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Dec 13, 2019, 11:32 AM
Barney Fife, Vigilante
tom43004's Avatar
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Discussion

Crowd Sourced DLG - NXT Sport


I'm considering a new project, similar to the one I started back in 2009 that resulted in the Fr3aK, SuperFr3aK, and ultimately NXT. Back then I was attempting to get more people interested in building at home rather than sourcing models from the (then very cottage based) DLG industry. My thoughts back then were to release videos of my construction methods and make CNC tooling available to a number of people to start making molded parts in their own shops, garages, and basements. I did have some success with that project, sourcing fuselage and tail part production to a couple of skilled craftsmen (thanks Austin and Brian) and then sourcing wing production to Phil. Ultimately I would like to have seen more than a few people jump in and make parts but at the time it was a big step forward. Those projects were very successful but never gained any mass appeal because I was still doing the bulk of the construction in my spare time. Things certainly took off for the NXT project once it was offered to the Stream team for larger scale commercial production. Those guys do amazing work.

Fast forward to 2019 and the DLG "development" cycle seems to have slowed for a few years. Airplanes have converged on designs that are pretty similar in the grand scheme of things, and while a top competition model still has a small performance and cosmetic edge on some of the others, my feeling is that an airplane could be crowd sourced that performs very nearly as well as the high end ships with much lower cost, higher availability, and probably a few optional components to bridge the beginner and experienced contest pilots.

So here I am... thinking that it would be great to design a platform that has the following characteristics:

1. Simple molded fuselage that's easy to finish out, big enough to support all types of gear, and strong enough to survive new pilots.
2. Simple two panel wing initially, bagged for quick and easy "toolless" construction, ideally a two piece wing for lower shipping costs and easy transportation.
3. Simple glassed balsa tails
4. Release detailed videos of all construction steps, materials lists, three views, etc on a website to support the project.
5. Design and release optional parts for those looking for higher performance, ie molded tails, 4 panel or molded wings, etc
6. Pricing to be set by the market and those building parts. My guess would be a fuse under $100, CNC cut cores at $60 or glass skinned bagged wing at $200, tails at $40-80 per set depending on construction. Think a $400 kit that builds in a few evenings or a $250 kit if you can bag your own wing.

Truthfully, it's already designed and mostly ready to go. I have made a few fuselages and wings already for my own fleet and I'm excited to see some other people fly these. I'm torn because I had designed a full F5J offering last fall and built a couple of models preparing for a production run, but my fear is that the 400' ceiling will harm that aspect of soaring more than it will F3K. I'd like to continue down the path of developing the Savage, but getting this off the ground may be the perfect distraction as we let the FAA / AMA figure out our future above 400AGL. I'm also space limited in my shop for a while and producing larger parts for F5J is very difficult currently.

Do you think people would be interested in building these? If so, I would publish the files here for GMFC for the wing cores, publish drawings, videos, and methods for making the tails, and make fuselages available as well as molds for others to build fuses if they have access to a CNC for tooling work.

Thoughts?
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Dec 13, 2019, 12:11 PM
mth
mth
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I think it’s a good idea. So would the end user be the one bagging the wing and tails? I think having the options for different materials is a great idea.
Dec 13, 2019, 12:15 PM
Barney Fife, Vigilante
tom43004's Avatar
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Yes sir. I would see the end user being able to purchase a completed wing from someone, a set of cores from someone, or cut and bag their own.
Dec 13, 2019, 12:19 PM
Will fly for food
davidjensen's Avatar
I like building and flying. What could be better?
Dec 13, 2019, 12:41 PM
Registered User
I'm rather interested.

So the fuse and tails could be bought from you and the wing we get made/build ourselves with the info you supply? Edit: I just noticed glassed balsa tails but would most likely source a ready built set from someone, LD models coloured glass tails are excellently priced!

I don't have the skills or equipment to mill some cores and bag them but it could either be something new I learn in 2020 or it could be a good idea for a group of guys to get together and all build one each and help each other out.

Whilst I currently don't fly contests, over the summer I started to loose a bit of interested in flying, this idea would sure put a spark back into it.

