Cappuccino for my bro... - RC Groups
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Nov 19, 2006, 01:39 PM
Detail Freak
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Cappuccino for my bro...

Soaring USA Cappuccino Build Thread


My brother has been flying his 54" Destiny for a couple years now. It's a great little plane, but needs more than light lift to fly comfortably. A bigger plane is what he needed for light lift.
I promised my brother that if he bought a plane bigger than two meters, I'd build it for him. He took me up on my offer. But which one?

We decided on the 2.6 meter Cappuccino for him, mostly to fly at our local site, which has relatively light lift .
It has the HD45 airfoil, the same one the Trinity F3B has, so should be fast, and be able to float, too.

Bob at
had pretty much everything we needed to get the plane up and running. Servos, reciever, etc.

It's a nice kit, and I can honestly say that Valenta keeps getting better and better. There are MANY very nice details already done for you.
Some of them include:

*Pre-cut slots for all the control surface hook ups: ailerons, flaps, rudder, and the entire full-flying stab is done for you!

*MPX plugs are included in the kit bag! So are all the hardware, and it's good stuff. The only thing missing was the 2-56 all thread for the short linkages between wing servos and surfaces. The rest is all there.

*Pre cut servo frames for the aileron and flap servos!

*Holes for the MPX plugs are molded into the fuse shoulder!

*Even the canopy hold down wire is pre-glassed on!

*Ballast tube glassed solidly into the fuse.
The ballast tube could be slightly fatter, it measures 5/8" D x 10.25" L. According to the prime metals calculator, it should hold about 20 oz... That should be plenty for my brother. But if I was racing the Cap, I would want more ballast capacity, maybe. We'll see.

Here is my gear list for this plane:

Ailerons- HS125's
Flaps- Futaba S3150's
Elevator- HS5245
Rudder- HS85mg
RX-SuperSlim 8
Battery pack- 4 x GP 2200's Like this: III-
Switch Harness.


I took the time to free up the hinges on the ailerons, flaps, and rudder before starting anything else. Also, I had to sand one flap wiper just a little to not get "hung" at full flap.

The pivot for the elevator was a little bit too tight. I pondered what to do for a while, then thought I'd try spinning the carbon rod in the bushing with a cordless drill. I wrapped the rod with masking tape before I chucked it in the drill. A minute or so of slow spinning, and the bushing was polished nicely! It worked well.

So far, I have the aileron servos installed, and the covers fit. I'm waiting on the flaps servos to come from tower hobbies. My original choice of DS368's were too fat to fit the mounting per the plans. They really are made to fit thin wing servos with an all internal linkage. I could have made them fit, but decided I keep them for a future project, and try the 3150's.

I also made a new servo tray for the fuse. I moved the servos ahead of the Rx, since the pre-installed pushrods were long enough to do that. I hope to not need ANY nose weight, or very little.
Since I went through the trouble of making a new tray, I decided to add some "Bling" to the build. Bagged on carbon fiber, baby! See pics.
The stock tray is pretty nice, and has cut outs for normal sized servos on the diagonal, TD style. But the RX hole is ahead of the servos.
Pretty fast assembling kit if built stock!

Update- 19 November, 2006

The servo tray is 3M 5200'd into the fuse. All the wiring harnesses are finished being soldered. All that's left is to recieve and install the flap servos, hook up flap, rudder, and elevator linkages, install the Rx, and balance the plane....And, I am still waiting for the GP-2200 pack from
but I have a CP1300 pack that can fit in there with lead to make up the weight difference.
Getting close!

Update- 20 November, 2006

Potted the wiring harness connectors tonight, after I tested the connnections by hooking up servos to the Rx via the switch and battery. All worked, so a batter of 15 minute epoxy an "milled fibers" was made up to the right consistancy, just a little thicker than pancake batter.
I learned this little trick on Kevin Knewton's website, it works GREAT! NO fussing with shrink tube, and it builds in strain relief to the wires.
Pics below.

Laminated some 1/32" ply to some 3/8" x 1/4" basswood stock for making the frames for the S-3150's when they arrive.

Cleaned the workbench, too!

The S-3150's arrived from Tower, AND the custom pack from CBP! Time to get busy on this bird!

It's ready!
AUW=75oz. It can hold about 18oz of lead, in 5 slugs. I liked the slimness of the Futaba 3150's, and may just use them and Tower Hobbies again. I had to add about 4 oz of lead in the nose, to get the plane to the 75mm Valenta CG spec; we'll see if it can come back or not. I'm glad I went with the GP2200 pack that weighs 6.6 oz. It's beefy. Can't wait for the wind, it was too SE > S > SSW today. We need 10-20 @ W tomorrow!


We got the wind, yeah!

It was awesome! That plane flew right out of Mike's hand from launch. I had to dial in @10-15 clicks of down trim, but other than that, it was SWEET!
Turns, GREAT!
Light air ability, AMAZING!
Speed when pushed, EXCELLENT!

