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Contest Commercial - Old Timer Rubber Free Flight to RC Conversion

#21
https://www.laminator.com/laminating-film.html
I got a 25"x 500 ft roll. :eek: The guys on the vintage and old timer forum at RCGroups told me about it. The wheels look great. Just the old-timer look this airplane needs. I found out it is easy to start a hole in the center of a hardwood dowel but the drill bit wanders and follows the wood grain. :( I plugged the crooked hole and drilled in halfway from each side. They spin nice and true.

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Jon
 
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#22
Ready for first flight.

Yesterday I hinged the rudder and elevator. I make CA hinges from Tyvek mailing envelopes. It is a really tough and very flexible hinge material. It is impossible to tear it. I discovered it's properties while using Tyvek on a completely different project. It wicks up CA glue like magic so it is great for hinge material. And it's free at the post office. Control horns got put on and a couple more sheets of laminating film went on the fuselage.

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I got a lot done today. Glued up the tail, connected the push rods, and finished covering the fuselage. The battery tray is positioned under the rear half of the wing. With the wing in position as indicated in the plans the CG is now exactly where it is marked in the plans without ballast. The battery will be moved forward a little bit because nose heavy is safer for the maiden flight. It can be moved back to put the CG at 50% of the wing chord after the first trimming flights.

When I weighed the airplane I thought I must've made a mistake zeroing the scale. It read 152 grams AUW. I'm used to airplanes this size weighing twice that and more. Nope, the scale is correct; just over 5 ounces for a 36" wingspan airplane.

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My wife says I shouldn't paint it, leave it as it is. She likes the "bare bones" look. I'll think about it for a bit. It might get a stripe or two of some color in the near future. Not too much. Just enough. If you have seen an old timer paint/color scheme you like I'm open for suggestions!

Here's hoping for some halfway decent flying weather this weekend but sadly it doesn't look promising. I can't wait to see how she flies.

Jon
 
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#24
Maiden Flight Report

There was a half hour before sundown when the wind and rain stopped. I gave it a couple of test glide tosses on the lawn. Yep, she was just a touch nose heavy but that's what you want for the first power on flight. I also discovered how fragile it is. Just a tiny bit too much finger pressure during the toss cracked a longeron. Not bad enough to cancel a maiden though.

I took her to a park and tossed her gently with about one third throttle. She flies beautifully! Looks beautiful flying too. I never got above half throttle. At half throttle she stands on her tail and climbs like crazy. I brought her down and moved the battery towards the tail. My brain keeps saying the CG can't be that far back but that's where she glides the best. That's because there's lift coming from the horizontal stabilizer. Just crack the throttle open a little bit to maintain altitude. I worried this tiny motor wasn't going to have enough thrust. Not a problem, there is way more thrust than needed.

During the second flight I got her trimmed so she climbs hands off in a counterclockwise corkscrew and glides down in a wide clockwise turn. I did one ROG takeoff before it got dark. After getting back home I added 2 grams of lead ballast to the tail.

If the weather tomorrow cooperates the next post will be a flight video.

Jon
 
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#25
Thank you. Is that a vote for leaving it unpainted and letting all the "bones" show? :cool:

Quite the elegant build! The nose looks great, and I think the wheels are going to be a hit too. Where did you get the laminating file from?
Thanks for the compliments. I'll take elegant. :) It certainly was easier to build than the Hobby King Sunbird glider I built last winter and this one has virtually no instructions whatsoever! Have you ever started a project for the enjoyment of knowing you can finish it without any headaches or challenges? It's good to challenge yourself but sometimes it's nice to take a vacation from stress.

By the way, If anyone wants to try out this laminating film on an airplane, shoot me a PM and I'll mail you several yards. The only way to buy it is in huge quantities. Someone sent me enough for a couple of airplanes before I made the investment in a big roll of the stuff. It really is a great product for covering airplanes. It can be painted but the old timer airplane builders usually use it as a base for the colored tissue paper they apply with dope. It gives you the look of tissue paper covering with the strength of covering film.

It's raining. Again. :mad:

Jon
 
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Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#26
I agree with leaving it unpainted, although some trim stripes of some type would certainly add to the look. Congrats on a successful build!
 