Sound great!
Dec 13, 2019, 12:44 PM
Barney Fife, Vigilante
tom43004's Avatar
Thread OP
I think I will probably source some parts initially but ultimately I would like others to start building all of the components. I don't want people waiting on me to build their toys.

So yes, you could source a fuselage and tails from me or someone else building them, then make your own wing (or fit an existing wing such as the NXT etc.
Dec 13, 2019, 12:47 PM
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rockbus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom43004
I think I will probably source some parts initially but ultimately I would like others to start building all of the components. I don't want people waiting on me to build their toys.

So yes, you could source a fuselage and tails from me or someone else building them, then make your own wing (or fit an existing wing such as the NXT etc.
Collaborate with Bchirrick.
Dec 13, 2019, 12:47 PM
Registered User
Sounds really good!

I loved the NXT, how close to that design is the new wing ?

Ive already started asking around if anyone can bag a wing for me haha
Last edited by i_am_mark_evans; Dec 13, 2019 at 12:57 PM.
Dec 13, 2019, 01:05 PM
Barney Fife, Vigilante
tom43004's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockbus
Collaborate with Bchirrick.
I have in the past. I'd hope that maybe Brian would jump on board.



@ Mark, the wing is a bagged equivalent of NXT, using the same airfoils and approximated planform. One of mine is being flown with a molded NXT wing for comparison.
Dec 13, 2019, 01:13 PM
Registered User
Then i'm totally in!

When can I buy my fuse? haha.
Dec 13, 2019, 01:35 PM
Registered User

Colab


Quote:
Originally Posted by tom43004
I have in the past. I'd hope that maybe Brian would jump on board.



@ Mark, the wing is a bagged equivalent of NXT, using the same airfoils and approximated planform. One of mine is being flown with a molded NXT wing for comparison.
I was too late for the first collaboration, but would love to join in on this one. Please let me know how i can help out.
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Dec 13, 2019, 03:46 PM
Build and Fly
ibnjmn's Avatar
This sounds cool! I've recently joined the CNC-owners' club, and have been mulling over designing some parts to cut on it. I'm limited in time and space as well, but if I can make one for myself, maybe I can make some extra parts to offset the cost. Plus, I love my NXT!
Dec 13, 2019, 04:42 PM
Come out swinging
sporter's Avatar
Some thoughts:

It's a great idea to distribute the building load across several basements rather than trying to serve the market as an individual.

This smells a little like the SuperGee, with plans and parts and partial kits back in the early 2000s, which was very successful BTW.

The Mapleaf Encore used CNC milled balsa tails (no glass) that were really nice and light.

How do you feel about an electric version 1.5M model? I think this would really open up the opportunity beyond F3K and get more weekend park flyers.

Do the wings have to be based on our current paradigm of foam core and covered in glass/carbon? Isn't there a way to design something thicker that could be milled and covered in tape or something? The JW was just as fast as many slope racers, durable, low cost, and performance was great. Same for the Zagi. Or, are we confined to the high aspect wings?

Just some thoughts...

Sean
Dec 13, 2019, 04:52 PM
Barney Fife, Vigilante
tom43004's Avatar
Thread OP
Sean,

SuperGee was near and dear to me. I built several of them pushing 20 years ago.

I have already drawn and cut molds for an electric version as well. The tails could be smaller for that version but standard DLG tails would work fine. The fuse as drawn would easily accept any normal wing. The saddle is set up for a roughly 165mm root. NXT was 162.5 and Fr3aK was 175. I did shorten the saddle a little so that it doesn't have to be an exact fit.

I didn't make it a full length fuse, but rather a pod / boom using standard allegro booms. That allows the user to build it how they want, either trimmed per plan or maybe leaving it full length if desired. That also simplifies construction for folks who may be new to bladder molding. Shorter fuses are MUCH less prone to mistakes in demolding, etc.

Let me cut a CNC wing a little thicker this weekend and tape it up like a Zagi wing. I have fg strapping tape and colored packing tape. I bet it would take a 30-40m launch.
Last edited by tom43004; Dec 13, 2019 at 04:56 PM. Reason: Added
Dec 13, 2019, 04:58 PM
mth
mth
Registered User
What about a built up wood wing ? I heard the evo woody performed very well.


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