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

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Old 05-17-2009, 09:05 PM   #1
SunDevilPilot
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Default Bird of Time Electric Conversion

I have read a few threads around the web about converting a Bird of Time to electric but few offer a photographic walkthrough. Well, I decided to start one.....

So, here goes.

The Bird of Time I am using is the Dynaflight ARF with fiberglass Fuse. Motor will be a Hacker A30-12L controlled by a Castle Creations 45 Amp Esc. Propeller is a 12X6.5" Cam Folding Prop. Spinner is 38mm. Battery is a 2500 Mah Flight Power 3S Lipo. Controll will be via a Futaba 10C on 2.4.

Reason for build.... Had a powered glider as a kid and decided it was time for a nostalgia type aircraft.

Progress so far consists of cutting off the nose of the fuselage and chipping the "Slug" from the front end. The nose was easily removed using a band saw and nerves of steel. The ballast consisted of lead shot and some form of glue mixture. The glue was brittle and would shatter when impacted with a spring loaded punch. Once the majority of the ballast was removed I transitioned to a standard nail set and a hammer to chip out the remainder of the ballast. The process was completed with a dremel and a sanding wheel to completely remove the glue. The ballast appears pre-formed and glued into the nose with some strange white colored glue. Took about 30 minutes.

TIP: I completed this process on a towel as the little lead / steel balls go all over the place. You may want to do this out of eyesight of the wife!

Next I took the nose of the aircraft, the spinner backplate, and the wooden motor mount that came with the hacker motor and scanned them into my computer. By layering the images I was able to create the new firewall complete with motor mounting holes while insuring the spinner and propeller came into alignment.

After creating my part on the computer I printed it and cut it out of plywood. Once rough cut I used a sander to slowly fit the firewall to the fuse....Perfect fit.

I will be cutting the bottom of the firewall, below the spinner, open to allow some airflow to the motor and battery. I will also be redesigning the tail mounted servo hatch into an exit hole for the cooling airflow.

I would guess about 4 degrees of down thrust and 2 degrees of right thrust were built into the firewall when I cut off the nose. You can adjust these angles by placing the nose on your belt sander and carefully tilting it to add in the proper angle. Remember, it is easier to remove material than to put it back so take your time!

The parts are not yet glued into the fuselage. Will to that after I double up the firewall and cut the cooling hole.

That's it so far.....

SunDevilPilot


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Old 05-18-2009, 01:34 AM   #2
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Here is where I am now.

Started by laminating the firewall with some fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Then.....

I cut the cooling hole in the firewall and epoxied it in the fuselage. Started by tacking it in place with a few drops of CA then checked the alignment. After all was checked I thinned some epoxy just slightly so I could place some on the joint and rotate the fuselage around allowing a nice fillet of epoxy to be formed on the inner perimeter of the firewall.

Will paint the firewall white to match the fuselage.

SunDevilPilot


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Old 05-18-2009, 02:15 AM   #3
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You are doing a great job, looks really nice. Never did a powered glider yet, there's always room for a first though.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:43 AM   #4
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Thanks Gramps,

My first "airplane" was a Carl Goldberg Gently Lady with a Sig Power Pod and a Cox .049 motor. The power pod strapped on top of the wing via the rubber bands used to hold the wing to the fuselage. This is my first attempt at putting the motor onto the nose of a glider. Was easier than I expected once I got going on it. Took a bit of nerve to run the nose of the fuselage through the band saw. Only hurt for the 1/2 half.

More updates to follow as they the plane continues through the build process.

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Old 05-18-2009, 03:14 AM   #5
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Maybe much ado about nothing, but with a cooling intake that big, you're going to need a pretty big air exit too, or you'll be pressurizing the fuselage enough to perhaps blow the canopy off.

Rick
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Electrick View Post
Maybe much ado about nothing, but with a cooling intake that big, you're going to need a pretty big air exit too, or you'll be pressurizing the fuselage enough to perhaps blow the canopy off.

Rick
I plan on modifying the servo cover plate on the elevator to allow the air to escape. That is about 2X the size of the air intake. Hope it will suffice.

