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.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Building an ITX laptop - Episode 1

I want a laptop that's future proof.  If someone walked up to me and told me that, I'd tell them it's impossible, and buy something cheap so you can save money for the next cheap laptop.  This is because there's no reasonable upgrade path on laptops.  (sometimes you get one or two upgrades...  but that's not a common thing.)

Now, what if a laptop took a standard motherboard?  If that were the case, you could swap out the motherboard as technology moved along.  There's a very tiny motherboard standard that really suits itself to portable installations.  ITX motherboards are the core of the shoebox size computer market.  Some of those ITX cases are even the size of a small book.

People have been strapping monitors to PC cases for decades. And LCD's are now ubiquitous.

Really, that just leaves the power supply as the big issue.  There's no good off the shelf power solution for a portable ITX machine.  And i'm not just looking for "portable."  I want some decent runtime, and maybe even actually to put this in my lap.

I've been thinking about this project since the early 2000's.  I've even bought parts from time to time to support the plan.  (I've got a folder with Ti's simple switchers in 3.3, 5, 12, -5 and -12v..)

This leaves us needing to make a few decisions.

  1. Electrical:  ATX power supply, battery charging, battery, display power supply, power reporting to the OS.
  2. PC components: keyboard, monitor, motherboard, mouse, wifi.
  3. Case design: Can it all fit?  Can it call be cooled?  Can it all be easily accessed?  Does it look good?
Next time, we'll start in on the PC components.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Evomade Viewbox - How I assembled mine

The instructions from Evomade left a lot to be desired.  Unlike the goggles, which are great once glued into a solid set of goggles.  Lets call this the missing manual.  So.. here's how I assembled my goggles.

EDIT: Evomade just published the Viewbox cardboard QR code.  Here it is!

First off, unfold the goggles, and get them bent into shape at least once.

Heat up the hot glue gun.  The plastic that the frame is made of, both sticks to hot glue, and is not damaged by it.  So if you screw up.. you can do it again after peeling it off.

First, glue the nose bridge bits to the top of the goggles.  Do so by running a bead of hot glue along each side of the nose bridge peice.  I also ran beads of glue along the outside corners.

Here's a view from the other side.  I also spread open the nose peice, and squirted some hot glue in there.  You can see it squeezed out a little.

Once the bridge peice is solid, make sure the lens frame is clipped into the frame, and run beads of glue to hold the lens frame in place.

And here's what they should look like.  Here they are without a camera in them.

And here's a complete viewbox.  Without gluing, they really don't want to hold their shape.

Finally, I used some superglue to hold the trigger magnet on my viewbox.

Now go out, assemble your viewbox, and enjoy!

PS: The foam bit, and micro velcro strip, are there to cover up the camera window for use with small phones.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Touch of Blue

I really like the look of colored Quadcopter frames.  I've done some digging, and I just plain can't find a good resource that says how to do it.  So...  I decided to try coming up with my own methods. 

My first swing was to use nail polish.  The blue I chose was to dark, and dark nail polish on a grey/black frame edge.. well that's no good. 

White paint to the rescue!
And then some blue..

And that doesn't look to shabby.  At least for a first try.  I'm working on a tutorial now.   

Monday, November 2, 2015

A FPV Maltese, at Night.

The Maltese has spent most of it's life without FPV gear on it.  I bought it, mostly, to have a super duarable airframe that I could beat the snot out of.  It's served the goal admirably.

Being the cheapest, strongest, thing in my toolbox also means it's a guinea pig.  ...  This time, it got a whole bunch of stuff strapped to it.  

SwitchElectrician bought some RC headlights to put on a quad.  The awesome bit is that they're designed to take a standard servo signal.  The not so awesome bit is that they're 2s only.  Hanging off the nose (does a symetrical Quad HAVE a nose?) is a 2s lipo pack.  They don't show up very well, but there's also a pair of headlights either side of the FPV camera.

It almost looks like it's got a nose.  And a fat lip.  That FPV camera is the one I built a few posts back.  

It's only impressive in that it's a huge mess of wires.  But it's MY mess of wires....  

HobbyKing has been stocking these ~9" long LED bars.  I strapped one to the back of the electronics tower on this little bird.  All that green, the green that's lighting up the no parking sign 40' away... yeah, that's that light.  

There's really a remarkable amount of lighting on the Maltese.  This is just before it's second takeoff, and it's sitting on the apron of my driveway.

This really gives you a sense of scale.  And the amount of light the thing is throwing off.  I wasn't flying FPV yet, but the headlight really seems like it will do some good.  

So after a few tries in the street, we moved down to a small park that follows the local creek.

Yes, it's really that bright.  

Kryptonite... Maybe?

Well lit quads, with clear props, look so good flying overhead.  Even when there's nothing for those lights to hit, the illumination of the airframe is really awesome to see.

The antenna or something in my rig, really limited the transmission range.  I'm going to try swapping for a real RP-SMA plug and a circular polarized antenna.  We found that I only had 30-40' of good reception range with the home made transmitter setup.

The evaluation of that rig will be a post later.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Hex Upon the neighbors... lawn...

This is really just a photo dump.  SwitchElectrician came out with his camera, and we did some photographing of my brightly lit hexacopter. 

About the build:

The Hex is a Hobbyking Turnigy PCB airframe: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__24380__Turnigy_Integrated_PCB_Micro_Hex_KIT_.html

The motors are Emax PM 1806 plastic bodied motors. 

The ESC's are Flycolor 10amp.