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Old 03-31-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
Simon
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Talking $100 Scratch build: Micro SSX

I'd love to enter the competition if I may.

My first and last scratch-build project was a rubber powered Topflite model with dad some 25 years ago. recently the bug has bitten me all over and I found myself compelled to make something (well that and the crippling cost of repairing Blade SR and MSR helis)

So, being lazy and cheap I initially thought I'd build a foamy, though baulked at the price that I could find anything that I understood to be suitable for. So, I went back to the old faithful - balsa.

I chose the Micro SSX for a number of reasons - it's symmetrical wing and resultant 3d ability (I can't fly so well yet, but I do enjoy a challenge), it's nice and small - only 20.5 inches span, it's SIMPLE - just like the Slow Stick, but smaller and (hopefully) easier to make.

The plans were drawn in A9CAD (free) before being printed onto paper and glued to the balsa sheets. All parts were then cut out using a combination of stanley scraper blades (the razor blades with a piece of metal folded over the back edge) and a fiskars scalpel-type knife. All balsa (except for the 1mm sheet on the wing is from 100x915x2.5 mm sheets that weighed 40gms each)

The carbon fuse stick is a off-cut after I decided to replace the soda-can thin aluminum tail boom on my SR with a CF one (the CF tube was 2x the price for 3x the length - even at the LHS)

This is where you'll all laugh at me - the two 2.5mm square hardwood spars were both crafted from a piece of 6mm square oak - using a razor blade. Yup, I felt rather foolish upon my next trip to the LHS when I discovered that I could have bought a couple of pieces of square spruce stock for about $1.50 each - allllllthough I did only pay $3.40 for 2.4 meters of the oak - using just 50cm of it, or 70cents. Neato! at that rate of money saving, I'll be buying sheep-stations in no-time!

The radio gear was the cheapest programmable 6 channel I could find - just $29.95 from Hobbyking. Even then it makes up about 3/8ths or nearly 40% of the total build cost. Yup that's right - an all-up cost including tx/rx was about $85!

I'd actually already begun and flown this project before I saw the contest today, so please forgive me for the lack of suspense, as all the photos are taken (except in flight) and construction complete.

So, how about I break down the cost of parts first:

$29.95 - 6ch Hobby King Pc programmable Tx/Rx
$9.78 - Turnigy Plush 12A ESC
$7.99 - C20 1550kv motor
$5.72 - Turnigy Nanotech 850ma 2S
$5.38 - 2x HXT900 servos
$4.95 - 2x Dubro wheels
$4.80 - 2x 100x915x2.5mm balsa
$5.00 - 45cm 8x6mm round CF tube
$3.39 - Turnigy 1440 Servo
$3.00 - Servo push-rods and landing gear
$1.49 - Prop saver and bands
$1.00 - CA glue
$1.00 - 50 ml 'dope' - 1 table-tennis ball dissolved in 50ml acetone
$1.00 - 3x 3.5mm gold connector pair
$0.70 - 2x 2.5x500 mm oak spars
$0.63 - GWS 8040 prop
$0.12 - Tissue
$0.08 - Female JST connector
----------------
$85.98 Total
----------------


The thing that most grabbed my attention with this comp was that I had set-out to buy basically the cheapest stuff that I could that would allow me to fly. I never had a budget in mind, though was pleasantly surprised to find that the build came out to a relatively miniscule amount of money.

Cheap, tough and fun - the first two points not being shared with rc heli repairs. I mean, I built this entire bird (and crashed it 5 times) for less than the price of my first 5 crash repairs in the heli.


I managed a couple of fairly hefty crashes after some stunning moments of stupidity, as I laugh about in the competition announcement thread and as a result she now has a cross-grain reinforced rudder, removable wing mounts, removable wing, removed landing gear and white wing tips.

The sun's just come up, so I think I'll go for another flight, and see if I can't catch some video with my tripod.

Cheers!
S.


