Build Log - STARFIRE! Mc Clain Wing Cores 48" Beta Build - Page 11 - RC Groups
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Apr 14, 2010, 08:58 AM
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pval3's Avatar
Hey Gary

I got a message from Jeff a few days ago, he said that he made some more design changes to make the 60 a little faster and cleaner.

He thinks he has it where he wants it and will be cutting one out for me to put together this week if all goes as planned, he was waiting on a new EPP shipment.

He had originally set it up where he thought it should be for more of a mid range speed envelope but decided to change some things because of the greater area the 60" span offers. More stable in and of itself because of the added size.

That caused some other tweeks to make to make the package work.

I am planning on setting it up with my pulso motor that was slated for the 84 MCW as a pusher and running it with a real high pitch pylon prop to get it moving.

I think that motor will push it up into the low 100s on 4s . . . .I think.

If that doesn't pan out, Ill opt for something else - God knows Ive got enough motors laying around!

the video you were watching was the "alpha" build, first bite at the apple, that jeff made with the starfire.
From the flight tests on that model, he came up with the final version that is now out in production.
The Beta version/builds, mid motor and pusher were the real tests and shined!
With the Beta build, we went with the larger 400 class motors, like the Dons Wicked 2700 instead of the Jr and the axi 2212-10. Both are the same class of motor but completely different winds.
The Dons Wicked we ran on 4s for the speed tests and it rocked! That was the pusher.
Unfortunately I made two mistakes in the build process of the speed model, I did not have enough carbon in it to withstand the speeds I was getting and had used thin walled 6mm tubes which ended up crimping on a hard impact sliding into a stake on landing and later caused the wing to fold on a high speed pass/ high G pull out.
Speeds were well over 100 and the airplane tracked like it was on rails!
The roll rate was pretty exciting too.
The AXI (later replaced with a HC clone) was run on 3s and a mid motor set up and is one of the best maneuvering wings I have ever flown.
The speed is up there in the high 70s low 80s but will slow down to a crawl! Roll rate was very high and the ability to corner was phenomenal. it was super light - like the Alpha build and flying it on tree line ridge lift is easy to do.

Unfortunately, I am a flatlander and have no real slopes to mess with other than the annual beach trip to the Outer Banks (coming soon!) which are low rolling hills compared to the Calif. folks! The plane sloped beautifully though in those light lift conditions.

Just remember that if you plan on going fast, use the Kellys tape method and use at least 3 carbon rods or tubes but no thin walled stuff as it just was not designed for the type of abuse a wing can take! Great for sailplane spars and 3d but not flying wings!

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Apr 14, 2010, 12:36 PM
chronic in training
grfcon's Avatar
Hey Phil

thanks for the lengthy reply back. When you mentioed Jeff was going to tweak the airfoil is he leaning toward making it for more speed? Looking forward to your build and flight videos of course! I will build the 48 and the 60 beefed up for serious speed and slope fun!!


Apr 22, 2010, 05:27 AM
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cleansurf2's Avatar

Starfire build 48", from Australia

I have about 10 wings, half scratch built. 300-400 hours flight time, mostly slope. After building and flying the Starfire 48". I have to say, it rocks.

I have done around 5 hours of sloping on it so far, in 5-20 knots on several slopes. The starfire wasn't as quick as my 54" Windrider Bat (fast wing), but is was faster than my other 48" wings. I was very pleasantly suprised at the speed I got out of it sloping (motor turned off) given the 13% airfoil thickness. The handling, glide ratio and lift are excellent. Inverted speed and resulting lift is even better.

The Starfire is my new favourite wing, for sure! So the 60" Starfire with the thinner PW51 airfoil should be a slope rocket.

Build photos and details to come!
Apr 22, 2010, 01:26 PM
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pval3's Avatar
Hey Phil,,

I remember you mentioned that the don's 2700 was a better motor than the 3000 he carries. Unfortunately he has had qualitly issues with this line and is going to dicontinue it. Do you think the 3000 would provide enough punch for a stout built beta 2? I know you mentioned the lightflight inrunners..but am looking for the best economical alternative motor. Any thoughts/suggestions?


Apr 22, 2010, 01:31 PM
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pval3's Avatar

dons wicked 3000

hey gary
Man, am I sorry to hear about the quality issue and the discontinuing of that motor, that has been one of my favs for a few years now . .. . .I am going to miss that big when I fry mine . .
The 3000 will work fine, the acceleration is not as good but the top end is a little better. The 3000 is a little more fineky on the prop too.
Don has a little different prop mix for the 3000 than the 2700 on his web site, I would make sure you do not go outside his guidelines if you want it to stay together.
the 3000 is great for the 48 but the 60 will need a little oomph.
Apr 22, 2010, 01:42 PM
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pval3's Avatar
cleansurf -
wow . . .. really "down south!"
greetings to our starfire aficionados down under!
Ive been listening to the parkfliers NZ podcast, sounds like you guys have some great winds for the slopes down there..

Here in the South East US, we have a lot of flat land and limited slopes so the full starfire experience is limited to powered flight and short hills a few days a year for slope!

Great looking build

Can you share your experiences with the set up and build?

