Thread Tools
Oct 24, 2007, 11:36 PM
Thread OP
Build Log

StevensAero SHAFT: Build Log... NOW, VIDEOS! (post #34) and FLIGHT REPORT (post #46)

After reading TommyB's Build Log ( I had to get a SHAFT! (at )
This plane is a real E-Flite Mini Ultra Stick (ARF) killer:
- The SHAFT has the same wing span (39"), it's an inch longer (35"), has 15 more square inches of wing area (340sq"), and weighs almost 1/3 less (MUS weighs 23oz with a 1320mAh battery, SHAFT weighs 16oz with the same battery, when covered with Solite).
- The SHAFT avoids the MUS's structural flaw of having the wing spar terminate at the servo pocket, creating a stress riser. No surprise Bill's plane has superior design and materials.
- And... the SHAFT just looks better. Especially the profile and tail. When I saw the drawings below, I knew it would be far more graceful, with its curved nose and tail feathers.
Last edited by 4444; Nov 02, 2007 at 11:17 AM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Oct 25, 2007, 12:03 AM
Thread OP

Looking for flight reports and pictures

I've seen pictures of jimsp's beautiful blue and yellow SHAFT. (BTW, if you are looking for a great float plane, talk to Jim. I have three of his kits. You can see two of them in my garage pic below; one is a twin. They fly fantastic.)

And BEC's transparent orange and cream is very attractive, and shows a cleaver use of the wing's structure. I may cover a SHAFT in the same way.

If you've finished a SHAFT, please post your picture!

Below is my garage work bench, which has become overrun, and my basement glass table where I'll build the SHAFT. The glass is not only flat, but great for cutting the covering.
Oct 25, 2007, 12:21 AM
Thread OP

Servos in the back or front?

When covered in Solite, and using a 2oz motor (like Hacker 20-20) the battery ends up about over the C/G, pretty much in the first 1/3 of the battery compartment. If you use heavier covering, with servos in the back, you may need to push the battery partly into the nose compartment, or add a half oz of weight to the nose. Since my ready to fly SHAFT weighs 12.5 oz (without battery), a touch of weight is not going to affect it's flight.

But after looking at jimsp's photos of forward servos, and thinking a clean look was more important than short control rods for this plane, I decided on mounting the servos under the wing.

I bought one 36" length of yellow control rod tubing ($1), and one 36" lenght of 1/32" music wire (50 cents) from StevensAero, and cut them in half. Final lenght of the installled control rod wires was 17.5", and the yellow rods were less.

I initially put the esc up against the firewall, and the receiver just inside the nose compartment, and my 1320mAh battery was far back enough that the servo control horns did not have full range of motion clearance. So I pulled the esc back at bit, and the battery is now centered in the compartment.
Oct 25, 2007, 12:28 AM
Thread OP

Here is the kit

Kits have 24 page manuals, plus a six page "The Pilots Guide to Precision Aerobatics" by Scott Stoops. Check out the hardware. The five Du-Bro bags cost $12 themselves. The carbon strips are for all the trailing edges.
Last edited by 4444; Oct 25, 2007 at 10:40 PM.
Oct 25, 2007, 12:39 AM
Thread OP

Tail feathers first

Notice the fantastic laser cut. And the black etch outline on the balsa sheet that groups the pieces into various tail feather parts. Bill's kits are the most fun to put together... period!

The fourth picture shows the carbon inset into the trailing edges.
Last edited by 4444; Oct 26, 2007 at 03:53 PM.
Oct 25, 2007, 12:55 AM
Thread OP
When gluing the basswood elevator jointer to the elevators, be especially careful to line everything up right. Lay the elevators and joiner on the plan sheet (protected by plastic wrap) and hold all three pieces tightly together. Line them up exactly before applying Thin CA. Once dry, release your hold, and coat again with more Thin or Medium CA.

I decided to go with CA hinges instead of tape, so I'm doing a double bevel to the control surfaces. Pictures of cutting slots and inserting the hinges are coming later.
Last edited by 4444; Oct 28, 2007 at 01:46 PM.
Oct 25, 2007, 03:07 PM
Veni Vidi Volavi
Brian Allen's Avatar
Greetings All

Here is my Shaft. Picked up the kit at the 2007 NEAT Fair on Saturday, did the first flight the following Saturday. A snap to build and a great flyer. Covering is various colors of Solarfilm Lite in my usual tasteless yet gaudy scheme.

Hacker A20-20L, 3S Cellpro 1250, Futaba 2.4 SS RX and TX, AUW about 18 oz. Goes straight up forever.

Brian Allen

Veni Vidi Volavi

I came I saw I flew
Oct 25, 2007, 07:25 PM
Registered User
Well, the Shaft kit was a pleasure to put together. The laser-cut parts fit precisely together.
The landing gear is really an innovative way to provide "shock absorbing".
Flying weight with a 1650 mah battery is 18.3 onces.
If your having a balance problem because the servos are in the rear of the fuselage, take a look at my simple, inexpensive solution. The plastic extenders can be found at Ace hardware.
Oct 25, 2007, 08:01 PM
Thread OP
Hi Brian,
" usual tasteless yet gaudy scheme."
I looked at your plane a second time and decided it was better described as "highly visible under all conditions." I'm sure it will be copied by many.
I haven't flown my SHAFT yet. Do you have flight report? Or building tips?