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Old 04-01-2011, 06:09 AM   #2
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Welcom, Simon! Love your aircraft, everyone needs to have a stick in their hangar. John.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:16 AM   #3
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Hi Simon
Outstanding
Welcome aboard
Im pleased to meet you
Thats a mighty fine looking bird you have there , great job
Add an inexpensive charger and its a RTF package that would still most likely be under $100, simply brilliant,Kudos
Take care
Yours Hank

"When wild the head-wind beat,Thy sovereign Will commanding, Bring them who dare to fly, To a safe landing."
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:50 AM   #4
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G'day John and Hank, thanks for such a warm welcome.

I'm still not so sure about the color, though at the time it seemed to make a better match with the radio if it was orange. Though I must confess that this little bird was seen digging up worms from deep in the earth on a number of occasions today and after no fewer than 6 bone-crunching crashes (today), she may have to sit in the zoo for a little while while her wings are mended..

I managed 3 short flights at the field today before finding myself cold, wet and miserable. None of the abrupt stops caused any real harm - though one of the central ribs did get a bit ripped up, as did some of the tissue.


That wasn't so bad, and after the poor thing had dried out again and I'd picked the grass of it I again set out to mark out myself a piece of territory in the sky. I went down to a local primary school with my brother for a quick bash - bash being the operative word . The first flight was a spectacular flop, lasting about 20 seconds before I bit the ground pretty hard - ripping the rudder off in the process, though not breaking it.

Dammit - back home again for 5 seconds and run a smidgen of CA to re-attach. Head back to the sportsground - yes with CA in pocket and a fist-full of rubber bands in the other.

The next flight went much as any of the others - quick exciting and like the Colluseum's stars - brutal. Not quite sue how I pulled this one off - I tend to think my thumbs withdraw from bilateral talks with my brain and proceed unilaterally.... Though I must say that this time the er 'landing' was pretty ahrm, ... impressive. She hit the ground like a cracking whip - even sending up a satisfying cloud of dust to remind me of my error.

I strolled over only to find that it was (a) without 1 blade of the prop (b) with a number of the tissue panels punctured (c) with the (balsa) plywood motor mount busted slash delaminated. Bugger, bugger, bugger BUGGER!


I mean, aren't these props made of nylon I asked myself. Isn't nylon what they make the nozzles of CA bottles from, on account of the 'inability of CA to stick to nylon'? Because I mused that the prop was really the only thing stopping me from going again. Given that I was a 15 min walk from home, and had only brought 1 of everything, though no spares, i figured it was at least worth a try.

I still cant believe it - though I did manage to glue the broken blade back on AND give her a good poke at full throttle - still the amputated blade refused to let go of the hub. Cool I thought, perhaps it is worth trying again. Sure enough, I was able to repair tissue panels with CA as did I use CA to fix the motor mount.

This time I was trying to circle the perimeter fence, when again my thumbs took it upon themselves to run the show and remind me that ground=hard and plane=soft. I'l have to have a closer look, though it does seem like a wing transplant is required....

You can see her in her wretched state below

However, hoping to end on a more positive note - I did manage to capture some video of her this morning. Unfortunately it was with a still camera on a tripod, so the autofocus is poor to non-existant and there is no camera zooming done. Couple this with a 20 megabytes per minute data rate and Youtube's ability to leave unimportant details in all of their non-obscured beauty, while turning posints of interest into pixelated blurs means that the video quality is rather shameful, though it may just be better than my flying skills at present..

Video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhPzasFCl4k

Cheers,
Simon


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Old 04-01-2011, 03:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Simon View Post
G'day John and Hank, thanks for such a warm welcome.

I'm still not so sure about the color, though at the time it seemed to make a better match with the radio if it was orange. Though I must confess that this little bird was seen digging up worms from deep in the earth on a number of occasions today and after no fewer than 6 bone-crunching crashes (today), she may have to sit in the zoo for a little while while her wings are mended..

