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Balsa Baby Baron

#1
Hey guys, this is my first thread. I've been cutting out all the pieces for my balsa baby baron, and it's finally ready to assemble! I built the fuselage today. Normally I just cut as I go, but this time I decided to cut all the pieces first to make the assembly quicker and even more fun! I made a few mods to the basic design. First, I increased the wingspan to 24 inches and made it two pieces, using popsicle sticks for the wing joiners. The reason for putting a two piece wing on such a small plane to start with is a personal challenge I made myself to make it backpack-able. I don't really have any need for a backpack-able plane, but I like to challenge myself in design. I also made a removable rudder to make it easier to transport, which is why there is no rudder on it yet. Here are some pics;
 

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nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#5
You know, the guys at Flight Test really need to get on this and make some laser cut balsa designs like this. I would love to see the Storch in balsa FT style!
 
#6
I've taken a few balsa airplane plans and converted them to foam board (my avatar for instance). I don't think I've seen anyone go in the opposite direction yet. This is a cool idea. Can't wait to see the flight video.
 
#7
I drew up a full size plan to build the wing, which should be done this afternoon! This is my fastest balsa build yet!
I've taken a few balsa airplane plans and converted them to foam board (my avatar for instance). I don't think I've seen anyone go in the opposite direction yet. This is a cool idea. Can't wait to see the flight video.
Yeah, I agree. What I do think is needed for that to happen though, is a balsa tiny trainer of sorts. Something easy to build, modular to replace, and easy to fly.
 

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#8
I finished building the wings!

IMG20181014181511.jpg But, in my stupidity I forgot to cut the slots for the popsicle stick wing joiners :( Any ideas on alternate wing joining? The wings also twist a bit too easily for my liking, which my previous balsa build didn't. What my first balsa build had structurally on the wing that this one didn't is W bracing, so I think that is probably where the difference is.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#10
I'd use two CF arrow shafts to join the wing halves. Drill holes through at least the first three center most ribs on each wing. The covering film will add a lot of torsional stability and keep the wings from twisting.
You can make a really long drill bit by sharpening the end of a piece of brass tubing of the right size, and then cutting a couple notches in the end to give it some teeth. I use home made hand drills like this to cut balsa and foam all the time. Probably have 6 different sizes of brass tube drills by now :D I've seen some people chuck them into drills, but I usually just turn them by hand.
 
#11
I'd use two CF arrow shafts to join the wing halves. Drill holes through at least the first three center most ribs on each wing. The covering film will add a lot of torsional stability and keep the wings from twisting.
Would there be enough meat on the 1/16 balsa rib after being drilled? That's one reason why I was using popsicle sticks. They have a much thinner profile, so they don't compromise the strength much.
You can make a really long drill bit by sharpening the end of a piece of brass tubing of the right size, and then cutting a couple notches in the end to give it some teeth. I use home made hand drills like this to cut balsa and foam all the time. Probably have 6 different sizes of brass tube drills by now :D I've seen some people chuck them into drills, but I usually just turn them by hand.
Wouldn't the brass tube kinda tear the thin balsa? Normal drill bits are hard enough!
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#12
Wouldn't the brass tube kinda tear the thin balsa? Normal drill bits are hard enough!
I haven't had that problem yet - just use gentle pressure turning by hand sort of slowly - I like to either put a little block of foam or piece of balsa on the other side of the rib I'm cutting to prevent tear out coming through the other side. I agree that regular drill bits are not nice to balsa, these brass tubes are much easier to get a clean hole with.
 
#13
I haven't had that problem yet - just use gentle pressure turning by hand sort of slowly - I like to either put a little block of foam or piece of balsa on the other side of the rib I'm cutting to prevent tear out coming through the other side. I agree that regular drill bits are not nice to balsa, these brass tubes are much easier to get a clean hole with.
I'll make sure I try that next time! Yeah, I normally sandwich my balsa between any sort of thin wood to prevent tearing. what do you sharpen the brass tube with?
 
#14
My dad came up with a solution yesterday. He's really helpful! I was originally going to have the popsicle sticks mounted horizontally, but after forgetting to cut the slots before gluing it all together, I had to scrap that idea. What my dad recommended is to have them slide in vertically taking advantage of the centre section sheeting. I would have to make sure I put the popsicle sticks in the right place or sand them down a bit so they are the same height as the rib to make sure it fits snug inside the slot. He also said to put them sitting up next to the 1/8 x 1/8 balsa spars at the front and back of the wing if I can for extra structual support. I will hopefully get that done in the next day or two.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#15
I'll make sure I try that next time! Yeah, I normally sandwich my balsa between any sort of thin wood to prevent tearing. what do you sharpen the brass tube with?
Depending on the size of the brass tube, I sharpen it either with a round file (like you would use to sharpen chainsaw teeth) or a little round sandpaper drum on my dremel.
 
#20
I finished the inner section sheeting and two piece wing mechanism today! IMG20181017213923.jpg IMG20181017213839.jpg
I was going to have the wing joining spar slots cut in horizontal, but because I forgot to cut them before I glued them altogether I had to cut them in vertically. It does mean the wing joiners will be stronger mounted this way though, so I guess it isn't that bad. I also decided to put some scrap 1/8th balsa on the wing tip so it wouldn't be so ugly. IMG20181017215305.jpg I think it turned out pretty good! All I have to do now is cover everything, cut out the ailerons, sort out the removable rudder, and install the servos. I can smell the finish line!
 
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