Hi Tombo,
Thanks for the building tip. Your plastic extenders comes under the "Why didn't I think of that?" I've seen them used to better fit the motor under a cowl, but not to manage C/G. And thanks for your photo. I'm still searching how to spice up my covering scheme. I also like the bouncy landing gear.
Oct 25, 2007, 09:07 PM
Thread OP

Now for the fuselage

SA kits are all but fool proof, but here are a couple of bewares for those who don't read the directions.
- Standard pre-assembling of the sides, and top and bottom nose area.
- When assembling the plywood frame, check that the word "TOP", etched on the four ply pieces, is facing up or forward.
- The two ply pieces lock together; note the two notches in the horizontal piece the vertical piece uses to in order to swivel into place.
- Add the front and back ply pieces, ensuring the word "TOP" is facing forward.

Notice the two ply "feet" in the center middle of the frame; they are the start of the gear support. You do glue them together, but the strenght is from clever locking together.
Last edited by 4444; Oct 25, 2007 at 09:24 PM.
Oct 25, 2007, 09:40 PM
Thread OP
Turn the page of the instruction manual and...
- Remember to test fit all tabs into all the notches before spot gluing.
Delay gluing all seams until all the pieces are locked into place.
- Add the sides
- Add the top front
- Add the bottom front
- Add the basswood gear brace
- Note the two 1/8" holes for the wing hold down dowels, and the 3/16" hole for the gear dowel. Rubber bands will wrap around these dowels, and while they are fully supported, I hardened the area with Thin CA anyway.
Last edited by 4444; Oct 25, 2007 at 10:36 PM.
Oct 25, 2007, 10:18 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by tombo523
Well, the Shaft kit was a pleasure to put together. The laser-cut parts fit precisely together.
The landing gear is really an innovative way to provide "shock absorbing".
Flying weight with a 1650 mah battery is 18.3 onces.
If your having a balance problem because the servos are in the rear of the fuselage, take a look at my simple, inexpensive solution. The plastic extenders can be found at Ace hardware.
That's a valid solution, but it only takes a half our to move the servos up front using some dubro micro control rods, ($5).

Nice work here Bob, lots of great build pictures. I was in a bit of a rush to get mine in the air with limited time to do it so I didn't get all the pictures I could have.

The only thing that I would stress in the build is to put the servos up front.

Maybe I'll add my steerable tail wheel next, after I put some led's on, and document that.

I still have a spare shaft to build too! Its not a priority, as I think my next balsa build will be the g-ride I picked up when I was in CO this summer.

I just built a Mountain Models J3 cub, and while the finished product flies nicely, I'm really used to the SA kits now and can't say I really enjoyed that build. I had to do alot of little things, and figure out some stuff that I wouldn't have had to do with the SA kits. Both manufacturers make nice kits, kind of like a ford/chevy debate, but I'm glad I went with Bill's kits first.

For anyone on the fence about building a balsa kit for the first time, suck it up and do it, you'll be glad you did. Build a shaft, or if you want something a little easier, build an SA stik.
Oct 25, 2007, 10:57 PM
Thread OP
Hi Tommy,
I have a StevensAero (SA) Stik, SA Stella, SA Edge, and a SA Diddle Rod, plus an unbuilt SA Groove. Obviously I like pattern planes. I also built a Mountain Models SmoothE, E-Tana, DL-50 and DL-60. Like you, I like the refinement and original ideas in SA kits.

Bill Stevens got a real kick out of how well his SHAFT flew, and was impressed "it flew right off the paper" without any tinkering with thrustlines or coupling. That plus the comments in your thread sold me on getting a fun to fly plane. If the winds cooperate, I'll try it tomorrow.

I know you will like the G-Ride. It's a mini "Groove". Both are great pattern planes. Hey, you need to post a picture of your SHAFT here .
Last edited by 4444; Oct 28, 2007 at 09:04 PM.
Oct 26, 2007, 12:45 AM
Thread OP

finish fuselage

These six pictures show:
- tail (bottom up), very stiff when pieces are keyed together. T-bolts for screwing on removeable horizontal stab.
- tail (top up). Make sure T-bolt heads are inside the fuselage. The curved fuse area that captures the leading edge of the wing seems to belong on the bottom. I got the top and bottom of the plane mixed up several times during this build.
- build up a ledge on the bottom of the tail, to make a little pocket for the horizontal stab to rest against.
- add the long fuselage bottom piece.
- I added the ply servo reinforcements to the tail pockets, even though I planned to put the servos in the front, just in case I change my mind someday.
- add the wing holddown reinforcements.
- add two ply formers (visible in the middle of this top view of the fuse), then pop on the top.

NOW, with the fuselage all locked up tight, you can do some serious gluing along all the seams. Make sure you put a thin extension on your CA bottle so you don't wash too much CA around and add weight to your plane.
Last edited by 4444; Oct 26, 2007 at 12:51 AM.
Oct 26, 2007, 07:02 AM
Registered User
jimsp's Avatar
Hereís my Shaft. Itís covered with blue Towerkote and yellow Ultracote. To help with orientation the bottom of the wing back of the spar is covered in blue. The decals are some Major Decals left over from another project. Because saving weight is not critical with this plane you really donít need to limit yourself to the super lightweight coverings like Solite. At most these coverings might save an ounce. I put the servos in the forward position for appearance and more flexibility in choosing and locating the battery.

Quick Reply

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Post Your Build Thread Links Here SchiessCo Slope 23 Sep 30, 2009 12:08 PM
Tensor build thread...FLIGHT REPORT..PHOTOS - Part 2 SchiessCo 3D Flying 88 Mar 03, 2007 09:57 PM
Discussion Post your favorite build thread comets8518 Electric Plane Talk 3 Apr 06, 2006 07:39 PM
Idea Mini Funtana - Post Your Successful Setups (not build thread) FirstOverboard 3D Flying 51 Jun 09, 2005 08:48 PM
looking for build thread with upclose photos HIGHFLYER99 Foamies (Kits) 13 May 21, 2005 08:54 PM