I managed 3 short flights at the field today before finding myself cold, wet and miserable. None of the abrupt stops caused any real harm - though one of the central ribs did get a bit ripped up, as did some of the tissue.


That wasn't so bad, and after the poor thing had dried out again and I'd picked the grass of it I again set out to mark out myself a piece of territory in the sky. I went down to a local primary school with my brother for a quick bash - bash being the operative word . The first flight was a spectacular flop, lasting about 20 seconds before I bit the ground pretty hard - ripping the rudder off in the process, though not breaking it.

Dammit - back home again for 5 seconds and run a smidgen of CA to re-attach. Head back to the sportsground - yes with CA in pocket and a fist-full of rubber bands in the other.

The next flight went much as any of the others - quick exciting and like the Colluseum's stars - brutal. Not quite sue how I pulled this one off - I tend to think my thumbs withdraw from bilateral talks with my brain and proceed unilaterally.... Though I must say that this time the er 'landing' was pretty ahrm, ... impressive. She hit the ground like a cracking whip - even sending up a satisfying cloud of dust to remind me of my error.

I strolled over only to find that it was (a) without 1 blade of the prop (b) with a number of the tissue panels punctured (c) with the (balsa) plywood motor mount busted slash delaminated. Bugger, bugger, bugger BUGGER!


I mean, aren't these props made of nylon I asked myself. Isn't nylon what they make the nozzles of CA bottles from, on account of the 'inability of CA to stick to nylon'? Because I mused that the prop was really the only thing stopping me from going again. Given that I was a 15 min walk from home, and had only brought 1 of everything, though no spares, i figured it was at least worth a try.

I still cant believe it - though I did manage to glue the broken blade back on AND give her a good poke at full throttle - still the amputated blade refused to let go of the hub. Cool I thought, perhaps it is worth trying again. Sure enough, I was able to repair tissue panels with CA as did I use CA to fix the motor mount.

This time I was trying to circle the perimeter fence, when again my thumbs took it upon themselves to run the show and remind me that ground=hard and plane=soft. I'l have to have a closer look, though it does seem like a wing transplant is required....

You can see her in her wretched state below

However, hoping to end on a more positive note - I did manage to capture some video of her this morning. Unfortunately it was with a still camera on a tripod, so the autofocus is poor to non-existant and there is no camera zooming done. Couple this with a 20 megabytes per minute data rate and Youtube's ability to leave unimportant details in all of their non-obscured beauty, while turning posints of interest into pixelated blurs means that the video quality is rather shameful, though it may just be better than my flying skills at present..

Video on youtube:
Cheers,
Simon
Hi Simon
Ouch so sorry to see that
Im sure you will have her up and running in no time
Take care
Yours Hank

"When wild the head-wind beat,Thy sovereign Will commanding, Bring them who dare to fly, To a safe landing."
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:12 AM   #6
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Welcome to the contest. Im glad to see another guy who isnt scared to experiment and own up to being cheap as a Scottsman. I love the ping pong ball dope! Id forgotten all about that. I could tell you a really good story about a young man who nitrated a soap-making by-product.....but Id probably get a visit from big brother!

Glad to have you....welcome to the addiction.


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Old 04-02-2011, 12:34 PM   #7
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Hia Possum,

Cheap as a scotsman? Boy, I though those folk were big spenders...

Glad the home-made dope idea was a winner - I'd never heard of such a thing being done before, though it does make sense.

Mmm, perhaps - though to be perfectly honest i'm inclined to think(hope!) not. I too could tell you a story about the effects of HNO3 & H2SO4 on said manufacturing by-product..... OR I could just leave a link to what happened years ago when the final product is mixed 85:15 with nitro-cellulose and 5gms of it is put under an unopened can of beer.....

