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An old idea, building from balsa!

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#41
Ok, that I can probably swing if nothing else happens! At least it gives me some time...How many people are going to try to do this build?
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#42
Honestly I have no idea at this time. 4 or 5 have expressed interest, but if they actually do it is another story. There may also be others just waiting who haven't said anything yet.

I'm hoping that the FT guys either mention it on the podcast or elsewhere so it may get more interest. There are probably tons of people on this site who never look at the forums.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#44
I can understand that. If Josh or David (mainly those two guys) were to pop up on a thread I expect the thread's topic would go way off track as people use it as a chance to "gain an audience with the kings". My guess is that people involved with FT follow the various threads to come up with show ideas and to keep a finger on the pulse of the FT community.

So if any of those people are reading this, pass the idea on to Chad to see if they'd give this a mention on the next podcast! Heck, they need to fill the time with something... :confused:
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#45
I know Chad keeps an eye on the "Ask Chad" thread, but I think for the most part we are on our own here. They seem to be more interested in the social networking side of the house. Not that that's a bad thing, I think it's a great way to reach out to more new pilots. I just don't do the FB much anymore as it seems like it's mostly about people screaming "look at me!" and I just don't care what Paul had for lunch...
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#46
Hadn't seen this thread until you mentioned it in the Ask Chad thread. I'm one of those who've requested a balsa episode as well :)

I've built quite a few balsa models in my life...but never really flew one yet. I did a lot of free flight as a kid but quickly got tired of the repairs on balsa from flights with such limited control. And it was balsa that brought me back into the hobby about 4 years ago when Make magazine ran an article with downloadable plans for the Medicine Man glider: http://archive.makezine.com/17/model_airplane/ (Plans are still posted along with build instructions: http://makezine.com/projects/make-17/medicine-man-glider/)

Breaking out a building board and cutting balsa again sure felt good:
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(Full build log is on my photo site here: http://www.dunephotos.com/Hobbies/R...-Glider/7710282_Zwg2Q5#!i=498158286&k=d79vhTm )

Little side note - Dang, seeing those photos again I'm realizing just how much difference the 50lbs I lost about 18 months ago has made!
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I "flew" it for a few hand tosses but that's it so far. First day out with it broke a couple of things after gliding only a dozen feet or so. Repaired that, took it back out and had a better test toss - but then broke a wing while carrying it :( Repaired that...but have been too chicken to try flying it again since. I do dust it off every couple of months - but it doesn't even have an RX in it right now. Part of my reluctance to fly it is fear of breaking it again...but part is also not having a good way to launch a glider. Have thought about making a hi-start (and after the video a week or two ago am thinking about it again) or trying towing...but just haven't worked up the nerve for either.

I did order the optional motor pod the designer came up with and have it 90% built...but not being in a hurry to fly I haven't been in a hurry to finish that ;) Plus the idea of just letting the motor go until the battery is dead just doesn't sit right with me so I've been looking at ways to set it up a bit better but haven't settled on anything. Keep forgetting to grab a brushed motor controller for it...

Even though it's currently "fixed" I've learned enough from actually flying foamies the past 2 years to know that it really needs some bench time before I try to fly it again. I didn't know anything about setting up linkages and servos when I built it - and the instructions didn't clarify much. I know now that one of the problems I had with it is because I didn't mount my linkages with the holes over the hinge lines. So those need to be moved.

I'm really getting the itch to dust it off, fix it up and get it in the air...but I've also been thinking about tackling another balsa build. Just not sure if I can pull it off due to limited table space and a 3 year old in the house :D

I've always wanted to do a nitro plane...but not sure I'm quite up for it just yet. A balsa electric is sounding really tempting though. With the foam planes they're so quick and easy to build it's easy to be reckless with them and try things that are likely to result in a crash. But there's just something about a nice balsa plane that's calling to me still.

The medicine man is a fun build but more work than the lazer cut ones since even the kit isn't pre-cut...just "printed" wood so you don't have to transfer plans. Still with free plans and being a fairly simple build it could be something to look at for a group build. Not using any special parts or pre-cut bits it's easy to build out of locally sourced parts anywhere. And being a 2 channel glider it's a fairly easy flier too (from what little "success" I've had with it so far.)

I'm going to try to remember to keep an eye on this thread...winter is my flying time and summer is more for building since we hide inside for summer...but balsa has been calling to me again...
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#47
Thanks for the pictures, that plane is destined for air! Or ground, you never know...! ;)

I read this somewhere - get it finished and fly it. Regardless of the results, try to fly it. In 20 years which will feel worse, the memory of something you tried and failed at, or looking at the dusty plane on a shelf in the basement, beat up and torn from years of sitting and getting abused by kids? The planes should be considered Vikings (the warriors, not the football team which has never won a Superbowl). Live. Live hard and fast. And when it dies go out in a blaze of glory.
 