SunDevilPilot
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:54 PM   #7
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I've seen a motorized version of this arf fly, and it is amazing: the glide ratio is very, very high.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:56 AM   #8
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I had a BOT that I electrified last year and it flew like a dream. I was attempting to bring it down on it's maiden flight and the wing folded. It went down like a stone. I hope you have better luck.
I will build another this year and will reinforce the wing before the first flight. I tried to bring it down gently but built up too much speed. My fault.
I will follow your build thread and am awaiting your maiden. Best of luck.
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:45 PM   #9
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Started working on the radio installation and control surface installation, mainly the rudder. I opted to change the CA Style hinges to a Pinned Style. I never really liked the CA Stuff (Personal Preference). I enlarged the hinge slots and glued the surface on, simple. I then decided on the locations for some of the radio equipment. The rudder servo was relocated to the center of the fuselage under the wing. This was done because I want to put the battery and ESC under the canopy for ease of access, balancing, and cooling. New servo rails were installed and the elevator tube, pre-installed, was cut a bit shorter. I was able to remove the excess tube that once led to the front of the fuselage by pinching the tubing adjacent the formers it passed through. This would break the glue joint allowing the tube to be pulled out with little to no force. I also removed the tubing placed in the fuselage down the center of the wing saddle. This tube was placed in the fuselage and is intended to be used as a guide for the antenna wire, not needed for the 2.4 installation.

You may see the hardware used to make the hookup to the Rudder itself is a little unconventional. The ball joint is slightly offset on the rudder horn putting some side load on the assembly. While not ideal it was needed because as the rudder articulates the angle to the horn also changes. I don't foresee a problem due to the minimal amount of force on the assembly. I installed a Jam Nut onto the control horn to lock it all down tight and to prevent the ball joint assembly from rotating on the horn.

Elevator servo installation will not be as easy. I started working on the elevators and ran into a problem. The micro servo I have fits in the hole at the aft end of the fuselage but there is not enough room for the arm to articulate far enough to allow for full control of the elevator. I get about 1/2 the desired elevator throw with the arm barley missing the fuselage side. So..... I will be changing my original design and move this servo into the area under the wing saddle, just forward of the rudder servo, and install a bellcrank in the aft end of the fuselage. This should not pose too much of a problem and I should be able to install another guide tube from the servo location to the bellcrank location in the rear. On the right side of the fuselage, just rear of the wing saddle, is a former with the guide tube mount left unused. Will be using that at the front end and install a new one in the rear. Need to find a bellcrank so the project is a little delayed......

Photos of where I am currently at are attached.

FYI: The ESC will go under the battery and the receiver will go somewhere in the wing saddle (To be determined after the elevator servo is installed).

SunDevilPilot


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Old 05-31-2009, 01:04 AM   #10
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The build process continues....

Today I got started on the elevator control system. I changed the configuration from a servo in the tail to a bell-crank in the tail with the servo under the wing. I just couldn't get enough surface deflection with the servo contained in the slender tail. Was a little difficult working in such a confined area but I managed to get the system about 90% installed. I still need to install the servo rails and mount the servo down. However, I have tested the system and I get about 3/4" of throw in either direction. The book calls for 9/16" on high rates so I have more than enough.

Visible in the photos is the bell-crank in the tail, control rods, and elevator servo in the area of the wing saddle. You can also see the guide tube in installed into the fuselage to keep everything slop free. The tube goes through a former already drilled for the guide tube in the front of the fuselage and it is attached to a block of wood installed in the tail. I attached the tube to the wood block while it was still outside the fuselage. This was done with fiberglass cloth carefully overlapping the tube and attaching it to the wooden block. The glass cloth will prevent the tube from detaching from the wooden block and ultimately the fuselage side.

All the clevises are attached to the control rods using red lock tight or solder. No additional adjustment but it will never come loose.

More to come....

SunDevilPilot


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Old 05-31-2009, 07:09 PM   #11
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Not much to report for today except I installed the elevator servo rails and did the final installation of the servo. Next up will be the installation of the ESC and Receiver. Should be simple, just need to figure out the best location for the receiver.

Once those are done I will look at the best method to secure the battery then move onto the wings.

I am hoping the balance comes out close to how it would have been stock. All the electronics are to be mounted towards the front of the aircraft in place of the steel ballast plug.

There is a pretty good span from where the elevator control rod exits the housing before it reaches the servo but rest assured.... the setup appears quite robust and there is no slop at the surface.

The last two photos show the amount of surface deflection available. I haven't set up the rates yet but this does show the maximum available.

SunDevilPilot


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Old 06-01-2009, 12:02 PM   #12
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Default Nice BOT !

Ive been flying my BOT with a power pod,,Will be converting to a motor in the nose per your post along with the graupner spoilers(blade type)
This plane flys great! caught my first thermal yesterday, hooked up with some buzzards literally! estimated 3000ft,then got scared!!
Ive got the micro servo on the eleavator in the tail and dont quite get the thro you do with the bell crank.. think you are on to something there, Thanks for all the good info and pics!!
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:15 AM   #13
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Started on the wings....

