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2019 Build Along: Just another Stick? No, a really BIG Stick. AKA: the GIANT STICK.

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#1
Although I won't start any actual construction for a while I'll get the build thread started since I've got a little time while taking a break from completely cleaning and reorganizing my shop.

The "Stick" is a very popular RC plane design, and has been re-created by countless designers. The shape is fairly simple and the plane is usually easy-ish to build. You can find examples in all sizes, whatever floats your boat. Speaking of that, plenty have been equipped with floats for water action as well.

I've currently got only one flying Stick in my hangar, the Mountain Models Lucky ACE. Even though it hasn't been flown since July of 2017 it's still my most-flown plane with 139 flights and over 18 hours of flight time. Why haven't I flown it for over 14 months? Well, the giant scale bug has bit me hard and most of my flights in the past couple years have been on much larger planes. Here's my ACE, with it's 40" wingspan and 1 pound flying weight.

IMG_8095.jpg



Time to get a big Stick.... well, a GIANT Stick in this case! :) I found a guy in Nebraska selling an old Hobby Shack Giant Stick on RC Groups and pounced on it. For size comparison this is the 50cc Quadra gasser I'm planning to use along with one of the wing ribs. The engine alone is far heavier than the flying weight of the ACE, and the wing rib is about 19.5" long without the leading or trailing edges. :)

IMG_8096.jpg



A picture from the box cover - wingspan is 106" (8.8'), flying weight is about 20 pounds, wing chord is 21", and for engine it recommends "Any Giant engine". Kind of vague on the engine recommendation, but this old Quadra should be able to pull it around fairly easily.

IMG_8094.jpg



Can I get it done during the Build Along's timeframe? Maybe... I'm banking on the straight forward design to help me chug through it in fairly quick time. Once the clean-up in the shop is done I'll do a quick inventory of parts to make sure I'm not missing anything. The box was packed with balsa so I'm optimistic that it's all there.
 
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Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#4
Kind of amazing that an engine this "small" could power a dirt bike or road-legal scooter!

Last night I went through the contents of the kit to verify the parts are all there, and it looks complete. Plans and instructions are a bit crispy and brown with age, but still usable. The instructions call for building the horizontal tail surfaces first so I sorted the sheets & sticks out to get a little taste of what is to come. The elevator is one-piece of thick balsa and the stab is stick-built and sheeted on both sides. With Step 1 of the instructions I ran into a problem... The plans show the ribs are made of 3/16" x 1/4" sticks, but the kit only includes two short pieces like this. There ARE a lot of 1/4" x 1/4" sticks and maybe I'm supposed to sand or shave them down to 3/16"? I don't want to run out of 1/4" x 1/4" if they're needed elsewhere so I grabbed some 3/16" x 1/4" from my stock and am good to go. The worst case scenario is that I'll have some 1/4" square stock left over. It pays to order extra material when building with balsa for just such an emergency.

Another solution would be to take 3/16" sheet or 1/4" sheet and simply cut new sticks from that sheet using my balsa stripper.

Hmmmm, this build may be started sooner than I planned. :)
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#6
Love the classic Stick design! I have a feeling this big one is going to be a beauty! :D

I've got a DTFB and Balsa ARF stick in my hanger, and a Lucky Ace kit somewhere around here too... maybe I need to get it out for the build along :D

What are you planning for covering materials / finish design?
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#7
Sitting at work and NOT wanting to do actual "work" related stuff, and instead thinking about details for the plane. Covering is TBD, but I'd really like to do a fabric-type covering, possibly even with the fake rib-stitching and pinking tape. The fuselage sides on a Stick are normally flat, but I'm considering adding some extra balsa strips running the length of the fuselage to hold the covering off the sheet sides to make it look more like a traditional covered framework (like a Cub). Rudder will certainly be pull/pull, and I'm thinking of going that route with the elevator as well just because it was common on WWI planes and this will have a lot of WWI flavor. Tricycle gear is probably going to be used as well, simply because I've got enough tail-draggers and going that way would keep the tail out of the grass and make the pull/pull elevator possible. Since WWI planes had a metal cowl I'm thinking about replicating that with this build, although in a square design instead of round. :) It won't have a cockpit or pilot, but a Vickers machine gun is a distinct possibility. I printed one at 1/3 scale for my big Sopwith Pup (yet another big project still on the back burner) and can scale it down as needed for this plane. Flaps are a thought, but I don't think they'll be needed so they probably won't make the cut. Navigation and landing lights would be kind of a silly thing to add, and I'm certainly immature enough to still do silly things. :p For the wheels I originally was thinking about a WWI style wheel, but they are pretty thin and don't offer any suspension, which would really be nice for a plane this size and weight. Going with a bush-style tire would give me a little suspension, although I'm not really digging the look on a Stick. The landing gear wires are pretty heavy-duty and won't offer much spring, so this is all something to think about.