#48
I'm still planning on building another balsa plane. Unfortunately not the Dandy since its not available in my country or anywhere without huge amounts of shipping costs. I'm still waiting on the Covering Film from HobbyKing. But it's out of stock, so building an other balsa plane is on hold because of that. I'm planning on building the Big Stick like I said before. I'll keep u guys posted.

Also another project which is totally different than RC is still on my mind.
I currently studying computer engineering of applied computer science. so because of that I'm doing allot with hardware making/repairing and software. But because of my knowledge my current hobbing project is modding an 3LCD Projector from UHP(Ultra High Pressure) lamp which is really expensive($500+) to an LED or HID(Xenon)(cheaper) light source which will produce less heat but need some serous modifications to work. This project takes a lot of my time currently.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#49
The Dandy would be good, but the Big Stick is still a good choice in kit to work with. It isn't overly complex and the biggest hurdle will be the lack of decent instructions. But the basic design means you won't need super detailed drawings. The Red Swan and Sun Bird from HK could certainly use better instructions...!
 
#50
If the idea is to get people new to working in balsa to join in, then "lack of decent instructions" is a very large hurdle. I think it's better to go with a kit that is clearly documented so that people can build rather than try to figure out what they are supposed to be building. It's easy to figure out what you need to do next if you've built them before. If you haven't, it's hard to know what the next step should be.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#51
"Lack of decent instructions" is a big issue with the Hobby King laser cut kits. I've built one, am currently building a heavily modified version of that same kit, and also have a different kit from them waiting to be built. Quite frankly, their instructions suck. The kit I am planning for a group build, the Dandy from Mountain Models has a very good manual located here. Heck, their manual hasn't been updated for over a decade and it's still far better than what I got with my Hobby King kits. In fact it's better than most of the foamie ARF or BNF manuals I've seen.

However, the Big Stick that Timeless is looking at shouldn't be hard to build even with a poor manual. All the major components are pretty basic and the wing shouldn't have any big surprises. Looking over the instructions the only thing that really surprised me was that it appears to have caps on the ribs, a detail that I like quite a bit.

This is the advantage of a group build. If questions come up during the build others who are also focused on balsa building would hopefully be happy to look at the issue to offer suggestions. I'm currently doing a balsa build for a Model Airplane News contest HERE, and to my knowledge I'm the only one on this or the RCG site documenting the build. Since it's a contest most people want to keep their ideas secret. I have no thoughts of actually winning anything so I'm going a different route and showing my project as it goes along so it will hopefully help others and keep them from falling into the same traps as me.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#52
True on the bad instructions, but they are easy to overcome, especially if you have built before. If we do a group build to get more people into the balsa side of the hobby, we can point out those shortcomings beforehand, or as in the case of the Mountain Models, that is probably not an issue.

My order from HK came today and I have started on the mini GeeBee. Here it in the package as it arrived. No box but everything was fine.
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Here is everything spread out so I can organize and compare to the parts list. Yes, that is the instruction manual on the left, I mean the instruction sheet...
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Here I've started removing the parts from the flats. This is tedious but it pays to take your time here and cut anything that isn't fully cut by the laser. With the HK kits, there's alot of uncut/not fully cut areas on most of the parts. Nothing a sharp knife and a steady hand can't make short work of though.
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Wing ribs all freed up and ready for sanding!
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This is the start of dry fitting the wing together. I actually like the way this kit slots together and it really fits together nicely.
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Some detail on the wing while it's being assembled. This is still just the dry fit portion of the wing build.
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Here is as far as I can go with the dry fit. The next step will be to disassemble and sand everything that I wont be able to sand after its reassembled and glued. It's cosmetic and sanding won't be necessary on a model that is covered in opaque. I plan on a transparent covering for this one.
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Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#53
Sometimes simply sanding the back side of the planks is enough to free the laser cut pieces. To remove the laser burned edges some have suggested a mild bleach and water mix rubbed on the edge. I have never confirmed for myself if this works however.

I look forward to this build, I'm always tempted by the various HK kits due to the low prices, but sometimes you never know what to really expect.

For sanding ribs of the same size I like to stack them all together and put scrap balsa where the spar will be to keep them all perfectly aligned. Then I sand them all (lightly) at the same time. This helps me avoid sanding them unevenly or rounding an edge by not holding the sanding block perpendicular to the wood.