I really like the plane, we flew it for one long maiden flight, 48 minutes. Unfortunately for my brother, there were several other pilots at the hill today, and often times two very very inexperienced students in the air at the same time. I did a fairly easy job of avoiding them, except for once, I got rattled when a guy flew out perpenducular to the ridge, from behind me, while I was flying parallel to the ridge. No collision, but he could have given a heads up...
The conditions were light, about 10 MPH, and occasionally a thermal would rob the slope lift for a while. So, it was SLERMALLY today.
As to the CG, well the plane seems really neutral to me; it requires hardly any downstick while inverted...We'll see.

More later.
Last edited by target; Apr 01, 2008 at 03:00 PM.
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Nov 26, 2006, 05:05 AM
Chuck it and see!
Wing-span's Avatar
This is a great looking plane! Keep the pictures coming.
Nov 28, 2006, 08:19 PM
Registered User
Awesome looking plane and build, I have had my eye on this one for a while and always thought it would be perfect for my slermally local inland slope, as well as my budget. What exactly are milled fibers? Can I make some out of fiberglass cloth ? I want to Pot my harness connecters like you did from now on...seems like a good idea that would save a ton of time.

Fly it on a big day fully ballasted, I want to hear how fast she is in big air.

Nov 28, 2006, 09:48 PM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Thanks Ryan...
We have a mutual friend, Bill Lamping.
Anyway, milled fibers are chopped glass, and it's available cut to different lengths (from 1/32", to 1/4"). I use it to thicken epoxy, especially where I want better bond strength. I really didn't need it there; Cabosil or West 406 would be just as good...The milled fibers I got at "Plastics Depot", but I'm sure some fiberglass supply place in SD will have it. About $8.00 a bag, that seems to last too long. I imagine the longer fibers make for a stronger joint.

Yeah, that Cappuccino really makes use of light air; it's a real slermal machine, which is why I recommended it for my brother Mike. Where he fly's 98% of the time, the lift is light. When it's good there, it's about like a slightly less than average Fermin day. He calls me on the phone to brag about, "how good it was", and I laugh and laugh!

The plane felt pretty fast with the nose dropped at just 75 oz all up and no ballast. And it really hooks the turns.
I couldn't really tell what it would do with a little camber, 'cause we were flying it on Mike's Eclipse 7, and I haven't figured out the mix that allows you to calm down that darned VR-1 knob for the camber! 2 clicks is about max....

Anyway, I think that he'll be happy, it does well in very light lift, and has that Valenta famous thick and tough wing skin, so it should be a keeper.

Wish the ballast tube was a bit bigger, 3/4" would be good. (Bob? Tell 'em at Valenta!) It's just nice NOT to have to make my own for once.

Really, the prefabrication done to the plane was amazing. Canopy hold down wire done already. Pre slotted horn grooves (in the RIGHT places, no less!)in the rudder and flaps, and well fitting G-10 glass horns that glue right in.

Nice plane; I'm a tiny bit jealous!


PS. Potting the connectors IS the bomb. Works great. Thank Kevin Knewton, it was from his website.
Last edited by target; Sep 02, 2007 at 02:46 PM.
Nov 30, 2006, 11:41 PM
Detail Freak
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Still waiting for more stick time...

Last edited by target; Aug 05, 2007 at 01:01 AM.
Aug 05, 2007, 01:07 AM
Detail Freak
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Well I FINALLY drug my old brother away from our local bunny slope, and out to Grass Mountain, were we flew the Cappy in some serious air!

The plane was GREAT; it was fast, but with impeccable manners, and Concreteman thinks my brother looked pretty fast on the F3F laps, and I'll have to agree.
I think when I tried it, I went SLOWER for F3F with it!!!
So, maybe it's a good plane to step up to from the Destiny that Mike likes to fly all the time?
It really is a great handling plane, I was impressed. We flew it empty at 75oz and with 3 slugs, I think that's at 87 oz. It could have easily handled the full 20oz load, but I didn't want Mike to get freaked out to bad.
Mike wants to go back to Grass Mountain with the Cappuccino again; he called me today, saying, "Lets go!", and it was just two weeks ago. He's stoked, and so am I!

I find the HD-45 airfoil to be a real sleeper. It's reasonably thick, which is great for wing stiffness and servo thickness. It is fast when pushed, and it floats really well with a bit of camber added.
It's a FRIENDLY airfoil!

Last edited by target; Jan 09, 2009 at 06:13 PM.
Apr 14, 2008, 10:01 PM
G's Please
8KCABrett's Avatar
I'm building one of these now, and it is my first experience with this type of build, so I appreciate that this build thread is here, but I've got a few questions after looking it over.

First is the amount of excercising I should give the surfaces. The hinging method on this aircraft is very nice, but not terribly free. I don't want to risk damaging the hinge line by over-doing the angles I use to excercise the surfaces.

Second is confirmation on the surface travel. I'm not certain my translations of the info on the sheet are accurate. Translating acronyms is tough!

Also, the flap horns do not fit very snugly at all into the cutouts, and it's tough to see how they should be installed such that geometry is the same on each side.

Thanks in advance for helping the newbie!

