Thursday, November 7, 2019

Nitro Edge 540

After getting the electric plane flying I realized there would be a long road to getting the power system sorted out. I needed a more consistent plane to fly some combat matches in the Air to Air Combat Series so I knocked out a nitro version. ASP .25 on the front and essentially the same plane in the back. Looks great in the air and gets the needed 175 appearance points per round to stay in the hunt at AtAc events. I also fly this plane in AMA #329 (75mph AKA Slow combat) and it is very competitive even earning a 1st place against all high performance combat wings.

Very cool in the air!
The laser cut graphics really pop!
After graphics the 540 finished out at 23oz all up.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Electric Edge 540 Final build log!

With a typical combat launch from the famous Allen DeVeuve, the Electric Edge 540 Combat plane flies! As expected at 37oz it is not a real barn burner but it will fly combat after some fine tuning. The best speed I could get with available props was 68mph no streamer (7.75 sec for 2 laps) and the battery was only good for 3 minutes.  I ran a 6S 1550mAh pack, 3548 900KV motor, 75 amp ESC, and a scimitar 9x5 prop at about 15000rpm.  After reevaluating the set up there may be room to get to 75 for a little over 3 minutes. Over all I am happy with the look of the plane and that the electrics are getting some interest – but they have a long way to go before they will be flying heads up with a .25ci nitro plane.  Lookout for the nitro version on your 6 in about 3 months, I need a break...

PS I moved the CG back on the FW190 - watch out for that one...

Electric Edge 540 build log #17

So how bad is it – BAD! The plane is 37oz all up RTF. NOT PRETTY! The FW190 is 25oz with 3oz of fuel on-board. Not sure what to expect for performance. I was really hoping for closer to 30oz… There are a few places to shave as the ESC is a 75amp model at 3oz which will likely get swapped for a 40-50A 1.5-2oz unit. The receiver will be replaced with a CL timer but that is only going to save a few grams. We will see how she flies.

Electric Edge 540 build log #16

What to do with these heavy electronics?! The new motor was looking at the original plastic mount and snickering… so an aluminum mount was made to keep everyone inline. I also found that the plastic mount was getting soft as the motor was getting warm, and by warm I mean screaming hot. Added a little hook and loop for the ESC and the receiver to finish off the obvious stuff. Now what about the 10oz battery?

Why reinvent the wheel, more hook and loop and a strap should keep the brick on the plane just fine.

Electric Edge 540 build log #15

Getting close now! Air frame is done and even though there a bunch more covering and a little more wing than the Warbird the air frame weighs 13oz vs 10.5oz of the warbird. Here are a couple of the details: the plane has a slide in wing that can be replaced if damaged or if like me you hate packing assembled planes in the truck. 1/32 ply into the sink under hot running water for about 5 minutes then hold your breath as you bend it in half SLOWLY. Clamp it for a couple hours and paint. Doesn't matter what kind of paint cuz it electric! 

Couple of shots of the bell crank system after finished. 

You can see the wing taped into the saddle here also.

Electric Edge 540 build log #14

Impossible things happen all the time when building planes from scratch beyond the gremlins that take tools to other dimension only to return them when you’re not looking. So CoroPlast comes in a 4x8 sheet, I cut it to 24x12 to fit the laser with a haphazard box cutter. Randomly place the cut geometry in the laser CAM and cut. Next a random selection of where to put the stab spar and the vertical thru posts for the fin. Well how that is even possible the back fin post is dead I mean dead on with the stab spar!! Well that is not going to work because the spar is glued in and no way to re-drill because of the carbon in the fuse… So now I am going to cut new tail feathers with blue coro, what are the chances that I can get the vertical post to line up with the flutes so the fin post will go in the existing hole? 100%!? No way that should have worked but it was dead on in the same spot with the blue fin. I moved the stab spar one flute closer to the nose and off to the races with the graphics!

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 17, 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.  Update: Here are the photos with the blue tail feathers.

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.