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Member postings for Steve Houghton

Here is a list of all the postings Steve Houghton has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
23/03/2020 20:48:25

Thanks Phil,

I've just seen your post about PSSA events, and you have my full support.

Now then, will I be finished in time for 2021??

Thread: PSSA Gliding Events
23/03/2020 20:46:41

You are a wise man, Phil - this is the best decision, especially after tonight's broadcast by the PM.

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
22/03/2020 22:56:52

It's bin a while!

No progress for 4 weeks due to other commitments, but crawling along again now.

Thanks for your comments, Dirk.

Two halves make a whole

There have been so many useful postings about the wing build from talented builders that it seems there's not much left to say, so excuse any repeats. I took the 'build in two halves' approach, having only a narrow building board. I used the same jig components for port and starboard wings, totally glue-less, and found that the port jig needed stretching a little, and the starboard, shown here, needed a little compression to fit the plan. This was accomplished with strategically placed pins. The excellent fit of the parts ensured it gripped tightly without glue.


And squeeze....

Pins placed mainly outside the jig sections, to squeeze it into place.


The root ribs had to be checked for verticality. Since both R1A jigs were used, this meant a 1/8" gap between the squares and R1:


You raise me up..!

As noted by other builders, I packed up the R1A jig pieces with 1/16" balsa glued to the base of each one, to level them with the other rib supports. Packing just visible below:


I fell for the gotcha of buying 1/4 x 1/8 spruce spars instead of 1/4 x 3/16, so just laminated the spars with a layer of 1/16 balsa on top, before glueing into the ribs. This has a useful benefit of being easier to sand in line with the tops of the ribs:


Spar webs applied to both sides of the spars:



Tip of the day

Here's the tip jig, showing the 'compression' pins holding the jig, and the laminated spars (sounds grander than 'messed up'!):


The completed halves. Great job with the jig production, Martin and Gordon. It made the assembly very quick and painless, although I'm glad I bought the pre-cut parts rather than cutting them all myself!


Now I need to decide whether to go for inboard or outboard servos - still deliberating.

10/02/2020 23:31:51

Hi folks,

Phil: Pinch away - I'm sure the idea isn't new, although I'm quite pleased at how well the retro-fitting was accomplished!

Martin: That thought did cross my mind, but I wanted to keep the aerials out of harms way, and mine are perpendicular. I'm never sure whether they will achieve the same reception if I straighten either of them up. Bear in mind that my radio is 'old' DSM2 technology, so not as much frequency hopping as some. I toyed with buying a new carbon friendly RX with longer aerials, but I'm too tight and not sure if all the DSMX RXs necessarily operate DSM2.

I'm still in mourning at the passing of JR! So much so that I've just bought some dinky JR DS396 mini digital servos from Hobbyplastic - being sold off at half price at the moment (similar size/power to the HS-65MG).

Thread: Sabre made in Belgium
10/02/2020 00:17:44

Neat work, as always Dirk.

When posting photos I always start by inserting a series of lines with just an x on each:



Then, put the cursor after an x, insert the photo and change the x to a suitably witty caption. Move on to the next x for another photo.

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
10/02/2020 00:05:20

Radio Bay

I wanted to install the radio before any more work on the tail horn. In order to keep the weight forward I decided to tuck the RX away on top of the battery box on a tray mounted on sliding rails. This would have been easier to install before joining the fuselage sides, but ... hey ho .. hindsight is wonderful!

The rails were made from 1/8" sq spruce, mounted on 1/16" ply sides, held together at the far end (the nose end) by a cross piece of 1/8 spruce, acting as both a spacer and to hold the rails 1/8" above the battery box.

2002_0802_rx rails.jpg

The sliding tray is simply 1/16" ply with two runners from 1/4" wide strips of ply. These also space the tray above the battery box to allow the velcro strap to wrap underneath:

2002_0804_rx tray.jpg

The velcro strap holds the RX in place, with a spare pair of slots in case I feel the need for two straps:

2002_0805_rx tray.jpg

Imagine looking down on the battery box from the top of the fuselage; the side ply strips of the rails will now be glued to the sides of the battery box, so that the tray is free to slide over the battery box:

2002_0807_rx assembly.jpg

Glue it all together, using a temporary 1/8" balsa spacer, avoiding glueing the spacer into the rails, and the end result is thus. Note that I cut away approx 5mm of former F4 to allow the RX to pass through:


My usual sliding ply strip will retain both the battery in the box, and the end of the RX tray:


Slide the tray into the rails, having cut a locking slot in the end of the tray:


...and there we have a RX tray out of harm's way, securely locked into place.


