentioned. They needed a good flat surface to be held against while drying, plus when carefully fitting the structure from step one with them, I saw there wasn't any interference like I thought initially.

With one body side completed, I went about trying to see how the elev/rudder control rods were to route through the three formers going back to the tail. The formers are symmetric top and bottom, just the position of the control rod holes are different top to bottom. I tried all kinds of orientations and such, and finally made a best guess as shown. I do think the (top) rudder control rod will need a different guide location on the second former, as it just bends too much when all put together.

After the second side finished drying, I dry fit all the formers and the F5 tail plywood former, putting the clamps in place to see how things would go for the actual gluing step. Everything made sense and went together well. Before gluing in the F5 tail plywood former, I made a horizontal guide line so I could make sure it was position properly when things were glued and clamped.

Those black clamps are something I got from an estate giveaway where the guy had been a big builder before passing away. I was not aware of such a thing before this, and they sure make things easier to do. I don't know how I ever built without them in the past (ok, I do, but it consisted of lots of rubber bands).
Nov 27, 2019, 10:55 PM
UAS Pilot - FAA# *******HRK
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Originally Posted by HeliFlyer14

I don't know how I ever built without them in the past (ok, I do, but it consisted of lots of rubber bands).
And cussing.... Lots of cussing.

Nov 30, 2019, 10:07 PM
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Continuing to work on the fuse, assembling and gluing in the various formers and mounts. More or less showing the various components and how they are put together and where they are put onto the fuse.

I tried commenting on the various photos for any salient thoughts around the photo particulars, but there are a few things to be pointed out specifically that are different than the "instructions".

1) The bolts for the rear wing mount (second photo), I'm supposing are the long hex bolts in the included package, but they have a shoulder at the top, and with the blind nuts, they won't go in all the way to tighten things up, unless the rear of the wing in pretty thick. Time will tell which to use. I just stuck a couple of the shorter ones in place for now.

2) when gluing the front wing mount, note that there is an orientation to the two middle balsa pieces (forth photo). It is pretty obvious as the through holes won't line up if placed backwards, but still worth mentioning. Also note that when assembled, some internal notches are there (fifth photo) that should be for holding the front of wing in place. Time will tell, but that is the only way I see how the wing front will stay in place, as there are only wing mounting screws for the back of the wing.

3) after the step of gluing together the front wing mount, then the (further) mysteries really popped out. It is apparent that things changed along the way between the assembly photos and what is packaged. Case in point, the seventh photo shows the front wing mount to have screws going through the through holes, but when you look at the pile of screws in the eighth photo, there aren't any that really make sense and match the photos I'm just leaving it until later to see what comes of what for the various assemblies. It appears the two screws are just for added strength of the front wing mount, holding the various layers together. I glued all the layers together, so I don't see the need for extra reinforcements, but if I end up with something left over, I'll put them in for the sake of completeness.

4) It appears that the editor for the instructions wanted to keep things to only two pages, because there is a huge gap in-between the 5th and 6th step. It kind of looks seamless, but then you notice you have this big pile of extra parts (ninth photo) without any indication of where or how they go. I stumbled upon this when I saw a F17 body former part, yet there was no indication of where it went. Finally, after using the online instruction pdf, and zooming the heck out of it, I was able to figure out the placement of everything. F17 was kind of a stinker to see where it went (tenth photo shows it at the back of the step one structure), but the worst was part A2, this little skinny half moon piece. I just couldn't figure out where it went. Finally after looking at all the photos trying to see where such a skinny piece might be hiding, I noticed the front windshield where it comes against the body former had a smooth transition to the second slotted piece. I finally saw that A2 was to clamp the front windshield down and give any covering a smooth transition to the windshield (eleventh photo).

Finally, even though the instructions show gluing in the front wing mount at this point, I'm going to wait because it seems a critical piece for mounting the wing to, and I want to make sure they fit well to each other. I'll move onto building the wing before adding any of the stringers on the fuse too, so I can make sure I have easy access into the fuse for running the servo control wires (and front wheel control wire).
Dec 01, 2019, 07:22 PM
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After the monster post yesterday, todays is much less. I just glued on some doublers over the body seams as I don't like just having the joint like that, it seems to fragile. I also got started on the cowl. Interestingly enough, they cut one of the formers wrong (I think). It looks like the bottom of it should be continuous, but they cut it all the ways though as if a large stringer was to pass through. I ended up gluing a support piece across the gap on the backside so it wouldn't be seen or interfere with pushing the cowl up against the body nose.

My plan is to finish the cowl and motor mount, then move onto the wing. The cowl will give me experience in adding the balsa sheeting they provide, and seeing how hard it is to keep it tight against the stringers as the glue dries.
Last edited by HeliFlyer14; Dec 01, 2019 at 07:28 PM.
Dec 01, 2019, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by HeliFlyer14
It looks like the bottom of it should be continuous, but they cut it all the ways though as if a large stringer was to pass through. I ended up gluing a support piece across the gap on the backside so it wouldn't be seen or interfere with pushing the cowl up against the body nose.
OK, just a guess here...
I'm thinking that they left that cowl former cut through so that you could pin it up against the firewall and line up all the edges for a good fit.
Having it cut through like that would allow you to push in or out on the sides to line it up.
Pinned in place for a good fit, you could then glue a piece across the face of the gap to lock in the fit.
Then it could be taken off and lined up with the other pieces for further building.

