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Oct 16, 2005, 11:33 AM
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Build Log

DAG-1 build thread.

Ok guys, welcome to my DAG-1 Autogyro build thread. I wanted to give a very detailed, step by step guid on how to build my autogyro. If you follow the steps, you should have no problems. The plans to me are pretty much straight forward for the intermediate srcatch builder. But for the novice scratch builder....I thought I would go into some detail and post some photos.This particular build will be for a glow engine.

First...I start with 1/4" balsa 3" wide and 36" long. I am just going to cut 1/4" square strips with it. I use a balsa stripper and set it for 1/4" thick slices. Lay the cutter on the edge and pull it down and cut your strips.
Too easy! Now, you need some type of nonstick film like Saran Wrap or teflon mold release. You can use wax paper only if you plan to use white or yellow glue.
Next step is to make a solution of half amonia and half water. Put that in a spray bottle or you could just brush it on two of the strips you had cut. Let that soak for an hour and now you are ready to start pinning down the outside stringer.

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Last edited by imsofaman; Jan 13, 2006 at 09:48 PM.
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Oct 16, 2005, 11:37 AM
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Ok, next thing is take one of the strips that have been soaking, start from the tail and pin the strip down. As you go forward, you will follow the radius of the stringer, use lots of pins to take the stress out of the wood as you bend it. The balsa is pretty much like rubber now. Bends very easily. Use a lot of pins to keep the shape that is on the plan. Leave the front section long by about two inches. Do the bottom the same way. Let the two pcs of balsa dry completely. I put a fan on it….. was dry in an hour. Then start adding the inside supports. I would start from the tail and work your way to the front.
Last edited by imsofaman; Oct 16, 2005 at 01:00 PM.
Oct 16, 2005, 11:43 AM
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Adding your supports working your way forward, you eventually get to the hatch. I like to glue all the outside parts of where the hatch goes. Then, I take some Saran Wrap and lay it over where the hatch door will go. I then can cut the pcs. for the door and lay them in the bay compartment on top of the Saran Wrap and glue them together without the door sticking to the frame!. The bottom of the hatch door has a radius to it. I soak that in the amonia solution and them bend it slightly around a coffee can or what ever you have laying around. It will spring back some. While that is still damp, lay it in the bay and pin it close the the bottom stringer so that it conforms to the shape of the bottom stringer.
Last thing to do is to cut out N-1 and N-2, the nose supports and glue them in. Once that is done, cut the nose off square or at 2 degrees down thrust if you like.

Uh....don't glue you finger to the hatch like I did! See the last photo!

Ta Da!…….One side done! Now… the exact same for the other fuse side or you could omit the bay on the second side….it is up to you, I think I will have bay doors on both sides of my fuselage, this will allow easy access to the fuel tank and reciever.
Last edited by imsofaman; Oct 16, 2005 at 01:04 PM.
Oct 16, 2005, 11:55 AM
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Thread OP we have a left and a right side. We need to join them together starting at the tail. Cross members on the top and bottome will form a box at each vertical support. I think the easiest thing to do is to cut all of the cross members first. Make sure you cut two of each size, one for the top and one for the bottom. Next....we will start from the rear, it has to joined together. The problem is, the two ends are square, if they are glued "as is", only a small surface area will be glued. You need to sand the edges so that when they are joined together, there is no gap and a large surface area will be glued together. Sand the inside edges as per the plan, look how they are joined, sand the same angle and glue them together with yellow or Gorilla glue. The Gorilla glue is neat….you wet both sides of the pcs being glued, apply the glue and clamp. The glue actually foams up and takes up space in the cracks. I don’t use two part epoxy because that glued joint will have a hinge in it. The yellow or Gorilla glue will be easier to cut the slot. When gluing the end together, the fuselage bottom must be pinned to the board to keep everything square. Do not omit this step. Pin it...square it up...then glue and clamp.
Last edited by imsofaman; Oct 16, 2005 at 01:11 PM.
Oct 16, 2005, 11:59 AM
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With the last five cross members from the rear, pin them down on the plan. Now pin the frame down on the plan and adjust so the cross members align with the vertical supports to form a box at each support and pin the top cross members in place also. This step is easy because the frame is flat for the last five cross members to be glued in. The bottom of the fuselage lies flat on the plan untill the frame curves up with the radius. Make sure it is square before you start gluing. I like to pin it all together first, check for squareness and then dribble the CA glue in the joints.
Last edited by imsofaman; Oct 16, 2005 at 01:15 PM.
Oct 16, 2005, 12:11 PM
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Un-pin the frame from the plan. Now the rear of the fuselage is square and rigid. Next, find the remaining cross members you had cut and pin them in place on the bottom and then top of the fuelage at each vertical support. The remaining supports ate on the radius part of the fuselage so there is really not way to pin it down to the plans. Check for squareness and then glue in place and continue forward until the crossmembers are all done. I would keep the frame on the plan just for reference. You may want to pin it all together first and then glue. It is up to you.

