Wednesday, August 29, 2018

US F2D Combat Team 3rd at the FAI World Championships!

Congratulations to the 2018 US F2D Team

Chuck Rudner - Mark Rudner - Greg Wornell - Lester Haury - Andre Nadein - Mike Willcox - Randy Rich - Rylan Rich - Bill Lee

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Carbon Bellcranks For Sale

Just in are some trick carbon bellcranks. 2.4" line spacing - .433" throw - 1.5mm thick.

I have 250 of them for $30 per 10 plus actual shipping to you.

Email to order

Monday, July 10, 2017

Different approach to the pit box - The Pit Cooler!

After a good run with the pit box I started getting cut 2006 it was time for a fresh look. The pit box served several design needs first of which was starting the engine with the lid closed to keep out dirt and sand. Next was a solid home for the necessities like tools fuel bottle syringes lines etc. The box underwent a few revisions and then for a moment was the star of the concourse contests with competitors adding wraps paint even lights and speakers. 

I did not want to change the primary idea but with travel being a major part of flying these days I added smaller and lighter to the design criteria. Allen DeVeuve came up with a much smaller box that really looked sharp. I knew it was time to get to work. 

With the original box 6mm plywood Allen and I had discussed going to 3mm light ply for the smaller box to save weight. Having access to a laser cutter it was a natural flow to design the box in CAD and cut it out and see the final project. Around this time I needed a new airplane bag and the shop asked if I needed any other custom bags for F2D? Hmm wonder if they could make a custom bag for pitting? I could design in all the right pockets and get the size right. All was doable so I sent the specs to the shop. $120 Wow!, didn’t see that coming. 

After a couple of web searches it looked like Wally World had a cooler that was close to the right size. In person it was just right and for $7 even if it only lasted a few contests it was worth it. I adjusted the drawing a little and decided to switch to 6mm corrugated plastic. Since the bag was going to be “flexible” I wanted the liner to be mostly rigid but flex and bend without breaking if it got smashed in transit or squashed in the back of a packed rental car trunk. A little refitting due to the bag shape flexing but it was coming together. The pockets are magic! Knowing that my small shim container was in a pocket locked with a zipper and wasn’t going to fly out during a match is really cool!

I can say that after switching to a soft bag it is tough to carry a hard box. The pockets are very helpful and the smaller overall size travels great! Looks like this will be the new direction I will continue with for the near future.   

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stuff you would not do without access to a CNC Laser

Ribs keyed into the plywood - check, then keyed into the shear web - check, then ribs laminated with pre cut tape - check, tape removed from areas that are wood to wood joints - check.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Rib Tape

For the 2013 Team Trials I did a run of planes with Kevlar tissue on all the ribs hoping to help keep the plane together after a collision. The tissue is non continuous fibers. The performance was improved but not as much as I would have liked. The ribs stayed together something like 40-60% better but not 100%. One unforeseen benefit was that when making repairs the fibers overlapped the break most of the time so when I CAed the wood the Kevlar was again acting as a reinforcement.

The Kevlar is expensive and laminating the tissue is a pain on a large scale. So what about tape? More than a few planes available from the EU are coming with clear tape on the ribs so someone other than me has had this same thought. Looks cool too!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

My rack is HOTTER than yours!


May 2013 UPDATE

So a long term trend in my shop has been custom graphics for the F2D planes that I build. Being limited to the leading edge has been challenging to say the least, yes I have my AMA number and my name on the LE but true graphics are tough on the limited canvas. May 2013 I posted and Photoshoped picture of full plane graphics using a stencil to paint on the inside of the covering. So this is the progress of this train of thought- 
This is the wing design from the 2013 post.

Stencils cut on the laser.


The blog has been a bit quiet since Nash was born, he is 3 now and picking up speed fast. 

Here are a few things going on in the new shop. First is well... the new shop.

 We had an opportunity to make this part of the air conditioned space but with lots of chemical fumes frequently associated with building we opted for the garage treatment. I had the floor painted and put my old benches back in for now. AC/Heat door insulation and new benches are on the list. At least I didn't have to remove the plane rack....