That's just a wild guess on my part.
Dec 01, 2019, 11:49 PM
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hmmm, that's interesting, I never thought of that. I'll look at things more to see how they line up, and if I need to make any adjustments. That center split is supposed to have a stringer run from it to the front of the cowl, so it'll have to serve double purpose.

Tuesday I'll get back on this and see what comes of it. Thanks for the tip!
Dec 02, 2019, 10:33 PM
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When putting the stringers on the cowl today, and looking at the balsa sheeting that wraps around it, I saw the lower sheeting pieces had a little notch right at the back of the cowl. I figured that was too coincidental with the split in the former. That is when it dawned on me what it was for, the front landing wheel wire! I still feel it is a poor design to not have the front former braced at all, aside from the sheeting. I had glued a small support piece on the backside earlier, allowing the center stringer to come back to the former, so I will still have the slot, but reinforced. I'll post photos later after I'm down sheeting the cowl.
Dec 11, 2019, 06:28 PM
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ok, the weather hadn't been that bad lately, so instead of building I had been flying, but now the 10 day forecast is just rain, so back to the building.

I spent some time getting the cowl finished up and the doublers that go along the top of the cockpit for added wing mount strength. Everything went pretty smoothly and without hickups, except one piece of the sheeting didn't really want to bend, so I had to soak it in hot water then use a ton of rubber bands and clamps to get it to curve around the cowl like it was supposed to.

I had already built the motor mount too, but have not glued it to the body yet. You can see that I haven't put any stringers on the body yet either. I'm waiting until I have most things ready and mounted all the various electronics, just so I have ease of access since the final plane gets sheeted all the way around.
Dec 12, 2019, 10:57 PM
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Moved on to building the tail feathers as the next step. Not too eventful, except I had a hard time getting the horizontal stabilizer and elevator to stay glued as a laminate. I put on wood glue covering the entire surface, then sandwiched between two cutting boards for a flat surface, and applied weight to help hold things down. Both times when inspecting them after a little, the edges were coming delaminated All I can figure is that the expansion on one side of the wood due to the wet glue overpowered the flat weights. Both times I ended up wicking thin super glue into the gaps, working it down into the crack, then using clamps to hold things together while it dried. That worked, but still it was a surprise to have the delamination occur. The rudder didn't do that, I suppose because it is not as big of a surface area.

Anyway, I posted a lot of pictures to help others see the build steps better than perhaps the "instructions" show.
Dec 16, 2019, 10:59 PM
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As I muddle my way through this build, I am now moving onto the wing build. The "instructions" provide no help, just a small picture and a reference to the included full size planes for the wings. Looking the various parts over, it seems straight forward enough (I may find something once I get going), but I wanted to get the aileron servo control figured out first.

The kit gives zero instructions on where the included steel wire rods go, much like the pile of screws included with the kit In laying the control rods out, it is easy enough to work out those for the rudder, elev, and front tire for steering. The trouble comes in when trying to figure out how the ailerons are supposed to be controlled. The kit provides two short thin control rods, and two mid length thick and bent weird looking rods with no mention of how these are supposed to be used. The aileron servo is mounted at the wing root, instead of the typical mid wing, so I figured there needed to be some transverse element to make a right angle turn from servo to aileron. After too much thinking, I finally think I figured out the intended manner to use these two pieces. I posted photos below showing the control rods, the routing through the ribs, and how the bent piece is used for the aileron control. I also included a photo showing what the instructions show for the front wheel, and what is included in the package, leaving it up to the user to figure out how to assemble and use the front wheel control.
Dec 17, 2019, 08:36 PM
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I spent too much time today with my helicopters, so not too much was completed on this model. All I ended up completing was locating and numbering the various parts for the wing, and laying them out to make sure everything was accounted for and roughly placed. I then moved things out so I could place the stringers and start thinking about the build order with this. I want to wait until I have a good chunk of time before starting the gluing, as it appears it will be kind of a start and go through the whole thing. It is supposed to be raining for the next few days, so I should make some good progress.
Dec 21, 2019, 05:02 PM
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I finished building one of the wing halves. Everything went along pretty uneventful and was like building any other wing. The one weird thing I did run into and had to make a choice about what to do, was where the wing leading edge mates with the wing tip. From everything I can tell, the designers intended for the leading edge to overlap onto the wing tip, except in doing so the leading edge actually ends up with a upward bend to it. Having built enough of the Dancing Wing kits I've learned the design is pretty solid, it is just the instructions are bad. Given such, I decided to just overlap leading edge onto the wing tip and have the upward bend.

I also fit the aileron control wire to see how it fits, and aside from having to notch out the rib at the left edge of the aileron, it seems pretty solid. I did see that the wing side of the aileron pocket has a bend to it approaching into the wing tip, while the aileron has a straight edge. This ends up leaving a larger gap on the right side of the aileron to wing interface. I might just leave it, or I might fill it in with a little scrap balsa. I don't know right now and will wait until later to make the decision. Now time to move onto the other wing half build.

As a last note, I'm leaving all the sheeting until the end and just have the ribs and such on the body and the wing.
Dec 24, 2019, 07:58 PM
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Finished the remaining wing, and dry fit the two wings onto the fuse. Everything seems ok so far. I took some of the obligatory blue tape photos

The next steps will be starting onto the various electronics and such before adding the remaining stringers and then the final sheeting.

Merry Christmas to you folks!

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