Monday, December 10, 2018

Air to Air Combat Contest Dates

Newly confirmed Air to Air Combat dates added:

- Dec 29, 2018 Scobee Field- Houston
- Feb 19, 2019 Hobby Park - Garland
- April 27, 2019 Hobby Park - Garland
- May 11, 2019 Thunderbird's Field - Fort Worth
- October 12, 2019 Hobby Park - Garland

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #13

HELL YA! IT WORKED!!!! The graphics look amazing! Once I dug the negatives out of the trash at the MakerSpace the project moved along much quicker than I thought. The wing took about an hour and the fuse just 30 minutes. I realized the wing + fuse are going to be way too nice to run it with white tail feathers. So I had to spring for 2 4x8 sheets of dark blue CoroPlast, that is the plastic shops min. order.  I will cut new tail feathers on the laser tomorrow and getting the logos on should go pretty quick. 

By the way the ammonia based window cleaner trick did NOT work. Using the negative as a template actually worked without a huge hassle and the results are very good in my opinion. I used the same process on the wing too.

Here you can see the lettering is just tacked in place in a few spots per letter with the tip of the iron. Then I removed the template and secured them all the way.   

That is the good news; the really bad news is the weight is most likely going to be a major hindrance to the performance. The wing weighs 205g (7 ¼ oz) alone with the logos and lettering adding just over a full ounce.  Hopefully the motors I ordered will arrive sooner than later and we can see if this bad boy will fly like a combat plane or not…

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #12

Got the logos cut today on the laser at the Rockwall Makerspace. There is always an unknown with the CAD files.  I am not a classically trained CAD operator so when the files run in the laser like they look on the screen it is small miracle. I made the error of discarding the sheets after cutting the graphics, they would have been a big help in getting the lettering lined up with the correct spacing and rotations… I will go to the makerspace tomorrow and get them out of the trash bin.

That silver spaghetti is the ¼’ outline for the Red Bull logo on the top of the wing.

The large pieces on the wing should go on with the iron pretty easy (after I get the templates outta the trash), but the small stuff poses a challenge. The iron will cause the logos and lettering to shrink before being glued in place making alignment and the final look messy. So there is a technique in which you spray the area with ammonia based window cleaner then apply the logo and the ammonia activates the adhesive locking it in place without heat. So under the sink I go looking for the cleaner, loaded the spray bottle and went to town.  Hopefully in the morning the logos and lettering will be locked in place. 

It was immediately obvious that this method of alignment was not going to work and the negatives were needed to get it right in this century.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #11

Red Bull’s base colors are dark blue and silver, check!  I know that weight is going to be an issue but until we get the electronics sorted a little better I went with Hobby King covering as it is WWAAYY cheaper than the Parklite covering I wanted to use. HK is $9 for 5 meters vs $19 for 2 meters of Parklite. The covering weighs 3oz on the plane plus more when I get the graphics on there. I think the Parklite will be about half of that. Next time… The tail feathers are going to stay white on this prototype also, the next plane will have them cut from dark blue Coroplast to match. I will laser cut all the major logos to get a good idea on the total weight of the covering.

The graphics are all trademarked so there is 0 chance of finding commercially available decals that will come anywhere close to fitting. Sooooo a couple of hours of CAD work and BAM! We have logos that fit. Ran out of day again so these will have to wait for next time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #10

I have been debating on whether or not to try and drill past the carbon strips for the vertical fin post or not. The problem is that the carbon strips do not go all the way thru the fuse so the drill bit is likely going to wonder off the side and the resulting hole will not be vertical. I went slowly with a slightly larger bit than needed hoping the bits stiffness would help keep it from wondering. The rear post hole is good! The front post did slip off the side of the carbon but I am satisfied with the front post being just into the balsa. 

Really the last thing to work on until the covering order arrives is the cockpit.  I am looking for a picture to print and use as the pilot. The obvious is a picture of me but that has been done over and over along with snoopy… I wish I could find a higher res shot of Kirby Chambliss from the wing mounted gopro like this one. Anyone know Kirby?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #9

What is the first thing you always do after building a wing? Slide the plane together and make it look like a plane!! Here is the Electric Edge 540 coming together.

The only actual building today was trying to decide if the vertical fin posts are deep enough into the fuse without trying to drill thru the carbon. On the Warbirds, the post went all the way thru the fuse and helped lock the stab in place as well.  I am going to have to sleep on it….

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #8

Time to birth a wing! Having cut literally hundreds of F2D leading edges and lots of 1/2a wings I thought I would just bang out a couple quick wings and move on… Na let’s make a day of it! 

