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ACE Guppy Scratch Build

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#1
It's time for a plans built fuselage to go with the spare ACE foam wing I have from my ACE All Star build. After a successful fall RC auction (and a really nasty Firefeather crash) I find myself without any gliders - so let's make a Guppy!




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No kit on this one - just a set of plans. And since I only have one copy of them I needed to trace out the shapes of the curvy parts onto some translucent paper - I think this is actually backing off a roll of covering I used on my Dreamer. Artists Grease Pencils (aka China Markers) work great on almost any surface for this kind of tracing. [Edit: link to printable tiled version of these plans here: http://my.pclink.com/~dfritzke/Guppy.pdf ]
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Using the transparent pattern I cut out a pair of fuselage sides just a little bit oversized, then clamped them together and sanded to final shape so they are a matching set.
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Then it's time to strip down some scrap balsa to make bracing... it always feels nice to reuse some of the sprues from prior kits :D
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Gluing on some bracing at the wing saddle...

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The braces around the front of the fuselage needs to be curved so they get an ammonia wipe down to get bendy and then clamp them into shape to dry. IMG_20200107_160129-1024x768.jpg

In the process of trying to get 1/8" square balsa to bend that far, I had a weak spot start to fold - which sort of ruins it from a strength perspective. So I'm trying to bend one around a form (a sanding block) to better support it.

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But what I really think I need to do is just laminate a pair of 1/8 x 1/16" thick pieces together to form the 1/8 square bracing around the curves. Pictures of what that looks like coming next.
 
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rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#3
This one's gonna be interesting! Looks like an old one channel, pylon motor mount glider. Do those plans say copyright 1975?
Yep! Almost as old as me! :D

Instructions call for a single channel pulse rudder setup - I'll be going for a three channel setup with elevator, throttle, and rudder.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#6
Looking good!
I'm finalizing plans to build an 8' Guppy-ish e-motor glider.
Watching, for sure! :cool:
Cool! For plans inspiration, check out the 41" Nomad by Ted Strader - https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=6264 - or the House of Balsa 61" Nomad Too if you can find plans for that - both of those are built up wings and pylon motor mounts and would be easier to scale up to big size than this all sheeted construction Guppy design.

I didn't get much done last night - cut down some 1/6" thick scraps into 1/8" wide strips, and laminated them together bent into the curves. Very easy - no water or ammonia required this way. Just need to wait a little while for the glue to dry is all...

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Willy Nillies

Well-known member
#7
You'll have fun with this one! I built one as a kid around 1979 ish? with an Ace Pulse Commander single channel with a PeeWee .020. What fun chasing that thing! Really learned a lot setting incidences, engine thrust etc.... The Pulse Commander didn't work all the time so it doubled as a free flight quite often, not by choice!

Sincerely,
Doug and Becky
WillyNillies.com
 

Willy Nillies

Well-known member
#9
I cut a kit for my Dad a couple of years ago. We've flown it quite a bit with a 10 gram motor and micro gear. Lots of fun with reliable equipment!

Word of caution though... think very light on the tail. We had to add a LOT of nose ballast to get it to balance good. You should think about some lightening holes in the tail feathers and possibly in the aft fuselage.

Sincerely,
Doug and Becky
WillyNillies.com
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#10
I cut a kit for my Dad a couple of years ago. We've flown it quite a bit with a 10 gram motor and micro gear. Lots of fun with reliable equipment!

Word of caution though... think very light on the tail. We had to add a LOT of nose ballast to get it to balance good. You should think about some lightening holes in the tail feathers and possibly in the aft fuselage.

Sincerely,
Doug and Becky
WillyNillies.com
Thanks for the pointers - I was thinking of doing a Pat Tritle style built up tail already and this locks that plan in!
 
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Willy Nillies

Well-known member
#11
Don't know what a Pat Trittle style tail is?

The first time you have some wet grass.... touch and goes are a blast! Can even taxi around..... :)

Sincerely,
Doug and Becky
WillyNillies.com
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#12
Don't know what a Pat Trittle style tail is?

The first time you have some wet grass.... touch and goes are a blast! Can even taxi around..... :)

Sincerely,
Doug and Becky
WillyNillies.com
Pat's designs are "built to fly, not built to crash" - almost no sheeting, just thin little toothpicks of bent laminated balsa. Beautiful, delicate, and light! A good example is in the first post of this thread for a 60" Stinson https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?1773889-60-Stinson-Voyager - just look at how little material he has in the tail structure!

The idea of touch and goes with one of these is funny - I'm going to have to try that for sure! :D
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#13
Pat's designs are "built to fly, not built to crash" - almost no sheeting, just thin little toothpicks of bent laminated balsa. Beautiful, delicate, and light!
Oh boy, I can attest to that! I've had a Tritle Tri-Pacer for a few years that I've spent more time repairing than building. His designs are crazy light but crazy fragile. Seems every time I touch something I break it. The fuse is finally mostly built and I hope to get to the wing and finish building and repairing it in a few more years. Pat does REALLY nice scale kits but they're not suited to those of us with large clumsy catchers mitts for hands. ;)

Joe
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#14
If it's here in the thread I missed it somehow but the Ace Guppy plans (with built up wings) along with a bunch of others are up on the Dave Fritzke website. LINK

Joe
 

TooJung2Die

Well-known member
#15
Pat's designs are "built to fly, not built to crash" - almost no sheeting, just thin little toothpicks of bent laminated balsa. Beautiful, delicate, and light!
Thanks for waking me up to Pat Tritle. I love his designs and the way he builds, scavenging to save every fraction of an ounce. I spent hours today looking at his plans. What an incredible designer and prolific builder. That's how to build with balsa. If you want to crash'em and bash'em stick to EPP foam.
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#17
Thanks for waking me up to Pat Tritle. I love his designs and the way he builds, scavenging to save every fraction of an ounce. I spent hours today looking at his plans. What an incredible designer and prolific builder. That's how to build with balsa. If you want to crash'em and bash'em stick to EPP foam.
Heck, I haven't even finished building the Tritle Tri-Pacer kit yet and just through handling alone I've broken more pieces than most do in a crash! LOL. That's not a negative on his kits. You just have to have smaller and more nimble hands than I do.

Joe
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#18
Little bit more progress.... glued the laminated curved pieces onto the fuselage sides....

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Cut out the pylon motor mount pieces and added some lightening holes in the bulkheads

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Looking awesome! I really enjoy building from plans. After I get done buying Willy Nillies kits I'll get back to building from some of the many plans and plan files I have. I have a forest of balsa wood so I need to put it to good use. Screw the FAA and their stupid rules. I want to build a HUGE plane next and I damned sure WON'T register the plane or me with them!

Joe