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Old 08-20-2011, 05:07 AM   #1
reef_rc
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Default Virgin's first ARF Build - ElectriFly S.E.5a

I've been interested in doing an ARF build since I started flying my first RTF planes (HZ Champ) earlier this year. As with those who are just getting into this hobby, I started with foam planes. My interest in ARF has always been because of two reasons 1) What's the big deal about building a plane 2) ARF planes usually look cooler than foam planes, there are more choices to pick from and I want one (preferrably more ). Anyway, since my skills have improved to the point where I am now comfortable flying wood planes without worrying about crashing or breaking them (at least not in the beginning ). I've recently acquired two wood planes and have been flying them without much issues. But those have been PNP. I've decided to go with Electrifly S.E.5a as my first ARF build just because PZ S.E.5a got me interested in biplanes.

So I started building Electrifly S.E.5a this pass weekend thinking I have all the parts I needed (i.e. motor, ESC, 4 servos, batteries). To my surprise, the build didn't go as planned.
  1. I didn't know what CA hinges were. Took me 15 minutes to figured that out and then a trip to the LHS to get the white stripes of glass/paper.
  2. Motor mount didn't match (see pic). I was planning on using parts from Mini Pulse XT but the mount didn't work out.
  3. Gluing rudder and tail to the fuselage was a pain and is not pretty. I believe I this incorrectly. I followed the instructions but the glue dried pretty quick and I did end up breaking an end piece in the fuselage but was able to glue it back (see pic). Is there a secret to this? I assumed less glue is better? Should I have applied the glue from the outside after the parts were in place?
  4. Elevator is pushed in a little too far. I don't believe this will affect elevator throw and I can shave off some wood from the end if needed I guess.
  5. The plane uses rear landing skid and I needed a rear wheel (steerable if possible since I land on concrete and grassing landing is not always level or suitable for landing). Could I use Dubro Tail Wheel Bracket for this?
Turns out I end up ordering the recommended parts (parts I thought I could re-used) since I got frustrated as parts weren't fitting and progress was slow (as you can tell I am not the patience type). Anyway that's my current drama. Any suggestions how I can ensure the remaining build go faster? thx


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Old 08-24-2011, 03:47 AM   #2
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I had to edit the previous post since my previous post and pics didn't work out initially as planned.
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:23 PM   #3
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Heya Reef,

AS far as glues go, it is always dangerous to use a fast drying glue when you join parts that neeed to fit precisely. So using CA, I would have put the rudder in place, then glued it. Another option is to use 5 minute epoxy - that gives you time to get things settled into a proper fit before the glue dries. It is a good glue to use on hinges to, since it give you time to get everything lined up before it dries.

For the motor, I would just drill new holes in the firewall to get your bracket to fit. You can either use screws or bolts to hold it in place. Bolts are always better, but I am not sure you can get to the nuts on the backside of the firewall to hold them while you tighten the bolts on that that plane, so screws might be needed - just check them often to make sure they don't loosed up, or use a little hot glue when you screw them in the first time

Dubro will probably work for the tail wheel. Just make sure the wheel assembly is supported on the underside of the fuse so that you reduce stress on the rudder. Or, if you glue a plastic stir stick to the bottom of the skid, that will help keep the pavement from tearing it up.

This plane is a lot more agile than the PZ version, so be ready for that when you do the maiden.


Good luck

Wolfe
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:20 PM   #4
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I hope to maiden her this weekend if everything else goes as planned.

The glue thing was a goof on my part. I thought I had plenty of time but things got sticky once the two parts joined. It's one of those you just have to try once and learned from your lesson i guess.

I may go with the skid instead of the tail wheel since i didn't have it on my order. It's good in one sense she'll be more scale like. I'll consider stir stick or other method to help dampen the payment. will keep you posted.
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:39 AM   #5
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Default done - sort of

OMG! This is the longest build I have ever done. So time consuming. It's a learning experience for sure.

I can say after this first build I have an appreciation for those "good old days" and for those building planes before things like PNP and BNF came along. My question - how did you do it .

Long story short, I semi-finish the build yesterday and today couldn't wait to finish 100% before taking her out for the maiden flight. The build itself was not the smoothest and was not without issues (too many to even list to bore you). I was first imitated by the fact that this is my first tail-dragger with no rear wheel. Didn't know what expect. Initially I wanted to add a rear wheel just of comfort but instead I add two temporarly bbq sticks for additional support. At the end of the day, the maiden flight and additional 2 flights were slow and smooth. Flights were almost non-eventful if it wasn't for the fact this is probably the slowest plane I've flown outside of ultra-micro planes. Nice change of pace. I especially like both take-off and landing characteristics of this plane.

I plan to finish the remaining eye candy things soon and will post update when finish.


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Old 08-28-2011, 03:46 PM   #6
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Grats on your first ARF and the successful maiden, Reef. It might fly better if you put a pilot in the back seat, though LOL

Wolfe
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Old 08-28-2011, 08:00 PM   #7
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yep. I plan to add a pilot and paint the cockpit in coming week as time permit. Also plan to add additional strips to help her stand out against the sky since she's so small. I have been able to fly her 7 times this weekend and all are very relaxing (loops, rolls and inverted flights are easy and slow). I especially love take-offs and landings. She can land and take off with so little space.
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:32 AM   #8
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That plane looks mighty shiny..Some like shiny some like dulled down. Liquidtex will dull it down if you later decide to antique it..I get motors from Headsuprc and I got some circuit board material to make up new motor mounts. Very thin and very strong.
Have fun
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:51 AM   #9
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I plan to do some painting this weekend and a few other cosmetic changes mainly for visibility. Will keep you posted on how my first plane painting experience comes out.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:48 PM   #10
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Default minor cosmetic additions

I had a opportunity yesterday to add additional colors to make the plane stand out a little more and for better visibility in the air. The color does pop but that should go away once I apply some paint and the pilot in later this week.

Also looking for way to blend in the tail skid instead of the gray tape I am currently using.


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Old 09-04-2011, 01:51 AM   #11
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Johnny One-Star has come out of retirement! Fixed!
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:46 PM   #12
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I had a few additional flights yesterday. I am amazed how slow this plane flies. I had brought both PZ SE5a and Electrifly SE5a out for flying but ended up only flying Electrifly SE5a since there was hardly any wind. It's still a little tail heavy based on the trim settings I had set. Probably related to the missing pilot and gun (both of which I have yet to installed) beyond adding the additional color schema early last week. Any additional time I have seems better spend flying at this time. I bought some paint last week and will touch her up once I have additional time.

While cleaning the plane last week, I accidentally dropped the plane while upside down and caused 1 wing strut mount and 1 wind strut to break (from 2-3 feet high). I've have since CA glued the two broken areas back on and both seems strong as before. Both have lasted 4 flights without sign of weakening. I guess that's a good sign. I have since got additional parts to repair it but since it's working I thought I leave it along and check on it before and after every flight to see when a replacement may be needed instead of carving out the wing strut mount (which could be a pain). I guess this is the part with balsa planes that most don't like. Since the wing strut mount was glues on the wing, the only way to remove it is to crave it out without damaging the wing.

The other issue I've encountered is that the horizontal landing gear support (between right and left wheel) are rather weak and brok a few flights in. I've since wrapped it in red tap and use a little CA glue to hold and support the horizontal rod until I can find a better solution. Seems a carbon rod or something should suffice. Looks like I'll need to check the other forum to see what others may have to say as an option.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:00 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the detailed posts!

Pete
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