For the most part, my only suggestion for the speed needs is to try to ballast up a bit and the speed should come up for you.

I was amazed and the loading envelope of this bird, as I was adding cells and power, I found that the more weight I added with each version, the better it flew.

I also was amazed at how rock stable it was in every version with inverted flight. I even got the mid to do really big rolling circles (Im too much a chicken to do it low or in tight

The cornering was also spectacular, even with the basic set up I had for throw, the airplane would pitch around ultra tight, it almost looked like a square turn with pitch...much better than any wing I have flown.

please share your build notes with us, we would love to hear from you.
Apr 22, 2010, 01:45 PM
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pval3's Avatar
from Dons sight

Here are test results for the Wicked 3000 ( all data with APC props):
3S lipo:
Prop RPM Amps Watts Pitch Speed
4.7 x 4.2 26000 rpm 30 amps 320 watts 104 mph
4.5 x 4.1 27900 rpm 27 amps 290 watts 108 mph
4.1 x 4.1 29400 rpm 23 amps 260 watts 114 mph

4S2250 Long Max lipo :
Prop RPM Amps Watts Pitch Speed
4.1 x 4.1 36200 rpm 35 amps 510 watts 140 mph
Larger props are not recommended on 4S, and when using 4S the motor must get good cooling.

NOTE: The use of props larger than show on these charts will most likely fry the motor and DonsRC is not responsible for such damage.
Apr 22, 2010, 04:25 PM
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cleansurf2's Avatar

Starfire build 48", from Australia


I will try and upload my build photo's and details this weekend.

My motor speed is not that fast, enough for full vertical. Built on a budget $6 HK motor. Did my first park flying test the other day till battery was flat. The budget gear speed was fine for me, best of all, I got 22 minutes flight time from a 1750mah 3S LIPO.
I estimate my throttle ratio for the seasion at:
40% full
35% half
25% off (glide)
Very happy with the flight time with this hardware (I will list part numbers in the build).

As for sloping as opposed to park flying, I am fortunate to have the oppertunity in my location. The big thing for me, in regard to testing wings, is the purity of slope gliding. It takes away issues of motors, props, thrust angles and allows you to do a pure performance test of a wings airfoil and handling characteristics. Most of my slope session would be at least an hour, doing glide tests in a park flying environment doesn't allow for that, nor the viewing angle much of the time.

My impression of the starfire on the slope is excellent. Speed, energy retention through turns, stall characteristics are superb. Airfoil was thicker than I had hoped for my applications, but saying that, the reflex when dialed in, is almost zero and overall airfoil performance is excellent.

I haven't had much oppertunity to ballast up yet, having the mid mount motor makes it difficult, as it is around the CG point. I might build up another as a pure sloper with ballast tube. I will try and run some slope tests later with some more weight.

Apr 22, 2010, 05:31 PM
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pval3's Avatar
as a test option, the Prather stick on lead sticks make great "options" for loading up on a budget and with limited config space.

I think each stick is 4 oz and you get two in each pack
Apr 23, 2010, 07:07 AM
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cleansurf2's Avatar

Starfire build 48", from Australia

The Build log. Parts detail at the end.

Based on the CG from Jeff. Mid mount motor to keep the component weight forward to minimise balancing weight. Parts form

I masking taped the wings and layed out components to guess the CG, allowing for estimated weight of elevons, fins and covering materials.

A frame CF configuration (2x 6mm square section, 1x 3mm square section).
Motor weight is 40gram, the weight mass is just forward of the CG.
Battery weight is 145gram and as far forward as I could get it.
Other component weight is negligable. The hope was to get away without further weight in the nose (succeded!).

I hot wire cut my CF channels, after installing the CF, I had a couple of mm left to fill in to match the foam surface level. I tried 3 fillers. Spacfiller (used on walls) and expanding foam where both a pain to sand back. The best of the 3 was hotwired strips (6mm) of offcut foam glued to the CF, easy to sand back, light and durable.

I installed a small bungee tube just behind the CF join (first time, untested as yet)

I traced the airfoil centreline and marked out the engine and prop hole, with a 5 degree down thrust angle as recommended by Jeff and hotwire cut. I have played with this since, adding more angle as my flight testing motorised was giving me a lot of up pitch when throttle was applied . More testing today has made huge improvements , the thrust angle needs to be up on mine not down (centreline of the motor is angled up, toward the rear of the aircraft). Note; my engine mount is forward of the CG. I haven't tuned it to optimum angle yet, I will measure and post my angle later on. My Starfire now maintains a more level flight path when throttle applied.

Increasing pitch with increased speed is the only issue I have with the Starfire flight characteristics. Slope gliding indicated the wing suffered slightly more than other wings, increasing up pitch with increasing speed and associated lift. Can't tune that out for gliding like you can for motorised flying by adjusting motor angle. Gliding, I have to apply slight down control to maintain level flight after a dive!