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/f...69249&aid=1519

And no - that's not smoke. It's 375mls of aerosolized beer



But anyway, back on topic. I've surveyed the damage to my SSX today and it really doesn't seem so bad - I'll have to replace the ribs, spars, and leading and trailing edges for about 4 inches in the center of the wing. May even add a couple of pieces of CF to the leading and trailing edges in a bid to guard against a repeat of the effects of such a sudden stop.

I'd hoped to print up some snazzy graphics on the inkjet, though I'm away from it at the moment and may consider trying the trusty old (B&W only) laser printer instead. Though to be honest I'm not sure if the acetone in the dope would dissolve the wax in the printer toner - guess I'll have to try a little later.



Thanks for the commiserations Hank, it is a little sad to see her so battered and bruised - though I always did enjoy forensically investigating objects after high energy events. It really doesn't seem that bad - though I am a little miffed that the ribs are busted, since they are slotted onto the main spar before the hardwood reinforcing spars are glued down - effectively locking the rib in place. Short of ungluing the hardwood spars for the length of the wing, I'll be forced to make the two central ribs in two pieces.

But since CA is tougher than the balsa that it bonds, I'm probably just being silly and concerning myself over nothing - Guess I'll reinforce with triangle stock to be sure. But again, probably just being silly here

Going to try a different color scheme this time - I just found the orange a little hard to see in the sky on video. Managed to pick up packets of red, black, gold and purple tissue today. Too bad I couldn't find yellow. For the way I fly, a diagonal pattern of alternating yellow and black lines may well be more appropriate..

Just stumbled across a book that provided many, many happy hours of dreaming during childhood to both my father and I - wonder if anybody else reading ever had this book? I aim to build the cover model and convert it from being a control line glow (diesel?) model into a fully RC electric model. I've _only_ dreamed of making this plane for 25 years now. Though with it's proportions and the record of the full-sized craft, the GeeBee racer is going to be one pretty strong ground-magnet methinks.

Many thanks,
Simon


[EDIT] Sorry Hank, I'd meant to mention that I did indeed get a cheap charger with my bits - a Turnigy 5011, costing me the princely sum of $5.95. I just use the 240-12v adapter that came with a Varta battery charger I bought years ago, or I connect it to a car battery or car batter charger. Though I do see that a 15v 5a (75W) adapter can be had for just $9.95.
Counting the price of the charger and the adapter, It would come in at $101.88. I'm happy with that - considering that you can buy 28gm micro RTF packages for about $100, that have a battery with a capacity of just 0.48 Watt/Hours and a motor with about 5 Watts of power.

For reference, my model has an 80 watt motor in it and a 6.29 Watt/hours battery - oh, and that other small improvement - a fully pc programmable transmitter.


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Old 04-03-2011, 03:52 AM   #8
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Simon,

The cost of the charger, and power supply does not count towards the contest total. Neither does the Tx. The only items that need be counted against you are bits that are in the air.

Keep pluggin along....your doing fantastic.

BTW regular old lacquer is nitrocellulose based. It doesnt shrink a whole bunch...Id call it non taunting.

Try this experiment:

Three coat the bare wood with your homade dope. Dope down your tissue. (2 coat the tissue to the wood, but dont coat the open bays) Three coat the whole thing. Now switch to cut lacquer (half and half fast lacquer or acetone) and give her about two thin coats. This wont add very much weight, but it does make a skin able to take on thin airbrushed coats of water based enamel. There you go, light weight color.


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PS read this: http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51697

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Old 04-03-2011, 06:26 AM   #9
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Thanks Possum,

Indeed, I realize that the Tx(+batteries) & the charger/plug-pack are not included in the overall cost, just thought I'd add them in for curiosity's sake.
Therefore, since I can buy the Rx on it's own for $8.98 at Hking, I'll subtract the difference between the Tx/Rx combo and the Rx on it's own from the build cost.
That's $29.95 - $8.98 = $20.97

By my estimations, that would now bring down my in-air cost to $85.98 - $20.97 = $65.01. Hehe, I'm 35% under budget - niiice!

