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Hi-Performance and Sailplanes RC hotliners, electric pylon racers, F5B, F5D, sailplanes and gliders

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Old 09-21-2012, 09:56 PM   #1
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Default Piper Cub Sailplane

Before you close this thread because it doesn't appear to be about sailplanes, bare with me...

So I wreaked my foamy Cub the other day...



The only part of the airframe that survived was the wing & tail feathers...



So I got to thinking what can I do with these? Then it hit me, what would it look like if the Piper Cub was a glider...



So although not an entirely serious project, I thought it might be fun to build a little glider out of my poor old Cub.

I'm thinking a tow hook for high-start/winching. An aerotow release for towing. Possibly add a center section to the wing to increase her span. Maybe add flaps. Primary construction will be foam which is new to me (usually work with balsa-wood). Anyway subscribe if you're interested.

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Old 09-21-2012, 11:46 PM   #2
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That's a cool idea, Nodd

I have a yellow Piper cub weather vane, over my house.

Dave R, Proud PGR rider.
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You become a master at repair.
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Old 09-22-2012, 05:21 AM   #3
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Seems these Cubs have all sorts of uses *grin*

Construction Begins
I printed up some paper templates, cut a few holes here & there so I could tape them to some Home Depot foam board...



Cut the fuselage sides out using my scroll saw...



I then cut another two fuselage pieces, these with interior space for the radio gear. These I only rough cut, will sand them smooth once the fuselage is assembled...



Cut slots for the rudder & elevator push-rods...



I also cut a slot for a carbon fiber bar that'll run the length of the tail...



Test fitting the carbon fiber bar...



Glued the two interior halves together with the carbon fiber sandwiched inside...



Added some weight, time to take a break & let the glue dry...



Well that's a start. Will have more progress soon.

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Old 09-23-2012, 01:41 AM   #4
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Aerotow Release
This'll be my third aerotow sailplane. My first has the release mounted way up under the nose, the other centered in the nose. I like the way the glider rides nice & high above the tow-plane using the under nose option but you have to flip the glider over on its back to insert the tow-loop. Where-as my other glider, with the release mounted in the nose, has much easier access. For that reason alone I prefer a nose mounted release...



I'm used to mounting these in fiberglass or balsa, this is the first foam instillation I've attempted. Given the softness of the material I opted to place a washer in front of the release to help distribute the load some...



I should probably have installed this before gluing the foam together. That would have reduced the amount of surgery required. No biggy though, once I add the fuselage sides all this ugliness will be buried inside...



I'll likely add reinforcing either side of the release before I add the fuselage sides. Fingers crossed I never need to service the release as it'll be a nightmare to get at later on.

Well I'm going fishing for a few days, I'll get back to this later in the week.

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Old 09-26-2012, 04:30 AM   #5
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Tundra Tires
As any fan of the Piper Cub knows, big fat tires for off field operation are where its at. I'd like to include a wheel, especially if I'm going to aerotow this puppy. Ideally I'd like a BIG honking wheel in there but I've run into a problem. The carbon fiber bar I ran down the inside of the fuselage is in the way. Here's a big three inch wheel where I'd like to put it...



That's not going to work though, the CF bar is in the way. This dinky two inch wheel fits though...



I have a couple of ideas how to get a big wheel in there without compromising my carbon fiber keel. Will post more on that soon.

While we're on the subject of wheels, I suppose there's no reason why I shouldn't reuse the nifty scale tailwheel. I've never had a glider with steerable gear, fun fun...



I'm flying tomorrow so not sure how much I'll get done, will keep you posted.

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Old 09-27-2012, 02:30 AM   #6
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did you catch anything and where did you fish? Oh, yeah, and this is a really cool project!
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:14 AM   #7
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My fishing buddy & I took our little john-boat to Lake Waramaug in Connecticut USA. We caught a bunch of bass, perch & a few sunfish. Great trip, that lake always produces fish.

The Wheel

Okay well after sleeping on it I believe I have a solution for mounting a "tundra-sized" wheel in there. Best of all it doesn't involve me cutting into my carbon fiber reinforcing.

First thing was to carve out a wheel-well...



So here's what I came up with...



I made a wheel "cradle" from 1/4" plywood...



The blind-nut on the left will be where the tow-hook for winching will be screwed into (it'll be on the other side of the wood for final assembly)...



Test fitting everything...



Well that looks plenty strong to me. It'll be even more so once the fuselage sides are glued in place. The winch tow-hook position is a tad forwards of ideal but I figure she should tow well enough.

Hope to get more done tomorrow.