I marked a large foam block for 4 wing panels and set up my very highly engineered jig for cutting the blocks. 

Hooked up the transformer to the bow and ………… nothing. I guess my transformer gave out while sitting on the shelf waiting for use? So dug out the older one and got to making foam fumes. 

Next I marked the center line to mount the templates with my handy dandy center of the foam marker tool and installed templates with torturous looking nails.

Panels cut, templates mounted, - now for the airfoils - Boing! After about ¾ of the first airfoil cut the wire broke and I managed to test the heat with a couple of fingers as the wire squirmed around making intermittent contact. OK no big deal just make another wire and get back to work, after running 3 minutes of cold water on the fingers just for fun.

 Wire broke about riiiight ----here!

Found these cool clamps in the “clamp drawer” from 1/2a making days. Pat Willcox turned me on to these in early 2000. With these clamps and some white Gorilla Glue wing is joined in 20 minutes.

On all the Warbirds I built in 2010 I used 1/2"x1/8" spruce spars. 

Being that we are in 2018 I thought I would go a little more modern and use .063 fiberglass rods for spars instead. They are less than half the weight and should “flex” when hit from the top and not break like wood spars.  Should.  

I set up the Dremel with a .054 bit because I do not have a .063 bit... and cut a very straight slot thanks to the aluminum guide. 

And just like that the day is shot… Tomorrow I will get the wing and spars trimmed up and weighed. Then likely cut some lightening holes to reduce the weight and add some bi directional fiber tape from the tape drawer.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #7

I sorted the hardware for the bell crank mount today. I will run a slip in wing that can be replaced if damaged so putting the bell crank in the wing is not an option. I cut a piece of aluminum angle to 1” and trim it up. Bell crank bolts to that then glue/bolt the aluminum to the fuse from the outside. I am going to wait to install the mount until the fuse is covered. On the Warbird I ran connectors bolted direct to the bell crank and ran the flying lines right to it. On Edge 540 I am going to run Spectra flying lines and do not want to take a chance with them rubbing thru on the lead out guide so I will run typical steel lead out wires off the bell crank.
Edge will have a trick carbon fiber bell crank too

Warbird set up - flew it today 15-25 mph winds with Spectra lines

Warbird set up 

Warbird set up 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #6

I got the plug for the plastic canopy remade out of plywood to keep it from collapsing under the pressure when shrinking the plastic. I also realized that when I sanded the turtle deck down to take off some weight that the old plug was the wrong shape anyway. The process is really easy, get the thinnest water bottle you can find, cut the ends off put the plug in it, go crazy with the heat gun and trim. So 4th time is a charm…

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #5

For combat durability is a pretty high consideration. The planes I built for the War Bird Series in 2010 are still going strong and get heavy intermittent use as lawn darts for my friends and family. These planes took a play from Lee Liddle’s playbook with Coroplast tail feathers and it turns out the stuff cuts great on the laser leaving a super clean edge. I like to put a carbon tube in close the hinge line to act as a spar. (Black arrow) Even better is the elevators can be hinged by simply removing the “skin” on one side between the vertical ribs on the bottom of the hinge line leaving the top skin as the hinge. (Red arrow) Couple each side with a piece of 1/16” music wire and you are ready for heavy prop on tail action. (Blue arrow) These tails will stand up to all kinds of heavy hangar rash also!  

That is some legit prop chopp'en toughness!

The motor mount worked out better than I thought it might when I started. We will see how it stands up to combat soon enough.

Here is where the project is now. I thought I had foam for the wing – I do not. I thought I had enough covering – I do not. Both are on order and with the holiday may take a few extra days to arrive. There are a few little items to check off like the bell crank mount/pushrod/control horn and canopy but then I will have to wait on the shipments to arrive.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Electric Edge 540 build log #4

Being a profile plane I was not familiar with how to mount an out runner motor but I needed a set up that would let me change motor sizes if needed. I chose an L bracket mount (AKA the corner of an electrical rough in box from the hardware store) that will bolt on to the outboard of the fuse.  I also got the aluminum “L” bracket cut to shape for the bell crank mount.  More on that later…

Still concerned about weight I wanted to remove as much material as I could from the fuse. I had already removed the canopy area with the laser so I took out the razor plane and went to town on the turtle deck and the belly. Have I mentioned that I DO NOT like to plane and  I DO NOT SAND!! Combat planes are not expected to live long enough for these sadistic type of actions... The 2.0 version will get the swiss cheese treatment in the laser and that will be that! 

Next I routed a slot with the Dremel tool and laid in a couple strips of pultruded carbon for some good ‘ol combat strength. Clamping curves is always a fun exercise.