Last edited by 8KCABrett; Apr 15, 2008 at 03:36 AM.
Apr 15, 2008, 02:50 PM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Hi, Brett-

When I get a new moldie, frequently the hinges may be a little on the tight side. If I feel that they are tighter than I think they should be, what I do is get a triangular file, and run it in the hinge line carefully to remove any errant resin or fiberglass that may be impeding the hinge action of the Kevlar cloth, that is the actual hinge. You really cant "over file" into the kevlar, unless you are an animal, the kevlar is very resistant to the file action. If it's the layer on the skin surface that is causing this stiffness due to binding, then gently flexing the flying surface up, while running the file by hand alone the hinge line will make a "bevel" in the skin, relieving the binding.

Once that is done, turn your attention to the "inside" of the kevlar hinge. If you can see excess resin towards the hollowed portion of the hinge line, then a light sanding with 120 grit will also help.

All of the above should only take a few minutes per surface, if it's needed at all. Usually the top side of the hinge lines, at the extreme ends of each surface, is where you'll find the problem. A few swipes of the triangular file makes all the difference here.

Don't over do it; check out the difference a little at a time.

************************************************** **

For placing horns into flight surfaces, I usually make a simple "jig" out of a thin piece of balsa or plywood, and glue a 1" piece of .062" music wire, the same diameter as the clevis hole, to the piece of wood. I tape the wood to the surface and have the horn slipped onto the music wire. If you make two of these simple jigs identical, but mirror images, you can be assure that the clevis holes locations of the horns will be very close to the same geometry for both flaps/ailerons. The offset of the misic wire from the edge of the wooden base can be used to get the hole the same distance fore/aft from the hinge line.
It only takes a few minutes to make simple jigs and tools that add a LOT of precision to a build. I'm kind of pickey, and always go for perfection, but if I tried, and it's not quite perfect, I'm not to dwell on it. It will be good enough to fly.

Here's one more tip on gluing in the G-10 fiberglass style horns:

I like to drill very small holes, two or three, into the part of the horn that is in the moving surface. That way, the (NOT 5-minute!) epoxy and milled glass fibers that I use to adhere the horns can flow through these holes, making the horns a bit more "anchored" in position. If that makes sense.

Best of luck with your build. Give the slightly blemed Cappuccino a chance, I think you'll end up loving it.

Last edited by target; Apr 16, 2008 at 12:16 AM.
Apr 15, 2008, 03:10 PM
G's Please
8KCABrett's Avatar
Many thanks!!

I asked the right guy!

I did the horns last night and they seem to have worked out well enough. I'll go grab a file and get to these hinges!
Apr 15, 2008, 03:17 PM
Detail Freak
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Originally Posted by 8KCABrett
Many thanks!!

I'll go grab a file and get to these hinges!

You may want to cut off the point, if it's a needle file, so it is less likely to "dig".
And if it is a larger x-sectioned one (that's what I prefer), use a Dremel cut-off wheel to snip off the part without teeth at the tip.


Last edited by target; Apr 16, 2008 at 12:17 AM.
Apr 16, 2008, 06:39 PM
G's Please
8KCABrett's Avatar
Also, I'm not sure if the carbon fiber content of our kit is higher than your brother's, but we'd also like to have the antenna within the fuse. It appears that the carbon weaved into the fuse is fairly widely spaced. . .assuming good range checks, how much should we be concerned about running the antenna outside the fuse?
Apr 16, 2008, 08:55 PM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
You are on your own there...
I would call to SUSA to find out what the difference in the fuse layup is. Talk to Bob directly about it, he'll know better than anyone....

Also, ShredAir Dieter has a 2x or 3x carbon Capp; you could see what his experiences are.

Apr 18, 2008, 10:40 PM
G's Please
8KCABrett's Avatar
I did a long range check on it yesterday and today with the antenna internal and saw no issues in any orientation, and decided to go for it.

It flew last night- if a hand toss counts, and we had two winch launches today that went well enough. I had no mixing in the radio- and the pilot that did the maiden certainly saw a fair amount of adverse yaw on the launch.

It took quite a bit of lead in the nose to get the CG to suggested values, but it flew a bit nose heavy-and heavy overall. How heavy? 102 oz after 12oz of lead - if I can trust the fish scale I've got here!!

Now I've taken a stick of lead out, and it's at 76.5mm on the CG, and the fish scale can't make up its mind if it's 6lb 6oz or 6 lb 7 oz. I need to find some way to lighten the tail. . .too bad there isnít anything back there to move.
Apr 18, 2008, 10:47 PM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
I think that will be fine for a DS plane.
Heck, I would want the plane my brother has to be that heavy, if I was to own it and flew it in decent lift.
He has not yet come to love ballast. Maybe when I quit pushing that on him, eh?

PS. Congrats on the semi-maiden!

Can you post a picture of your fuselage gear layout??
Apr 18, 2008, 11:40 PM
G's Please
8KCABrett's Avatar
I'll post a pic shortly. . .

Did you use much mixing on yours? If so, any rough numbers that you remember for a starting point?

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