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Old 09-28-2012, 02:55 AM   #8
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Guts-n-stuff
I figured now was a good time to get the aerotow mechanism hooked up while I still have easy access. I made some mounting hardware for the servo...



The aerotow servo is mounted slightly off center so that the control arm is somewhat centered. The butt of the servo will protrude out into the right side a tad but it should be plenty thick enough to accommodate it...



Hooked up, adjusted & working like a charm...



I plan to place the battery up in the nose but I don't want it interfering with the aerotow release pushrod. The solution was to add a battery tray. As I'm not sure where the CG will end up I added several notches for the battery tie-down Velcro...



Time to add the sides
The rest of the radio instillation will be attached to the fuselage sides. So before I can proceed the sides need to go on...



On goes the other side...



Added some weight, will let the Gorilla Glue do its thing for a while...


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Old 09-28-2012, 03:03 AM   #9
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I can't wait to see how this one turns out! Very cool stuff, Nodd.

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:00 AM   #10
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Thanks earthsciteach.

Lightening Holes
I've been asked how I'm cutting such nice neat lightening holes. I use a set of forstner bits, they don't chew up the wood like a large diameter drill bit...



Used with a drill-press they produce a nice clean hole (a hand drill will work too). Be sure to place a piece of scrap wood underneath what you're cutting. That greatly reduces splintering when the bit exits the other side of the wood...


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Old 09-28-2012, 11:00 PM   #11
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I like what you're doing; you seem to have a very high level of craftsmanship. Nice design work too. Like everyone else, I'm following this project with interest

Are you using a CNC router or mill to make some of the parts?

Tom
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:47 AM   #12
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Thanks Tom. I'd kill for a CNC router or a laser cutter but nope, I'm using regular workshop tools.

The basic design I modeled in 2D using a basic graphics program (CorelDRAW). I then print out my design on 8 x 11 paper & tape the templates together for larger parts. Tape that down to the foam or wood & use a scroll saw to cut just outside the template lines. Then switch to the belt sander for finalizing the shape. A poor-man's CNC, works for me.

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Old 09-29-2012, 03:12 AM   #13
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Sanding
Okay time to make this ugly pink box pretty. First I sanded the top & bottom even...



I printed up another set of templates, this time for the top-down profile...



Sanded to the lines...



Then the magic starts, time to round things off...



Remove just a little material at a time, eyeball, then repeat...



Test fitting the tail feathers...



Tail Wheel
I needed a solid area to mount the tail wheel so I notched out a spot for a piece of scrap hardwood...



Glued the block in place...



Shaped the block then test fit the wheel assembly...



Paint
This being my first attempt at foam construction I'm not sure exactly how best to finish her. I could glass the whole thing. I've heard about gluing strips of brown paper on there. I've also heard that its possible to use spray paint directly on the foam but there's always that worry the paint will turn all my hard work into a pile of goo. I said screw it, lets go with paint so I masked off certain areas & prepared to take the plunge...



After testing a can of Rustoleum primer on some scrap foam I was confident enough to lay down a first coat...



From what I've read, you can get away with spray painting foam as long as you apply just a dusting at a time. Everything was going great until I ran out of primer. So that's a wrap for today. Pretty pleased with how she's looking.

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Old 09-29-2012, 05:16 AM   #14
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nodd, when you 1st posted a picture of your concept I thought you absolutley had a beauty of a fuse design. I still think it is but the actual length of the fuse looks a lot shorter. I bet if you were to lengthen it to look more like a regular sailplane fuse it would look spectacular. Just a thought. Blue skies_RT

Im taking what their giving cuz' Im slopeing for a living
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:49 AM   #15
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I was wondering when someone would comment on the fuselage length. Just for the record the fuselage is exactly as I originally designed her, no longer, no shorter.

I purposely went for an extremely short-coupled tail for this design. I wanted a comical, almost cartoonist feel to her. I'm well aware this may lead to stability issues & I'll have to watch the CG & control throws carefully but again, she's exactly as I intended. For this project I don't want a "regular sailplane fuse". I'm going for something different.

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Old 09-29-2012, 06:04 AM   #16
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Beautiful work, Nodd. What did you use to shape the foam? Looks like it was probably a sander of some type. Drum, belt, disc? Or maybe some combination. Looks great. The way you incorporated the gear into the foam is truly inspiring.
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:04 AM   #17
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Thank you Turner. This is my first time with foam, I'm far more at home working with wood. I must say I LOVE the way foam sands. Unlike wood with its grain & variations in density, foam is a real joy to work with.

