Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kit Instructions

Streamer Shuttle
First you will need to complete each of the 3 main sub assemblies: the leading edge, the center section, and the trailing edge/tips.
For the center section simply apply a small amount of glue (I like white Gorilla glue) to the motor mount doublers, put one on either side of the center rib. Put some glue on the small rectangular key and press it in the slot and apply a clamp to hold it while the glue dries. At this point I would suggest figuring out what you are going to do for the bell crank and lead outs. I salvage them off old planes most of the time but I have cut a few from .062 aluminum too. The four holes around the bell crank area are for landing gear straps (Sig part number SIGS H523) to hold a piece of 1/8 brass tubing for the axle. Depending on what you do for the bell crank you will also need a push rod stop to keep from having too much travel. I like to have the lead outs soldered to the bell crank and have it mounted before I glue the center section to the LE.

The LE assembly builds flat on the bench; the first LE you build will help you build the simple jig for the rest. To start draw a straight line on the bench longer that the LE when it’s full assembled. Glue the 3 spars and one false rib to a foam LE piece sitting flat on the bench. I use a couple of pieces of angle aluminum on either side to make sure the part is straight. After it has dried repeat the process but this time you also have to align both sides with your reference mark to make sure that the entire LE is straight. It is also very important to have the assembled center section available to make sure the spacing between the LE halves is correct.  Once it is dry you can use the LE assembly to make a quick jig for the rest of the LEs. Mount some angle aluminum to a flat board and use it to assemble the rest of the LEs. Mine looks like the picture below. Next you will decide how you are going to make the muffler relief and the relief for the bladder. I Use a large “forstner” bit for the muffler area and a piece of copper wire heated with an old soldering gun to make the bladder cut out. No magic here just need to make room for things to fit. To paper the LE I like automotive masking paper, it is about the right weight and it’s cheap. Apply it with some diluted white glue. Trim and decorate as you would like.

The entire next step should be done with the parts flat on the bench to ensure that there is no twist in the TE assembly. Join the carbon tubes to the center joiner and also a tube for the elevator hinge (I like black CA or regular CA works too). Wrap the entire joiner with Kevlar cord and set with CA or apply some sort of reinforcement to the part or it will fail in a collision. Once you are satisfied that the joiner has been strengthened glue the tips on to the carbon tubes at the ends. Please reference the plans for the correct location of the tips. Next you can glue the tip ribs in place.

For the Final assembly, first dry fit all parts and make any final adjustments to them to ensure the fit you like before gluing. Apply a small amount of glue to the side of the motor mounts and where the spars will touch also, slide the center section in the LE. Next put glue on the ends of the LE where the ribs will attach and also where the TE will slide into the center section at the tail. Slide the TE into the CS and then slide the tips on and apply an 8 piece of masking tape to hold them tightly to the LE.

Next is to add the ribs. Slide the gussets onto the ribs and apply a small amount of glue to the ribs where they will touch the spars and thick CA to the back of the gussets where they will touch the carbon TE. Slide the ribs into the LE check that they are 900 to the LE and then slide the gusset out to touch the TE. Once all the glue is dry, glue the gussets to the ribs with a small amount of CA. You can also glue the tip gussets on now too.
Finish out should be straight forward from here. I like a 12g washer as tip weight. The bladder tube is one layer of patch tape wrapped sticky side out around a 1.5 pipe with strapping tape wrapped over it. Trim it to the correct length with some scissors and CA the caps on. NOTE the bladder access wood needs a spacer of about 3/16 to move it outboard to match up with the bladder tube.

I use Weldwood brand contact cement to glue the covering down. This part really throws people but keep in mind that you are going to break this plane sooner than later and you will get better with practice. Some people like to use one piece on the top and one on the bottom; I use one piece on the inboard and one on the outboard. I am not sure it really makes any difference… Seal the motor and muffler area with epoxy. The planes I build are about 240g but if you are not careful with the glue you can be 260g really fast. The plane will likely be stable to really stable because of the bigger LE so I like a fairly heavy elevator to help the balance.

*** I print the graphics right onto the paper in the ink jet. YES the ink is water soluble, so you have to be really good with the water/glue when you are gluing it to the LE foam…
*** I use 1mil “Mylar” from Europe, I know it is not the only place in the world to get it but it is the only place I know where to get it… I have been told it is type D and is used in the archival industry… If you find a source or equivalent let everyone know.


  1. If your biulding one of these post up some comments to help the next guy.

  2. I have seen these kits and Lester has done a lot of work to make them very user friendly. Also the plus is they are laser cut and very accurate. Best kit on the market!

  3. This is outstanding work by a true craftsman. Huge amount of effort to reach this level of quality. Way to go Lester.

  4. Building 20 of these for the next F2D season. Great product and easy to build. My first one came out heavy, 258 gms, because I used "WAY" too much glue on the leading edge and glued the center rib upside down :<(. The second one is 236.3 gms with the right amount of glue and no mistakes. When gluing the LE doublers which fit next to the center rib I measured the center rib thickness and made some spacers to hold the doublers in place whilst the gorilla glue dried. You can also use tape to hold them in place. Fun to build and great flying!

  5. Bob Mears recommended this stuff on Combat-L:


    Says it's just like the Russian stuff. Doesn't look like Mylar (BOPET), though.