In my head I've built this plane a half-dozen different ways and like how open my options are!
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#10
Sitting at work and NOT wanting to do actual "work" related stuff, and instead thinking about details for the plane. Covering is TBD, but I'd really like to do a fabric-type covering, possibly even with the fake rib-stitching and pinking tape. The fuselage sides on a Stick are normally flat, but I'm considering adding some extra balsa strips running the length of the fuselage to hold the covering off the sheet sides to make it look more like a traditional covered framework (like a Cub). Rudder will certainly be pull/pull, and I'm thinking of going that route with the elevator as well just because it was common on WWI planes and this will have a lot of WWI flavor. Tricycle gear is probably going to be used as well, simply because I've got enough tail-draggers and going that way would keep the tail out of the grass and make the pull/pull elevator possible. Since WWI planes had a metal cowl I'm thinking about replicating that with this build, although in a square design instead of round. :) It won't have a cockpit or pilot, but a Vickers machine gun is a distinct possibility. I printed one at 1/3 scale for my big Sopwith Pup (yet another big project still on the back burner) and can scale it down as needed for this plane. Flaps are a thought, but I don't think they'll be needed so they probably won't make the cut. Navigation and landing lights would be kind of a silly thing to add, and I'm certainly immature enough to still do silly things. :p For the wheels I originally was thinking about a WWI style wheel, but they are pretty thin and don't offer any suspension, which would really be nice for a plane this size and weight. Going with a bush-style tire would give me a little suspension, although I'm not really digging the look on a Stick. The landing gear wires are pretty heavy-duty and won't offer much spring, so this is all something to think about.

In my head I've built this plane a half-dozen different ways and like how open my options are!
I'd love to follow along with you doing a fabric covering on this build too! :D

Maybe for the wheels something could be fabricated to look like an old metal style tractor wheel? Something like this...

 

willsonman

Builder Extraordinare
Mentor
#12
I like the direction your thoughts are taking you on this project... Keep following them! Sullivan skylite tires offer a good balance between squishy tires, narrower track, and sturdy aluminum hub. You may want to give them a look. The other fun thing with them too is that they have fairly thick rubber on the tires so you can put them in a drill and carve some custom treads if you are so inclined.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#13
I figured you would like the scale details. :) The Sullivan tires sound promising, I'll check 'em out, thanks for the tip. The stock landing gear are basic heavy wires soldered together, although I may look into pre-bent aluminum gear, which I think would look a little better for the tricycle layout.
 

willsonman

Builder Extraordinare
Mentor
#16
I figured you would like the scale details. :) The Sullivan tires sound promising, I'll check 'em out, thanks for the tip. The stock landing gear are basic heavy wires soldered together, although I may look into pre-bent aluminum gear, which I think would look a little better for the tricycle layout.
Yeah, and the adding of interesting things like the fuselage formers is for sure an interesting addition to an otherwise boring airplane. Maybe even building it out and staining the wood to be exposed like a Top Flite Elder might be fun. THat way you could expose the control wires more and maybe 3D print some pulleys.

... I'm not expecting you to go all-out and make this one with proper wing warping ;)
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#17
Just the wheels? I might try that.
Not to distract the thread too much, but like Joker said, there aren't really any WW1 style wheel options out there that are wide enough to handle rough fields. Going with a metal looking tractor wheel might make it look a little more steam-punk than WWI, but it could be better than Tundra bush style tires :D
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#18
Yeah, and the adding of interesting things like the fuselage formers is for sure an interesting addition to an otherwise boring airplane. Maybe even building it out and staining the wood to be exposed like a Top Flite Elder might be fun. THat way you could expose the control wires more and maybe 3D print some pulleys.

... I'm not expecting you to go all-out and make this one with proper wing warping ;)
Some stained woodwork is being considered, but wing warping is FAR from becoming a reality on this plane! :)
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#19
Looking at the instructions, the first step is to join multiple sheets of 3" wide sheet together to make pieces big enough to cover the top & bottom of the horizontal stabilizer. For giggles I put a straightedge across the edges of these sheets and found none of them are straight... It's possible that sitting in the box for decades they slowly warped, or maybe they were never straight to begin with. Either way, the solution was fairly painless. When I edge-joined them to test-fit them I found they all had about the same amount of curve meaning I could do minimal sanding/trimming now, and once they were all glued together I'd do a final trim on the full size sheet.

The instructions also say to build the main structure of the stabilizer ON one of the sheets, but that'd make it impossible to see the plans. Instead, I'll simply build the structure over the plans and when it's all glued up simply sandwich the structure between the sheets before applying weights and letting the glue dry. To me that seems like a much easier way to do things.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#20
The build has started! I'm following the instructions for order-of-assembly and started with the horizontal stabilizer. It really makes me realize how much I enjoy the actual balsa-building part of these projects. I'll post a few pictures when I get a chance, but as of now the sheeting is glued together and the internal structure is built. Next up is to sheet the structure and sand it to shape. Being a standard "Stick design" there is no airfoil to the tail, it's all giant flat surfaces.

One thing I need to determine before I get too far into the build is what kind of landing gear setup I want. The original thought was to go with tricycle gear, but now I'm having second thoughts. If I go with a tail-dragger design the plans call for a simply plywood skid to keep the tail from dragging, but this is a pretty generic design that I don't care for. Better would be a giant-scale tailwheel assembly from somebody like Ohio Superstar which would give me much better clearance plus better ground-handling. Minimal modifications would be needed to make this work well, so now is the time to decide! More on that soon.