You may want to consider a build thread for this plane, it could be useful for others wanting to build it!
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#54
Sometimes simply sanding the back side of the planks is enough to free the laser cut pieces. To remove the laser burned edges some have suggested a mild bleach and water mix rubbed on the edge. I have never confirmed for myself if this works however.

I look forward to this build, I'm always tempted by the various HK kits due to the low prices, but sometimes you never know what to really expect.

For sanding ribs of the same size I like to stack them all together and put scrap balsa where the spar will be to keep them all perfectly aligned. Then I sand them all (lightly) at the same time. This helps me avoid sanding them unevenly or rounding an edge by not holding the sanding block perpendicular to the wood.

You may want to consider a build thread for this plane, it could be useful for others wanting to build it!
I tried sanding the back first but it didn't work very well on this kit. And sanding the ribs in a stack is something I've always done, because of the reasons you said and it also ensures all the ribs are identical. Crucial in a sailplane, but on this one with only 6 ribs total and an overall wingspan of 24", maybe not so critical...
I may do a new thread on it but I thought I'd post here where we are talking about the community build to help generate some interest if possible. Sorry if it seemed like a hijack. In hindsight it probably should have been it's own thread...
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#55
It wasn't a hijack at all, I was thinking if somebody searches the internet for information on that plane it may be found more easily as a thread, but that's only a guess. I'm all for anything that keeps this thread going and builds some interest, so by all means keep posting the info here. Hopefully people on the fence will see it isn't rocket science and will be willing to try it.

I think the sanding block trick works better on balsa that is better cut. The stuff I've gotten from HK has laser cuts that are often too shallow for the trick to work. The MM kits are usually well cut so I don't give the planks more than a brush with the sandpaper.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#56
Yeah the Goldberg and other kits seem to work well that way, but I think back then they were all die cut and all you were doing was clearing stray uncut balsa fibers. :)

I also got the Red Swan in today, they were in the same shipment. So I might just toss this one together and see what happens with work over the next few weeks to decide on using that for the community build or if all works out well, going with a MM build. I still plan on that Dandy, even though I don't like the name...maybe I can find some transparent pink to cover it with! :eek:
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#57
That would make it a Dandy for sure!

Those die-cut kits are also known as die-crushed. Seems like every one I ever got was made right before the dies were sharpened.

As of this morning my Red Swan now has 38 flights for 11 hours 9 minutes of total flight time. I average about 17-1/2 minutes per flight and normally use an 850mAh 3 cell. I've had a few flights over 30 minutes with the longest at 32 minutes. Not too bad for my 3rd balsa build, heavy construction, and a small battery! I'm hoping the RS I'm currently building will go well over 30 minutes with the same or smaller battery size.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#59
You probably have these links to my threads on RC Groups, but just in case...

Build #1 is HERE.

Build #2 is HERE.

I haven't started the wing yet on #2, but the thread for #1 includes a lot of information you'll want to review before starting your wing. The instructions for the wing are horrible! Rib placement for the center section of the wing took me a while to figure out, although I'll do it differently on #2. On #1 I made a big block of ribs for the center section, but this is only really useful if you bolt your wing onto the fuselage. I used rubber bands so it could have been done better by using only a few of the center ribs and just spacing them out a bit. For #2 I'm going to bolt the wing on, but I still won't do that big block of ribs (6 of 'em?) as it's just a lot of weight. Also, the instructions call for 9 gram servos but I have no idea how you'd fit one into the wing tip for the ailerons, so I went with smaller 5 gram servos which work well. Maybe they'd fit if you don't do the access door like the kit includes. On #2 I'm thinking of doing a single 9 gram servo mounted in the center of the wing connected to the ailerons with flexible pushrods. But that idea is subject to change. :) But whatever you do, clear some room and just lay out all the pieces for the wing and look at 'em a bunch of times before starting on it. Including all those little spacers between the ribs. There are a lot of pieces to deal with and it's not hard to make a mistake.

I'd also suggest replacing the stock (crappy) wood leading edge piece with carbon fiber. It's much stronger and gives you a very good leading edge. This is probably the best modification to the plans for the wing.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#60
Cross grain sheeting can work too for the center section instead of a block of ribs. I have a few 2M gliders that use that technique on the wing hold-down points, namely the center section. The 2M gliders seem to be engineered better as you have a lot of wing but it needs to be light. It's amazing the flex those wings have!

Thanks for the updates for the threads. I knew they were there but I didn't have them saved anywhere, but I do now!