The firewall will be the next item to glue.....I use tri stock on the inside corners for support.
Last edited by imsofaman; Oct 16, 2005 at 01:19 PM.
Oct 16, 2005, 12:33 PM
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Time to a work on the stationary part of the rudder and the horizontal stab. What I am trying to accomplish on this post is a way of attaching the rudder and the horizontal stab in a way that will be very strong and secure. Here we go!

First off, I had to cut out the rudder and the horizontal stab out of 1/8 balsa. I did not add the reinforcement strip on the rudder yet, I will do that after I get the tri stock glued in.

I made a change from the plan. I made the horizontal stab to look like the Kellet gyro. It is longer and has a radius on each end, I think it is a good look.

I start off my securing the stationary rudder by putting the rudder in place and pinning it. I then add a pc. of 1/4" square on each side. Pin it in. Go to the next that in also. Pull out the rudder....make sure it is snug fit. Once you think it is good...take out the rudder and glue the sticks in place.

Take the horizontal stab and pin that in place and also put the stationary rudder in place. I took the tri stock and pinned that into the tri stock and into the frame. This holds the stab and tri stock secure. The underneath, I add more tri stock to the horizontal stab.

Remove the rudder. Now....carefully pull the horizontal off of the frame and leaving the tri stock in place. Once that is done...dribble the CA in the tri stock. can assembled and it will be nice and secure. I will not glue it together yet. I will cover everything first.
I have really tried to think of everything to make this fuselage strong but light. I like everything fitting together like an ARF kit. It will go together easily and will result in a very strong fuselage.
Oct 16, 2005, 12:39 PM
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We are working on the rudder now. The grain on the rudder is running vertical. The support strips grain runs horizontal. The cross grains provide strength. I took the support strips and sanded the angle of the tri stock. If you notice in the picture...I clamped the supports on to check the angle. I do this so when I put it all together...there are not huge cracks or spaces. I then dribble the CA glue in the support edges so it soaks in. Then....I sand the back side edge of the supports on the moving and stationary rudder. The supports will give strength and allow for the plastic Du Bro hinges. I like using them because they are so strong. If I have a problem with the rudder...I can easily take it off. The last thing to be done is to bevel the edge of the moving rudder for free movement.
Last edited by imsofaman; Oct 16, 2005 at 01:22 PM.
Oct 16, 2005, 05:42 PM
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This post will cover: hinges for rudder, rudder landing gear and axle box.

Hinges: I am using Du Bro nylon hinges. There is no need to get really detail about this. I just cut a slot in the rudder for the hinges, slid them in. Then I marked the fuselage side where the hinges will be and cut the slots. I then assembled but DO NOT GLUE YET! You will cover first...then glue in the hinges.

Axle Box: Use 5/32" thick plywood for the axle box. Measure the distance between the axle box holes in the fuselage. I use a ruller and lid it in the hole measuring outside to outside. It should be under 3 inches. That distance that you have measured....make your axle box that length. Cut your spacer pcs. and glue it all together with epoxy. Try not to get any inside the box where the axle will go. Once dry, place it in the hole and sand the ends until both side are flush. DO NOT GLUE IN YET. You need to mount the engine and gas tank first.

Landing gear for rudder: On the plan sheet, I used .048 wire and had a torsion spring made in it. I have found that a little wobbly. Not real bad...but for a steady ROG, I think I should use something thicker. I chose .078 music wire. With this thickness, the torsion spring is not needed. I just bent it to the basic shape minus the spring part. Next....take the bent wire and trace it onto the rudder. Where you traced.....indent the balsa so that the wire falls in place. Sand the wire clean where it will be glued. Lay the wire in place and add CA glue. The outer supports are made of 1/32 plywood. Use epoxy to glue those in place,
Oct 19, 2005, 06:32 PM
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The fuselage is pretty much done at this point. A few things have to be attended to. First we need to mount the engine. I used a soft type motor mount from Dave Brown products designed for small four strokes. It absorbs shock nicely. I like to clamp the mount to the firewall so I can mark the holes properly. Once that is done, unclamp it and drill all four holes. I used a #28 drill (.140) that allows for the head of the blind nut to slip thru. Now, just assemble the mount and then the engine, I use 4-40 screws and blind nuts for fastening the motor mount to the firewall.

Time for the fuel tank. I just made a simple frame to support the tank. I went ahead and glued in the axle box now that the engine is done. Add tri stock on the side of the wall and the box for extra support. I had left that unglued ealier, so that I could get the motor mount attached.

I started with the bottom front edge of the tank resting on top of the axle box. This works out perfect. The centerline of the 4 oz. tank is in line of the carberator center. This is what you need for proper fuel flow. I tried the six oz. tank but it was just too tall and I think when full, it would effect the CG too much. So...I think the 4 oz. is the way to go. Have a look at the photos. You can see how I added frame work around the tank. Nothing is set in stone here....just the centerline of the tank in regards to the center of the carb must be in line.
Last edited by imsofaman; Oct 19, 2005 at 10:51 PM.
Oct 20, 2005, 09:13 AM
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Holy Cow, what an ambitious project!!! Nice thread.

