Steerable Nose Wheel for Twin Star - RC Groups
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May 10, 2001, 04:59 PM
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Steerable Nose Wheel for Twin Star

I put tricycle landing gear on my Twin Star during original construction and posted on Foamies a photo-illustrated description of it at that time. The nose wheel was not steerable, but if the plane started straight down the asphalt, it would pretty well track straight on both takeoff and landing. The only problem was I had to go pick up the plane and bring it back to the pit area after every flight.

I eventually rigged a steerable nose wheel assembly, the main components of which are easily and quickly made of hardwood and plywood. Yes, wood. It's light and strong and much less likely to get out of whack if the nose wheel happens to touch down first rather than last.

A bonus for making the nose wheel steerable is you and your flying buddies get to see how incredibly cool a Twin Star looks as it taxis out to take off and later back to the pits.

The nosewheel servo, a Hitec HS-81 seen here set into the foam, was transplanted from its original position under the trailing edge of the wing where it operated the rudder. The rudder, being more or less useless in the first place, is simply epoxied to the fin.

The nosewheel strut is 3/4" hardwood dowel. The support disc is 1/8" plywood, epoxied onto the strut.

The three square plates are 1/16" plywood. One is shown epoxied into the top cavity.

The bottom plate is shown here epoxied in place.

Here, the strut is in place, ready for its cover plate.

The cover plate is screwed down. The support disc on the strut is free to rotate between the plates and is lubricated with graphite.

See Part II in the following post. - rlt

[This message has been edited by rltucker (edited 05-11-2001).]
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May 10, 2001, 05:02 PM
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Part II Steerable nose wheel for Twin Star

Top of the strut before drilling for the control horn.

Ready to fly... er, taxi.

May 10, 2001, 06:05 PM
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Simple, cheap, easy, effective.

I like it.
May 10, 2001, 06:18 PM
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Bill Glover's Avatar
Originally posted by rltucker:
The rudder, being more or less useless (IMHO) in the first place, is simply epoxied to the fin.
The rudder works fine if you increase the throw. I have about 40 degrees each way and it is pretty effective, even though it's not in the propwash. My TS will ROG in a fair crosswind (I have a fixed noseleg) but the rudder is also handy for aerobatics e.g. flick rolls, spins, etc.

I agree that being able to taxi back is nice though, perhaps I can modify my (plug-in) noseleg to steer!

May 11, 2001, 04:54 AM
ChrisP's Avatar
You get my unofficial awared for 'Posting of the week' for taking so much trouble to pass on this information free of charge in such a well documented way.
Thanks !!!
May 11, 2001, 06:52 PM
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Neil Morse's Avatar

What a nice job. I'm intrigued by how short the gear strut is, and wonder what your main gear looks like. Can you show us a photo? I have gear on my T-star made from 3/32 in. piano wire, and it's just a bit too flexible (get tired of bending back my nose gear after less than perfect landings). Yours looks very sturdy.

Now, about the rudder. I agree with Bill's comments, but I'm here to tell you that it's possible to have both a steerable nose wheel and a functional rudder. I just ran a Sullivan cable from the rudder servo down to the nose wheel, and it works fine. I also put a proper rudder on mine since that itty-bitty thing it comes with is virtually useless, even if you increase the throws. It's very easy to just use sheet foam to extend the existing rudder back a few inches. Highly recommended.

May 12, 2001, 12:27 PM
Registered User
Thanks to all for your comments; they are much appreciated.

Neil, my mains struts are made of 3/32" piano wire also. Depending on how hard I touch down, I may have to bend them down and forward a bit after a few landings, but that's quick and easy to do. I don't consider it to be something that needs work.

The wood structure of the nose gear is quite rugged. I would really have to hammer it on landing to do much damage to it or to the fuselage.

You asked for a photo showing the mains; here are several:


[This message has been edited by rltucker (edited 05-13-2001).]
May 13, 2001, 07:41 PM
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Neil Morse's Avatar

Thanks for the additional information. Your presentation is very high tec!

Interesting that your main struts are very similar to mine. The difference is that the struts on my plane are angled down to put the plane a bit higher off the ground. I agree that bending back the main gear isn't a problem, and the springiness of the 3/32" wire is just about right to absorb some of the shock from landings. The problem with my nose gear is that it's more complicated to bend back because of the steering arm and linkage. If I hit it hard, I end up having to remove it to bend it back properly. Oh well, at least it offers a strong incentive to grease my landings!

The advantage of your design for the nose wheel is not only that the wooden strut is very sturdy, but the linkage is also up inside where it's out of harm's way. Very cool.