Thursday, September 1, 2016

A little more Doink(er)

I made some more progress on the Doinker.  In fact, short of the props, it's complete.

There were a few steps leading up to that though.  I had to populate the PicoBlox.  The first thing I added was the power stub for the camera.

I really didn't get any pictures of modifying the receiver tray, and the spektrum satellite.  It's stuffed under the flight controller.  I have thick spacers under the FC to provide clearance for the satellite wire.

It's not the most pretty solution, but the "wedge them in" ESC mounts is quite elegant.

16ga wire is a little big.  Here I'm trying to get the receiver bound.  

Happily, I only got one motor wired backwards.  That's a first.  I've had as many as three of four spinning the wrong way.  The wires on the 1104 motors have varnish on them, so when you shorten, and strip them to attach to the ESCs, sand the wires a little, or else your flux and solder just ball up and fall off.

In the end, I swapped the 16ga lead for 20ga going to a JST plug.  Most of my multi cell lipos are either e-flite 3pin, or T-connector.  So I built two adapters to I can use all three kinds of battery without any real strain.

Next is to order a few batteries, and cut down some props.  

Adding FPV to a normal Micro Radian

E-Flite released a UMX Radian with a FPV camera on it.  I thought this was a great idea, but I really didn't like the idea of spending $99 on top of the cost of the glider for a $40 camera and a $7 mount.  

So the first step to adding FPV to a micro plane, is to get power for the camera.  That means cracking open your bird.  The canopy is held on with "just" tape.  The tape to use for putting it back together is Scotch brand 1/2" clear tape.  The glossy stuff.

The UMX radian has a additional speed control board.  There's three pins that feed it, and my pencil is pointing at it.  

The center pin is battery positive, and the pin nearest the sockets is ground.

I bought a bunch of eflite mini JST plug extension wires.  So I cut one in half and slipped it through the canopy.  To put a hole in the canopy, use a normal 3/32" drill bit and spin it in your fingers.

I taped the wires to the inside of the canopy.  Then I soldered the wires to the reciever.

And there we go, a plug on the top of my glider to power a FPV camera.  The factory FPV camera mount is $7 from E-Flite.  Or you can just hotglue your camera on.  

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another duck day, and an even bigger project.

It's a giant steel box.  That's the bigger project.  Two weeks ago TheSwitchElectrician came by and we built the platform that the shed stands on.  The platform took us about 4 hours start to finish.

The next week, Dan came by, and he helped build the shed.  Actually building the shed took about five hours.  Shockingly long for a bunch of tin.  

It's pretty roomy inside, and looks to be quite weathertight.  I'm going to need to do something about covering the small gaps at the top, without impeding airflow.  Perhaps stuffing them with steel wool?  

Both hulls are really in the stage for sealing.  With our truncated build day, Dan and I spent it doing epoxy work.  Every screw hole needs to be filled, and due to the quality of wood we've got some oddball gaps at coerners and edges.  

I work at a telecom company.  One of the smocks Dan brought had a fun brand name on it.  

The hulls look really good after being sealed.  The lack of screws somehow makes me a lot more confident in the seaworthiness of the hull.  

One last shot.  I think these are just so pretty to look at.  

Next time, we're doing keel trunks, and perhaps mast steps.  

The desk is clear. That can't stand. A Doinker build.

My desk is a place of projects.  When it's clear I start seeking for something to do.  Two nights ago, it was clear..

Yes, I really do type with my keyboard that far back on the desk.  My wrists are very healthy thankyouverymuch.

I ordered my Doinker kit from  Here's what came in the package:

In there we have the frame kit, four escs, four 1104 motors, a 40channel micro FPV camera/transmitter, and a flight controller with built in PDB.  Oh, and that giant awesome sticker.

It seems like so much less once it's unpacked.  The frame is 3d printed, and has the usual problems with 3d printed things.  It's also been sprayed with some sort of clear laquer, which makes it nice and shiny, and fills in a lot of the layer artificats from being FDM printed.  

The first thing they have you do, is install the reciever, in the reciever tray.  They expect you to go frsky, and my house is not a taranis house.  I'm going spektrum, so their tray doesn't exactly match what I'm going to install.  We'll cover the reciever install in the next installment.

The build directions on are really pretty good.  But they don't cover where these little spacers go.  

They go under the 1104's, for prop clearance, I think.  But that's where the spacers are on when you look at the pictures on 65drones and the shortcrayon.  

I got "a little" further than this, but we're now to the point of needing to solder everything up.  I'll be doing that this week, and hopefully getting it's first flights in.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Puddle ducks.

Sometimes, projects need to get big.  Most of my projects are small.  This time.. it's big.  like 4x8 foot.  Big.

There's something magic about that first time you sit "in" your boat.  Here's Dan, sitting IN his boat. I should also note, that this was day two of boatbuilding.  I think.

It doesn't look like much, well, it isn't much.  But it is a puddle duck.

Sadly, this set of blog posts is going to be somewhat out of order.  But here we go anyway.

The Puddle Duck is a class driven sailboat.  They tightly regulate the hull shape, but not it's height.  And as long as you don't have foils or submerged balast, essentially anything else goes.  People have run giant sail rigs.  The boats have gotten on plane.  They have been used as overnight sailing boats.  They've been built 8" tall, and 24" tall.

On that specific note, our hulls are 12" deep.  Which is fairly shallow.  Both Dan and I don't mind getting wet.