Was a little nervous about gluing the four later wing joiners, aluminum and ply, together without the parts slipping and sliding so I decided to pin both ends. I stacked the parts up paying attention to the "Slender Ends" and clamped each joiner together. Then I drilled the ends for a 5/32 Dowel. After drilling I installed the dowel, leaving some extending from each side, and performed the laminating operation. Due to the time needed I would recommend 30 minute epoxy. After the pins were installed and the parts glued I clamped them. After drying overnight they were sanded to remove the excess glue and adjusted to fit each wing. Both wing tips fit the center section nicely.

I used wax paper on both sides of the parts while clamping to prevent the parts from gluing to the bench top and clamping block while the glue hardened.

SunDevilPilot


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Old 06-06-2009, 11:48 PM   #14
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Got the ESC and the receiver mounted. Decided the best place for the receiver was just above the servos mounted under the wing saddle. The receiver is mounted on a plywood tray that is also Velcro'd into the plane. This tray can be removed to access the servo below. The Futaba FASST requires the antennas, at the end of the coax wires, be mounted in such a way they end up 90 degrees to each other. This provides diversity in their orientation regardless of the models orientation in the sky. The wing saddle provided the area needed to get this accomplished. I used plastic antenna tubing shaped with a heat gun to align the antennas. Note... The antennas run in a horizontal direction in relation to the fuselage. I decided the model will be flown in the horizontal position most of its time in the sky and I wanted the side of each antenna, the best side for receiving a signal, to face the ground.

I also started on the wing bolts / pins. I did discover the wing mounting holes, towards the fuselage front were a little small compared to the wing dowels. So, I carefully used a drill bit to open them up to the correct size.

All that is left is to install the windshield and balance the model.

The windshield, and fuselage, will be modified slightly to allow the windshield to be bolted on with two bolts. Just don't believe "Tape" has a place in modeling as the manual suggests.

SunDevilPilot


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Old 06-13-2009, 11:46 AM   #15
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Completed a similar e -conversion to a BOT ARF last autumn and it worked out quite well. She isn't rocket on the climb,but don't waste any time getting to altitude either. I made up a firewall in a nearly identical fashion and then drilled some venting holes with a Forstner bit in the canopy. As the model I bought was a scratch and dent special, I decide to strip all the covering off and recover her. While I was at it I added pop up spoilers that are 3/4" x 12". She does fly well and the spoilers proved to be very effective.


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Old 06-13-2009, 01:01 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Leadchucker View Post
Completed a similar e -conversion to a BOT ARF last autumn and it worked out quite well. She isn't rocket on the climb,but don't waste any time getting to altitude either. I made up a firewall in a nearly identical fashion and then drilled some venting holes with a Forstner bit in the canopy. As the model I bought was a scratch and dent special, I decide to strip all the covering off and recover her. While I was at it I added pop up spoilers that are 3/4" x 12". She does fly well and the spoilers proved to be very effective.
Your build looks almost exactly the same as mine. I will post a few more pictures this afternoon but I wanted to comment on your canopy. I like how you mounted yours....I did almost the exact same installation. I created two small wooden blocks, added blind nuts to them, and glued both under the front and rear lip of the cockpit area. Just need to add the skid plate to the nose then balance and she is done. May maiden this Monday.

EDIT: Couldn't help myself.. Attached is the canopy installation. More on the skid plate to come as I conduct the installation.

SunDevilPilot


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Old 06-16-2009, 05:05 AM   #17
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Well......

I just finished the Bird of Time. I decided to balance the model using the supplied lead shot and some BBs mixed with epoxy, both of which poured into the nose after correct amount was determined. Took a fair amount of weight to bring the model back into balance after removing the slug of lead shot and replacing it with a motor. The length of the nose was slightly shortened in the conversion process but I doubt the overall weight of the "electrified" version is much more than that of the original design. Possibly a few ounces heavier for the electric. Well worth it, in my opinion, for a self sufficient model.

Also added a landing Skeg from...
http://www.superskeg.com/. Wanted to protect the bottom of the plane as best I can. Put two hardpoints into the fuselage with a couple blind nuts to secure the skeg.

Will most likely be maidened next weekend weather permitting.

FYI: The photo of the lead/BB's shows the wax paper currently protecting the motor wires while the BBs / epoxy mix cures. Will be removed tomorrow.

Will post update after she has flown.