Next, on with the servo mountings.

Thread: Neil's attempt at a first scale model!
04/02/2020 13:10:36


I wasn't familiar with DevFus, but having looked it up I can see that it could be a great help to visualising the finished result. Thanks for the update.

02/02/2020 23:36:04


I see that I should have read your thread before posing my own questions about the fairings. Thanks to Chris and Gordon for the clarifications!

Any progress on your build yet, Neil?

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
02/02/2020 20:59:03

Gordon: Thanks, that helps greatly. I can set about the fairings now. I understand about the triangular section on top, but it's hard to visualise how 3D shapes like this will end up after carving!

Rob: Having checked your blog, it looks like you made a great job of the wire bending - it all seems to line up. After ruining three tail horns, I have just about succeeded with my fourth. The crank wobbles slightly on the front sleeve, but I'm hoping that will not matter once the sleeve is glued into the slot. I kept the rear wire as tight as possible as it should only need to rotate slightly when sliding on the tail halves. After that, I think it should be tight.

I'm sure the reason for removable tailplanes is to minimise transport damage in the car. The glue stick idea sounds perfect to allay fears.

02/02/2020 14:04:47

Flappy Bits

Chris, and anyone who's interested in centre mounted servos. Here's Hannos's solution, snapped from the Super Sicroly plan (courtesy of Outerzone).

super sicroly.jpg

Questions, Questions

I'm scratching my head about the tailplane block fairings. If anyone can cast light on these, it would be appreciated.

1) The plan's side elevation shows the block fairings fitted below the top of F15, but the A-A cross section shows them to be level with the top of F15. I realise I could set them lower down and then fill over the top with more block, but has anyone any advice on the best approach?

2) Are the tailplane block fairings parallel on the outside, or do they taper toward the tail? This will affect how the tubes are glued into the tailplane halves. If parallel, the tubes will be perpendicular to the root of the halves. If tapered, the tubes will be angle forwards slightly to accommodate the sweep back. I can see from Martin's build notes that he fitted the tubes by clamping them against the tail, but I don't have confidence that I can get them straight by that method and would like to do them flat on the bench. Any advice?

31/01/2020 21:17:17

Hi Dirk,

Thanks for the warning. I won't do much with the wing seat until I have built the wing. A rather slow week for building this week, although I'm moving on with the tailplanes, fin and rudder. Will post pictures when I have made progress.

23/01/2020 22:50:26

Phil, Yes, I'm planning the same central servo arrangement, although still pondering whether to fit flaps as well. I keep having flashbacks to Hanno Prettner's flaps on the Super Sicroly, I think, where he used an aileron torque rod within a brass tube that controlled snap flaps, all housed within a further brass tube bearing. I've not figured out the precise details yet, or whether it's worth bothering with flaps - I noted your comments on your blog.

Thread: Phil's F-86 Sabre build thread
23/01/2020 22:22:21

Smart work, Phil. Now that all you experts have ironed out the problems with the wing build, I may be tempted to start mine soon - soon be June!

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
23/01/2020 22:16:11

Peter: I agree with your points 1 and 2. This also answers 3 - the wire is bent before insertion into the horn.

Chris MgG: Yes, I have followed Martin's procedures, except that I have now removed the bush (sleeve) from the rear wire.

Chris B: I think my use of 'bush' was incorrect. I have fitted the brass sleeve to the front wire, but no bushes (either side of the sleeve). I have made a new rear wire with no sleeve.

Thanks for these.

Forlorn Horn

My problem with the rear wire is best illustrated thus:

2001_2301 crooked rear wire.jpg

It's difficult to enlarge a hole in a plastic horn without the drill snatching on the plastic and being pulled off line.That above would give significant trimming problems, so I am ordering more horns. You can't see above, but this is an Acute angle horn (SL833) instead of an Obtuse one (SL834). Must order the right ones this time!