Thanks for the link to the covering info, It's an interesting read. During my studies I found it infinitely easier to stick the tissue down with glue-stick, with the one exception of the small wrap around all of the edges. I did use my dope for this task.

I see that 3.6gms per foot is quoted as the weight of doped tissue in the thread you linked. I've just fired up the trusty scales, finding that my covering weighs a paltry 0.3gms per 100cm2. I'm thrilled!!!! That means I've covered it at just 75% of the weight indicated in the article.


I seem to have been successful in my bid to repair her, I just need to glue everything in place and re-cover. Looks like I may be hitting the park today after all. I just hope 'hitting' is not the operative word. :smirk:

Here's a couple more pics.
Cheers,
Simon.

[EDIT] I appear to have lost a paragraph when typing this post. I had indended to say that a jewellers saw is a wonderfull tool for this hobby. I just remembered that I had one along with all my other jeweller's tools, hidden away in a box. Pic 2 shows an 8/0 blade, with a thickness of just 0.15mm and a depth of 0.3mm - just the thing for some of those tight spots.
Also realized that I have a draw-plate and rollers here - looks like I can forget about buying piano wire from now on - I'll just make the pushrods out of brass or 9k gold(only because it's stiffer than brass & I have a fair bit of scrap laying about)

Also, finished re-covering the wing. It seems that the mettalic tissue doesn't want to shrink quite as much as the plain dyed stuff. The tips still have a few wrinkles, but I'll see if I can't shrink them a bit more with another coat of dope or two. Currently, each coat of dope is adding between 0.29 & 0.34 grams - heck! The motor connectors will end up weighing more than the wing covering at this rate.


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Old 04-04-2011, 12:43 AM   #10
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Yippee!!

My Turnigy9X just arrived in the post today, a slight inconvenience in that no-one was around to take delivery of it and I'll have to collect it from the post office once the driver has returned to base.

The irritating thing is that it's progress through the postal system has been entirely untraceable. From HobbyKing's website, it appears to have been dispatched but not entered into the receivers computer system - this is typical for the first 24-48 hours after the item has left HKing. It's been like this for about 2 weeks now. It does make today a pleasant surprise though.

Never to mind, I've got a bird itching to fly and a lovely new transmitter to do it with.
Guess that means I have one less excuse now that i have expo.

S
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:36 AM   #11
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Same thing happened to my most recent order. I got the notice that it had been packed but never shipped. Finally after about a week I went on and checked my account and it said it had shipped two days after it was packed. I then went and checked my spam filter and lo and behold, there was the notice. Not sure why that notice got caught and all the other stuff didn't but there you go. John.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:07 AM   #12
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Very nice Build Simon thats a cute little Mini Stick Take care and have fun, Chellie

I may be getting Older, But I Refuse to grow Up I am Having to much Fun to Grow Up LOL
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:36 PM   #13
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Thank-you so much Chellie,

Couldn't have done it without the build thread of yours for the Slow Stick.

I sure did have fun today, though in retrospect it would seem that I took caution and threw it into the wind. (I think the barrel-roll dislodged the wing)

At least the kids at the park had a good laugh. Perhaps it's time I built a 3 channel bird...

YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


[EDIT] Think I messed up the youtube link again. Must check how to include them in a post, rather than just leaving a link to them.
[EDIT #2] Thanks Chellie - your 'Public Service Announcement' has saved me _again_. - just the part after the '=' sign.
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Old 04-30-2011, 04:29 AM   #14
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Just wanted to remind ya the contest will end soon. The build must be completed and flown by 8 May 2011. Thats not a lot of time and were all getting busy!



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Old 05-11-2011, 12:37 AM   #15
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Im gonna put off setting up the voting poll until this weekend. Everyone get your price lists current if you want to be in the voting. I only saw 4 entries that had their price/material/source list posted. I didnt specify it in the rules, but Id prefer your price list to be on the first post. If you dont know how to edit your posts, PM me and Ill try to walk you thru it.


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