Friday, January 22, 2016

New Engine UP Plane Carriers

New plane carriers have the nose facing the sky. The center bar and handle have been lightened for travel and you can get the plane racks in 4 plane or the Josh Ellison version with just 2. They are cut over-sized to allow you to customize the fit with foam weather stripping for your style of planes. These are wood only allowing you to choose your rod material (6mm or 1/4") and style of attachment for the plane racks.

New pricing is by component:    Center bar and handle = $20 
                                                 4 Plane side racks = $45
                                                 2 Plane side racks = $30

Email me at 4eles1@gmail to place an order

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 Plane Research

Late nights I still think about F2D... Here are some pictures of things that go on late at night in the shop...
New Elliptical Spar and Required Jig

2015 Plane with the Elliptical Spar *plane is not glued together

The new plane came in at a nice 200.5g RTF. Allen DeVeuve covered it in Lubbock at the James Mears Memorial Contest's Saturday night party at Bob's house. We put a Super Fora on it and it is pretty amazing. Snaps thru tight corners but is very flyable thru open ones too. Allen uses the same multi layer carbon in his spars and they have proven to be very tough. This plane is using EPP foam and a fiberglass rod LE spar that has not been tested in a collision yet. I am hoping that the tougher foam and FG rod will prove overall a better option in collisions.

Mic Check One Two

Hey is this thing still on? So its been a while since I posted about my F2D adventures. The biggest reason has been my son Nash was born. He is almost 2 now and growing faster than I imagined! He seems to love planes like I do, he calls them "P" and points at any plane he sees or hears. Cant wait to take him to contests and later fly with him.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Post Team Trials report

First I want to Congratulate the 2014 US Team of Richard Stubblefield  - Mark Rudner - Josh Ellison - Sasha Nadien!!!

I was knocked out in the 8th round putting me something like 6th and in the alternate pool. My new models with the Kevlar tech worked fantastic. I flew 2 not Kevlar tech models that were effectively destroyed and the 2 Kevlar models that were in collisions are very flyable. I will cover some of the details closer over the next few weeks.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

First Louisiana Streamer Shuttles sited

MACA president James McKinney with his first Streamer Shuttle. James has not built planes from scratch in about 15-20 years but reports that his efforts produced a 240g machine. Great work!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TeamTrials tune up

Josh and Allen spent some time over the weekend tuning engines for the team trials. Josh thought his was maybe a little tight and Allen's was just breaking in after a fresh rebuild.

New plane racks are racing red

Big thanks to Josh Ellison for tricking out my new set of plane racks!

Caveman Feet

I should probably start wearing shoes to practice. I put sunscreen on my feet so they wouldn't burn and every piece of dirt and dust that got within 5 feet of me stuck to my feet!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Streamer Shuttle goes to 6th Place in Kansas

Just back from the Kansas F2D Contest where I flew the Streamer Shuttle to a solid 6th place finish. I really love the way the plane goes exactly where you want it without over turning coming out of the corners and rock stable for low inverted defense. The SS took me to a 4-3 record with some of the best matches I have flown in a long time if not ever. After taking a serious whip'en from Florida's Bill Duane first thing Sunday morning (2-4) I was able to come back with 3 awesome matches. Mexico's Leo Silva was the unfortunate recipient of my post butt kicked energy, I had the Streamer Shuttle on his tail for about 3 minutes 30 seconds of the match; after that the Streamer Shuttle was all over MACA president James McKinney. Both matches resulted in a win for the Streamer Shuttle. Round 7 matched me with Lubbock's Bob Mears, yet another great match with tons of back and forth action taking us to a 2-2 score with about a minute thirty left in the match. Bob was down for about 30 seconds after his plane aileroned tripping his shut off. I needed to fly defense for a minute ten. Low and inverted was the plan, I was able to drop the Streamer Shuttle down on the deck no problem and kept moving in the circle. Just as i was coming up to the point that Bob could no beat me I went for the landing and missed! I was thinking "don't stuff it in and tear up the shut off" so just as the plane was about to touch the ground I gave it some down to reduce the angle... plane missed the ground by about 8" and popped upright in front of Bob who was down on the deck with me to get the cut for the win. It was a great match even though it put the Streamer Shuttle on the trailer. Igor Dementiev would go on to win followed by James McKinney Alex Prokofiev and Bob Mears. 

