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Flamingo 3.5metre by Chris Williams - scratch build

RCM&E Free Plan Build -

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Murat Kece 113/10/2020 15:35:21
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44 forum posts
35 photos

Excellent.. I am following it with great interest.. I plan to build a similar one hopefully in the near future. Good luck.

Peter Garsden13/10/2020 15:56:15
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

Thanks Murat. It is probably the most technically challenging build I have done due to the built up gull wings, steaming of plywood, built up elevator with round sections, and ailerons, but this is proper building the old fashioned way and will be worth it.

Peter Garsden13/10/2020 17:38:48
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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Here's a shot of the finished tailplane showing the marks where the jig supports were.

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Also a shot of the cardboard template I made for the upper body plywood sheeting. Obviously one wraps it round the fuselage and mark off the dimensions then trim to ensure the edges are in the right place, particularly the ends where there is a curve.

Peter Garsden13/10/2020 17:45:42
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

Also a shot of the extras I had to buy for the build

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  1. Wheel - I had the piano wire for the axle already
  2. Clamps - needed more for the fuselage
  3. 2 standard Futaba servos for the elevator and rudder (closed loop incidentally for which I forgot to include 2 tubes, pike trace wire, and special end pieces to thread the wire through)
  4. 2 Corona Metal Geared servos for the ailerons
  5. I already have 2 Emax metal geared 9 gram servos for the spoilers.
  6. Multiplex Tow Release from Gliders UK
  7. Collets for the wheels
  8. 12mm x 2mm steel bar and square brass tube for the wings
  9. Brass Sheet - not shown - for the tailplane horn - also 2mm swivel servo horn.
  10. 5 cell battery and FRSky Receiver 6 channel
Peter Garsden13/10/2020 17:47:06
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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Before I go any further I want to sand down the lumpy filler. I used my trusty shoe horn sander with the roughest paper which worked fine but DO IT OUTSIDE as the dust was impossible. I have used this to sand epoxy filler on lost foam fuselages which is more difficult to sand. More filler to come.

Edited By Peter Garsden on 13/10/2020 17:47:52

Peter Garsden13/10/2020 17:49:44
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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Before any more filler goes into the nose I attached 3 pieces of lead for nose weight. I simply copied Chris's photos so hope it will not be too much - a complete guess. Will let you know. Screwed in with self tappers. This space will now be covered in filler.

Peter Garsden15/10/2020 17:49:29
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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This shows short self tappers attaching 3 sheets of lead for ballast as suggested by Chris in his photos. No idea what will be needed so just a guess. They cannot be removed because the nose is filled with P38.

Peter Garsden15/10/2020 17:51:40
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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This is the shoe horn sander which is really effective for sanding down the filler. You have to be careful not to go too far. There are a few holes that will need filling and re-sanding but a lot of weight has been removed.

Peter Garsden15/10/2020 17:56:12
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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On with the elevators - you can see that there are many parts to the trailing edge so I marked them with numbers. There is a layer of 3mm, then 1.5mm ply then another 3mm balsa layer. The ribs slot onto the ply. Cyano is best as it sets fast though I did experiment with Superphatic which I do prefer. Think I will use it for the ribs.

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This is the finished trailing edge which you make before attaching it to the pinned down trailing edge and the tip rib.

Peter Garsden15/10/2020 19:36:41
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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You can see the filled and sanded nose in the foreground and inside the cockpit I have removed the temporary formers F2,F3, and F4 and the temporary middle spar. This leaves a fragile hole which Chris advises should be lined with fibreglass and resin, the outside having been filled with P38. He recommends polyester resin which not only stinks but also seems to set too quickly for my liking, so I always use epoxy resin as here. The secret is to always dab the cloth with the brush and not try to stroke it as all you will do is pull and distort the fibreglass threads and pull it out of shape.

Peter Garsden15/10/2020 19:40:37
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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Having offered up the tailplane support sides and marked the shape on the middle keel, then filed away the excess to give the shape of the bottom curve of the tailplane, I cut away the rear 40mm which will allow movement of the elevator horn with the connection within.

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Then one glues in and lines up front and back and clamps into position. After it is dry I will cut away the excess.

Ron Gray16/10/2020 08:53:04
2466 forum posts
996 photos

I’m guessing that you put the filler on first as the temp formers give the fuse strength for the subsequent sanding, otherwise I would have thought it more logical to glass the inside then fill the outside?

Peter Garsden16/10/2020 17:08:37
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos
Posted by Ron Gray on 16/10/2020 08:53:04:

I’m guessing that you put the filler on first as the temp formers give the fuse strength for the subsequent sanding, otherwise I would have thought it more logical to glass the inside then fill the outside?

Yes indeed Ron. Filler first before removing temporary formers so as to provide strength. The other issue is that when applying the filler some seeps through the cracks which are then sanded down before applying the cloth and resin. The formers all came out without too much difficulty.