Take a Seat

I puzzled over how to cut out the wing seat quickly and accuratey, and decided to adapt the 'plan pricking' idea. Take a piece of 16g wire approx 5" long, with both ends sharpened. Rest it across the two F14 keels and gently push it from side to side:

2001_2201 side spike.jpg

Gradually the light dawns:

2001_2202 spiked holes.jpg

Then simply join the dots with a marker:

2001_2203 join dots.jpg

A little knife work and the cut almost falls apart. Extend the lines front and back to extend the curves beyond the curved parts of F14, and the rough outline is done. Saw off the bottom of the former to the same level, and that'll do for now until I have a wing to do the final trimming:

2001_2204 cut seat.jpg



Edited By Steve Houghton on 23/01/2020 22:17:20

Thread: Chris McG F-86 Sabre Dog build blog
23/01/2020 20:45:26

Hi Chris,

Your work is impressively neat and tidy, and inspirational to the rest of us.

Thanks for your comments on mine - will respond later on.

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
22/01/2020 23:07:20

Out with the bush

I've been looking at the size of the SLEC 834 tailplane control horn tonight and don't think there's enough plastic around the rear hole to drill it out to fit a 10g wire plus brass tube bush. The plan shows a bush on both the front and rear wires, but I'm thinking the rear wire doesn't need to pivot freely and probably doesn't need a bush.

I've therefore bent up a bushless rear 10g wire instead. I was also unable to keep the rear horn hole horizontal when drilling out, so I now need to order a replacement (or two)!

21/01/2020 13:30:39

Thanks, Martin.

I am definitely aiming for removable halves. I'm just aware that if the wires drift sideways, even when pushing the halves onto the wires, then the bends in the wires could bind in the central tubes. Time will tell whether this ever becomes an issue.

The pritt-stick sounds useful - I'd heard that before but never tried it. Thanks.

Thread: Alaskan Air National Guard Version
20/01/2020 22:51:48

Good to see you ticking over, Steve. Neat as always. Happy planking!

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
20/01/2020 22:37:01

Thanks, Phil and Chris. I'm following both your builds with interest to compare notes.

A Bender

I don't know about others, but my pet hate in any build is bending wire, so I wasn't looking forward to the tailplane joiners. That's probably because a small bench vice is my only bending facility, and it's a struggle with anything thicker than 12g wire, because the whole table tends to move or lift when I put my weight behind it:

2001_2001 bending vice.jpg


Hence, I went through several rejected attempts before I achieved a successful set of front 8g and rear 10g joiners complete with embedded tube AND the correct angles. I usually managed to bend the central part, so that it wouldn't rotate in the tube, or I flattened the tube itself. The final best results came from using the smallest possible wooden lever (see above), and much brute force (Anyone know the best treatment for pressure blisters on fingers?):

2001_2002 bent wires.jpg

How have the rest of you expert benders accomplished this daunting task?

I was intending to fit brass tubes into the tailplane halves, to make them removable, but I saw that some builders are planning to glue them in place. My worry with removable halves is that the wire joiners can slip sideways and the bends can bind on the central tubes, preventing rotation. Not sure how to prevent this yet.

18/01/2020 16:59:05

Chris, thanks for the reply.

A quick update from today's progress, although nothing that hasn't been covered elsewhere.

Give me your support

The tubes for the closed loop rudder wires are supported quite high up by the addition of a filler into F8, to keep the runs as straight as possible:

2001_1801_f8 tube support.jpg

The remaining supports won't be fitted until after joining the fuselage, as they will be accessible from the wing seat and I'll be able to see better where they need to be. I like to connect the wires to the servo via a 180degree belllcrank so that the wires can be tightened without straining the servo bearings. Mounting this will need better visibility of the equipment bay layout later on. The wing bolt mounting plate has been fitted to one side, using a dry assembly of the two halves to ensure it was aligned:

2001_1802_tube and bolt plate.jpg

The battery box was glued into one side, using a couple of scrap balsa supports to hold it still:

2001_1803_battery box.jpg

Join me now

Finally, the grand fuselage joining ceremony, with support from the faithful Irwin clamps and some scrap balsa blocks, tapered to accommodate the fuselage taper:

2001_1804_fus tail join.jpg

Ssssteam Heat

Dry assembly revealed that both halves had banana'd slightly outwards during the planking phase, especially at the nose. Before joining, I therefore steamed the sides a little to allow them to bend in before clamping:

2001_1805_fus nose join.jpg

That'll be left to dry overnight to ensure the glue can hold the tension.

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