I want to send a big thank you out to the Kansas Team that put on the event. Great effort and wonderful event!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Plane Carriers ROCK!!

I built up the first of the new plane carriers this evening. The design works great. The lower cross piece and the handle are 3 layers of 6mm birch plywood with a relief in the middle layer for a 6mm or 1/4" dowel. I happened to have some 1/4" aluminum rod in the closet, so that's what you see in the pics. When I get back from KS I will stop and get some carbon tubes just to be cool... The racks are available in 4, 6, or 8 plane sizes. I used some anchor bolts and nylon wing nuts to make the racks easily removable for travel.

I think these are going to look great after they are sanded and painted!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Pit Box kits are here

I picked up the pit boxes today. I got 40 boxes this time and about half of them are spoken for so if you want to get one let me know ASAP. I will be at the Kansas F2D contest this weekend with them for sale. If you pick them up at the contest they are $40, after the contest they are $40 plus actual shipping to you. 

Now for the plane racks... They are a test run so there are only a handful of them. I will have to work out the price and build a couple up to make sure they are good to go. I will post pictures and more info soon.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

More graphics ideas...

So in my never ending quest to make our F2D wings look even cooler... I was thinking about painting on the covering and how to best do that. I got to looking at large format printers and quickly realized that they are SUPER high $$$$$. So I started looking at stencil art and found that this is likely the process that I will pursue for full plane graphics. I will have a thick Mylar stencil laser cut and then use standard spray paint cans to shoot color on the inside of the covering before covering the planes. The big challenge will be to find a set of graphics that can be cut to be used as stencils. I will post up pictures as the project comes together. 

Here is a preview of what the planes could look like.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pit Boxes On Order Reserve yours today!!

The original factory is back in the game and the boxes are being cut next week. I am getting 40 boxes cut so get your name on the list so you don't miss out!!

I hope to have them delivered to me by May 29 just in time to take them to the Kansas F2D competition, if you are going to be there we can save on the shipping.

The boxes are $40 plus actual shipping to you.

Email me at 4eles1  at   gmail or call 9222595 with an 832 area code to reserve a box.

Kevin Hebestreit's box with custom paint and lettering - AWESOME!!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pit Box Update

Thanks for checking out the blog guys. I am currently working on getting the boxes produced again. The manufacturer that cut them before will not respond to emails now and all the quotes that I have received from other sources are double what the original was. The boxes used to sell for $40 plus actual shipping to you (they fit in the flat rate box at the PO) but now we are looking at $60 plus shipping and I am not sure that I would pay that much... SO I am still calling sources daily looking for a shop with a big enough CNC laser that will do these "on the side" to get the price back down. I am also getting quotes for plane carriers that hold 4,6, and 8 planes. With the current quote they would be about $25, again i think that's a bit high.

When I get the right shop on the horn I will make a run for sure. 

The interior dimensions are 11.5" wide by 8" deep and 7" tall. The dividers are set up so the builder can put the tool deck in the back and the syringe trough in the front or vice-versa. The battery area is designed for a pair if 5000mAh 2v cells. Some guys are running them in parallel on one switch while others are running them independently on a 3 way switch. I like the second option in case one of the battery fails the other battery is essentially on its own circuit. Opposite the battery area a 500ml Nalgene rectangular HDPE bottle fits perfectly. The lid makes a great place for storage too with a creative use of rubber bands and magnets.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Soldering Lead Outs

Some guys have asked me about what I use for lead-outs (LOs) saying that is a major reason for not building their own planes. When I tell them I us .021 stainless flying wire the first thing that they say is " I thought you couldn't solder to stainless wire!" Well in fact you can and it is not that big of a deal if you have the right stuff. Here is a quick look at the way I am doing them.

1. The right stuff: I use Superior 78 Stainless Steel flux. With out the right flux the solder will not stick and you will have a single line plane or worse a flyaway. I use  silver solder.

2. Everything has to be cleaned: I use some 600 grit sanding paper to clean the oxidation off the music wire hooks and the end of the LOs.
3. I first attach the LOs to the bell cranks and then measure the total length including the hooks that I need and cut the LO. Also keep in mind that the front and rear LO may need to be different lengths because of the bell crank location. Do this BEFORE installing the bell crank and LOs in the plane.
4. Wrap the hooks to the LOs with thin copper wire. Notice that the wire goes all the way to the end of the hook. The copper holds the hooks in place and lets you slide them for final adjustments before soldering.