We've chosen to go the 3/16" thick underlayment method for the hulls.  The underlayment is made with waterproof glue, so is suitable for what we're doing.  We're also doing chine logs, instead of stitch and glue.  I'm sure this is the cheaper method, but i'm also sure it's more time consuming.

The first day, we cut out the hull sides.  As pre-game, Dan cut up the chine logs for us.

For gluing up the hulls, we're mostly using titebond 3, and a whole lot of 1" long screws.  The screws are removed after the glue is dry, and we're filling the resulting holes with thickened epoxy.  You can seriously bulk up epoxy if you buy some very, very, cheap materials.  I think I spent $40 on sillica and Microbaloons, and ended up with more than a gallon of additives.

Later that day, we got the bottom on the hull.

You can see a fillet we screwed to the aft end of the hull to keep the sides square while we got the bottom glued and screwed in place.

As usual, when you get in that building groove, pictures stop taking precedence.  Two building days later, here's Dan working on gluing the bottom on my hull.

I love how epoxy filler looks.  This is how we're waterproofing the tanks, as titebond isn't a good method for closing big-ish gaps.

Here's Dan's hull.  The left side is filled, and some of the holes on the starboard side are filled.  It's going to take two more epoxy sessions to completely fill all of the holes.  

More will follow as the boats get built.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sticky stuff. The glue on my desk.

Last night, I looked at my desk, and it struck me, I have a ~lot~ of glue on my desk.  From left to right:

  • Standard white glue:  I have this for hardening tissue on models.  But it's got it's other uses.  It takes time to tack up, but it's quite useful for building balsa models.  I wonder how it gets along with carbon and kevlar.  
  • Glue Stick:  This is for tissue covered models.  
  • EvoTite: This is foam save medium CA.  Most of my fixed wing stuff, is parkzone foam.  sometimes.. they need to be repaired.  .. often.. they need to be repaired.  
  • Thin CA: I do most of my gluing with this.  I like how fast it lights off.  I like it's wicking ability.  
  • Thick CA: For those joints I might need extra strength in, or might need to re-position once or twice.
  • Thick CA: Same as above, just an extra bottle.
  • Gorilla Glue: Foaming Polyurethane.  This is what you're "supposed" to use on foam planes.  I've used it on those 4' toy gliders, and have been reasonably satisfied, but I won't use it on nice planes.  I really dislike how it foams up, and keeps foaming for hours.  And if you follow Mathias Wendell, you know that it's weaker than normal glues.
  • CA Accelerator: For locking down joints.  I've still never used it...  
  • Testors Wood Cement: I still have no idea how this works.  I'll be trying it sometime.  But it requires a good building board and pins to keep things lined up, for the time being I'm doing most of my building on my computer desk, so I can't dedicate desk space to a pinboard.  
I've got some other adhesives around, but they weren't on my desk.  There's a hot glue gun under my desk, epoxy in the toolbox, along with JB weld.  I've got TiteBond 3 in the garage for the boat project.  

Guillows RC conversions, and a DLG nano.

Well that's a pretty kit.  Guillows could do with some packaging updating.  That "laser cut" sticker, is a sticker.  The box, and instructions inside still refer to the kit being die cut.  While we're at it... these kits could use a much better manual for construction.  But we'll cover those complaints a little later.  

Plans are important,  these Guillows kits come with decent plans.  Speaking of which:

So, here we run into my first little complaint.  The detail of the stringers leaves something to be desired.  There's several stringers on the turtledeck of the F6F, and one of them ends at the rear fuselage former.  The only clue to where that stringer ends, comes from the photograph, not from the plans.  

Also, the Guillows planes are built with, well I call them keels.  There's a dorsal, ventral, a left side, and a right side keel. If you look at the plans up there, can you tell me where the side keels are?  I can't.  That came to bite me later.  

This sheet of plans, is worth writing home about.  Everything in place, an in scale.  These are the sort of plans I like to see.  There's nothing really to say about these, beyond this is what you should expect to see.  

The package also comes with some balsa parts.  And the bits to make the plane into a rubber powered plane.  

Now, if you look closely, you might be able to see what's missing there.  I got two A sheets, a C and D.  No B sheet.  When I started building, I started with the fuselage.  The fuselage really doesn't use many parts from sheet B.  

Someone needs to bless whomever started laser cutting balsa.  You get parts with labels, crisp corners, and labels.  

This is where I got on the first night.  Sheet B had the wing leading engines, both side keels for the fuselage, one little bit of the tail, and the wing upper supports.  

I think this was 13ish grams.  Without the cowling, it looks a little funny.  

I was building this on a weekend.  I found that Guillows webpage has a contact us form.  I dropped them an e-mail.  They asked me for a picture of the parts I got, and they mailed me a replacement bit of balsa.  I must give it to Guillows, they were quite fast about getting me those parts.

And Viola!  A F6F.  More or less, this is where the project is stalled.  I'm debating on how i'm going to do the RC setup.  I'm thinking an 1104 motor, and some 2.8g servos.  I think I can get the whole flying package for 15 grams or so.  But we'll come back to that in a bit.  

I also bought some other kits.  The one I chose to build is the Skyraider.  It's going to get my AR6400 receiver and aileron servo.  

The wings are using music wire to drive the ailerons.  I put in brass bushings for the root, and surface pivots. 

I even transferred the aileron bellcrank from the T-28.

The elevator and rudder use a spring return, so I can use just a pull string to get control  I stole that technique from the DLG people.  

Speaking of DLGs, this is my latest version of the DLG Nano.  It's 52 grams.  I finally built one right.