Oct 20, 2005, 09:41 AM
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Thanks Dave....I wanted to move faster....It usually take me a week to complete a whole autogyro. My back is injured and I cant spend a lot of time in the basement from the pain. I will putz around and try to focus on one section at a time. I fugure this way, I can give some insight on why I do certain things. I will sheet the top and bottom of the fuse later today when my head is less foggy from the funny pills .
Oct 20, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Hope the back pain clears up soon.

Oct 20, 2005, 01:20 PM
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Sheeting the top and botom of the Fuselage:

Not a whole lot of details needed here. I use 1/16 contest grade balsa. Start with the bottom and pin down
the balsa to the frame. You can clamp the balsa to the frame also, it is up to you. I dribble CA in the joints and edges.
It is important to glue the cross members to the sheeting. This will increase the strength of the frame. Once that
has been glued, trim the excess off with a hobby knife. I like to score the wood first then hit it again with the blade and it will just fall off.

Top of the fuselage. Only difference is you will see that the fuel line and the flexible pressure tube sticking above
the framework. The easy way to get around this is to make a cardboard or paper template of the first few inches of the fuselage top sheet.
Cut the holes where they need to be and try it out on the fuselage. See if the tubes will slide in the holes without
too much stress. You dont want to crack the balsa. Once you have that done, trace it onto the balsa sheet
and cut out the holes for the tubes. Slide the balsa onto the tubings, pin it down, glue and trim the excess.
Sand all edges smooth.

To find the location of the mast, you need to refer to the plans. Find the two cross members that the mast will slide over. Draw lines on the sheeting so you know the location of the cross memebers. Trace the mast base onto a pc. of paper and trace the locations of the cutouts needed. See the photos attached and look for the red outlines. That is where to cut.

The Mast will be next. I could just use the photos and text from my build guide, but that shows the mini servos being installed. I will be making a whole new mast with the standard servos, so I figure fresh new photos are in order. I need to show you how to mount the mast to the fuselage, so the mast needs to be fabricated first. More to come later.
Last edited by imsofaman; Oct 20, 2005 at 06:29 PM.
Oct 21, 2005, 12:14 AM
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We need to make the mounting strips for the mast base that will go in the fuselage, but we need to fabricate
the mast first. We will start with the mast base. Use 5/32 plywood for the base. Lay the plywood under the plan sheet with the carbon paper face
down on the plywood and trace the mast base onto the wood. Trace everything: outside shape, cut outs and
the #27 diameter holes. Cut out the shape of the mast base and then cut the three long rectangular shapes. Do NOT drill
the holes yet!

Take your plywood base and soak it a solution of 50% amonia and 50% water for at least two hours. This will soften up the
wood so we can bend it and form the same radius as the fuselage has. Once the wood has soaked, take it
and lay it over a 3/8 dowel. Center the dowel under the base and then clamp the edges down. I used aluminum angle
and clamped the edges down on my scroll saw base. How or where makes no long as it is clamped over a 3/8" dowel.
While that is drying, start fabricating the mast pcs. The mast is strong and light weight. I accomplished this my laminating
ply and balsa together. I use 1/16 balsa sheet sandwiched by two pcs. of 1/16 ply. How you lay the grain
before gluing makes a HUGE difference. The grain running vertical is what you want on all three pcs.
This will prevent any swaying of the mast. Glue the three pcs of wood, ply, balsa and ply together using yellow
or Gorrila glue. Make sure the balsa is sandwiched in the middle of the ply sheets and the grain is running vertical. Make an arrow on the
wood noting the grain flow so you won't make a mistake when tracing the parts onto the wood.
I do most of my cutting with a scroll saw. If you have a Dremel, you could even use that with the router base that mounts on the Dremel.
It is clear so you can see what you are cutting. This great to use on the servo mount holes and the slots for the mast base.
Note the grain flow and start tracing your parts on to the laminated wood. Cut out your pcs for the mast. Three pcs will be made of 5/32
plywood, the side pcs that the head pivots on and the rotor head base. See the photos attached.

Also, you need to make your hold down strips for the mast base. Use 1/4" ply, cut the length so it fits on the inside of the stingers under the sheeting and must be in line where the holes in the mast base are to be drilled. Glue them in, glue another strip on top, covering both stringers for sercurity. Clamp the base to the fuse frame. Drill the holes .140 dia. thru the base and the hold down strips. Take the base off and re-drill the fuse holes to .180 so the head of the blind nuts will fit in. Bolt the mast base to the fuselage and dab a little glue on the blind nuts so they stay in place when disassembled.

Disassemble the base from the fuselage and glue all the pcs. of the mast together now. Make sure you kep the mast sqare to the base. Add the hinges to the pivot head. One thing you need to make sure of: you need to keep the pitch pivot of the head and the roll ball link centers in line. That is a must! This will keep the linkages from binding during flight.
Last edited by imsofaman; Oct 21, 2005 at 12:24 AM.

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