Peter Garsden16/10/2020 17:11:44
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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Chris recommends sanding down the trailing edge whilst the elevator is still pinned down to the board. I found a scrap piece of 6mm balsa and applied with 60 grain emery cloth with Pritt Stick glue on both sides. Works really well.

Peter Garsden17/10/2020 19:57:25
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

I glued the tips to the elevators and sanded them down. I tried them against the tailplane. The leading edge of the elevator is meant to nestle inside the trailing edge of the tailplane. It needs quite a bit of reduction so as to fit the robart hinges.

Before we glue on the rear .8mm plywood the mounting for the tailplane, holes for the bolt and positioning pin, the elevator horn, and the elevator pushrod with servos have to be added.

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This bit is quite important because the tailplane has to be in the correct position relative to the under tailplane support, it has to sit centrally, and the tailplane has to be in line. I first of all drilled the holes in the tailplane and clamped it in position so it wouldn't move when drilled. Maybe it is better to drill right through both at once?

The plan suggests using 2mm threaded steel rod, but I decided instead to use carbon rod as is common. When installed, I was concerned that they were enlarging the balsa holes so spread on some cyano which hardens up the balsa nicely.

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I wasn't happy attaching the 5mm clawed nut to the balsa which I thought was too flimsy, so I attached the nut to a piece of 6mm balsa. I still wasn't happy so laminated it with a piece of 1.5mm ply which you can see. The underneath was not level so I packed it up with a balsa wedge. After several trial runs I mixed some epoxy with some microfibres, covered the bolt with Vaseline and screwed the whole thing tight to set, first checking that the tailplane was level with where the fin would be. I did this by placing a steel rules in front of F5.

Peter Garsden19/10/2020 20:09:58
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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In this picture you can see the elevator horn which is a small rectangle of 1mm brass plate reinforced with copper wire (should be thin brass sheet) and 2mm piano wire soldered to it at right angles. This was something I had never done before and was a challenge. I used my soldering jig to hold the wire, plate and tweezer to push the copper wires into position and heated the plate underneath to melt the solder, firstly having cleaned any oxide off the pieces, and used some flux to key the surfaces.

I then had to drill holes into the brass to take the tiny 6mm screws. They screw into a layer of 1.5mm ply which is glued to the leading edge of the elevator. All very delicate and small scale.

The idea is that a 2mm ball link on the end of the 4mm carbon push rod slides over the rod to operate the elevator.

To allow rearward movement one has to file down a slot in F18. The whole area will be much strengthened by the .8mm ply shroud which cannot be attached until the servos are in place and the elevator control rod attached. In order to keep the rod at the right height in the fuselage one puts in place a balsa support in the fuselage.

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Peter Garsden19/10/2020 21:19:31
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

The next excellent tip is to use a round sanding cylinder to put round the head of the bolt and make it easier to remove because of course the fin will be in the way of any screw driver.

The head of the plastic 5mm bolt was slightly too big, so I put it in my power drill and filed it down slightly then glued it in position with cyano.

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Stephen Belshaw20/10/2020 07:50:48
113 forum posts
27 photos

Your build is coming along nicely Peter, and very quick!

I'm close to finishing Chris's A-Spatz which features similar build techniques, the tailplane for example is identical and uses the same elevator mechanism. The Spatz is a much easier build though, having a slab sided fuselage and no gull wing, but as you say a very enjoyable process - challenging but ultimately very satisfying.

What are you planning to cover it with?

Peter Garsden20/10/2020 18:16:29
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

Thanks Stephen. As you say always better to learn new methods of working and skill and get out of your comfort zone.

So you ask about covering. I am going to follow guidance Chris gives in the RCM&E article and use matt clear Hobbyking film on the built up areas of the wing, elevator, and rudder, whilte solarfilm with trim on the rest of the wings and white Solartex on most of the fuselage, filler on the tricky areas to match the Solartex such as the wing joining box etc then paint to match - white with either blue and yellow trim or red - I have not decided yet.

I did order Solartex Natural but it has a cream tinge so I am going for the Hobbyking version which has to be ordered frrom Hong Kong with a delivery charge of, I think, £15. Not available sadly in the UK

Peter Garsden20/10/2020 18:25:09
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1820 forum posts
1425 photos

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Before closing up the fuselage we have to link up the elevator, so first of all there is space for standard size Futaba 148 servos 2 abreast no less. There is limited space, but as F5 is angled one can get my handy manual drill in the gap. The rear screws have to be drilled at an angle with 1.5mm drill.

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It is very difficult to line up Beech 6mm bearers in a curved fuselage, so I create 12mm balsa support blocks by copying the curve to the side of the blocks and cutting out slots for the bearers to slide into. It helps line up front and back level.

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