Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Micro Helicopters, the good ones.

Over the last two years, I've amassed quite a collection of 4 channel fixed pitch micro helicopters.

The first one was the Novus FP. In the photo it's on the right. I ended up with it because it was frighteningly cheap. Something like $80 with radio. It's not very easy to fly.

The Novus is darned near aerobatic. It's fast. It's twitchy. It wants to go FAST. And all of that makes it a really challenging heli to fly.

The next one was the Blade MCx. (it's the yellow helicopter) One of my former coworkers ended up buying one as a follow up to the Syma s107's I had been flying around the office. I figured if it was 4 channel, and he was flying it.. I'd get a kick out of it, and it would be easy to fly. It was! And it's transmitter was the gateway drug to my T-28, and Sukhoi.

The MCx isn't a very fast flyer. But it's amazingly stable. I kinda wish it were a bit faster. The Heli can be flown hands off most of the time. And if you're ever in trouble, just let go of the direction controls and it will sort itself out.

Most recently, I was wandering through a local hobby shop. And I saw a Blade MSR hanging from the ceiling. (it's the helicopter in the middle) Through some negotiation I got it, the red and blue bodies, a complete set of flight spares, two batteries, and the charger for $50.

To say the least I was happy. $50 is almost worth it just for the battery charger. The BNF MSR comes with a 4 port charger, and AC adapter.

The helicopter is not bad. The heli is quite stable. Nearly MCx stable. But the other side is that it's not very fast. Without doing some pendulum work to get the helicopter to tip over, the thing is very slow going forward and back. Slipping left and right is quite snappy though.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Building two Nano DLGs - Smashy and Traffic cone.

I know I have introduced this before, but here's the link to the plans.


I've ended up building two of them. They take me roughly three evenings each to build.

Here's the highlights:
I hacked in a power plug so I could power the radio off a 120mah LiPo cell. That reciever is 2.6 grams without the case!

All wired up and ready to go. Looks impressive. Sadly it's got a weight problem. Which leads to it's name. "Smashy"

What a porker. It is supposed to weigh 50g. I didn't pay to much attention to the airfoil shape, or the thickness of paint. I also found out, much to my dismay, that my "4g" servos actually weighed something like 9 grams each!

That's the beauty shot. It's the last time it looked that good. On it's first flight at the park I found I didn't have enough elevator control. The plane made a bee line for the ground and turned itself into a few more peices than it took off in.

You'll notice the lack of carbon reinforcements. There was no carbon tow available anywhere local. I placed an order, but still decided to fly the plane.

Well, lesson learned. Time to make the followup plane. We'll call it traffic cone.
This is a trick I learned long ago. if you want to make accurate parts, glue your plan to the wood.

The bits come out better than die cut. And without laser burn marks. For a plane with all of thirteen parts, this isn't a big deal. I'll go laser on any plane that has lots of parts. :-)

I did the fuselage parts the same way.

It's not perfect, but it's really close. And the trailing edges match when it's stood up. That's good enough for me.

Not bad looking? Almost looks kit like. This is before I sanded the wings.

That's bordering on svelte. The wings, before sanding, weigh 22 grams!

Carbon fiber is so sexy. Especially the unidirectional tow. This stuff is seriously overkill for the project. It was $15 for 50 yards.

I think it looks good. As you'll see, I'm probally going a bit heavy with it. But in my half a dozen flights with Crashy I broke the rudder off four times.

Here the wings are marked for the back half of the airfoil. But I need something to sand them on that's going to provide me with a decent grip on the wing.

My solution was to glue some stops onto a piece of cardboard. This I taped to the counter top so the wing wouldn't move on me while I was sanding it.

Sanding the leading edge took a different technique. The plans come with angle blocks, so I glued the angle block to my sanding block.. and went to town on the wings.

It really went pretty quick. I was using 100 grit paper.

And then I stopped taking pictures.

The rest wasn't very interesting. This is before I cut out the ailerons. The carbon makes the plane really really stiff.

Watson insisted on helping. He sat there and played foreman for fifteen minutes.

I ordered lighter radio gear. I hope to get it in the mail soon, so I can fly this thing at the proper weight.

Speaking of weight. As it stands the plane weighs 43 grams. The battery is 3 grams, and the radio is 3.6 grams.

The next update will be after the plane has flown.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One night's progress on a DLG

So I came home, and started building.  Sadly the plane is going to be about 10g over weight.  I have the proper servos in the mail, and I expect that if carefully built, the plane could be built for 40 g instead of 50g.

Weights - What things weigh.

Orange RX - 9.8 grams
Orange RX No case - 3.8 grams
420 mah 15c LiPo cell - 11.7 grams

Servo TG9e - 9.9 grams

Time to ditch the affordaplane.... and design from scratch.

The more I look at the Affordaplane the more i'm upset with it.

First off, allow me to share a resource I've built for it:  http://theaffordaplaneresource.blogspot.com/

I've been collecting data for the airplane for a month now.  And I'm less and less happy with it.  I'm finding that the frame is weak, and heavy.  The plane more or less flies on horsepower versus finesse.  The plane builds up well outside of the part 103 rules, so I'd need to register it with the FAA and do all the experimental plane approval fun-ness I was hopping to avoid. 

To make a plane I'd be happy with out of an affordaplane, I'd need to completely remake the fuselage.  And landing gear.  I could make it come in under part 103 rules.  But at that point, I've essentially designed my own airplane.

OH... Well there's an idea.

Funny that. 

Now I'm developing something of an obsession over the Davis DA-2.  And... that means a pilots license.  I'm taking a discovery flight this weekend.  So we'll see how that goes.

Pretty isn't it?  120mph on 65hp.  And a solid 510lb useful load.

New parts from china: lets build a Nano DLG

 The new project is a Nano DLG. Here's what I have for radio gear.  A spectrum reciever, and some 4gram servos.  I need to decide if I am going to use that 420mah cell, and have it a powered glider as well, or stick with some 100mah cell. 

Here's the assembly video.. yes, the music is annoyingly christ heavy.  Nano DLG, build video

And here's a flight video:  Nano DLG flight video

I hope to have this built next week.