Build log, to be continued.
Apr 23, 2010, 07:26 AM
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cleansurf2's Avatar

Starfire build 48", from Australia

Photo sf6 shows the bungee tube behind the CF rods and just in front of the engine mount wall.

phot sf7 shows the hotwire cut foam glued to the CF rod as a filler. The yellow expanding foam can be seen toward the rear of the photo, that experiment didn't work to well!

in SF7 you can also see the basis of a elevon. 3mm corflute with hotwired styra foam to give the wedge shape. This design worked really well, I simply installed the servo post from the inside of the coreflute and gled the foam to the coreflute. Then monocoted the whole thing using HK shrink film (good quality, good price!)

more to come
Apr 23, 2010, 09:12 AM
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clean surf

is your starfire the all EPP version or the mixed foam wing?

what is the large black tube that you have over the wing in the first set of pictures?

Is there a gap between your forward spars where the bungee post is?

The thrust angle in relation to the CG was a good point, the point at which you mount the motor makes a bog difference in exactly how that angle will effect the aircraft . . . like see sawing with a "big girl" on the end of the see saw . .. . like CG for performance!
LengthXarmXangle needs to play in when I relate my specs to Jeff . . . . \never really though about it from this angle!
Apr 23, 2010, 09:58 PM
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cleansurf2's Avatar
Reply to build questions

is your starfire the all EPP version or the mixed foam wing?
All EPP version

what is the large black tube that you have over the wing in the first set of pictures?
That's my hotwire cutter, large one. Simple design, made from plastic waterpipe, one power wire through and one connected to the other end via a metal hose clamp. Nicrome hotwire spaned from one hose clamp to the other. I leave the wire loose and do a couple of wraps around one clamp to tighten the bow. I put a piece of bamboo down the pipe (half total length) to make the bow a little straiter in the middle and also increase bow tension. The downside as oppossed to a U shape hotwire bow is that the ends are not vertical, so limmitted hight clearance at the ends of the bow when cutting. Cheap and easy bow though. I also have a smaller one, same desigh you can just see in the photo of the engine bay cutt out process. I use a small U shaped thicker wire on the end of a stick for servo cut outs and a pivot one for some single template airfoil cuts.

Is there a gap between your forward spars where the bungee post is?
No, he 6mm CF spars are hollow, they are but joined with a short piece of wire through the middle and glued with epoxy giving the primary join strength. I also put epoxy all around the join and then a 1mm piece of plastic over that with epoxy. Few desent impacts so far and all good. I should be able to poke a piece of rod in to the bungee hole putruding an inch or so to use that, I am concerend about something giving way if I pull back to hard though

The thrust angle in relation to the CG was a good point, the point at which you mount the motor makes a bog difference in exactly how that angle will effect the aircraft . . . like see sawing with a "big girl" on the end of the see saw . .. . like CG for performance!
LengthXarmXangle needs to play in when I relate my specs to Jeff . . . . \never really though about it from this angle![/QUOTE]
I had considered this may be an issue and I designed to accomadate thrust angle changes including the opposite direction, as there where no details available as to if the other mid mount builds had the engine mount forward or aft of the CG.
Apr 23, 2010, 10:24 PM
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cleansurf2's Avatar

60" Starfire questions

pval 3

Sounds like your doing the test build for the first one (powered I assume, due to your flat location).

I have only built one PW51 wing so far (48", 20 degree sweep, 8 inch chord root to tip). I thinned the airfoil section slightly and found that it's lift was ordinary. It was fast though, I had to design and install air brakes for landing. Needed 20 knots to play.

The Starfire should be fine for lift with the standard PW51 and wing shape.
Most of the PW51 builders are using zero wing twist for peak speed performance, stall still seems to be good according to many reports.

I am hoping that it's primary design is more toward a high speed big air slope glider rather than primarially a park flyer. A designed tweaked for speed gliding (no twist, etc..) can always be fitted with a motor. Vice versa designs tend to not achive their potential in slope gliding.
What's the latest on the 60" and what arena is Jeff tuning the aircraft to achieve best in?

I would love to do a slope build and review for Jeff, I'm happy to provide feedback to help with any tweaking. Would love to be involved in what could be the number one big air wing.

Apr 25, 2010, 05:38 AM
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Starfire build 48", from Australia


Phot sf8 shows the top side. You can see an Elevon with the styra foam glued to the coreflute. Servo extension leads installed(30cm). I left a bay in front of the servo to roll up the extra servo lead. I then put a strip of 0.5mm plastic along the servo and extension lead join bay to cover and hold the servo in place. I taped it down with fibreglass tape so I can hinge it open if needed. Have to cut through the tape holding the other side of the plastic and the monocote finish to open though. Glad I did it. I have had to replace both servos already. The 9gram servos are strong enouth but the plastic gears are not up to this size/weight plane.

The electronics installed is a plane finder alarm.

photo sf9 shows the underside with fibreglass re-inforced tape. A piece of 0.5mm plastic under the battery/ESC compartments for some additional support for the foam under the battery.

photo sf91 is the top side with fibreglass tape applied.

I sprayed some 77 adhessive after taping, in preperation for the monocote covering. I hoped it would give a consistant iron on covering application. I found the monocote still applied better and smother to the taped areas.

Next time, I am considering testing 77 spray adhesive and applying light non stretch material (cotton or polyester) to give a consistant surface for a monocote finish. Anyone tried something like that???

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