To answer your question, I used a belt sander for the bulk of the work then switched to a simple sanding block & lots of elbow grease. I love the belt sander, great tool. I had to take it easy though, the belt sander will chew through foam like its not even there.

Yeah I like the wheel mount. Its probably a little over engineered but it was fun to build.

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Old 09-29-2012, 07:32 AM   #18
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Ahhh....now that you mentioned it Ive taken another look at the origonal pic & see that it was short coupled all the time. Guess my eyes were playing tricks on me. Sorry about that

Im taking what their giving cuz' Im slopeing for a living
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:32 PM   #19
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Subbed! I've got a HZ super cub with a busted motor mount gathering dust in the corner of the shop...Hmmmm.

BTW, that style of fuselage construction where layers are glued up with appropriate cut outs in the center layers is often referred to as "Monobloc"

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Old 09-29-2012, 11:51 PM   #20
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I really like the looks of the rendering. If this plane had a motor pod on top, Piper could market it as the "New" Cub and sell it in the light sport plane category!

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:43 AM   #21
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Nodd, What software did you use to create this image?

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Old 09-30-2012, 05:35 AM   #22
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That's a combination of CorelDRAW & PhotoShop. I should probably mention I'm a graphic artist, might explain the rather over-the-top illustrations for a simple build thread.

Originally Posted by pmullen503 View Post
Subbed! I've got a HZ super cub with a busted motor mount gathering dust in the corner of the shop...Hmmmm.

BTW, that style of fuselage construction where layers are glued up with appropriate cut outs in the center layers is often referred to as "Monobloc"
Monobloc huh? Learn something everyday, thanks.

Originally Posted by earthsciteach View Post
I really like the looks of the rendering. If this plane had a motor pod on top, Piper could market it as the "New" Cub and sell it in the light sport plane category!
LOL a sailplane equipped with an aerotow release, a winch hook AND a motor pod? Talk about covering all the bases *grin*

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Old 09-30-2012, 05:36 AM   #23
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Are we forgetting something?
I was so eager to get her painted I plum forgot about the battery hatch. Its just as well I ran out of paint yesterday. My plan is to make the front canopy removable giving access to the battery tray. Using masking tape I outlined the hatch...



A buddy loaned me a hot-wire foam cutter. Using the tape as a guide I cut the hatch free...



That looks like plenty of access to the battery area...



Now I can get back to painting her...



That's enough primer, I'll let that dry overnight.

The Wing
In the meantime I turned my attention to the wing. I'm planning to add a short center section to the span. First I need to glue two pieces of foam together to get sufficient thickness. Time to break out the Gorilla Glue again...



Spreading the glue evenly...



Adding water to the other piece...



Slap the two pieces together...



...and once again its dinner plate time...



While that dries I started work on the template ribs that'll be used to guide the hot-wire cutter...



Unfortunately my wood-shop is being used as a pint-booth for the fuselage, so now's not the best time to use the belt sander to shape these template ribs. So that's as far as I'm going today. Hoping to get the wing cut tomorrow.

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:46 AM   #24
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Plan A
Well after my success carving out the fuselage battery hatch I was looking forward to trying the hot-wire gizmo again. I pinned balsa template ribs to both ends of a block of foam...



You maybe wondering what the notch in the rib is all about. Well the Cub's wings use a carbon fiber tube as the main spar. I couldn't come up with an easy way to drill a hole span-wise down the wing piece I was about to make so I decided instead to just cut a slot. I'll use expanding foam or something to fill the slot later on...



So it was time to use the spiffy hot-wire cutter. This was the unfortunate result...



Apparently this isn't as easy as it looks. I'd love to play with this more, definitely want to master this process but in the interest of getting this bird done I switched to...

Plan B
Starting with a new block of foam I broke out the router & cut a slot for the wing-rod...



Now that's a nice clean slot, MUCH better...



Then it was back to my trusty belt-sander to shape the airfoil...



Here's a comparison of the hot-wire wing on the right & the sanded wing on the left...



Don't get me wrong though, I have nothing against hot-wire foam cutting. I'm just not very good at it yet. There's lots of great threads on the subject, I'll read-up on it, practice some & hopefully next time will yield better results.

So here we are test fitting the sanded center section. Looks pretty good to me...



Yellow & Black
Meanwhile back in my wood-shop/paint-booth more progress was made...



While the finish is far from perfect its about what I expected having painted directly on foam. Its certainly plenty good for this silly project...



I'm going to let this paint dry overnight then I'll mask out the rest of the windows & the lightning-bolt graphic & lay down a couple of coats of black.

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:25 AM   #25
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Your skills are amazing....I petty much just make wax in my ears.
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