5. Time to solder, I have found that using a small or as you see in the picture a big propane torch works best. It is much harder to get the wire up to temp quickly with a soldering iron. BE CAREFUL with the torch not to over heat the wire. You can very quickly damage the wire if you over heat it. I pass the flame over the wire hook for just a second at a time with the solder touching the copper until the solder starts to flow into the copper coils. I suggest a few practice hooks before you work on LOs that are installed in a plane.

6. After the hooks have been soldered bend the LO wires that are past the copper 90 degrees and cut them off with side cutters. Sometimes I go back with the Dremel and a stone to clean up the end.

7. Make sure to clean all the excess flux off the hooks, it is acid based and will cause the music wire hooks to rust  and possibly fail. A stainless steal brush and some rubbing alcohol work great.

All ready to go and only takes a about 5 minutes per plane.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cool New Graphics for Kevin

Kevin Hebestreit in PHX is working on a 2013 batch of planes with new LE grafix. These grafix got the Hot Rod look - literally. I told Kevin that I might have to put his design on a couple of my planes this year.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cutting Foam Blocks

This is the way that I process the foam getting it ready to be hot wired. First things first - the foam.  Foam is typically advertised by its weight  likely pounds per square foot. Historically the best we could do was 1 lbs foam and in the off chance you could get some that was just under you thought that you would have the lightest planes on the planet. I currently have a source that is advertising 3/4 lbs foam and that is what I am building with. I have a small sheet of foam that was in packaging from overseas that weighs .46 lbs with small beads. Side note - it is generally thought that the smaller the beads the stronger the foam, but that also meant heavier foam...

When ordering you will need to be very specific with the foam shop, they have a tendency to substitute foams base on what the industry they serve is using the most. More than once I got home and weighed the foam "just to be sure" and found the foam that was supposed to be 1 lbs or 3/4 lbs was actually 1.5 lbs or more. When asked how they got the order wrong they told me that they "upgraded my order" at no charge. Upgraded to what? An upgrade to me would be 1/2 lbs foam... but they just assumed that I was making moldings or insulation as the other 99.9% of their clients are. They other switch they will often pull if they think you are outside of their typical industry is to use foam that is made of recycled materials from their own production processes, they call this "re-grind." Re-grind will likely be higher weight and will have different densities throughout the block which will cause you cuts not come out uniform. Make sure you order 100% virgin - 3/4 lbs (or 1 lbs if that is what they have) - white EPS foam, then when you pick it up CONFIRM that is what you are getting at the dock. I order 2' x 4' x 2" sheets and block them out myself because 1/8" is a common tolerance and that isn't going to work for competition F2D planes... 

I set up the table saw with an abrasive cut off wheel from a chop saw. Thanks to Bob Mears on that little tip. You can make the same cuts with a thin kerf metal blade but it will produce enough foam on the ground to make your neighbors think you are building a winter wonderland!!! With the cut off wheel there is barely any mess. 

First I cut 1/4" off one side of the sheet to make sure the face is square. Then I cut the sheets to the width of the LE taking into account the short rib and tip are 1/8". 

Second process is to cut the 1/8" by 1/2" slots in that will be on the ends of the finished blocks, the slots key in on the hot wire jigs and once at assembly receive the wing tip. Make sure you put the same face of the foam panel to the fence when cutting both ends to ensure the spacing is the same.

Now they are cut in the band saw to 2 1/2" tall blocks. I have a fine blade in my band saw but I have used a course one before with the same results  I like to hook up a shop vac to the saw to help cut down on the mess.

Re stack the blocks and mark one end of them with a marker. This is critical because from this point on the processes are not symmetrical and you will have trouble keeping track of which end is which if you don't. I use the marked end as the root (closest to the center of the plane).

With the Streamer Shuttle the ribs seat under the spars and into the LE foam so we need to cut those slots. I make each slot only the depth of the spar at the spot of the slot. Yes that is 3 slots per block and yes it takes a bit of time but it is TOTALLY worth it later when you are building!!

That's it. Now the blocks are ready for the hot wire and on to construction.