#27
Build and Flight Video

The breeze was swirling but she handles it well for a very light airplane. Much more maneuverable than I expected. No bad manners. If it wasn't so fragile it would make a good trainer.


Jon
 
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#28
Group photo. Two balsa wood old timer free flight airplanes converted to electric RC. Left is the "So-Long" and right is the "Contest Commercial". Both are completely covered with 1.5 mil document laminating film.

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Jon
 
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#30
The So-Long is airbrushed Apple Barrel flat acrylic paint from Walmart. Two light coats and the balsa grain still shows through. A light coat of Krylon Crystal Clear rattle can was misted over that to seal it. You'd swear it was covered with doped tissue paper.

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Jon
 
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#33
I'm getting good at stripping off sections of the film and repairing cracked balsa strips. This airplane's balsa is fragile. You have to be careful how you hold it. Fortunately the seams in the film are virtually invisible because the film is clear. After three landings that didn't seem particularly hard I found the landing gear was held on mostly with covering film. I repaired the cracked balsa and added gussets to the spot where the cracks began. The landing gear has held now for multiple landings without further damage. The decals are as far as I'm going to go with decoration at this point. If it was painted it would complicate future repairs. She's a flier not just a looker. :)

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Jon
 
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Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#34
Could the covering be contributing to the damage? I'm not sure how heavy or strong clear film is, but lightweight covering used on my lighter planes hasn't caused any problems while the heavier covering could easily crack stringers or warp surfaces.
 
#35
Could the covering be contributing to the damage? I'm not sure how heavy or strong clear film is, but lightweight covering used on my lighter planes hasn't caused any problems while the heavier covering could easily crack stringers or warp surfaces.
Hmm... It's not the fault of the covering. The covering is contributing to the strength not diminishing it. Laminating film is thin, only 1.5 mil (38 micron for you metric folks). I did not have any warping of the flying surfaces when shrinking the film. Heavier film would've turned it into a potato chip shape.

I found very little information on covering films to compare it with but it might be comparable to Ultracote transparent in thickness according to this chart:
http://www.fatlion.com/sailplanes/weights.html

I noticed about half of the balsa seemed flimsy when I sorted the strips. I used the strongest ones for spars and longerons. The softer strips were used for cross braces. I think I need to be more careful and a better pilot. My skill level is more on the foam board and hot glue scale. :p
 
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#36
https://www.laminator.com/laminating-film.html
I got a 25"x 500 ft roll. :eek: The guys on the vintage and old timer forum at RCGroups told me about it. The wheels look great. Just the old-timer look this airplane needs. I found out it is easy to start a hole in the center of a hardwood dowel but the drill bit wanders and follows the wood grain. :( I plugged the crooked hole and drilled in halfway from each side. They spin nice and true.

View attachment 112660

Jon
The laminating film looks like some cool stuff and I would like to give it a try. I want to cover some foam planes to increase durability and also have some available for future balsa projects. There are a lot of choices on the laminating film web site. I'm assuming you used the "Standard Laminating Film in Clear"?
 
#37
I'm assuming you used the "Standard Laminating Film in Clear"?
Yes, I got the "Standard" 1.5 mil film, 25" wide, glossy. If I ever order it again I will get the same film but 12" wide and matte finish. Paint is supposed to adhere better to the matte finish and I seriously doubt I'll be covering anything wider than 12" with 1.5 mil film.

The airplanes I have been covering with laminating film are normally covered with tissue paper. The 1.5 mil film is best for light weight balsa frames and won't cause warping when shrinking it. For film that is closer in weight to common covering film go with 5 mil or higher.

I have a humongous roll of laminating film and won't be ordering any more. Not in this lifetime. :LOL:
 
#38
Well, this forum is well named, "Balsa Builders and Breakers". This is why it is imperative you select your airplane model in the transmitter before you do anything else. :cry:

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A friend strolled over while I was getting airplanes ready to fly and we started talking. The radio was bound, control surfaces moved, but I forgot to check to see what model was selected. It didn't last 10 seconds in the air before the lawn dart imitation. Then it started raining so guess what I'll be doing today instead of flying?
Jon
 
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Bricks

Master member
#40
It would be so nice if they would have laminating film in colors, I won an Apprentice 15E and was going to sell it but decided to keep it. I am going to laminate it with 1.5 mill to protect the foam from light dents and dirt works excellent for this purpose.