SunDevilPilot


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Old 06-17-2009, 03:21 AM   #18
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I have been dropping in and following your progress in the back ground. Ya did a really great job the end product is super hope your maiden goes great sundevil.
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Old 06-17-2009, 03:50 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by gramps2161 View Post
I have been dropping in and following your progress in the back ground. Ya did a really great job the end product is super hope your maiden goes great sundevil.
Thanks,

SunDevilPilot
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:25 AM   #20
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Went to the field today and got to maiden the plane. The motor, battery, prop, and ESC combination seem perfect for the bird of time. The plane climbs pretty good reaching about 150 feet in about 30 seconds. On the second flight I flew for about 20 to 25 minutes and used half of the 2500 Mah battery. Thermal activity was minimal with only a few bumps of lift. The plane handled the five mile per hour wind with ease. Landings took a fair bit of our 700 foot runway but with some wind this distance was decreased.

One thing I need to work on is some throttle to down elevator mix. The more power you add the more the nose rises. It does not get out of control but I am adding a P-Mix to correct for some of this tendency. Most likely due to the 2 degrees of positive incident the wings has. Would take a lot of down thrust to counter so I will go with a program mix in the radio.

Was really fun having the electric motor on there, vs a .049 used in my younger years, as I could power up and look elsewhere for lift or use the motor to assist with those botched landing approached.

I had not flown a glider in 18 years and I fear I am hooked again.

If you are considering the Bird of Time to Electric Conversion, Go for it. Was a great experience.

SunDevilPilot
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:24 AM   #21
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Nice conversion.

It is a nice glider and more independent now with the motor.

I did some mods to my BoT balsa-kit last year. Unfortunately I decided to build in a motor when it was nearly buildt. So I got some problems where to put the batteries. Mine has air brakes too, because I knew that it will float forever, when you try to land . Helps with too much thermal too.

Happy flying

Uli


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Old 06-25-2009, 04:48 PM   #22
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HI,

Do you have any information, sketches or whatever on how you installed the airbrakes on you BOT? Have you thought about ailerons? I am thinking of building one of these and I think you are on the right track. I have a sailplane now but it takes forever to slow her down to land. I know I need brakes!

Tim
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:45 AM   #23
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Hi Tim,

sorry I don't have any sketches and forgot to take photos before the covering. There is only this photo, how it looks like, when they are up.
I changed the BoT to electric motor and Spoilers when it was ready for painting and covering as a sailplane.

The spoilers are 250 mm long. They are 280 mm away from the middle part of the wing. So it is still within the middle part of the wing, but far enough outside not to disturb the elevator that much with turbulences when up.
Each spoiler has a separate servo which is near the wing root. It is easier for me just to connect the servo wires, then to connect mechanical parts, if there is only one servo for both spoilers.

The spoilers are behind the wing spar, so the front part of the wing is not weakened. I cut out the ribs, so that it fittet 1 mm below "the surface". Then I glued balsa all around it and 1,5 mm on top. Be carefull not to glue the movable parts to the fixed parts. The 0,5 mm more can be sanded down for a flush fit.

I considered ailerons, but as this is a floater and no slope soarer, I decided against it. It flies great without ailerons. The spoilers are more important.

Uli


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Old 06-30-2009, 02:25 AM   #24
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Just a quick update,

Now that I have flown the plane a few times and had the chance to get my P-Mix for the throttle to elevator mix done I got a chance to find some thermals. Today on the first flight of the day I spotted four vultures circling to the west of our field. I launched and used motor power to get up to where the lowest vulture was circling, about 150 feet up. After getting into formation with the vulture I shut off the motor and began circling with him. Before you new it I was almost a speck and flying around with the other three birds. Was a great feeling to catch such a great thermal and find out what the Bird Of Time can do. After flying with the birds for about 25 minutes, and because I was getting nervous having the 3M ship almost a speck, I decided to come down. I flew out of the thermal to an area I had flown through earlier and knew was dead air. After about five minutes of a declining in a steep bank I was able to the the plane down. I would bet, based on my sore neck, that I had flown for about 40 minutes and only used the motor for the initial two. Was Great!

This plane is definitely what I was looking for in a RE Thermal Ship.

SunDevilPilot
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Old 08-22-2009, 11:52 PM   #25
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Latest Edition:

I have become interested in capturing some aerial video and decided the most suitable plane in my fleet was my Electric Conversion Bird of Time. Not wanting to modify the airframe for the camera I had to design a mount that can go on and come off using the stock hardware. The only method I could think of was to use one of the canopy mounts and both of the wing bolts. The camera itself is held to the mount via some velcro towards the front and the tripod mount on the bottom. I will most likely use a single velcro strap around the camera to ensure it does not come loose.

FYI: The camera's tripod mount is 1/4-20 like nylon wing bolts. That is what I am using for the rear mount.

I will be flying the plane this coming Monday and I will post some video after the flight.

SunDevilPilot


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